When reviewing a customer service candidate, hiring managers value one thing above all else — the applicant’s relevant skills. Yet most job seekers don’t properly optimize their resumes to target the employer’s desired skill-set.
This is a critical mistake.
Even if you’re a qualified candidate with a swath of CSR-related abilities at your disposal, tucking them away at the bottom of your resume (or just including a bland skills list without context) isn’t going to do you any favors.
Below, we’ve compiled 8 top resume writing tips (and examples) that will show you exactly how to make your customer service skills shine, and help make your resume an unstoppable interview-landing force.
TIP 1 — Use the Job Description to Identify Key Skills
Displaying your best customer service skills is important, but emphasizing the skills most valued by your target company is essential. Identify these key skills before you begin writing, then you can focus on highlighting them in your resume and significantly increase your chances of landing an interview.
Simply read the job description of your target position, and note the employer’s most highly desired skills.
Take a look at this job description found on LinkedIn:
When using a job description to identify key customer service skills, you need to pay attention to three main sections:
1) Listed Skills
Some job descriptions (like the one above) will have a nice, neat list of desirable employee skills clearly laid out for you. Lists like these are a good reference for what kind of abilities you can include on your resume, but they don’t give you any indication about which the company values most.
Such skills should be included on your resume the same way as they are in the job description — in the form of a simple list in your skills section.
2) The Basic Description
The basic description of the job often offers some of the biggest clues regarding what skills to put in your resume.
For instance — in our example description, the company mentions dealing with “high call volumes” and using the “Footprint ticketing system.”
If you have experience handling either, these would then be great skills to heavily emphasize on your resume.
3) Required Experience/Qualifications
Almost all job descriptions will include a section regarding the basic requirements or qualifications they need in a candidate. The wording of these sections will tell you everything about which skills that the company values most.
Take a look at the section highlighted in orange in our example job description. You’ll notice that different words are used to describe different required skills.
By taking note of this wording, you can order the relative importance of each ability:
- Excellent Customer Service Skills
- Strong Communication Skills
- Proficient with Active Directory
- Experience in High Call Volume Environments
Notice how a word like “excellent” is much more emphatic than the term “experience”. By paying attention to this wording, you can start to see what abilities this particular company prioritizes.
Make them the primary focus of your resume, and watch the interview calls come rolling in.
TIP 2 — Use Your Entire Resume – Not Just the Skills Section
A major resume-writing mistake for aspiring CSRs is to try and shove all of their most important customer service abilities into a small skills section. Your resume is likely around one page, and you should be using most of that page to showcase your skills.
Take full advantage of your resume introduction, professional experience, skills, and education sections to show potential employers you have what they need. Doing this will ensure the hiring manager gets a full picture of your various job skills, as well as your ability to use them in a work setting.
Only giving a potential employer a small taste of your skills by cramming them into one or two sections is not enough. Provide them a full course meal by using every part of your resume, so your application leaves them satiated rather than unsatisfied.
The next four tips will demonstrate exactly how to use each section of your resume to fully showcase your customer service skills.
TIP 3 — Sprinkle Some Essential Skills into Your Career Objective
There are several types of resume introductions, but the most common for customer service representatives is the career objective.
Since your introduction is the first thing a hiring manager will read, you can use your objective to include key skills that immediately solidify you as a qualified candidate. It’s also perfect for emphasizing your unique expertise.
Take a look at the career objective example below, and pay particular attention to the skills colored in orange:
Customer Service Manager with 6 years of experience in a call center environment. Excel at approaching customer care with a positive attitude, as well as communicating with customers to solve technical or sales issues. Familiar with Freshdesk and Zendesk software. Aiming to effectively fill the customer service management role at your company using my proven skills.
Notice how in just three sentences this candidate manages to mention their call center expertise, as well as list seven other important customer service abilities. While there is no context regarding these skills, it gives the hiring manager a glimpse of what you have to offer and encourages them to read further.
TIP 4 — Prove Your Skills in Your Work Experience Section
Listing out your skills in a resume objective and/or skills section is helpful, but alone won’t cut it in a competitive job market. Potential employers don’t only want to see the skills you have. They want to know you can use them to effectively to help customers.
This is where your professional experience section comes in. The additional space this section takes up gives you time to explain how you’ve used your abilities to provide excellent customer service in the past. There’s even a technique you can use to highlight your skills more effectively, and we’re going to teach it to you.
