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Difference Between Secretary and Receptionist

Secretary vs Receptionist

A secretary and a receptionist are often found working in the same company office or business environment. Many people think that a secretary and the receptionist are the same since they both are administrative positions commonly characterized as a desk job involved in clerical duties. However, there are many differences between the two job titles.

The duties that the secretary and the receptionist have in common often include the clerical tasks of typing, answering phones, and filing. A secretary does more than that. A secretary serves as a personal assistant or an aide to a department manager or a high official in the office. The job entails organizing and scheduling diaries, itineraries, meetings, schedules, and appointments of a particular official. The secretary works directly under a specific superior or office personnel. Secretaries also have a familiar knowledge of the office routine and immediate needs of their respective superiors. They often perform additional tasks and responsibilities for the office or their bosses.

Since the secretary works in close contact with a superior, a secretary may also be asked to do special or personal tasks by their superiors. Also, they can form a loyalty to their bosses, and their bosses can confide in them with non-professional matters. In order to aid their bosses more effectively and to be more accessible, secretaries often have their desks in close proximity to their boss’s desk or office.A secretary is often required to be a high school or college graduate. They are often trained in specialized courses in order to cope with their tasks and responsibilities.

Another person who works at a desk is the receptionist. The receptionist is usually the first person a visitor or a client meets. The receptionist’s desk is often located at the waiting room, main lobby, or entrance of the company’s building or space. The job requires greeting and welcoming people or directing them to their destinations in the building. The receptionist also serves as an information booth where people can inquire about the company or the people that work in the building.

Unlike the secretary, the receptionist works for the whole building or office and not to a particular superior. Their tasks are often general and small responsibilities. Depending on the job requirement, they are also responsible for the area or space that they occupy. Since the receptionist is located in a more public area than an office, they are mostly in contact with outsiders and are often required to have a pleasing personality. Receptionists are often high school or college graduates depending on the qualification needed by the company.


1.Secretaries and receptionists have many similarities like doing clerical jobs, staying and working at a desk, typing, or answering phones. However, additional duties between secretaries and receptionists make the two job titles different from each other.

2.A secretary has more additional and complicated tasks compared to the receptionist.

3.The secretary is trained to aide their bosses in terms of office activities like meetings, appointments, and schedules.

4.They also work for a particular office or boss and are familiar with the office routine and environment. The duties of
secretaries are larger and more numerous depending on their superior or boss.
5.Receptionists, on the other hand, can have smaller responsibilities like greeting and welcoming, answering inquires, or directing visitors or clients to a particular office.

6.Secretaries are assigned to a particular office or boss. They often are in close proximity with their boss to attend to their needs. Also, some secretaries are loyal and do some personal things for their boss and have a good relationship outside the office with their boss. The receptionist, meanwhile, sits in the main lobby of the office and has no immediate superior. Receptionists are most often in contact with strangers and visitors.

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  1. thank you for putting more light to me in this definations

  2. Thanks for the clarifications.

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