Whether you’re new to customer service, or applying for a new role, you’ll need a customer service resume to get your foot in the door.
Today, we’re providing you with two different templates you can use to land your next gig (and a whole bunch of help with the content).
Before I get into the meat of this piece, here are a few caveats:
First, your customer service resume is designed to be a teaser or trailer. Someone should be able to skim it in 5 seconds and decide if they want to have a chat with you or not.
Also, resumes are quickly becoming outdated. Here’s 5 things that matter way more and can replace a resume 90% of the time:
- Your relationships / strength of your network
- Professional Reputation
- Relevant Professional Experiences
- An up to date portfolio website or blog
- A well-written email pitch.
You will never get your dream customer service job from a resume alone. No matter how much time you spend crafting it or how amazing you think it is.However, writing a good resume should only take an hour or two. It is a good exercise in brevity and highlighting only the most important things. Here’s some tips to make the process a little easier.
Things you should NEVER do on your resume
We’ll start with the list of things you shouldn’t do on your customer service resume. Most people violate at least one of these “no-nos.” Just one is all it takes to be put in the “maybe” pile, instead of the “heck yes” pile. Before hitting send, make sure you haven’t violated any of these rule:
Don’t lie or “embellish the truth”
Whether it is fudging your job title, your work experience or making your accomplishments look a little more colorful, just don’t do it. These “little lies” have a way of adding up and people will always find out the truth in the end.
Don’t include your age, birthday or other unnecessary personal details.
While it is technically illegal to deny someone a job because of their age (either too young or too old), it is hard to prove that the reason you were skipped over was because of ageism. Quite frankly, there’s zero upside to telling a hiring manager your age or birthday, and a whole lot of downsides. The one exception to this rule is if you are applying for a job in a country (like India) where including this information is the norm.
Don’t try to hide gaps in employment.
It raises a lot more questions than if you admit it upfront. Most gaps can actually be spun in a positive light. If you spent 6 months backpacking through Southeast Asia, a year on a failed startup that you tried to launch or taking 3 years away from the workforce to raise a kid, all of these can be positive experiences that can help you land your next job.
Your resume should NOT be a novel.
A customer service resume should be one page, two pages maximum. Again, think of it like a movie teaser. It should get someone interested to learn more about you. That’s it.
Your resume is also NOT a mini-autobiography.
Sharing intimate details about your life story in your customer service resume is an amateur move. For example, a hiring manager doesn’t need to know about how your 3rd Grade Little League Team won the championship, how you were “Kenickie” in your high school’s rendition of Grease or your unfortunate summer job 10 years ago working at Disney World walking beyond the horses during the daily parades and cleaning up after them.
Your customer service resume is not the place to show off your “design flair.”
Your resume should be simple, clean and minimalist. Use a readable sans serif font like Arial or Helvetica. Save your design flair for your actual portfolio, blog and maybe your cover letter.
Remove all of your placeholder text before you email your resume.
The Components of a Great Customer Service Resume
So, now that you know what to avoid, what should you include in a resume?
This should include your name, a professional email address that you check regularly, a phone number, your Linkedin profile (if you want to include it) and a website or blog (if you have one).
Sidenote: a professional email address is usually some combination of your first and last name on either Gmail, Outlook or on your own domain name. It shouldn’t be your email address from when you were 10 or an AOL, Hotmall, etc. These email addresses are free. If you don’t have a professional one, take two minutes to create one before you apply to a job.
In addition, a lot of HR and recruiting professionals will advocate sharing your home address too. However, I think it is unnecessarily and may even work against you. For example, if you’re applying for a job in a different city than where you
Here’s an example of a relevant contact details from our templates that you can download at the bottom of this post.
A Highlight Reel of Relevant Work Experience
Include a top section with three or four bullet points that showcase your biggest accomplishments. It might help to think of this section like how you think about your Instagram profile. On Instagram, you only really highlight the coolest, most exciting, novel or sometimes random things that you do.
Your work experience bullet points should be similar. This is the one time where you absolutely should brag a little bit. If you won an award or had a big career success, mention it.
Three examples of relevant work experience
Try to include at least 3 examples of relevant work experience that show how you became the very qualified applicant you are today.
For those who are newer in their careers or looking for that elusive entry-level roles, these 3 examples can be anything from high school and college jobs to internships, apprentices and volunteer or pro-bono work you’ve done. If you’ve only worked with one company for your entire, that’s fine! Try and show how your role has matured, or your skills have grown over the years.
For each role, include the dates that you worked or volunteered with the company. Usually just the month and year.
Here’s an example of how to highlight your experiences as an entry-level retail support person.
And, here’s an example for a more senior, tech support manager position.
In both of these examples, there’s only 3 or 4 bullet points. They used numbers, percentages and data points to back up some of their key points. Great descriptions focus on what you’ve accomplished, not just the tasks that you’ve completed.
A summary of noteworthy education details and certifications
This section is pretty self-explanatory. In general, the more experienced you are, the less you need to include here.
For people with less than 5 years of work experience, you absolutely should include your college or graduate degrees, any honors you received, any professional certifications and your GPA if it was higher than a 3.0.
Include Relevant Customer Service Skills
This section is also pretty self-explanatory. It can be a list of both soft and technical skills that you’ve mastered. Here’s an example:
The one golden rule is to make sure you only include the MOST RELEVANT skills.
Please don’t include Microsoft Word / Office or email. It is 2018. If you a knowledge worker, it is pretty much expected that you have a grasp on how to send an email, write a Word Doc, not still be using Internet Explorer 6 and know how to use basic computer functions like copy and paste. (Side-note: This is the only reason to still use any version of IE period)
(Optional) References Section
Some companies will ask for references in your resume. If that’s the case, include it. If not, leave it off and save the space on your resume.
One Final Thing!
Proofread your resume at least 3 times before you send it.
Jenn Southan said it better than I could in this excellent Helpscout post so I’m just going to quote her here:
“If you have typos/poor grammar/etc., I will move on without hesitation.”
If you are worried that you are going to miss an embarrassing typo, get a friend, a mentor or a family member to read over your resume.
For your convenience, we’ve included two downloadable resume templates that you can use to when crafting your own resume.