The job that a data entry clerk performs is often overlooked and data entry executives often choose to describe their jobs as ‘mechanical’, ‘monotonous’, and ‘tiring’. However, the real fact is that this is an important task that companies take seriously and they adopt stringent measures to ensure that they recruit the right personnel for this job. Data is power and companies struggle to manage the ever-growing volume of data. Improper data entry, processing, and archival may lead to improper business decisions and customer dissatisfaction. The domain demands certain specific skills and companies typically look for candidates who have the required qualifications to do this job.
In this article, we have discussed about the responsibilities of a data entry clerk, the key skills that a professional should posses, the ways they can enhance their skills, and the parameters that companies use to hire executives for this position. If you are looking to explore a career in data entry, this article would benefit you with useful information on how you can make the most out of the available career prospects.
It all started during the 1980s, after the introduction of punch card data processing. This led companies to look for qualified staff who knew how to operate keypunch machines. Those staff had to punch in huge volumes of data that needed to be processed. Even though the operations of those days differ a lot from that of modern times, their responsibilities and the approach that they need to adopt still remain the same.
What is a data entry job and what are the responsibilities that a clerk has to fulfill?
From the name itself, you can understand that the main role of data entry clerks is to enter data into specific files. However, you should note that the responsibilities of data entry clerks stretch beyond just mere data entry to other tasks that demand greater degree of focus and attention. Data entry clerks are not robots and they need knowledge and appropriate qualifications to fulfill their responsibilities with professionalism.
Here are the different tasks that data entry executives perform
Data Checking and Validation
Data accuracy is critical to making successful business decisions. Executives need to undergo training in order to understand the nature of the information that they need to enter and archive. They should know what type of information they should look for. For instance, if all entries in a set need to have seven digits, executives should be careful enough to spot six-digit entries.
Professional data entry clerks take proactive measures to identify mistakes. After they identify a mistake, they would take appropriate steps to rectify it. They would then need to store the details of the error in a particular file and include the measures that they took to rectify it.
Organizing data may become a major challenge as data volumes continue to grow. So companies need to categorize data, sort them out, and store them in an organized manner so that they can be retrieved easily, whenever needed. Executives are required to advise on better data management process.
Maintenance of Data Confidentiality
Data breaches cost companies thousands of dollars and so companies need to adopt special measures to ensure data security. This is particularly important for companies that operate in finance, insurance, and healthcare industries. Executives are required to adhere to strict data security policies and data management practices and are at risks of penalizations in case of data breach incidents.
Key Skills that Data Entry Clerks should Have
If you are an employer who’s looking to hire a clerk, you should know the skills that such professionals should have so that you are able to identify the right candidates for your job. If you are looking to build a career in this field, you should know the skills that you should possess in order to get a job:
A data entry clerk should know the optimal use of word processors, databases, spreadsheets, and certain record management software. They should have basic knowledge about computers because their day-to-day activities, which include the entry of statistical, coded, and financial information, require them to handle keyboards, mouse, scanners, etc.
Strong Communication Skills
Executives have to interact with both internal and external stakeholders and so they need to have both written and verbal communication skills. If you are looking to outsource data entry services, you should make sure that you evaluate the communication skills of the members of the team that would be assigned to help you. They often have to communicate with other team members to ensure that their projects are on track and to ensure that they are able to meet their deadlines.
Experts are expected to have a fast typing speed because they need to enter huge volumes of data within limited time. They should be acquainted with the use of major devices and they should be able to type around 30-40 words per minute. That’s what the employers typically prefer.
Concentration & Focus
Jobs in this field involve repetitive tasks and professionals often end up spending a lot of time on the same task. Therefore, these professionals need to have high level of patience and concentration in order to make correct entries and succeed in their profession.
This task demands speed. And speed brings risks of mistakes along with it. So professionals should not only demonstrate high typing speed, but they should also demonstrate typing accuracy. Entry of wrong data may lead to major issues and impact business decisions. Professionals need to enter critical data including personal contact information and complex medical codes and hence they have to make sure that the information that they are storing are accurate. No wonder why employers look for candidates who have high level of typing speed as well as accuracy.
Employers look for smart and efficient professionals who can be trusted as well. Companies have the liability to safeguard sensitive information and hence, they look for trustworthy employees who would ensure high level of data security and so their best to prevent data breach incidents. Data loss leads to customer loss as well as loss of reputation. With huge volumes of data being exchanged over the internet on a daily basis, companies need to make sure that they hire the right personnel who can contribute to their data security objectives. Dishonest executives may steal critical data and pass it onto the competitors in exchange of money. So employers perform a thorough screening process to know the history of the applicants. This includes checking with their previous employers, conducting a Google search, and checking their social media platforms.
