If you’ve just been fired from your job in Customer Support, don’t take time off.
You have to get hired right away. The golden rule in Labor Economics is that people who are unemployed for a short period of time get re-hired significantly faster than those who are unemployed longer.
In this article, we’ll help you increase your chances to get a job as a Customer Support Specialist, even if you’ve been recently fired.
The New Challenges In Customer Support
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job market for Customer Support Specialists is expected to contract by -1% over the next 10 years. Companies are becoming more selective about who they hire for their customer support team because the burnout rate for the job has grown higher at 74%.
Customer Support Specialists Burnout will lead to poor customer service, lower engagement levels, and a higher rate of employee turnover. For companies, these 3 factors will result in only a 6% chance of successfully closing an upsell and a smaller than 4% probability of selling a promotion.
Top 6 Tips On Getting Hired In Customer Support After Getting Fired
Applying for a new job after getting fired can seem like a daunting task. You might still be reeling from the experience of losing your job. Your confidence might be at an all-time low.
But the fact remains that if you want to find work right away, you have to get back on the horse immediately and start looking for a job. The longer you stay unemployed, the more glaring the stigma of getting fired becomes.
The good news is that we’ve saved you time by removing the guesswork. Follow the tips outlined below and you might find yourself employed as a Customer Support Specialist while the seat is still warm.
1. Understand Why You Were Fired In The First Place
Getting fired is always a painful experience but understanding why it happened could be the key to landing your next job in customer service.
Your objective is to clear all of the emotions and objectively find out how much of the firing was about you and how much was due to external factors.
- Did your performance consistently fall short of Customer Support Specialist metrics?
- Was it an issue of fit – that you were constantly at odds with your supervisor?
- Were you lacking in key soft skills needed to become an effective Customer Support Specialist?
- Was it a decision made by the company in order to streamline costs?
- Is the company moving toward automating CS work?
Contact your Supervisor or the Hiring Manager who gave you the pink slip and try to sort out the circumstances around your termination.
Getting a clearer idea of why you were fired will give you a better perspective on how to approach your next job application.
2. Shore Up Your Customer Support Specialist Skills List
When you’ve just been fired, it’s perfectly fine to take a few weeks off – even 1-2 months – to relax and unwind. Recruiters can accept unemployment gaps of up to 4 months because they know the job market can get tight and that you might need time for yourself.
It won’t harm your employment prospects to take a month to shore up your Customer Support Specialist skills.
What skills are in demand for positions in customer support?
- Technology – Learn some of the most popular software for customer support work such as ZenDesk, FreshDesk, LiveAgent, HubSpot, and ZohoDesk.
- Language – One or two months won’t be enough time to become proficient in a new language but it will give you a headstart. The business has gone global and many companies have expanded to international markets. Becoming bilingual will enhance your value to potential employers.
- Empathy – Empathy is a soft skill that allows you to understand what the customer is feeling or going through. Companies that hire for customer support run tests to measure a candidate’s ability to empathize.
You can develop empathy simply by listening to people, engaging people in thoughtful discussions, and challenging yourself by participating in activities that get you out of your comfort zone.
- Writing – Customer support can be extended via chat or email. Practice writing messages in a clear and concise manner.
If you get a job in technical support, you must have the ability to write down instructions that can be easily understood by customers. Avoid making errors in spelling and grammar.
- Patience – Another soft skill that’s in demand by companies. You can work on your patience by doing activities that take time such as cooking, going on long runs or walks, and putting together jigsaw puzzles.
3. Give Your Customer Support Specialist Resume a Makeover
If you found a job ad that interests you, don’t send your application until you’ve given your Customer Support resume a makeover.
There are a number of good reasons for this:
- Personalize or customize your resume to fit the needs of the prospective employer. Don’t give a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all resume to the companies you apply to. Tailor fit the information to address the needs specified on the job ad.
- Update your information. If you took up special courses to improve certain skills, you need to mention them in your resume. You can create a new category “Special Courses” or “Certifications” if you got certified.
- Adapt to the times. Show the recruiter that you’re attuned to the changes taking place in customer support such as companies prioritizing candidates who can deliver results under the most stressful situations. You can touch on this matter in the Objective Statement section of your resume.
- Choose the Right Resume Format – Depending on your situation, you might have to change the format you’re using for your resume.
For example, if it’s month #4 and if you haven’t received any solid offers yet, you might have to switch from the reverse-chronological format to the combination format.
Keep in mind that a resume isn’t just a document that summarizes information about your work history and job qualifications. It serves as your first point of contact with the employer and must create a good impression off the bat.
4. Network, Network, Network
Finding your next job in customer support might be closer to home – or your community.
The clear benefit of capitalizing on your contacts list to look for work is that the people in your network are more likely to listen and believe in your circumstances than an anonymous recruiter. They are also more likely to pull strings because they know who you are.
Customer support is a job that greatly involves human interaction. For the most part, you’ll be dealing with people who are troubled, concerned, and irate – customers who might be distressed emotionally.
Having the requisite hard or technical skills is great. But possessing the right personality skills or soft skills such as empathy, patience, conflict resolution, and the ability to perform under duress might be more important for many companies.
Your network can vouch for your character and feel confident about recommending you for a position in customer support.
5. Look For A Right-Fit Job In Customer Support
If things didn’t go well in your last job, you might consider a change of industry for your next tour of duty in customer service. Again, go back to your meeting with HR or your supervisor to discuss the reasons for your firing.
Maybe it wasn’t because of what you didn’t do but rather of who you are. If you were getting into clashes with everyone from customers to co-workers to your supervisor, you probably weren’t a right fit for the job.
Knowing what you know now, you’ll have a better understanding of which industry and what type of support work suits your particular skill set.
While it’s imperative to get hired within 4 months since getting fired, be more selective with the jobs you apply to. Learn more about the company, the nature of the job, the skills needed, and the current workplace culture.
6. Attach a Cover Letter to Your Resume
A cover letter is simply a letter of introduction. It summarizes your work experience, skills, formalizes your intent for applying for the position, and why you believe you’re the ideal candidate.
Many job seekers make the mistake of not attaching a cover letter to their resume thinking that recruiters don’t bother to read them. However, a study by JobVite showed that 26% of recruiters do read them and that 56% of employers prefer resumes that have cover letters attached to them.
The cover letter also gives you an opportunity to include the name of a person who carries a level of influence in the company you’re applying to. Sometimes this is all it takes to get the attention of the recruiter.
If you do have the name of a contact who can move the needle to your favor, make sure he’s mentioned in the first paragraph ideally in the first sentence.
When you’re dealing with a customer who’s emotionally distressed, the first thing you do is to calm him down so he can properly articulate his concern.
After getting a complete understanding of the situation, you then proceed to take the customer through a series of procedures that have been developed to resolve the problem.
Follow the same process when you’re trying to land a job in customer support after getting fired. Settle down, allow the emotions to dissipate, review your current skill set, be clear on the type of customer service work you want, and come up with a game plan before applying for the next job.
You’ll have to rely on one of your key soft skills of a Customer Support Specialist to get you through the job search period – patience. It might take longer than you anticipated but with the right approach, recruiters will look past your recent firing and hire you because of what you can bring to the company.