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What General Office Clerks Do

General office clerks do a broad range of administrative tasks, including answering telephones, typing or word processing, and filing. However, tasks vary widely in different jobs.


General office clerks typically do the following:

Rather than doing 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 or answering the phone. Others enter data into computers. They also operate photocopiers, fax machines, and other office equipment; prepare mailings; proofread documents; and deliver messages. Some may sort checks, keep payroll records, and take inventory.

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 might process application materials or answer questions from prospective students. A clerk at a hospital might file and retrieve medical records.

Clerks' duties also vary by level of experience. Inexperienced employees may make photocopies, stuff envelopes, and take phone messages. Experienced clerks usually get additional responsibilities. For example, they may maintain financial records, set up spreadsheets, make sure statistical reports are accurate, handle customer complaints, arrange purchases with vendors, make travel arrangements, take inventory of equipment and supplies, answer questions on departmental services and functions, and help prepare invoices or budgets.

Senior office clerks also may be expected to monitor and direct the work of lower-level clerks.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition