Receptionist (Female, Age 25) in Portland, OR

This is a REAL-LIFE job profile written by a Female aged 25 who works as a Receptionist in Portland, OR. This professional kindly spent a bit of their time to complete our job profile survey so that prospective job seekers like you could read their insights. Please excuse any punctuation or grammatical errors in this profile.

At a Glance

Current Job

Basic data on your current job

Job TitleReceptionist
Salary$24,000
Other Compensation None Set
Hours/Week40
Company Size(not answered)
LocationPortland, OR
Years Experience1 year

Career Ratings

Opinions on your CAREER overall (i.e. not just your current job)

Years in Career0
Education(not answered)
Income Rating0 / 10
Interest Rating0 / 10
Work-Life Rating0 / 10
Fulfilment Rating0 / 10

Table of Contents

Current job Q&A

Describe the type of organization you work for.
We answer remotely for small businesses and companies that either cannot afford to have a receptionist in their offices or do not want one. Instead of automated systems or monotonous answering, we offer warm and personalized help to our clients’ callers. There are approximately 35 people working here.

Describe your job role and responsibilities.
When someone calls one of our clients, the call will ring into my work station. I answer it with a personalized greeting and offer to help either connect the call to the person they’re trying to reach, or (if that person isn’t available) take a detailed written message or transfer them into the client’s voice mail. Then I will email a notification to the client letting them know that they have a message waiting for them.

Please list an additional benefits (beyond compensation) that you receive.
We get medical, dental, and vision insurance as well as sick-leave (the amount of which depends on the length of time employed). We have a 401k plan available but I don’t have any information about it at this time.

Do you feel you are under/over or well/fairly compensated at your current position?
I feel very well compensated. On top of being well-paid and given insurance, we are also treated to office parties and other fringe benefits.

Does your job entail you working with others on a daily basis? Is this something you like/dislike about your job? Please explain.
Yes, the entire job revolves around interacting with people. Not just in speaking to callers and clients by phone and email, but also the work environment–we’re a really socially involved group. We help each other with projects and issues in the office, have daily meetings, and form friendships. It’s really great–we even have a Director of Culture for the office.

Do you work collaboratively with supervisors/managers?
Yes

Do you work collaboratively with your co-workers?
Yes

Describe your work location (e.g., office, home, theatre, in the field) and what you like/dislike about working in it.
I work in an office in downtown Portland, OR. It’s been renovated so that the walls are mostly knocked out and it’s a big open, loft-like space with exposed brick and glass-walled cubicles. It’s very modern and light, so it doesn’t really feel like the typical, suffocating, cubicle-in-an-office setting.

Please rate each of the following aspects of your current job on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest/best):
Income: 2
Benefits: 4
Hours: 3
Co-Workers: 1
Supervisors: 5
Job Title: 8
Level of Responsibility: 7
The Actual Work: 6

A day in the life of…

Please describe a typical workday for you in your current job:

5am to 6am
6am to 7am
7am to 8am
8am to 9amI arrive at 8:30am and begin by checking my work email. If we’ve added new clients to our database the previous day, I review these new accounts to familiarize myself. Then I set to work answering phone calls for our clients.
9am to 10amDuring this time I am still answering phone calls for clients. I direct their calls per their instructions and take messages when they aren’t available. Because it’s relatively early, our west coast clients will also call during this time period to give us their instructions and whereabouts for the day.
10am to 11amI usually have a 15-minute break around 10:00am. After that, I am back on the phones. This is the point of day when we have the most people on phones, so it isn’t usually as busy. This affords me the opportunity to catch up on work email again.
11am to 12pmMany of my co-workers are taking their breaks and lunches at this time. This puts more of a work load on those of us not on break, so it can get busy. That means taking multiple calls at once, or “juggling” calls. Phones are the sole focus during the busy times.
12pm to 1pmI take my lunch break at either 12pm or 12:30pm. After that, I check my work email to be sure I haven’t missed anything important while it was busy. If anyone had any questions or if a boss sent out any important memos, I make sure to review those first.
1pm to 2pmBack to the phones. Callers later in the day can be harder to deal with, because often they’re still waiting to hear back from the person they left messages for earlier. Reiterating to callers that we did relay their messages, but that the person they’re trying to reach is simply still unavailable is crucial.
2pm to 3pmWe’re pretty well-staffed at this point and not many people are on lunch or break, so this time period tends to be more relaxed. I am still on the phones and directing calls. Between calls, I will catch up on work emails, then if there is down-time, I will send messages to my co-workers to help cheer them up if I know they’ve had some frustrating or difficult callers.
3pm to 4pmThis hour is really much the same as the previous. Most of the work emails that I receive at this point of the day will be questions about calls that I took earlier, or coworkers relating compliments or questions they received from callers. I am still taking calls at this point of the day as well.
4pm to 5pmThis is the slowest part of my day as far as call volume is concerned. Any new clients that we took on in the morning will be having their lines tested at this point. This means that our programmer is calling us using the client line to be sure that it works properly, and to be sure that we’re answering it properly. Toward the end of the hour, I check my work email one last time, and at 5pm, I go home.
5pm to 6pm
6pm to 7pm
7pm to 8pm
8pm to 9pm
9pm to 10pm
10pm to 11pm
11pm to 12am

