How to Become a General Office Clerk

Offices of all types require trained professionals to perform a variety of administrative and specialized tasks. General office clerks are skilled workers that perform a many different duties to ensure the efficient operation of office environments.

What does a general office clerk do?

Office clerks perform a variety of tasks on a daily basis for their employers. They are responsible for filing, work processing, and entering data. They answer telephones, relay messages, proofread documents, and prepare mailing information. They also operate fax machines, photocopiers, and other office equipment. Many general office clerks keep payroll records, sort checks, and record inventory. Experienced general office clerks often receive additional responsibilities such as maintaining financial records, scheduling travel arrangements, verifying statistical reports for completeness and accuracy, and handling customer complaints. Some also supervise and coordinate the tasks of lower-level staff.

What kind of training does a general office clerk need?

General office clerks must have at least a high school diploma and basic computer skills and general office skills. Many employers prefer applicants with previous business or office experience. General office clerks must have a basic understanding of how to use word processing programs, computers, business software, and a variety of office equipment. Some general office clerks complete formal training through vocational and technical schools and community colleges. They often complete courses in word processing, office practices and procedures, computer applications, and other business related topics. Most employers provide on the job training to new general office clerks to enable them to learn the required practices and procedures.

What are the prospects for a career as a general office clerk?

Employment of general office clerks is expected to grow about as fast as average for all professions, increasing 12% from 2008 to 2018 (1). The increase of administrative support tasks will drive job growth.

Job prospects are expected to be good especially for general office clerks with proficiency in office machinery and basic computer applications. Those with sufficient work experience will have the best job opportunities. Numerous job openings will arise from the need to replace general office clerks that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do general office clerks make?

As of December 2009, the middle 50% of general office clerks earn annual salaries between $23,727 and $30,649. The top 10% earn annual salaries of more than $33,896 (2).

A career as a general office clerk is a great choice for people with a strong interest in performing a variety of administrative and clerical tasks for the successful operation of office environments. General office clerks must have a general understanding of the policies and procedures of their employer. Analytical thinking, adaptability, detail orientation, and patience are necessary characteristics. General office clerks must be able to perform multiple tasks and meet the needs of many different departments. They must also have excellent communication and be able to work as part of a team.

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