How to Write a Customer Service Resume
Customer service roles are many and varied. Any medium to large business will have dedicated customer service employees, regardless of what industry they are involved in.
Even a small business will have a customer service role to fulfill, such roles often being combined with other skills. Wherever there are customers, there is a need for customer service provision.
You might think that because there are so many customer service roles, it would be an easy job to land. However, customer service is a competitive and demanding work sector, attracting high levels of applications for each vacancy.
The best way to stand out from other applicants and progress to interview is to craft an impressive resume for your application.
An employer recruiting for a customer service role will be on the lookout for several key characteristics:
Anyone working in customer service must be interested in the customers themselves. As the connecting factor between the business and the customer, a customer service employee must be able to not only open a dialogue with the customer but also develop and maintain a relationship with them.
Employees who are genuinely interested in helping others and being of service will achieve far greater results than those who are simply interested in making the sale or their own take-home pay.
Employers want to see that you have excellent communication and people skills.
Customer service employees must be willing and keen to learn.
As customer service roles can vary so greatly, moving from one role to another will often require a high level of learning.
This could be:
- Learning to communicate with customers in a new way, for instance, moving from a role where customer contact is mainly through email to a role where the majority of customer contact is face-to-face
- Learning about products and services
- Learning new customer service systems
Employers want to see how much you have already learned and how this learning has accompanied your career progression. This could be product learning, work experience or in-work qualifications. They will also be interested to hear that you are keen to continue learning.
The work experience section of your resume should show exactly how your customer service skills and expertise have progressed throughout your career.
- Have you progressed to more senior roles?
- Have you worked within the same or similar industries and therefore developed knowledge of that area?
- Has your performance improved with each role?
Each customer service role will vary in its format, industry and approach, but there are some key skills that are important to include in any customer service resume:
Communication – This may be verbal communication either face-to-face, by video call or on the telephone, or written communication by email or letter.
The ability to adapt – This skill encompasses problem-solving, flexibility and improvisation. It may apply to learning a new role or coping with unknown or unexpected circumstances.
Willingness to learn and develop – Whether this is learning about a new product or developing your customer service skills, enthusiasm is key.
People skills – If communication skills are the ‘doing’, then people skills are the ‘knowing’. An effective customer service employee understands how to successfully assess a customer to find out the best way to communicate with them.
Time management – Any customer service role requires efficient handling of time so that as many customers as possible can be helped effectively to arrive at a successful resolution.
When writing your customer service resume, the key thing to keep in mind is the job vacancy you wish to apply for.
Your resume should be tailored to each job application to demonstrate your suitability for that role.
- What aspects of your work experience match the vacancy?
- What skills do you have that would be a good match for the role?
- Do you hold relevant qualifications?
- What else could you bring to the role that would make you an excellent candidate?
Armed with that information, you can begin to write your customer service resume.
For a customer service role, an employer wants to see your career progression and work experience.
A reverse-chronological format, that lays out your work experience starting from the most recent role and finishing with the earliest, will be the best fit.
Remember to keep your resume to a maximum of two pages and use the same clear, unfussy font throughout with double line spacing.
This section should include your name, address, telephone number and email address. Only mention your social media details if you feel this is relevant to the job you are applying for.
There is no need to mention your age or date of birth. Leaving these off your resume will avoid any preconceptions based on your age.
Equally, there is no need to mention your marital status, ethnicity or place of birth.
Also known as a resume objective, your personal statement lays out:
- Who you are
- What type of role you are looking for
- Your career goals
- What you can bring to the advertised role
This is generally one paragraph, for instance:
A self-motivated customer service professional, interested in furthering their career progression within the retail industry. Excellent communication and presentation skills, with a proven track record in maintaining customer relationships and meeting sales targets.
The purpose of your personal statement is to set you apart, act as a taster for the rest of the resume and demonstrate that you are a suitable candidate for the vacancy.
Begin with your most recent or current role. This will demonstrate the skills and experience that you have developed to date. From there, list your previous roles going back in time.
For each job, state your job title, the business you worked for, the dates of your employment, and provide a bulleted list of achievements, tasks and responsibilities.
