When you’re looking for a job in customer support, making a resume can be difficult; especially if you don’t have a lot of prior experience in the industry. The people going over your resume will be looking for skills that aren’t just abstract, but are frustratingly difficult to showcase on a resume. That said, even if you don’t have past experience to cite, you can still make a compelling case for why you’d make a great support agent.
Irrespective of the company you’re applying at, all jobs in support require people who can:
- Guide others effectively
- Communicate clearly and concisely
- Learn new things quickly
- Be meticulous and methodical
When we spoke to Jeff Vincent at Wistia about how they do support, and he had this to say about what he looks for in resumes:
“When I’m looking at applications, I look for detail-oriented folks who are willing to put themselves out there a bit. No stock resumes, but rather a cover letter that indicates research and displays personality.”
So here are a few ways to make sure your resume calls attention to the skills that qualify you for a job in customer support.
To start with, you should make sure to mention any experiences you’ve had dealing with customers at any time. Even if you weren’t a support representative, having interacted with customers in any way prepares you for many things. You learn to handle pressure well and how to calm down people who are frustrated. So feature any customer-facing experience you’ve had noticeably on your resume.
Your ability to learn
To illustrate your ability to learn, you have to go over things you’ve done in your life and identify instances where you showed a natural aptitude for understanding new things. When making a resume, we often fail to consider a lot of the things we’ve done, because we don’t see them as work experience.
If, for example, you regularly answer questions on Quora that are educative in nature, that’s exactly the kind of thing you have to highlight on your resume. If you’ve taken part in something like the Google Top Contributor Program, answering people’s questions on Google product forums, that should go on your resume. Things like this are important because they go to show that you can understand a product or service well enough without the need for formal training. It’s concrete proof that you can learn something well enough to be able to explain it to other people. They serve to show that you are helpful by nature, and are likely to do well in a job that involves helping people.
So provide links to your forum profiles or include excerpts of your answers. Highlight instances where you’ve excelled in classes of any kind so that you convey you’re a quick learner.
An example of a section including links to a forum profile
You can also make a list of everything you learned in your current or previous job – be it a new tool, workflow or data management system – and present the ones that display your learning skills best, in your resume.
In addition, try and remember everything you’ve accomplished that underscores your aptitude for learning new things. Pick the ones you’re most proud of, and give them prominence in your resume.
How you empathize when solving a problem
The fundamental quality that anyone hiring a support agent looks for is empathy. The dictionary defines empathy as ‘the ability to understand and share the feelings of another’. Why is this important? You can’t help solve someone’s problem if you can’t empathize with them. You can’t guide someone through a solution without understanding how the problem is affecting them.
Your ability to teach the things you know is one of the most reliable tests of empathy. The best way to get someone to learn what you know is by putting yourself in their shoes and understand where they’re coming from. So you should call out all the times you’ve had teaching-related experience on your resume. If you have a record of teaching, be it written tutorials or class presentations, now would be the time to draw attention to it.
The way you teach shows how effective your answers are and how easily your explanations can be understood. It illustrates how well you can help someone learn something new (like a tech support solution) without sounding too complex or condescending. In addition, it also demonstrates how much attention you pay to detail – something that is invaluable in customer support.
The way you use your words
For a job that involves nothing but interacting with customers, language and communication are vital in ensuring success. Communication doesn’t mean flowery language, though; in customer support, you can’t afford to use 200 words where one screenshot would do.
Not everyone has a portfolio of answers on Quora that exhibits their knack for screenshots, or an active profile on Google product forums full of helpful GIFs. So, what can you do then? Well, your skill in communication will speak for itself in the way you present your resume.
How well you manage to bring out your specific strengths, how effectively you convey your qualifications, how well you articulate on paper – all of these will tell the person looking at your resume how fit you are for the job. So make sure to use simple, clear language – while fancy words are well and good, brevity is the soul of wit. Or in this case, customer support.
If you have records of your writing or speaking – say, a blog, or videos of speeches – make sure you add links to them in your resume. A well-crafted resume prompts the person looking at it to examine these examples, thereby lending more credibility to your skills.
Attention to detail
If you aren’t already, being familiar with what generally goes into customer support could go a long way towards helping you make a better resume. You’ll also find that every company does customer support differently. The company you’re applying to will have its own unique flavor of support, so go to their website and check it out. Look at at how they handle queries, how they’ve written their knowledge base, how easy it is to reach them, what they’re doing on social media and so on.
You’ll gain a deeper appreciation of how things work in their support model. It will also advise you on how exactly to tailor your resume. For instance, if you find that they’re particularly active on social media, you can make sure to emphasize that you can handle social media well and cite any relevant experience you might have. You’ll also end up learning more about their product, which will work immensely in your favor.
This analysis of their support process will let you form your own opinions of what they’re doing really well and where you think they could do better. You could even use a portion of your resume, be it the cover letter or a separate page, to mention the things that you found really impressive. You could also add suggestions for the things you think could be improved, if you have any. Your perspective as an outsider can help the company see things in a new light, and will also tell them you have an eye for this sort of thing.
In an age where good customer support can work as some of the best marketing, support managers prize the quality of showing initiative. Going above and beyond your basic responsibilities will prove to be the turning point of many support interactions. So providing examples for your ability to take initiative and go the extra mile will greatly add value to your resume.
So, to summarize, even without an extensive background in customer support, you can create a resume that will impress support managers. Just remember to recount – with examples – all the times you’ve:
- Had any experience dealing with customers
- Shown natural aptitude for learning
- Excelled in a teaching role
- Exhibited impeccable communication
- Shown initiative and dedication
With some companies, you stand to gain a competitive advantage if you know your way around a helpdesk, and have certifications to attest to your skill; the Freshdesk Academy can help you with that, for example. If you want to understand how some of the best support teams in the world work and what their managers look for in support reps, check out our series The Secret Sauce to Customer Support.
In the end, no resume can guarantee you a job; but everything we’ve discussed will go quite a long way towards getting you an interview, and setting the stage for you to win them over with ease. We’re rooting for you!
Let us know what has worked for you, or if you’re the one hiring, tell us what you look for. Leave a comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear from you!