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Written by Anna MuckermanAnna Muckerman

Receptionist CV Example & Writing Guide

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Receptionist CV Example & Writing Guide
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As so much more than the friendly face or voice behind winning customer service experiences, receptionists are often the heart and soul of a business. How does a receptionist CV convey everything employers need to know about your excellence in this role? If it’s an entry-level position, how do you prove your teachability and positive attitude?

You’ve come to the right place for help. As a leading resource for job seekers in all fields, cvapp.nz offers more than 300 occupation-specific writing guides and corresponding CV samples, plus a CV builder tool, customisable templates and useful advice.  

This guide, alongside a receptionist CV example, will show you how to highlight the personality traits and hard skills you already possess, convincing employers you’re a cut above the other receptionist candidates.

We’ll cover these basics:

  • What do receptionists do?
  • How to write a receptionist CV
  • The best format for structuring your CV
  • Advice on each section of your receptionist CV: summary, work history, education and skills
  • Professional CV layout and design hints.

Specifically, our receptionist CV example and guide will teach you to:

  • Craft a professional profile that shows off your work ethic and willingness to learn
  • Leave a positive impression with top companies and employers
  • Leverage previous experience in other fields
  • Avoid having your CV filtered out by automated systems.

Sound good? Let’s get started!

What does a receptionist do?

It’s 9 a.m. on a Monday morning in a busy doctor’s office. The phone is ringing, patients are waiting to be checked in and a pharmacy needs a prescription sent over — right away! It might seem like chaos, but for a trained receptionist, bringing order and positive energy to any workday is a welcome challenge.  

Receptionists are expert multitaskers, handling a variety of office duties, from greeting clients and scheduling appointments to making copies and organising files. They’re expected to complete all of these tasks with a friendly disposition and few complaints. 

Receptionists work in nearly all industries and most work full-time during business hours. Because most duties can be learned on the job, a receptionist position is a great choice if you don’t have a tertiary degree. Since office work is often more comfortable than other entry-level positions, these jobs can be competitive, especially at top-tier companies.  

What it takes and where

The first step towards building a great receptionist CV is understanding both the job role and the job market. Think of a time when you visited a doctor’s office or business and the receptionist was less than helpful. It probably gave you a negative impression of the whole company and made you hesitate before recommending the business to family and friends. That’s why a good receptionist is such an important part of any organisation. 

From the newest associate to the CEO, every other employee is represented by the person sitting at the front desk. This means the right combination of charisma, attention to detail and patience is essential for this job. Not only will you be asked to complete a wide range of administrative tasks, you’ll probably be expected to listen to a lot of complaints — both from clientele and staff.

Receptionist work is sometimes seen as a temporary job, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Working as a receptionist can lead to more opportunities in the administrative field. The skills are often transferable to positions as bank tellers, customer service representatives, secretaries and administrative assistants.

The ATS affair

Imagine spending all that time crafting a convincing CV and then having it be automatically filtered out before it even reaches human eyes. A nightmare, right? That’s what can happen with applicant tracking systems, or ATS. These computer programs scan your receptionist CV for certain keywords determined by the employer, job search engine or recruiter  and automatically filter out ones that don’t meet the right criteria. So how do you beat the system and make sure your CV lands on a hiring manager’s desk?

Professional tip

Word cloud services like Wordle or Worditout will help clear away the confusion when figuring out the most important keywords to include in your CV. Simply input the job description and the word cloud to generate a visual representation of which words are used most often — easy! This way, you will have a fair guess at what the employer prioritises in case the job description is too vague or too wordy.

How to write a receptionist CV 

The recommended framework for a receptionist CV, like all career CVs, includes these components:

  • Header
  • Summary (sometimes called profile or personal statement)
  • Employment history
  • Education
  • Skills

Later in this guide, supported by receptionist CV examples, we'll go through each section one at a time.

Choosing the best CV format for a receptionist

The chronological CV format is likely the best option for structuring your CV, as the receptionist CV example referred to in this guide will illustrate. It’s the most commonly used format for job seekers overall.  

But if you are new to the workforce, making a dramatic career change, or your most relevant experience has not been in employee positions, then take a look at alternative CV formats. A functional CV format is sometimes suitable for emphasising transferable skills or training, or for those who have been self-employed.  