Keep this list succinct and tailored to the job you are applying for.
Even where a past role was not in customer service, it may still reveal transferable experience or skills. Concentrate on demonstrating what those are.
Customer Service Manager Brookes Department Store 2017 – 2020
- Managing a team of five
- Overseeing customer satisfaction throughout the store and online, bringing customer satisfaction up to 92%
- Directed customers to desired products and placed customer orders in store
- Employee of the month for two years running
This could include:
- High school education and qualifications; for instance, your high school diploma
- College and university qualifications, such as a degree
- Vocational qualifications, perhaps in business or marketing
- In-job courses and qualifications, such as first aid or sales
For each course or qualification, state the educational establishment or employer, location, and study dates.
Degree in Marketing, York College (CUNY), New York, 1982–1985
List qualifications and courses from earliest to latest, starting with high school.
You may think that employers have little to no interest in what you do in your spare time, but including your interests and hobbies in your resume can set you apart from other candidates.
As an applicant for a customer service vacancy, you want to demonstrate that you are the best fit for the job. You also want to be memorable.
Your sky-diving weekends or the fact that you are a chainsaw log-sculptor on an evening will secure your place in an employer’s memory. Even better if you can include hobbies that demonstrate your excellent interpersonal skills.
You now know what to include, the key skills to demonstrate and what employers are looking for in a customer service resume. Here are four more tips on how to make your resume stand out:
There is nothing more likely to stop an employer in their tracks when reading a resume than bad spelling or grammar. It gives the impression that you have not taken sufficient care in writing your resume. It may even cause an employer to doubt your professionalism and commitment to your application.
When you have written your resume, read through for typos and incorrect grammar.
Read it aloud. If you find yourself stumbling over a sentence, it will probably be difficult for the employer to read too.
Read it through once. Correct it. Take a break. Return to it for another read-through.
Your resume should demonstrate just how talented and suitable for the vacancy you are, but it should be an honest representation.
Do not exaggerate your achievements but do focus on the elements of your experience and skills that are most relevant to the vacancy.
Equally, keep the tone of your resume optimistic and positive. Concentrate on what you have achieved and enjoyed in your past roles. Do not criticize past employers or moan about your previous jobs.
Most US employers and recruiters use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to sort the job applications they receive.
The main way that an ATS decides which applications to accept and reject at the beginning of the recruitment process is through searching for keywords that are matched to the job vacancy.
Improve your chances of selection by including relevant keywords in your resume. An obvious keyword is ‘customer service’ but read through the job advert and job description to find other suitable keywords specific to that position.
When you apply for a vacancy, one of the best ways to prepare yourself is to carry out a lot of research.
This could include:
- Reading through the job advert and description
- Scouring the employer’s website
- Researching a typical career progression for the vacancy
- Looking into relevant developments in the industry
Gather as much information as you can so that you can tailor your resume to be a good match, not only to the job itself but to the business and the industry too.
Your customer service resume will usually be accompanied by a customer service cover letter, whether in hard copy or by email.
While your resume provides all the information the employer needs to know about you at this stage, your cover letter provides a chance to make a good first impression.
Both items should complement each other and should therefore have a similar look and tone of voice.
Many people believe that a resume or the accompanying cover letter should include employer references, but at this initial stage, that is not necessary.
Keep your employer references for when you are asked for them.
Do remember to keep your employer references up to date. Check that those individuals are still willing to provide a reference and make sure you have up-to-date contact details for them.
If this is your first job, perhaps as a school-leaver or graduate, it may be more challenging to create an effective customer service resume.
Alternatively, this may not be your first job, just your first customer service job as part of a career change.
Whichever of these two situations apply, writing a no-experience resume need not be a problem if you concentrate on:
- A polished personal statement that demonstrates your suitability for a customer services role
- Work, volunteering or internship experiences which are a good match for the role
- Transferable skills; for instance, communication, team-working or sales
In the competitive market of customer service, writing an effective resume can help you stand out from a crowd of applicants.
Take the time to fine-tune your resume to improve your chances of success.