Clerk Job Description
Clerks are administrative support generalists who provide assistance throughout an office or organization to keep things running smoothly. Clerks work in a wide variety of industries, each with its own areas of specialization and required duties, but they generally support office activities by answering phones, copying documents, and filing paperwork. Many clerks also interact directly with customers or clients, welcoming them to the office and directing them to meeting rooms.
Because this role provides general office support, duties vary from day to day. The core of the job, however, is ensuring that offices run efficiently and are able to provide excellent service to clients and customers.
Clerk Duties and Responsibilities
Because clerks work in such a wide variety of settings, many of their duties are dependent on the type of business or office where they work. However, some core responsibilities include:
Interact with Clients and Customers
Many clerks work directly with an office or organization’s visitors, meeting guests and directing them to meeting rooms or offices. In addition, clerks may answer the organization’s phones and direct calls. This part of the job requires excellent customer service skills and thorough knowledge of the organization’s office and personnel. Clerks may also answer customer or client questions directly or locate necessary client information.
Another major responsibility is maintaining office files, both digital and hard copies. The clerk categorizes and sorts incoming mail, client information files, and customer records, filing them into their proper places and labeling them for ease of access. Clerks also periodically review files to ensure that they are current and accurate, removing and destroying files based on internal and external regulations.
Copy and Scan Documents
Clerks support administrative functions by copying and scanning vital documents. They may process billing and shipping information, for example, and distribute scanned files to personnel throughout the office. Additionally, clerks may help prepare for meetings and information sessions by copying agendas, handouts, and client documents to support individual departments.
Clerks frequently sort and deliver incoming mail and interoffice memos to offices or individual mailboxes. They also handle outgoing packages and correspondence, delivering the day’s mail to the building’s mailroom or handing urgent deliveries directly to couriers. This part of the job requires high attention to detail to ensure that all mail is correctly logged and delivered on time.
Order Office Supplies
In some offices, clerks manage office supply inventories and create new orders to ensure a steady supply of necessary items. These clerks make periodic inventory checks in supply rooms or closets to determine which items need to be replenished and may work with an office coordinator to place and receive orders. If an employee needs an item that is not normally ordered, a clerk checks with their supervisor and adds that item to the order.
Finally, many clerks support managers and executives by managing schedules. They may add meetings to the office calendar and book rooms and food for these meetings. Some clerks also assist with making travel arrangements for employees and distribute information regarding work schedules and deadlines during busy periods.
Clerk Skills and Qualifications
Clerks help out across the office, so they must manage their time effectively and set priorities. Businesses tend to hire applicants with at least a high school diploma or GED, along with the following skills:
- Computer skills – clerks need to be proficient with various office technologies, from scanning programs and calendars to data management systems
- Communication skills – to work effectively with customers and coworkers, clerks need excellent written and verbal communication skills
- Attention to detail – many of a clerk’s duties, including maintaining files, sorting mail, and managing schedules, require excellent attention to detail
- Organization skills – since this role frequently involves managing several tasks at once and reporting to many coworkers throughout the day, successful clerks must be highly organized
- Time management skills – because clerks frequently switch between tasks, they need solid time management skills to complete duties on schedule and according to internal and external deadlines
Clerk Education and Training
Clerks are entry-level employees, so no formal training is required. Most businesses hire clerks with at least a high school diploma or GED, although some clerk positions have additional responsibilities that require an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. There are many opportunities for on-the-job training in this role, and clerks who perform exceptionally well may be able to advance within the organization.
Clerk Salary and Outlook
A clerk’s pay can vary depending on industry, location, and experience level. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), general office clerks earn a median annual salary of $30,580, or $14.70 per hour. The highest-paid 10 percent of clerks earn more than $24.24 per hour, while the lowest paid earn less than $9.28.
The BLS expects clerk employment to remain steady through 2026, with no significant growth or decline.
We searched the web and found several resources if you’re interested in learning more about working as a clerk:
American Society of Administrative Professionals – ASAP provides career guidance and resources for administrative professionals, along with networking opportunities
Clerks and Administrative Workers – learn more about administrative careers, including working as a clerk
“6 Clerical Skills You Need“ – discover the essential skills that make a clerk effective in any organization
Clerical & Administrative Support Positions - author Jack Rudman explores the roles and responsibilities of an organization’s administrative support staff
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