Professional tip

Leave the right first impression

A striking CV header will get your receptionist job application noticed for the right reasons, especially if the same visual style applies to your cover letter so the two documents match. An eye-appealing header design distinguishes you from other candidates and displays your contact information prominently for recruiters to easily get in touch.

Receptionist CV summary example: The right attitude

Your CV summary (also called a profile or personal statement) is the place to convince employers that you’ll stay upbeat and focused even on the busiest days. A compelling CV summary is a lot like a receptionist: multitalented, efficient and welcoming. It’s your first introduction to employers and an invitation for them to get to know you better. Think of it as your CV in miniature — a bit of personality, some skills and just the highlights from your previous experience.  

Start with the number of years experience you have as a receptionist or in a related field. What were the main transferable tasks involved in those positions? Any particularly striking accomplishments? Now combine that with your main qualities: courteous, thoughtful, motivated, attentive, customer-focused. 

Don’t forget to take a look at the job posting and customise your receptionist CV by including keywords favourable to an ATS. If you’re applying to a local company or emailing your CV to a hiring manager directly, it probably won’t be filtered through an automated system. But it still doesn’t hurt to give employers exactly what they’re looking for. 

You can find sample receptionist CV summaries below.

Adaptable summary example

Hardworking and experienced receptionist with several years of experience. Experienced in creating schedules, making appointments, selling products, and providing clients with optimal customer service. Focused on providing excellent service to customers and clients and completing administrative tasks with poise and grace, Eager to join a new team of people, and assist them as a dedicated and passionate receptionist.


Employment history sample: Everything’s in order

Your previous work experiences reassure employers they’ll have nothing to worry about when you’re at the front desk. Since receptionists usually aren’t required to have completed a tertiary degree, your employment history plays a key role in showing employers you’ve learned enough on the job to be a competent receptionist. If you’re looking for a position with a larger or more prominent company, previous work as a receptionist is a must. In some industries and small businesses, previous summer jobs and part-time positions will suffice. Just make sure to show how your employment history relates to the specific receptionist job you're applying to.

Professional tip

No one can afford to underestimate the importance of correct spelling and grammar on your CV — especially when applying for a receptionist position, where attention to detail is a key job skill. Incorrectly spelled words (if they turn out to be keywords) may also get your CV rejected by the ATS. So check your CV carefully before submitting, and ask a friend to proofread.

You can find a receptionist employment history sample below.

Adaptable employment history example

Receptionist at Haumi Insurance, Wellington
November 2018 — Present

  • Organised and maintained an efficient filing system, resulting in improved document retrieval time
  • Filed and maintained records and documents, ensuring their accuracy and confidentiality
  • Managed a multi-line phone system, answering calls in a professional and courteous manner
  • Created and maintained accurate records for all visitors and employees


Hotel Receptionist at Hilton Wellington, Wellington
December 2015 — April 2018

  • Greeted and welcomed guests in a friendly and personable manner
  • Demonstrated excellent communication skills and maintained a professional demeanor with guests and colleagues
  • Ensured compliance with hotel policies and procedures, resulting in a 20% reduction in errors
  • Cross-trained and provided support to other departments as needed


Receptionist at The Golden Goose, Wellington
January 2014 — August 2015

  • Organised and maintained an efficient filing system, resulting in improved document retrieval time
  • Filed and maintained records and documents, ensuring their accuracy and confidentiality
  • Managed multiple phone lines and answered incoming calls in a timely and efficient manner
  • Created reports and presentations using MS Office Suite

If you don’t have previous experience as a receptionist, jobs like these possibly equipped you with transferable abilities:

  • Desk assistant
  • Retail employee
  • Tutor
  • Camp counselor
  • Food service employee
  • Research assistant.

Receptionist education example: A little goes a long way

A tertiary degree can’t hurt and some certifications will show your commitment to learning and professional development. While traditional receptionist positions may only require a high school degree, e.g., NCEA or equivalent, a tertiary degree can be a big advantage when it comes to securing a receptionist job at a top company.  

