What is Clerical Work? (Definition, Job Titles, and Duties)

Updated August 15, 2023

Learning the answer to the question, "What is clerical work?" will provide you with a foundation for future growth and allow you to develop the necessary skills to advance your career. By understanding what clerical work is, you will be able to move forward in your career with the skills necessary to succeed. In this article, we discuss clerical duties, provide various job titles, and answer several frequently asked questions about work in the clerical industry.

What is clerical work?

Clerical work refers to daily office duties that those working in administrative or office positions typically perform. These professionals conduct bookkeeping duties, complete banking transactions and collect payments from clients or customers. They also regularly communicate with their customers and colleagues by answering phone calls, emails and in-person communication. They maintain records and provide document fillings. Clerical work also requires professionals to maintain mailing databases.

Here are additional tasks involved in clerical work:

  • Arrange appointments: Office clerks complete work schedules, manage calendars and organize meetings.

  • Deliver messages: Running errands and delivering messages in and out of the office are common clerical duties.

  • Maintain company database: Compiling and keeping the database systems of a company is another clerical duty in an office, either manually or with a computer.

Related: 8 Important Clerical Skills to Include on Your Resume

Clerical work jobs

Here is a list of jobs that require clerical work:

1. Office coordinator

National average salary: $21.45 per hour

Primary duties: Office coordinators organize and coordinate the operations and procedures of their places of employment. These professionals also help employers establish and implement policies and practices. They may maintain the upkeep of premises and complete safety and security checks to ensure the overall safety of all guests and visitors. These professionals also contact third parties for issues like plumbing and electricity.

If you want to work in this field, you may want to develop your organizational skills to ensure you can navigate the various procedures and operations of your employer. Consider how these skills contribute to the organization of routine checks and company policies.

2. Office assistant

National average salary: $18.78 per hour

Primary duties: Office assistants oversee clerical tasks within establishments and help with the organization of both mail and paperwork. These professionals navigate the correspondence between their places of employment and their customers. They answer emails and phone calls and discuss customer concerns in person. Office assistants are the first points of contact between customers and establishments. These professionals contribute to the overall operations of their offices and ensure everything runs smoothly.

If you want to work in this field, you may want to develop your written communication skills. These skills help you complete your paperwork more effectively and contribute to the overall functionality of the establishment.

Read more: 11 Career Paths for Administrative Assistants (With Tips)

3. Office manager

National average salary: $24.77 per hour

Primary duties: Office managers organize meetings and navigate databases for their employers. These professionals help customers and employers alike by arranging transportation and accommodations. They also organize company events and conferences. Office managers order products, inventory and equipment items like stationery and furniture. They also navigate the overall correspondence of establishments. When customers or visitors have complaints, they keep records of those complaints. They also prepare letters, presentations, and reports when necessary.

If you want to work in this field, you may want to develop your organizational and reporting skills. This is because office managers create reports and present data to members of upper management. These skills allow you to work more productively and with more confidence.

Related: Top Office Manager Resume Skills (Plus Steps and Tips)

4. Front desk agent

National average salary: $17.05 per hour

Primary duties: Front desk agents ensure guests have pleasant experiences at organizations and companies. These professionals greet customers upon arrival and ask them to complete the necessary paperwork. For example, front desk agents in dental clinics may ask their customers to complete paperwork about their medical history. When front desk agents work in hotels and lodging services, they also manage online and in-person reservations. They receive payment from customers for their services.

If you want to work in this field, you may want to develop your interpersonal skills. This is because front desk agents interact with their employer's customers daily and require strong interpersonal skills to navigate these interactions successfully.

Related: What Does the Front Desk Do? (With Skills To Be a Successful Front End Receptionist)

5. Data entry clerk

National average salary: $19.15 per hour

Primary duties: Data entry clerks maintain databases by entering information and data about consumers and customers. This data commonly describes previous purchases and account information. They also prepare data from primary sources for entry into computer systems. They navigate priorities and process documents about customer accounts. Their primary duty is to update the company's databases. Data entry clerks also help other data entry professionals with report development and digitizing the records obtained about their customer accounts and purchases.

If you want to work in this field, you may want to consider your overall typing skills. This ensures you can draft reports and data entries with more ease. Improving your typing skills also ensures you improve your overall productivity.

6. Data entry specialist

National average salary: $26.04 per hour

Primary duties: Data entry specialists prioritize and batch materials to prepare them for data entry. These professionals insert information into particular databases and enter customer orders into tracking systems. They also complete projects within strict time limits and compile data with accuracy. Data entry specialists also review data entries for potential errors and incompatibilities. When necessary, data entry specialists also communicate with other departments to ensure the accuracy of data.

If you want to work in this field, you may want to consider your analytical skills. These skills help you identify errors and navigate software and tools with more efficiency. You also require strong software skills to ensure you can navigate software systems with more ease.

Related: Top 8 Data Entry Skills and How to Improve Them

What is clerical work? (Frequently asked questions)

Here are some answers to common FAQs about clerical work:

What are the requirements for clerical professionals?

People who perform clerical duties require some form of education and job skills to complete their duties efficiently and effectively. Clerk professionals don't require extensive education beyond high school to perform clerical office duties. There are higher education programs for both clerical and secretarial paths, but employers may not require them. Higher education and postsecondary education may increase your chances of being hired if you decide to pursue these paths.

Due to the nature and responsibility of the position, some employers may also require clerical assistants to sign a confidentiality agreement and submit a background check before offering employment.

Related: How to Write a Clerical Assistant Resume (With Example)

Which skills does clerical work require?

Here is a list of clerical workers skills you can use to excel in the role:

General skills

Clerical duties involve paying close attention to details. Clerical assistants ensure the revision of documents for errors or typos before completion. Here are some general clerical work skills to consider:

  • Sound reasoning

  • Proper time management

  • Strong typing skills

  • Ability to schedule appointments and carry out travel arrangements

  • Accurate record-keeping skills

  • Excellent problem-solving skills

  • Ability to plan and organize events

  • Good observation skills

  • Precise analytical skills

  • Active-listening skills

Read more: What Does a General Office Worker Do? And How to Become One

Organizational skills

Clerical assistants use organizational skills to complete administrative duties and paperwork. Here are some organizational skills to consider:

  • Strong written and oral communications skills

  • Ability to answer phone calls professionally and politely

  • Good customer service skills

  • Ability to send and check emails

  • Ability to use computers and office equipment

  • Ability to work as part of a team

  • Excellent front desk skills

  • Accurate filing and documentation skills

  • Good office management skills

  • Ability to prioritize effectively

  • Ability to multitask

Read more: Developing Proficient Organizational Skills

Computer skills

Most clerical duties require you to use different computer applications and software. Most clerical assistant employers require proficiency with standard computer software systems for basic technical tasks like inputting data, typing documents, and giving presentations. Here are some computer skills to consider:

  • Data entry skills

  • Sound knowledge of desktop publishing

  • Ability to use digital calendars

  • Ability to design and edit web pages

  • Ability to update or post on social media sites

  • Excellent typing skills

  • Data management and visualization skills

Read more: The Best Computer Skills to Develop For Work

Mathematics skills

Clerical duties sometimes involve carrying out different mathematical processes and calculations. Clerical assistants may perform some bookkeeping and accounting duties that involve numerical tasks. Here are some mathematics skills to consider:

  • Accounting skills

  • Bookkeeping skills

  • Knowledge of arithmetic

  • Excellent budgeting skills

  • Excellent logical thinking

  • Ability to keep up with the latest computer trends

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organization and a candidate’s experience, academic background and location.

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