Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Mary Ita Heffernan from Health Service Executive to give some advice for people considering this job:

 

Mary Ita Heffernan

Social Worker

Health Service Executive

Read more

  Mary Ita Heffernan

Whilst in secondary school, I changed my mind many a time regarding the career path I wanted to pursue! I always knew that I wanted to work with people but was unsure about the profession which would most suit my interests and skills in this regard.

While in school, I definitely found that being unsure about the type or area of work you want to pursue is a very difficult and confusing position to be in, especially given the array of career choices now available and the pressure one feels in trying to make one’s mind up.

To this end, I would strongly advise anybody in this position to research courses and job descriptions well in order to make the most informed decision possible at that time in your life. 

I recommend one tries to gain as much work experience as possible as it will provide you with valuable insight into your skills, ability, likes/dislikes for certain areas of employment!!!!

Also I would research the courses and job areas as much as possible so that you can make an informed decision regarding your choices. If you can't gain enough information in school, contact the college directly or arrange to talk to somebody who facilitates the course. In particular, it would be really valuable to talk to somebody in the profession to gain a realistic and practical insight into the job.

Close

Realist?
Realist 
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
Career Interviews
Sector Profiles
School Subjects (LC)
College Courses
Close
Study Skills
Other
Work Experience (School)
CV & Interview Preparation

Occupation Details

logo imagelogo image

Telephonist

Job Zone

Education
Some of these occupations may require a Leaving Certificate or similar.

Related Experience
Little or no previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, a person can become a waiter or waitress even if he/she has never worked before.

Job Training
Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few days to a few months of training. Usually, an experienced worker could show you how to do the job.

Job Zone Examples
These occupations involve following instructions and helping others. Examples include taxi drivers, amusement and recreation attendants, counter clerks, construction laborers, and waiters or waitresses.

€18k > 32 
Switchboard Operator
Salary Range
(thousands per year)*
€18 - 32 
Related Information:
Data Source(s):
Morgan McKinley

Last Updated: July, 2015

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Return to List
Saves this course to your Career File if you are registered.

At a Glance... header image

Uses a telephone switchboard to redirect incoming and outgoing calls.


The Work header image

A telephonist connects an organisation's incoming and outgoing calls through a switchboard. The work can be hectic when several people 'phone at the same time. When the switchboard is busy, the telephonist needs to work calmly but react quickly and efficiently. They frequently need to use initiative because the caller may not be sure whom they need to contact or who is responsible for dealing with their enquiry. Sometimes callers can be distressed or aggressive.  
 
The job may involve answering enquiries, helping callers to find out whom they need to speak to, taking messages, or paging someone. In a large company, a telephonist may arrange telephone conference facilities. This enables a group of busy executives to 'meet' together, not in person but by using their telephones.  
 
Telephonists must understand the structure of the organisation, especially the names and responsibilities of employees. In some firms, telephonists also have reception duties. They may operate a fax or telex machine, and have typing or word processing tasks.  
 
This work normally involves sitting down much of the time and wearing a headset. Telephonists may work alone in a small company or with a group of other telephonists in a large company or exchange. Some telephonists work on directory enquiries, using a computer to find numbers when callers give a name and town. If working on emergency calls, they put callers through to the police, fire or ambulance. 


Tasks & Activitiesheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported tasks and activities for this occupation

bullet

Answer incoming calls, greeting callers, providing information, transferring calls or taking messages as necessary.

bullet

Operate communication systems, such as telephone, switchboard, intercom, two-way radio, or public address.

bullet

Page individuals to inform them of telephone calls, using paging or interoffice communication equipment.

bullet

Relay or route written or verbal messages.

bullet

Place telephone calls or arrange conference calls as instructed.

bullet

Perform various data entry or word processing tasks, such as updating phone directories, typing or proofreading documents, or creating schedules.

bullet

Process incoming or outgoing mail, packages, or deliveries.

bullet

Perform administrative tasks, such as accepting orders, scheduling appointments or meeting rooms, or sending and receiving faxes.

bullet

Record messages, suggesting rewording for clarity or conciseness.

bullet

Monitor alarm systems to ensure that secure conditions are maintained.

Work Activities header image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported work activities in this occupation.

bullet

Performing for or Working Directly with the Public:  Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.

bullet

Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships:  Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

bullet

Communicating with Persons Outside Organization:  Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.

bullet

Documenting/Recording Information:  Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

bullet

Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings:  Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.

bullet

Assisting and Caring for Others:  Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.

bullet

Interacting With Computers:  Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

bullet

Getting Information:  Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

bullet

Processing Information:  Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

bullet

Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates:  Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.


Knowledge header image

The following is a list of the five most commonly reported knowledge areas for this occupation.

bullet

Customer and Personal Service:  Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.

bullet

English Language:  Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

bullet

Telecommunications:  Knowledge of transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.

bullet

Clerical:  Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.

bullet

Computers and Electronics:  Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.


Skillsheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported skills used in this occupation.

bullet

Reading Comprehension:   Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

bullet

Active Listening:   Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

bullet

Social Perceptiveness:   Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

bullet

Critical Thinking:   Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

bullet

Speaking:   Talking to others to convey information effectively.

bullet

Service Orientation:   Actively looking for ways to help people.

bullet

Coordination:   Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

bullet

Monitoring:   Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

bullet

Writing:   Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

bullet

Complex Problem Solving:   Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Personal Qualitiesheader image

You will need good communication skills, including a friendly, helpful and professional telephone manner. You will need a clear voice and good listening skills. You must be quick thinking and able to use your initiative, to find the appropriate member of staff for a caller who doesn't know who they want to speak to.  
 
Telephonists should be able to remain calm; the switchboard can become very busy when lots of people telephone at the same time. You must be able to remain professional and assertive with impatient or aggressive callers.  
 
You may need some basic computer skills and, depending on your duties, the ability to use standard office equipment such as photocopiers and fax machines.  
 
A smart appearance will be important if you also have some reception duties. Good hearing and clear speech are essential.


Further Informationheader image

A detailed description of this occupation can be found on a number of online databases. Follow the link(s) below to access this information:

Note: you will be leaving the CareersPortal Site

Go..Telephonist-Switchboard Operator - from:  N.C.S. [UK]

Related Occupationsheader image

Job Search


Career Guidance

This occupation is popular with people who have the following Career Interests...


...and for people who like working in the following Career Sectors:

Clerical & Administration

Search for Related Courses from Qualifax - the National Learners Database

Go..