Whether you're a seasoned pro or entry-level, the US Department of Labor reports excellent job growth potential in customer service. To ensure you're considered for the best opportunities, pay your resume the same attention you do your customers. These tips can help, and be sure to check out our sample resume for a customer service rep.
Target Your Resume
"Resumes that are highly targeted to the career goal are much more effective than general resumes," says Judith Friedler, director of CareerPro International and a resume writer for 16 years. "The hiring manager should be able to glance at the resume and immediately know you're seeking a customer service-related position."
Kim Lockhart, an operations director for staffing agency Spherion, also recommends targeting your resume. "The more you can simplify it for the recruiter or hiring manager, the better your chances," she says. "You want your resume to be as specific to the position you are applying for as possible."
Friedler and Lockhart both suggest including a career summary to target your resume and also highlight credentials hiring managers find desirable. For example:
Dedicated customer service representative with five years of front-office experience within the banking industry. Known for ability to resolve a wide range of customer issues and elevate customer satisfaction levels. Reliable and trustworthy with an uncompromising commitment to providing optimal customer service.
You can take your resume to the next level by highlighting the outcomes of your work. According to Friedler, "Many customer service professionals don't realize they have accomplishments, such as contributing to response rates or improving customer satisfaction ratings.
Lockhart agrees. "It is important to create energy to really entice the recruiter to want to contact you for more information," she says. "For example, instead of saying 'handled incoming calls,' you might say 'handled over 200 calls daily for Fortune 500 insurance claims center.'" Lockhart urges customer service professionals to demonstrate those contributions that went beyond expectations.
Friedler recommends quantifying your results to make their importance clear. Here's a before-and-after comparison that shows the impact of providing measurable outcomes:
- Before: Achieved a high customer satisfaction rating.
- After: Achieved customer satisfaction rating of 98% within three months, exceeding company's stretch target of 90%.
If you're having trouble identifying accomplishments, give these questions some analytical attention:
- Did sales increase as a result of your customer service expertise?
- Did you receive unsolicited feedback from happy customers?
- Did you earn the trust of repeat customers or generate referrals due to your focus on customer service?
- Did repeat customers specifically request you?
- Did you help improve customer satisfaction rankings?
- Did you recommend or implement improvements to customer service programs?
- Did you serve a high number of customers while offering impeccable service?
- Did your employer receive positive reviews or industry accolades for service quality?
- Did you train other workers to provide exemplary customer service?
- Did you resolve a challenging service issue, such as turning around a dissatisfied or irate customer?
- Did you or your team get any recognition or awards for customer satisfaction and/or sales achievements?
- Did you complete any customer service training programs?
Show Employment Stability
Lockhart says one trait hiring managers look for is dependability, so a resume that demonstrates employment stability can help you stand out. A chronological or combination resume format would allow you to highlight steady employment.
What if your work history is a little sketchy? A functional resume allows you to emphasize your customer service skills while downplaying work history.
Friedler emphasizes the importance of including keywords on resumes. "Keywords will help you get found in an electronic applicant search," she says. "Customer service keywords could include job titles, such as ‘customer service representative,' and important skills, such as ‘customer relationship management' and ‘helpdesk support.'"
Lockhart agrees that candidates should optimize their resumes for the keyword search. "Even in cases where a recruiter may look at a resume the first time, you want your resume to be easily found once it is entered in the database," she says. "Even if a company doesn't have an immediate need, once positions open up they refer to their database to conduct candidate searches."
"It is also very important to be honest," cautions Lockhart. "Never falsely state dates of employment, job titles or level of education. Most employers verify this information before making an offer."
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