Factors that Employers Consider While Hiring Data Entry Professionals
If you are looking to hire executives for your business, you should note that there is no hard-and-fast rule that shapes your selection criteria. However, you should keep certain points in mind during the selection so that you can avoid issues in the future and build a highly-productive and trustworthy data entry team that would generate value for years.
Here’s what you should keep in mind while selecting a service provider:
- You should have a dependable infrastructure that cannot be compromised easily. This would involve your emphasis on the deployment of advanced data security mechanisms.
- Perform a background investigation and check references to know about the history of prospective candidates.
- Your selected outsourcing service provider should conduct regular process auditing and quality monitoring. It should also follow a dual keying system.
- You should deploy process automation software, which would streamline the work processes of your executives. This would mean that they are able to use their time more productively by taking their focus away from tasks that can be automated easily.
- It’s not a good idea to go for service providers that would offer the cheapest rates. You need to work with efficient professionals who would provide you with quality assurance. Cost is just one factor, but you cannot compromise on quality. Compare the packages of multiple service providers and check what you are getting. Next, ask them to handle a small task for you so that you can check speed, timelines, and work quality. This would allow you to identify the right service
Tips to improve your data entry skills
If you are a data entry operator and have been in the job for quite some time, you might want to explore better job opportunities in the field. You should note that you must continue to update your skills and make constant progresses in order to build a stronger career. You can upgrade your skills through several ways. You may either update your skills on your own or you may use a computer system to improve your proficiency. You may also consider joining classes and benefit from a more structured learning environment.
Here are some really useful tips to improve your skills so as to be able to successfully meet data entry job requirements:
Boost your present typing skills
Have you noticed your body language and present typing structure? Observe yourself carefully to find out if you are using the right posture. With the right hand positioning and appropriate posture, you will be able to achieve the highest level of productivity as well as comfort. If you adopt the right posture, you would not need to shift to different positions frequently in order to feel comfortable and this would, in turn, boost your efficiency and typing speed.
Focus on enhancing the desk space
Data entry specialists have to sit on a computer for long hours. Sedentary jobs that require employees to sit at one place for a longer duration invite several health issues and therefore, you should focus on working on your work space to make sure that it is ergonomic and comfortable. One way to enhance your work space is by using comfy chairs that provide lumbar support and come with height adjustment facility. Make sure that your computer screen is at the eye level and positioned close to the mouse. Make sure that there’s minimum glare from the monitor. For some jobs that particularly involve financial data entry, dual monitors are used. The use of dual monitors promotes speed of operations, productivity, efficacy, and stronger fact-checking support.
Leverage Online Typing Tools
You can evaluate your current typing abilities by using online programs. This would allow you to identify areas of improvement with ease. You may even use these tools to practice typing and improve your efficiency and speed. You may also consider following online tutorials that would explain how you can use different computer software that allow for easy inputs.
Learn Different Data Entry Hacks
Do you know that you can use several shortcuts with certain programs and can save a significant amount of time? For instance, you can enter information that has already been written by using TAB and ENTER key in MS-Excel. You may consult your supervisor for suggestions or you may search online to find keyboard and spreadsheet hacks.
Experts often find it difficult to stay focused on their tasks that are repetitive, mundane, and complex. You can avoid disturbances in your workflow by creating a strict schedule and adhering to it sincerely. You should understand the order of priority and rank tasks based on this order. You may also consider keeping your phone away during your work hours or you may keep it in silent mode to minimize distractions.
Review The Outcomes
When you work for long hours on tedious tasks, you become prone to making mistakes. You might mistakes even in a task that you have been handling for years. So it is a good idea to proofread or review your deliverable before you submit it to your supervisor or client. You may get an editor or someone else from your team to proofread your work and if you are unable to find someone for this task, you may consider taking a short break. Get refreshed during this break and come back to your workspace with a fresh mind and a fresh pair of eyes. That way, you would be able to proofread your own work with a higher degree of accuracy.
Every business looks for data entry executives who can deliver a high standard of data entry services and who would demonstrate high levels of sincerity, accuracy, and reliability. By outsourcing these services, businesses can benefit in various manner and utilize their in-house resources for more critical tasks. Whether you are a clerk or someone who’s looking for a job in this domain or an employer who is looking to hire staff, we are sure that this article has given you adequate information on this job prospect. Do let us know if you have suggestions. We would be happy to hear from you.