Dear HR,

I was just laid off and I need a job fast! What is the best way to spend my time in my job search? I know you say I should tailor my resume and cover letter for each job I apply for, but that takes a lot of time. If I just have one resume and cover letter, I can send it out to at least 25 places every day. At most, I can only apply for five jobs per day with a custom resume for each job.

Wouldn’t it be better to be seen by a lot of companies rather than just the few that I have time to write targeted resumes for? Explain to me why sending out a large quantity of resumes won’t work.

Thank you,

Confused about Resumes

 


Wouldn’t it be better to be seen by a lot of companies rather than just the few that I have time to write targeted resumes for?

Dear Confused about Resumes,

First, we are sorry to hear that you’ve been laid off! We know that is a scary thing to face, and we applaud your tenacity to find a job quickly. Unfortunately, sending out dozens of generic resumes everyday isn’t going to shorten your search. In fact, it might lengthen it.

Do you remember the Friends episode where Rachel sends out hundreds of resumes, all with a major typo on them? Well, that episode is more than 20 years old, and even then, it’s not how Rachel landed her first job in the fashion industry. It’s the act of a desperate person who doesn’t know how to job-hunt and is just hoping for a miracle.

Recruiters can smell desperation. Would you hire a desperate person? In most industries, probably not. Recruiters are looking for competent employees who actually want to work for their companies. They are looking for the person who is going to bring value. If you send them a generic resume and cover letter, what message are you sending? The message they will see is that you didn’t care enough to take the time to craft your materials to their job description.

Even worse, if your resume and cover letter doesn’t fit their job description, how does the recruiter know that you are the right candidate for the job? If you don’t customize your keywords and skill list for the job, your materials might not fit the job description. Even if you know you can do the job, remember that the recruiter or potential employer doesn’t know you.

So, your question is about what will work faster to find a job: quantity or quality. The answer is, undeniably, quality. There are a couple short cuts you can take to speed up your search, though.

Create a resume for each kind of job you want to do

If you are like most job searchers, there’s a few jobs you think you could do reasonably well. The wise thing to do is to create a resume for each kind of job that reflects the keywords employers are looking for in that industry. That way, when you need to customize a resume for a specific employer’s advertisement, all you have to do is take your pre-created resume that most closely fits the advertisement’s criteria and make minor changes to wording to reflect the words used in the ad. This step should save you at least an hour on each job application, but you do have to do a bit of work up front to create a few different resumes.

Keep a text-only resume so you can copy/paste information in job applications quickly

One of our favorite time-saving methods is to have a basic, text-only resume saved in NotePad or TextEditor. You can easily copy/paste information from your previous jobs into each job application, which saves a ton of time.

Keep a log of your answers to job application questions

Job applications usually ask you questions at the end that require a typed response. Before you submit your response, copy/paste the question and your answer in a Word file. Then, next time you have an application with the same question, you can clean up your answer to fit the employer’s job advertisement. Time saved!

Tap Your Network

The absolute best way to find a job quickly is through your network. You should have a solid LinkedIN profile, and you should set the recruiter alert to show you’re looking for a job. You should also email colleagues and let them know you’re looking for a job so they can keep an eye out for jobs that are right for you. You never know—someone might have the power to hire you on the spot. Your network is your most valuable job-hunting asset.

Best of Luck,

HR


 

Customer Service Resume Example

The customer service industry is flooded with job applicants, so if you want to work in this field, you need a resume that stands out from the crowd. One of our recent clients has graciously allowed us to use her resume as a customer service resume example for our readers.

Customer Service Resume Example Case Study

Our client, Dora, is a highly experienced customer service specialist with over 30 years in the industry. She has worked for big retail chains like Kmart and Target, as well as the former magazine distribution powerhouse, Chas Levy.

Dora has the skill set that you would expect from a customer service specialist. She’s an expert at customer relationship building, solution-oriented problem solving, and active listening. In fact, Dora is so good at what she does that two companies have promoted her to train new employees, so she’s gained experience in teaching new customer service specialists how to emulate her proven customer service success strategies. She can also drive a forklift.

While Dora’s experience and auxiliary skill set is impressive, she also has an education that compliments her customer service career. She has both a BA in psychology and an MS in human behavior. Basically, she’s everything an employer should want in a customer service specialist.

How to fix your customer service resume

Use a Highly Organized Resume Template for a Customer Service Resume

We started by analyzing Dora’s current resume. She didn’t have a formal, paper resume, but she did have a LinkedIN resume she was using to apply for online jobs. Our first step was deciding what resume format would work best for Dora. Since we wanted to highlight Dora’s strong auxiliary skills and advanced education, We decided to use a resume format with a left-hand column where we could make Dora’s skills and education stand out from her work experience and job duties list.

Keep in mind that when you’re writing a customer service resume, one of the things employers are looking to see is that you are organized. A well-formatted resume demonstrates your commitment to being well organized.

Since the customer service industry is highly competitive, we decided right away that Dora’s resume should be only one page long, and very easy for an employer to scan for keywords.


Icons Make a Resume Easy to Scan (which is good!)

We listed Dora’s contact information first, in the left-hand column of her resume. We used icons for her phone number, email address, and physical address, and listed her phone number first to make it easy for employers to find the information they need to set up an interview with her.

