Learn how to write a winning CV for a receptionist job, even if you have no experience.
A receptionist is an essential role in many organisations and it's hard work. It's a receptionist's responsibility to provide a first-class experience in a busy and varied environment and, as a result, it requires a complex skill set.
Whether you're looking for a medical, dental, hotel, corporate or a general front-desk receptionist role, or are perhaps looking for a receptionist position with no experience, this guide will help you to write a winning CV for a receptionist job.
How to structure a receptionist CV
While your receptionist CV is personal to you, and will detail your unique career experiences, there is a fundamental structure to the document recruiters expect to see. At the very least, always include the following sections:
Name, professional title and contact details
Education and qualifications
You can add other sections to your CV if you think it will add value to your application and you have the space. If you are applying for a receptionist job with no experience, for example, you may wish to add hobbies and interests or volunteering sections to illustrate relevant skills or character traits.
How to format a receptionist CV
As a receptionist, you know how important first impressions are. Your CV is your one chance to make a strong impact on potential employers. The content of your CV is of course important, but so is the layout and format.
The standard length of a CV is two pages, but it can be one if you're just starting your career. A common CV mistake is including too much information, extending the document to over two pages. But remember, a CV isn't an overview of your entire employment history. It's the last 10 years at most.
The look of your CV is also important, and that's where font type and size and page margins come in. Choose a professional and contemporary font to use throughout, and create large, bold headings to introduce each section. Adjust the font sizes and page margins so that your CV fits neatly onto no more than two pages, ensuring that the formatting is consistent. An even balance of text to white space will offer a polished feel.
How to write a personal profile for a receptionist CV
A personal profile, also known as a personal statement, is a short paragraph below your name and contact details, providing an overview of:
Who you are
What you can offer the company or organisation
What you specialise in or your area of expertise
The paragraph is your pitch to the hiring manager, and it must grab their attention and keep them engaged enough to read the rest of your CV.
Your personal profile should be tailored to each application, to flex the skills and experiences most relevant to the receptionist role. If you are an experienced receptionist, create a master list of your most valuable skills, cross-reference them with the job description and extract the requirements you align with. Reference these in your profile. If you don't have experience as a receptionist, follow the same process, but reflect on your administrative and soft skills that are transferable, instead.
How to write key skills for a receptionist CV
The key skills section includes a bullet point list of your core competencies. It's a crucial part of your CV, as it immediately offers the hiring manager a strong flavour of your skill set in an easily digestible way. However, you must choose your most impressive abilities that are relevant to the job, to avoid selling yourself short.
Sift through the job description again and highlight skills that align with your own. Include between six and 10 of these competencies in your key skills section, in the recruiter's own language if you can, to demonstrate that you're a clear match.
Common receptionist skills on a CV include communication, customer service, prioritisation, multi-tasking, attention to detail, and familiarity with Microsoft 365.
How to write employment history for a receptionist CV
When detailing your employment history on your CV, start with your most recent role and work backwards. Reverse chronological order is the best way to list your work experience, because your latest role is often the peak of your career and the most accurate representation of your current skill set.
Structure each position with your job title, the employer and the dates you worked there. Standard formatting for dates is the month and the year, but you can slim this to just the year, which is particularly useful if you have experienced a career gap.
Underneath this, write a short overview of the role in two to three lines to contextualise your experience. Then craft bullet points about your achievements and inject powerful verbs and statistics to quantify your abilities.
Here is an example of how to list receptionist experience on your CV:
Communicated with more than 500 clients via email, phone, post, and in person
Compiled, produced, and filed documents for senior management meetings each month
Managed inventory activities, including ordering and re-stocking, for a workforce of 50
Tailor each bullet point to the vacancy to remain relevant. Also, keep your examples concise – too much detail could dilute your message.
As you work through your career history, reduce the level of detail. Positions from over 10 years ago can be summarised to one line or deleted altogether.
How to write education and qualifications for a receptionist CV
The education part of your CV is an easy one to overlook, especially if you're a seasoned professional. But it is essential, especially as many basic receptionist skills are built during education, such as IT proficiency.
Like your work experience, document your qualifications in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent. List the name of the institution, the date the qualification was awarded, plus the name and level of the qualification and the grade you achieved, if applicable.
As a receptionist, you may have certificates relevant to your industry, such as Microsoft 365 or an office administration diploma.
If you are a recent school leaver or graduate, also mention the relevant subjects, modules or dissertation details to supplement your academic record. Maths, English and IT subjects, or any modules involving communication or organisation, would be particularly beneficial.
Example of a receptionist CV
A CV for a receptionist job needs to encompass skills, achievements and qualifications relevant to the vacancy, and it should be visually pleasing too. It's simple once you have an understanding of CV structure and formatting principles. However, if you're uncertain whether you've highlighted your skills in the best way possible, a free CV review will help you to land your next receptionist job.