It’s called the PAR method — a three-step approach that can help anyone write better experience section bullets.
- Problem: Identify a responsibility or common customer issue at work. This could include customer service software or technology that you use on a daily basis.
- Action: What you did to address the problem. in this case, how you used your customer service skills)
- Results: The outcome of the action you took (hopefully a happy customer!)
By following these three simple steps, it’s easy to craft achievement-oriented bullet points that prove you not only have customer service skills, but you’ve also used them to produce positive results at previous companies.
Let’s take a look at an example:
- Utilized Freshdesk’s multichannel support function to quickly address customer issues from phone, email, and chat, resulting in a 3% increase in customer satisfaction.
This candidate proves they can effectively use Freshdesk customer service software (action) to solve customer service issues (problem) by showing the result (a 3% increase in customer satisfaction).
After reading this there will be no doubt in the hiring manager’s mind that this is a candidate who can use this software to produce results for their company. You can use this method to prove your abilities with any skill – including customer service soft skills.
Remember that you don’t need to have skills in every bullet point, but try to make sure you include those most valued by your target company.
TIP 5 — Place Less Important Abilities in the Skills Section
As we’ve already discussed, your most important customer service skills should be mentioned in your resume objective or proven in your professional experience.
You may be wondering then — what exactly is the skills section for? The answer is simple. Everything else!
An effective skills section is where you include minor skills that may have been mentioned (but not emphasized) in the job description, or any skills you found difficult to prove or include elsewhere.
It’s often called the “Additional Skills” section because it’s best used for the purpose of including “additional” abilities – not core skills. You can think of it as the cherry-on-top skills section if you want, where you can fit in a few bonus abilities after you’ve hit upon your main skills.
TIP 6 — Include Customer Service Training & Certifications in Your Education Section
Including customer service training on your resume shows you’ve learned important skills, and certifications prove you’re adept at using them.
This makes customer service certifications one of the greatest weapons for showcasing skills on your resume. Including them is simple, as you can see in the example below:
If you’re having trouble landing a job, acquiring a customer service certification may be just what you need to bolster your application.
On the other hand, if you’re just looking to take your skills to the next level, there are many free customer service training programs and job-hunting tools available online for the industrious job hunter.
TIP 7 — Don’t Neglect Non-Customer Service Skills
Of course, your focus should always be on display your excellent customer service skills, but you can still make some space for other abilities as well.
There are countless other types of marketable skills that potential employers are seeking. Highlighting several that fall a bit outside the scope of your work is fine, and can even help depict you as a more well-rounded candidate.
For example, customer service jobs at tech companies may require (or greatly prefer) you to have advanced computer skills and knowledge.
There are also a number of abilities that are commonly useful in customer service roles, even if they’re not directly related, such as:
- Proficiency with Microsoft Office (particularly Word and Excel)
- Foreign Language Capabilities
- Advanced or Fast Typing Skills
Including universally useful skills on your resume will set you apart from candidates who only focus on customer service abilities — thereby increasing your chances of landing interviews.
TIP 8 — Think Carefully About Every Sentence and Word You Write
As someone who works in the industry, you know that communication skills are an essential component of any customer service role. As such, including them on your resume is of paramount importance.
However, there’s another more subtle (and perhaps even more significant) way to demonstrate communication abilities to potential employers. And that’s by writing a good resume.
Your resume itself is physical proof that you can communicate effectively. Writing an eloquent, well-formatted resume that clearly communicates your professional qualifications will prove your written communication skills beyond a shadow of a doubt.
On the other hand, a resume riddled with spelling mistakes or confusing language will cause a potential employer to question your communication abilities, and subsequently your skills as a customer service representative.
This is why it’s extremely important to not only proofread your resume, but to take the time to analyze every word and sentence you write — ensuring it’s as flawless as possible.
Effectively showcasing your skills throughout your resume will help you land a fulfilling career in customer service, so be sure to take the time to get it right.
If there’s anything you take away from this article, remember these three key points:
- Identify Skills to Focus on Using the Job Description
- Highlight Skills Throughout Your Entire Resume
- Prove Key Customer Service Skills with Hard Evidence
These three essential concepts, as well as the other tips above, will ensure you floor the hiring manager with your exceptional abilities as a customer service agent and get you well on your way to landing your dream customer service job.