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What is the Difference Between an Administrative Assistant and a Receptionist?

Are you applying to administrative assistant and receptionist jobs? While these two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, they’re actually two different jobs. And while they share similarities, the fact is that an administrative assistant and a receptionist have very different duties. Read on to understand more about each of these positions so that you know exactly what you’re applying for on your job hunt. 

What are the Similarities? 

Understand that an administrative assistant and a receptionist may do many of the same tasks. In some companies, these two positions could even be one and the same, or an administrative assistant may take on many duties of a receptionist or vice versa.  

Generally speaking, these positions overlap in the outward-facing tasks — both may answer phone calls; greet visitors or clients at the front desk; handle email, physical mail, and faxing; or arrange and coordinate schedules of other employees or executives, just as a few examples. But beyond that, the positions are rather different.  

What are the Differences? 

A receptionist will always be handling the front desk or check-in counter; they are hired to serve as the face of the organization in many respects. So, a great receptionist will have excellent customer service skills and should be used to dealing with members of the public. On the other hand, an administrative assistant may have those same duties but will also be responsible for a lot of behind-the-scenes work. Administrative assistants are often responsible for invoicing, inventory, filing documents, drafting memos, editing company correspondence, transcribing meetings or phone calls, and basic bookkeeping and accounting. 

To put it simply, an administrative assistant’s duties involve more of the company’s inner-workings and could also encompass some of a typical receptionist’s duties. Meanwhile, a receptionist is more customer- or visitor-facing and usually doesn’t have as many behind-the-scenes or advanced responsibilities as an administrative assistant. 

Which One is Right for Me?  

At the end of the day, it’s entirely up to you which path you choose — receptionist or administrative assistant. It’s all about what you want to do and what you’re good at. Both positions require a high level of organization, customer-service acumen, and multitasking ability. And they’re both essential to the proper functioning of almost any organization!  

Interested in seeing what kind of administrative assistant or reception jobs are out there? Take a look at our Job Portal page and contact High Profile online or by calling 972-991-7900. There’s no reason to delay getting started on your next career path!