Since we’re living in the Information Age, data (or rather, what you do with it) is king.
The right kind of data could help you find your ideal customer/s, develop the right product or service tailor-fitted for their needs, determine the right channels with which to reach them, and ultimately, cultivate a loyal and sizable customer base that will put you ahead of your competition.
And these days, just about any kind of data is available online if you know what to look for.
But first, that data needs to be encoded and compiled properly. Now, the question is, do you have the time to do that yourself?
Guess what? You don’t have to. Enter the data entry clerk.
What is a Data Entry Clerk?
A data entry clerk is essentially responsible for entering and updating data or information into a company’s database. They may either work full-time or part-time.
While the position is often for entry-level professionals with a high school diploma, some jobs (e.g., medical or legal transcription) do require an educational background in fields like law or medicine.
What does a data entry clerk do?
A data entry clerk job description boils down to the processing and handling of raw data. It may also involve converting information into a digital format as well as preparing electronic spreadsheets with critical or even confidential figures.
While a data entry operator is chiefly responsible for encoding data, this job title can easily involve a bunch of related tasks, such as the following:
- Encoding and updating customer account information
- Converting data from hard copies into electronic formats
- Checking source documents to ensure data accuracy
- Accurately generating electronic spreadsheets with a vast amount of data
- Retrieving and compiling requested data from a database or electronic files
- Developing templates for sorting and presenting certain data
- Sorting and organizing relevant paperwork after entering data prior to safekeeping them
- Regularly setting up company database backups
A remote data entry worker’s environment isn’t really that different from their office-based counterparts. They’d be typically equipped with their own laptop, a good keyboard, and a reliable internet connection.
Some data entry clerk jobs that require converting paper documents into electronic formats may also involve special equipment like data recorders or optical scanners.
Lastly, transcriptionists may also use equipment like headphones and foot pedals for playing, rewinding, or forwarding a recording for hands-free encoding, along with word processing and file converting software. They may also have references like a dictionary, thesaurus, or even industry-specific manuals at the ready.
Qualifications for Data Entry Clerk
So, what are the basic qualifications you should look for when hiring one? Let’s take a look.
As mentioned earlier, most jobs in this field don’t require anything more than a high school diploma to do their jobs.
However, legal or medical data entry specialist jobs could require a more advanced educational background.
What skills does a data entry clerk need?
Far more important than a college degree is the right skill set, which includes:
Since they work with databases all the time, basic computer literacy is a must in this job. The right candidate should have no trouble using software like Microsoft Word or Excel, or even popular data entry programs like AutoEntry and ZedAxis.
Depending on the job description, having a working knowledge of certain jargon can be an advantage.
Medical and legal data entry specialists, for instance, should be well-versed in key medical or legal terms to be effective.
Decent typing skills, or rather, decent typing speeds are critical for just about all data entry clerk jobs. There’s no point in producing an accurate report if it takes them forever to do it.
Most clients are fine with a 50 words per minute (wpm) speed, but if you need them to go through bigger volumes of data, 70 wpm might be more suitable.
A solid grasp of grammatical rules and correct spelling is crucial for transcription work too. The lack of such could have disastrous consequences later down the line. After all, if the data you’re presented is fundamentally wrong, you’re also likely to make the wrong decision.
Given the nature of their work, both full-time and part-time data entry workers usually prefer working in environments where there are procedures and standard routines in place. This job favors predictability over creativity, and those who carry it out thrive when there is a clear line of authority to follow.
What Makes a Good Data Entry Clerk?
Now that we’ve established the basic qualifications for data entry jobs, let’s talk about what makes a good data entry clerk.
In this line of work, accuracy is key, so a professional always strives to do their job with as few mistakes as possible, if any. Thus, they also often seek to cultivate top-notch comprehension skills, especially if their job requires them to make transcripts or reports out of recorded meetings or conversations.
As mentioned earlier, the timely delivery of accurate figures is also crucial to this job, so promptness is another value that an outstanding professional upholds at work.
And as with any remote position, good communication skills are paramount.
Aside from the right technological skills mentioned above, the following soft skills are all green flags to look out for when hiring someone for this position:
- Attention to detail.
While data entry is often a tedious job, it’s very important to get right. Oftentimes, God is in the details, so to speak, so it’s important for a good data entry worker to know enough about the subject in order to spot red flags in the data they’re processing as they go about their jobs.
Conversely, this also enables them to highlight data that their clients might find particularly useful – or need help finding in a pinch.
- Good time management skills.
You want someone who can work with minimal supervision and is still able to effectively meet deadlines.
This is where proper time management comes in. An experienced and well-trained professional should be able to use time-saving techniques and strategies without sacrificing accuracy.
In addition to this, they should also be able to know how to prioritize tasks on the daily when faced with a full and varied workload.
Again, accuracy is critical in this job, so the best ones have no qualms about double-checking or even triple-checking their work.
Aside from the fact that some important decisions are at stake given how data informs these decisions, incorrect entries, particularly in the case of legal or medical transcriptionists, could have catastrophic – even deadly- consequences.
Who Does a Data Entry Clerk Work With?
Most data entry clerk jobs aren’t customer-facing, although they can end up handling a lot of customer data.
Generally speaking, the vast majority of them work independently, although some may occasionally collaborate with specialists as needed or may also work with a Document Controller, who is in charge of ensuring the accuracy of all documents forwarded.
Is Finding a Good Data Entry Clerk Easy?
There are plenty of good data entry workers to choose from. However, finding someone who’s a good fit for you is hard, especially if you insist on doing everything yourself.
On average, you would need to go through about 100 applicants in order to find 2 good candidates. This would involve putting up job postings on classified ads, online job market sites, freelancer sites, and other social media networks.
After that, it’s advisable to apply a four-point criteria to narrow down the applicants. These include factors like the required hard/soft skills, relevant work experience, required specifications or skills training, and if necessary, the right educational background (e.g., a medical/legal background for medical/legal transcriptionists).
Then, you’d have to skim the CV’s of every applicant that makes it through before setting up individual interviews and then possibly implementing and evaluating a data entry test for each one.
Or, you can simply partner with a remote staffing agency that can take care of all of that for you, like Remote Staff.
Which brings us to…
Even before remote work became mainstream, Remote Staff has long been matching SME’s with top remote talents from the Philippines.
We’ve had fifteen years (and counting) of experience in scouting, recruiting, and onboarding the most suitable remote workers for various positions from administrative assistants to data entry specialists for countless satisfied clients in Australia, and are now ready to provide the same service to their counterparts in the United States.
No need to post and keep track of job openings across various platforms, go through individual CV’s, and run performance tests for every single candidate.
We’ll take care of the hard part for you, and present you with a shortlist of the top candidates to interview and choose from – we’ll even help you onboard them and handle all payroll and compliance concerns too!
Click here to schedule a callback with us today and get started!
Serena has been working remotely and writing content for the better part of the last decade. To date, she's written for Pepper.ph and Mabuhay Magazine, among others, and has churned out more than a thousand articles on everything from The Basics of Stock Market Investing to How to Make Milk Tea-Flavored Taho at home. Hermits, aspiring hermits, and non-hermits with interesting project propositions may email her at email@example.com.