Industries & Professions /
Receptionists—so named because they receive visitors in places of business—have the important job of giving a business's clients and visitors a positive first impression. Also called information clerks, these front-line workers are the first communication sources who greet clients and visitors to an office, answer their questions, and direct them to the people they wish to see. Receptionists also answer telephones, take and distribute messages for other employees, and make sure no one enters the office unescorted or unauthorized. Many receptionists perform additional clerical duties. Switchboard operators perform similar tasks but primarily handle equipment that receives an organization's telephone calls. There are about 1.1 million receptionists employed throughout the United States.