Clerks perform a wide variety of tasks, depending on the type of office environment in which they work. They routinely operate office equipment (fax, copiers, calculators, computers), answer phones, assist the general public, direct mailings, file documents and retrieve information from different sources. In addition, they may have duties specific to their type of employer. Those with more experience may assist in higher level work, such as arranging meetings, preparing invoices and budgets, making travel plans, preparing presentations and other more complicated work.
A clerical employee generally must have at least a high school diploma or its equivalent to work in an office environment. Having higher education can open doors to more jobs as well as higher pay. Associate degrees and certificates in clerical work are among the more common types of higher education for office clerks.
Some clerical officers may be expected to supervise other lower-level clerks. This requires experience working as a clerk for a significant period of time in many cases. If a clerical officer supervises, she must be able to manage employee relations, ensure tasks and projects are done well and on time, and be available for questions from clerks in addition to other supervisory tasks.
Clerical officers should be able to multi-task efficiently. Interruptions to their work are frequent and part of the job. They must also be able to prioritize work to ensure that the most important duties are finished first. They have to exhibit a high level of attention to detail to ensure the accuracy of their and others’ work.
A cheerful and helpful demeanor is also important as their primary role in the workplace is an assistant. Flexibility is also vital to clerical officers’ success at work; when a supervisor needs an errand run at the last minute and a project must also be done, the clerk must be able to handle both needs at the same time without complaint.