Far from being dull, a job as a clerk is important to all companies, keeping things organised and working behind the scenes to keep things ticking over.We take a look at exactly what you can expect...
So, what will I actually be doing?
Clerks are known by lots of different names - clerical workers or clerical assistants are just a couple of them. Whatever your title, your role will be more or less the same and you'll help manage the more routine administration tasks within an organisation or department.
Most clerk roles will involve some or all of the following:
- Projects such as gathering information by phone, letter, email or in person
- Research for projects of your manager(s)
- Recording and updating databases
- Photocopying and scanning documents
- Sorting and handing out post
- Supporting the reception desk
Although there will always be some tasks that you have to complete every day, administration projects will help to break up any monotony and should add some interest to your job as each will be quite different.
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The nitty gritty
As an office based role, you'll be at your desk for standard office hours - typically 9am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday. You may sometimes have to put in some overtime when deadlines are looming. Depending on your employer there may also be the opportunity for flexi time, part time or job sharing, which gives you the chance to enjoy a good work-life balance.
In larger companies where you're part of a team of clerks you can work your way up to senior clerk, section head or office manager. Alternatively you can choose to specialise in a different area of clerical work: accounts clerk, HR or PA.
Money, money, money
Unlike in some jobs, you may end up being paid by the hour in this job but a full-time worker can expect to start on around £12,000 and to earn up to £24,000 after a few years. Unsurprisingly, the biggest salaries can be found in London and the South East or in specialist clerical positions like legal clerk or accounts clerk.
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The good points...
There are opportunities to work as a clerk in a wide range of businesses, from the private sector to the local Government. The opportunity to be flexible in the workplace is a big draw for many as it means you can enjoy a good quality of work-life balance.
...and the bad
Not all admin work is fun and some daily tasks will be repetitive.
Is there study involved?
Most people in the industry go straight into a clerk job from school. Many employers - especially in the competitive job market at the moment - will expect GCSEs in maths and English.
You can make your CV look more enticing by taking a GNVQ or vocational A-level in Business Administration, an NVQ/SVQ or a course offered by Pitman, OC (RSA) or the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry. This will allow you to learn more about communications, keyboard skills, producing documents and stock handling, all of which will help you build up a successful career.
Full and part-time courses are available to fit round your commitments.
OK, I'm interested... But is it really the job for me?
If you enjoy organising and problem solving then you could make a good clerk. The list of skills you should possess include:
- Good reading and writing skills
- Strong grammar and spelling
- Competent keyboard skills
- Good communication
- An ability to work individually and as part of a team
- The ability to concentrate for long periods of time
- Attention to detail