Are You a People Person? Find a Job in Customer Service
These are thrilling times to work in retail. Despite the rise of Amazon and other e-commerce stores, people are still excited to shop at brick-and-mortar outlets and talk to a real, live retail customer service representative.
According to Reuters, U.S. retail sales are expected to hit $3.8 trillion in 2019, which is a 3.8 percent to 4.4 percent jump from 2018. We can thank a strong economy and low unemployment rates for this increase in spending.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics also expects a steady increase of two percent per year in the number of retail jobs in the U.S. If you want to learn more about the current state of retail and its exciting prospects, dive into our retail trends report.
These upward trends are great news for anyone hoping for a career as a retail customer service specialist. Whether you aspire to work in a store or over the phone as a customer service representative, you need to create a resume that focuses on your relevant skills and demonstrates why you're the ideal candidate for the job.
Your customer service associate resume needs to impress recruiters and help you land a job interview. Along with including the five critical components of a resume, make sure you take the following steps as you put together your application materials:
1. Communicate your people skills and experience
To have a successful customer service career, you need to have people skills. You must be personable, friendly, and willing to go the extra mile for customers.
Your customer service resume should bring together all the experience you've had dealing with people, no matter where you worked, according to Career Counselor Cathleen Carmichael.
"If you haven't worked with customers in retail, but you've worked with people in a service, such as medical, state or county, library, receptionist or hotel, it will all apply and show that you are good with people," says Carmichael.
Carmichael also says you should highlight specific customer service skills such as:
- Speaking clearly
- Active listening
- A strong desire to help customers
- Creative thinking to help customers
- Establishing working relationships with customers
"Customer service is all about dealing with people and making the customer happy," says Carmichael. "This includes assessing customer needs and helping them find a good fit, maintaining high-quality standards in product and customer interactions and relations, and evaluating customer satisfaction to improve service."
2. Highlight your problem-solving abilities
In a store or other retail environment, problems will arise. Customers may be dissatisfied with a purchase, coworkers might cause drama, or technology could break down at crucial moments.
According to Dr. Heather Rothbauer-Wanish, owner of Feather Communications, you need to be able to handle these situations and highlight your problem-solving capabilities on your resume. This includes working well under pressure.
"If you can outline or explain any past challenging situations and how you have successfully handled them, that brings storytelling and examples to your document," she says.
3. Showcase your technical knowledge
Along with interacting with customers and working as a team with your fellow customer service associates, you need to know how to use retail technology.
Ciara Van De Velde is a career engagement manager for a career coaching company called Employment BOOST. She says you should mention any POS system with which you are familiar.
"List any sales techniques and supplement them with quantitative measures to highlight your achievements. When you can, note how you excelled in your role and how you were able to demonstrate leadership even if you were not in a leadership role."
4. Write a compelling customer service cover letter
When learning how to write a cover letter, make sure every letter is unique and targeted to each customer service representative position to which you apply. Your cover letter should include:
- Header (including contact information; due to recent privacy issues, we do not recommend you include a mailing address)
- Salutation to the hiring manager
- Body paragraphs that address why your skills make you the right candidate
- Conclusion that shows eagerness and excitement for the position
"The cover letter should show the hiring manager how you are a good fit for the job and make them want to read your resume," Carmichael says. "Draw correlations from your past work to your future, showing how you would work for the new company and how your skills will benefit them."
5. Use the interview to show off your vibrant personality
Once you receive an invitation for an interview, let your personality shine through. Here's your chance to truly demonstrate your people skills and connect with the hiring manager for a customer service specialist job. The hiring manager wants to meet you to get an idea of how you'll interact with customers, so be confident, friendly and engaging.
Nick Glassett, founder of OriginLeadership.com, says, "Resumes are great to get your foot in the door, but if you want a position as a customer service representative, you need to show up in person and be yourself. That go-getter attitude shows you're going to solve problems independently. And don't forget, smile big!"
Now that you know what to include on your customer service specialist resume, it's time to get to work. Take advantage of our Resume Builder and Cover Letter Templates, and get help demonstrating your customer service skills so you can land that interview.