Write A Customer Service Resume That Stands Out

Presenting a strong customer service resume reflects well on a candidate regardless of whether the job they seek is for a service position or a sales role. Customer service attributes are highly valued by smart business owners that seek to grow and ensure longevity in the marketplace.

A customer service resume shows a hiring manager that a candidate has the necessary skills to represent the best the company has to offer. Employers seek sales and service professionals who understand clearly that every sales interaction provides service opportunities, and that every service interaction provides potential sales opportunities. Sales and service are not mutually exclusive. .

customer service resume

Being strong in sales production is certainly important, but sales skills alone is simply not enough in today's competitive environment. Sales production without a solid customer service commitment means an employee must work twice as hard to achieve the same rate of growth as those that back up sales with solid service delivery.

A lack of follow up and service support will eventually lead existing customers to move their business to another organization that demonstrate a higher quality of service delivery.

Employers who hire individuals who cannot produce a strong customer service resume may be too narrowly focused on filling the role quickly so they can get back to focusing on other areas of responsibility, but this is a huge mistake. Hiring the right people for the right positions should always be a leader's top priority. Leaders who hire too quickly to meet short-term objectives are placing the future of the business great risk.

As a rule, any role in the organization that will have any contact with a customer, should be able to produce a customer service resume that affirms a history of service accomplishments. 

"To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity."

- Don Alden Adams

Great leaders do not compromise their long-term growth strategy by losing sight of the importance of maintaining high service quality standards. They continually work to hire great people to secure the future of their business, and they understand the potential risk to the brand and reputation when making short sighted hiring decisions.

Each employee is perceived by your customers as being a representative of you and your organization. Make sure you are totally comfortable with any new candidate you are considering for hire. Will this individual represent you well? Will the candidate safeguard your good name, and the reputation of the company?

Possessing strong service skills helps to ensure the candidate will instinctively care for your most highly valued asset - your customer.

Customer Service Resume Clues 

Any resume can be classified as a 'customer service resume' only when the resume exhibits a strong background in customer service achievements. Additional clues that employers can look for are service related descriptions, keywords and references.

When reviewing a candidates resume, seek to identify for the following customer service clues:  

  • Prior Customer Service Roles - the most obvious evidence that a candidate may possess the necessary customer service skills is if they have already held customer service roles in the past. Most companies provide training to new employees to develop their service skills so if a candidate has held prior service roles, it's most likely they have some level of service experience. Examples of service roles: Customer Service Representative, Call Center Associate, Customer Support Rep., Customer Experience Supervisor, Service Manager, Business Relationship Adviser, etc. 
  • Customer Service Descriptions - while holding a prior service role is an important clue, what's even more important is what they were able to achieve during their time in that role. The description of their areas of responsibility should include details about their prior service related accomplishments. Examples of strong customer service descriptions: "Created and implemented a more customer friendly calling script to reduce customer complaints and increase the success rate for scheduled appointments." or "Achieved a 95% customer satisfaction score, winning the annual award for Top Customer Service Employee in 2018." or "Conducted quarterly customer service and conflict resolution training, while also mentoring new team members to meeting service delivery standards." 
  • Service Related Keywords - customer service resumes will be sprinkled with service related keywords. Examples of service keywords: Communication, Listening, Personable, Friendly, Caring, Service Oriented, Passionate, Committed, Courteous, Problem Solver, Knowledgeable, Takes Initiative, Proactive, Attention to Detail, Follows Up, Timely, Respectful, Trustworthy, and more. 
  • Service References - it's a common practice to ask job candidates to provide letters of reference. Employers are often skeptical of reference sources because no reasonable person is going to provide a reference letter that is anything other than supportive. However, reference letters may provide clues of customer service achievements such as: "Nancy is a great listener and seeks to identify customer needs before ever recommending a product or service. She is adept at finding quality solutions for her customers." or "Ken is calm under pressure. He is highly skilled at dealing effectively with upset customers." or "Susan is a shining star in the office. She is full of positive energy, always has a smile on her face, and demonstrates a strong commitment to her customers and team." Additionally, if a phone number is provided, don't hesitate to pick up the phone and call the reference to ask them to clarify details provided on the candidates customer service resume. 

"There is a spiritual aspect to our lives — when we give, we receive — when a business does something good for somebody, that somebody feels good about them!"

- Ben Cohen, Ben & Jerry's

Looking Beyond the Customer Service Resume

It's common practice for new job seekers to submit a job application along with submitting a resume with a cover letter and references. However, there is another document, which is probably more important any of the others, that is rarely asked for by the hiring manager and seldom offered by the candidate. 

What is this mysterious document you ask? Get ready to put palm to forehead because it should be so obvious, but this critical document is almost always never shared.

The most valuable document a hiring manager can review is....  a candidate's annual reviews from a current or past employer.

As discussed above you can glean a great deal of information from the customer service resume and reference letters, but in large part the candidate has a great amount of control over what you see, and if their smart it's all going to provide glowing reviews. Past annual reviews are written by past supervisors and they will provide insight on the candidates areas of strengths as well as details on what the candidate should focus on to further develop their skillset. Past difficulties or counseling that have taken place might also be referred to within the review. 

If you ask if copies of a candidates last annual review and the candidate is eager to share it with you it's most likely the review confirm details shared on their customer service resume and will only make their case for employment stronger. However, if the candidate balks at the request that may mean they just simply didn't keep a copy or it may be a sign that you should proceed with caution as they may have something they are hiding. It's important for hiring managers not to make assumption, but it's also wise to be alert to possible signs of a less than stellar work performance history. 

All leaders can be of service to their team members by making it a priority to conduct well crafted, highly informative annual reviews.  The annual review document can later become an asset to the employee when he or she is applying for a new position within the organization, or seeking employment elsewhere. 

As a hiring manager, you might be surprised and impressed if an candidate proactively offered to provide you with their last 2-3 annual review. So, why not arm your team members with the ability to do the same time when they are seeking to progress in their career. Examples of customers service accomplishments included in their annual reviews will provide clear evidence that their customer service resume is firmly supported.

The next annual review you write just might be the thing that wins that employee their next big promotion - and that would be something both the leader and the employee can be incredibly proud of.  

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By Richard Gorham
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