How you got your job

How did you get your current job?
There was an ad on Craigslist for a Director of First Impressions.

What was the application process?
I e-mailed my resume and a cover letter.

Did you have to interview for your current job? If yes, what did the interview process entail?
Yes. The first interview was through a staffing agency, who asked the usual questions and then did a brief skill test–typing speed, writing accuracy, that sort of thing. The second interview was with the manager at the actual company. She gave a tour of the office, asked some questions about myself, and let me sit in with an employee for a few minutes to get an idea of the job.

If you can remember, what questions were you asked during the interview?
Somewhat typical questions about my skills and why I like working in the secretarial field, followed by more personal questions about myself (why I’d moved to Portland, what I was going to school for, et cetera).

Do you feel your employer properly prepared you for your job? Explain.
Yes. I’d worked for 5 years as a receptionist before this.

Was there training for your current position? If yes, what did it entail?
There was training that revolved mainly around the specific software that we use to answer and direct calls, store client information, etc. We are also trained in proper phrasing and e-mail communication style.

Do you feel your educational background prepared you for your job? Explain.
I think my educational background was mainly irrelevant to the job, because the skills that I possess weren’t gained through school.

If applicable, do you feel your internship experience helped you prepare for your job?
n/a

If someone wanted to go about getting a job similar to yours, what would you recommend for him or her to do?
When you interview, make sure you’re warm, friendly, and articulate. Keep your computer skills sharp as well, everything is done with programs these days.

What skills do you think a person should have if they want to pursue a position like yours?
Social skills are an absolute must–you’re talking to hundreds of different people in different walks of life every day, so it’s essential that you not be shy. Computer skills are also important, because call centers mostly use computer programs to route calls, as well as e-mail to communicate with busy clients. Multitasking is very important, too, because you need to be able to take calls, jot down messages, get through your work emails, and not miss a beat–at the same time.

Do you feel that you need a certain level of education or training to be successful in your job?
Education no, not particularly. But training in the aforementioned skills would be ideal.

What advice would you give to someone who was about to start work in your position/ line of work?
Keep a positive attitude, stay cool under pressure, and don’t take it personally when callers are jerks–and they will be–because 99% of the time it has nothing to do with you.

Long-term career plans

Is your current employment part of your overall career plan? Why or why not?
I’ve been considering this. I really love this company, but I still plan to try my hand at teaching.

What are your current career goals?
I’d love to take on more responsibility and move up into a supervisor position here. I’d also like to help with the creative aspects of the job as well.

Is there anything else you would like to share about your career?
It wasn’t what I was expecting to love doing, but sometimes the work environment and people who surround you can override the negative aspects of a job.

Prior work history

Please list your most recent jobs prior to this current job:

TitleLengthSalaryDescription
Prior Job 1Barista4 months9 per hourI was a barista and cook at a cafe. I made coffee and cooked meals for patrons.
Prior Job 2Receptionist5 years12500 per yearI answered phones, took messages, and assisted the sales team at a high-end audio/home theater specialty store.

Educational background

Please list your educational background:

High School GPA:2.8

GPASchoolDegree
College (Undergraduate)
or Technical/Vocational
3.3Kalamazoo Valley Community CollegeTeaching, English
Graduate or Professional
(Masters or Doctorate)

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