If you’re a recent graduate or university student looking to break into the industry you studied, a receptionist position is a great way to get your foot in the door and set yourself up for mentorship and advancement opportunities.

We recommend listing your education with the year first, followed by the name of the institution, the degree (if applicable) and location. If you have a Bachelor’s degree or higher, it’s not necessary to list your high school. 

Here is the education section of a receptionist CV example.

Adaptable education example

Bachelor of Commerce, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington
February 2010 — July 2014


Additional certifications

Several organisations offer voluntary certifications to receptionists. These programs usually require you to show experience in the field and mastery of basic office tasks like scheduling, data entry, and office communication and computer systems. Some programs require more complex knowledge of an industry like law or health.

CV skills example: Showcase your professional strengths

You could land this job by growing an extra set of hands — or by focusing on the skills you already have. You can have a PhD in astrophysics but if you can’t answer the phone politely and manage your boss’ calendar, you’re not going to last long as a receptionist. That’s why the skills list on your receptionist CV is so important. We make building a professional CV easy with our field-tested templates and CV builder.

Hard skills

Although a positive attitude is important, receptionists often need quite a number of hard skills. You must be adept at using office technology such as computers, copiers, scanners, fax machines and phones, not to mention all of the software and communication apps you’ll have to use on a daily basis. 

The hard skills you list on your receptionist CV might look like this example.

Adaptable hard skills example section
  • Excellent Communication Skills
  • Bookkeeping Skills
  • Scheduling Skills

Soft skills

Your hard skills might be the key to landing a receptionist job, but your soft skills are how you keep it. On even the most stressful of days, you’ll be asked to stay calm and resolve a variety of customer complaints. The right personality traits are the best resource you’ve got; make sure to include them on your receptionist CV. 

Check out the soft skills sample for a receptionist CV below.

Adaptable soft skills example section
  • Effective Time Management
  • Leadership Skills
  • Customer Service Skills


Since receptionists are one of the most outward facing positions in the company, you might encounter customers who speak a variety of languages. Adding a second or even third language to your receptionist CV, especially if it’s commonly spoken in your region can give you a big advantage over the other candidates. 

CV layout and design: Try a template

A receptionist CV format should match the vibe of the company, while also providing a visual representation of your excellent professional qualities. Receptionists often become an integral part of the business where they work. Thus it’s important to match the CV format to the hiring organisation's image and branding. A law firm will be looking for a more professional CV, while a photography studio might appreciate a creative flair.  

If you’re not sure what style to go for, it’s best to create a clean and modern CV format that isn’t overrun by colour or extra elements. One of the simplest ways to do this is by using a CV template. Templates allow you to start with a good design base for a CV document that can be customised for each position. With cvapp.nz’s template collection you can choose the most attractive template then adjust the colours, font and other formatting elements inside our CV builder. Take a look at the professional template samples for more serious industries and the modern section for companies that are a little more relaxed.

Sometimes, easy does it. If this is your first job or you're applying for a part-time role, a basic template might be exactly what you need to format a great CV with no hassle. Take a look at our simple template samples to get your experience on paper and your application submitted in no time. 

Professional tip

A clean format is also important for getting your CV through the applicant tracking systems. Simple formatting with commonly used fonts will be better understood by the computer. Our CV templates make it easy to find just the right balance between stylish and sleek

You’ll probably be uploading your CV to an online application portal, so you’ll need it to be easily readable by robots and human eyes alike. Our CV builder allows you to download the final version of your CV document as a PDF, which is ideal for uploading, emailing and printing — just about all situations.

Key takeaways for a receptionist CV

  1. Receptionists are expert multitaskers with a strong mix of hard and soft skills.
  2. Many positions are opening up in the medical and healthcare field, but some other industries are using technology to replace receptionists making the job market more competitive.
  3. Large companies will often filter CVs through automated systems, so it’s important for yours to contain keywords from the job description.
  4. Creating a great CV for a receptionist position can lead to advancement opportunities.
  5. A CV layout and design that matches the style of the company is key to getting hired.

Now it’s time to get started! Use our CV builder and field-tested templates to get the receptionist job you’re after sooner.

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Short on time? Build a professional CV in 15 minutes or less
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