Learn About Being a File Clerk

By Indeed Editorial Team

December 10, 2019

What does a file clerk do?

A file clerk is responsible for organizing and maintaining a company’s documents and its system of storage and categorization. File clerks must have a verification system in place to ensure accurate filing. They are also in charge of creating material or paper files for record-keeping. They will also update and confirm the accuracy of digital files. Other duties file clerks may perform include:

  • Collecting data from employees or customers

  • Scanning and uploading paper documents to store in a digital format

  • Creating an organized system for arranging paper and electronic files

  • Communicating with staff members to inform them of where to find certain files

  • Answering phone calls and directing them to the appropriate staff member

Average salary

The typical salary for a file clerk depends on what their experience level is, the industry they work in and where the job is located. There may be potential for a higher salary with more experience. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the salary link.

  • Common salary in the U.S.: $13.54 per hour 

  • Some salaries range from $7.25 to $22.70 per hour.

File clerk requirements

File clerks must have the appropriate training and skills before applying, including:

Education

Most file clerks can obtain a position with a high school diploma. However, some employers prefer that the candidate has an associate or bachelor’s degree as well. Those interested in becoming a file clerk can improve their chances of getting the job by taking computer classes that cover skills such as creating a spreadsheet or using a word-processing system.

Training

No previous training is necessary, but employers may prefer those who have experience in customer service or a clerking position. Employees will often receive training on-site once they begin the job, which can last for several weeks. During this time, they will be taught how to use the computer programs at the company as well as any clerical procedures. If a file clerk works in a specialized area such as for the government or in healthcare, they may need a few months of training to learn about industry regulations.

Certifications

There are no specific certifications necessary to become a file clerk, but earning a few can help improve an employee’s knowledge, skills and employability. Some of these certifications may include:

  • Microsoft Office Certifications: Candidates can take a variety of classes to improve their understanding of Word and Excel. They can complete many of these courses online.

  • File and Data Entry Clerk Certification: Several technical and community colleges offer a certificate in file and data entry, which can give a candidate a competing edge.

  • Digital Information Management Certification: This certificate can help a candidate become more familiar with managing digital data. You can take this online through technical schools.

Skills

File clerks should have a variety of skills to prepare for the position. They must have excellent communication skills when getting information from customers or employees, since it may be necessary to inform other staff members where they can locate certain files. They might also need to be attentive to possible errors on mailing addresses and correct them. File clerks should also excel in the following skills:

Organization

File clerks must have excellent organizational skills, as they are in charge of a large number of files. They will need to have an efficient system for organizing both paper and digital files so they can quickly locate them. The system should be easily understood by other employees who may need to access it.

Self-motivation

They often work with minimal supervision, so a file clerk should be able to motivate themselves to get the required amount of work done each day. It can be helpful to create methods to organize their work each day through checklists or calendars. They will also need to know how to prioritize their tasks and decide which order to do each one.

Computer skills

A file clerk should have good computer skills and be proficient in a variety of computer software programs. These can include Microsoft Office and other word processing programs. They may also perform data entry based on the paper files they receive. File clerks may need to know how to create documents on the computer, print them and scan them.

Attention to detail

They should be detail-oriented so they can file documents in the correct places. A file clerk may help a company organizer documents needed to perform their taxes, so they should know how to keep data secure. They may also enter large amounts of data on the computer and need to confirm all information is correct before submitting it.

Communication skills

File clerks may greet customers when they enter the company, depending on the environment in which they work. They should know how to answer general questions from clients or visitors and direct them to the appropriate employees. A file clerk may also be responsible for answering the phone and transferring phone calls when necessary.

Physical fitness

While the majority of their job is not strenuous, file clerks may sometimes need to lift and carry heavy boxes full of files. They should have the strength to lift them and be able to carry them across the office when necessary. A file clerk should also know the proper lifting and bending techniques to prevent injuries.

File clerk work environment

File clerks work in a mixture of environments, including business offices, government buildings, schools, libraries and public organizations. Most of their work will be at their company’s location, but they may travel to get the data they need. They will spend the majority of their day sitting at a computer, but will also be on their feet to scan documents or manually file papers. Some file clerks work primarily alone with minimal interaction with other employees, while others may interact with coworkers and the public regularly. 

A file clerk uses various equipment, including computers, shredders, telephones, scanners and printers. A file clerk can work part-time hours or have a full-time job, depending on the company’s needs. They often work day shifts, but may be needed for evening or weekend hours.

How to become a file clerk

Some file clerk positions allow candidates to begin with minimum experience, but it can be useful to have some related experience or education. Candidates should take the following steps to become a file clerk:

1. Earn a high school diploma.

All candidates will need to complete their high school education by getting a diploma or the equivalent. While the position is often entry-level, it can be helpful to obtain an associate’s degree to have a competitive edge against other candidates. 

2. Take related classes or certifications.

Another way to increase your chance of getting a file clerk job is by taking courses relevant to the tasks for which you will be responsible. Taking computer classes can be helpful to begin to learn the skills needed for a file clerk position. You can also take classes in data management, computer software and organization online or in-person at community colleges.

3. Update your resume.

Every candidate should ensure their resume has their most recent education and experience on it. You should also make sure it is relevant and list any skills necessary for a file clerk position. You can tailor the resume based on what skills and requirements the job listing states.

File clerk job description example

We are looking for the ideal candidate for our file clerk position at Mountain Insurance. This individual should be highly motivated and able to work with minimal supervision. They will be responsible for scanning all paper documents and filing them electronically as well as filing the papers. The candidate should have excellent organizational skills, excel in communication and understand how to keep records secure. They should also be physically able to lift boxes as heavy as 30 pounds.

This position is full-time and will be for daytime hours during the week, but occasional evening hours may be required. All candidates must have a high school diploma, but an associate’s degree is highly preferred. They should also have basic computer skills, knowledge of word-processing programs and data-entry experience.

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