General office clerks perform a variety of administrative tasks, including answering telephones, typing or word processing, making copies of documents, and maintaining records.
General office clerks typically do the following:
- Answer telephone calls, take messages, or transfer calls to staff
- Sort and deliver incoming mail and send outgoing mail
- Schedule appointments and receive customers or visitors
- Provide general information to staff, clients, or the public
- Type, format, or edit routine memos or other reports
- Copy, file, and maintain paper or electronic documents and records
- Prepare and process travel vouchers, billing, or other office documents
- Obtain information, send correspondence, or perform data entry
Rather than performing a single specialized task, general office clerks have responsibilities that often change daily with the needs of the specific job and the employer.
Some clerks spend their time filing documents or answering phones; others enter data into computers. Because organizations often keep files and records on computers, office clerks use computer software applications. They also frequently use photocopiers, fax machines, and other office equipment.
The specific duties assigned to clerks can vary significantly, depending on the type of office in which they work. For example, a general office clerk at a college or university may process application materials or answer questions from prospective students. A clerk at a hospital may file and retrieve medical records.
Clerks’ duties also vary by level of experience. Inexperienced employees may sort mail and take phone messages. Experienced clerks usually have additional responsibilities. For example, they may be required to maintain financial records, set up spreadsheets, or check statistical reports for accuracy.
Some senior office clerks may supervise and direct the work of other clerks.