Contact Info Screenshot with icons for phone, email and address

Highlight Education on a Customer Service Resume (but only if it’s relevant)

Next, we highlighted Dora’s education in the left-hand column. Since Dora’s education is relevant to the customer service industry, it sets her apart from other candidates. However, if she had majored in art history or any irrelevant-to-her-industry-major, we wouldn’t have featured her education so prominently on her resume.

Education listing Dora's MS in Human Behavior and BA in Psychology

Use Keyword-Rich Skills on a Customer Service Resume

Finishing off the left-hand column of Dora’s resume is a list of skills. Dora sent us a few jobs advertisements in which she is interested, and from those, we crafted her skill list so that employers see immediately that she has what they need. Almost every job requires applicants to know Microsoft Office and Point-of-Sale systems. Most list “customer service” and “conflict resolution” as necessary skills as well.

We are basically doing the recruiters’ jobs for them—that’s the key to landing an interview quickly. Your resume should make it blatantly obvious that you’re the best person for the job.

Dora's skills, which include microsoft office, point of sale systems, customer service, conflict resolution and grief therapy.

You will notice that we threw in Dora’s grief therapy skill in this list. While it’s not completely relevant to the kind of job she wants right now, it’s a talking point that employers will remember. Not many customer service specialists have grief therapy training, and you never know, Dora may find a job in a funeral home where this skill will make her an excellent resource for customers.



Leave off the Objective and Include a Professional Profile

Instead of starting the main column on Dora’s resume with a trite objective, we replaced her customer service resume objective with a professional profile that introduces her to potential employers. We always keep this list short; 3-4 bullet points are just enough.

Dora’s original resume had a summary at the top that said:

“30 years of customer service experience. Degrees in Human Behavior and Psychology. Exceptional working with the public”

We wanted to expand on that and give Dora a proper introduction because you only have one chance at a first impression. First, we point out Dora’s extensive 30-year experience. Then, we craft two bullet points that hit more keywords we know employers in the customer service industry need (because they list them in their job advertisements): customer-relationship building and problem solving. We end with a quick list of Dora’s certifications. Her improved introduction looks like this:

  • 30 years of customer service experience
  • Advanced customer-relationship building skill set
  • Detail-oriented problem solver adept at adapting to high-pressure situations.
  • Certifications including OSHA, forklift, IDOT First Aid, Kodak/Fuji photo processing and the Ministry of Care (Archdiocese of Chicago)

Use Keywords in Your Job Duties List

Finally, we craft Dora’s work experience list. The first two jobs on the list have very thorough descriptions, and we write shorter descriptions for older jobs. We are still keyword harvesting throughout the job duty descriptions, though. Remember: We are trying to show, without a doubt, that Dora is the right person of the job. If we make it easy for the recruiter to see that, we drastically increase Dora’s chances at landing an interview.

Dora currently works at a local motel on the weekends. In her original resume, she listed her duties as:

Greet guests. Facilitate Check in/ Check out. Give the guests excellent service. Problem solving, updating information and data, working with co-workers to give the guests the ultimate experience in vacationing.

We optimized her description for keywords, and broke it into both a short story-telling starter sentence and a bulleted list of job duties.

FRONT DESK CLERK

Happy Motel / Inverness, FL / 2013 – Present

Ensuring guests have a relaxing and enjoyable vacation experience by meeting their hospitality expectations through services such as:

  • Greeting guests upon arrival
  • Overseeing guest check in/check out
  • Troubleshooting guest issues through teamwork with my co-workers
  • Maintaining and updating customer data

Dora recently left a position at Target. This was the description of her duties on her original resume:

Responsibilities: 
answering guests inquiries both in person and on the phone. Fitting room experience, maintaining merchandise, creating displays, operating cash registers and amazing guest service.

Accomplishments
: I work hard to give every guest an amazing shopping experience. I go above and beyond what is expected of me, both to the guest and to my team members.

Once again, we optimized it with keywords and a bulleted list:

TEAM MEMBER

Target / Lady Lake, FL / 2013 – 2018

Provided outstanding customer service while fulfilling other retail-related responsibilities including:

  • Monitoring fitting rooms to reduce shrinkage and ensure customer satisfaction
  • Managing inbound customer telephone calls
  • Operating point of sales systems both for inventory purposes and to 
complete customer purchases
  • Creating and maintaining merchandise displays

For the last three jobs on her resume, we wrote short descriptions that briefly told the story of what she did at the job, while still weaving keywords throughout:

RETAIL SKILLS TRAINER

Cracker Barrel / Kodak, TN and Belleview, FL / 2007-2011
In charge of training new and current employees on standard business practices, including safety concerns, product knowledge, record keeping, etiquette and providing the best possible customer service and engagement.

TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR

Kmart / Norridge, IL / 2004-2007

Coordinated all professional development activities for a store of more than 80 employees. This included conducting test preparatory sessions, scheduling training sessions and certifying employees for forklift and other skills necessary for their positions.

MERCHANDISER

Chas Levy / Chicago, IL / 1997-2007

Circulated magazine stock at multiple stores throughout the Chicago area.

When we finished with the Work Experience section, Dora’s resume was done and ready for a final read to make sure we didn’t miss any keywords. Here is Dora’s final resume, which you can download and use as an example:

Customer Service Resume Example

Dora Resume 2018 - No contact info

Dora is thrilled with her new resume, and in the five days since we sent it to her, she has landed an interview with a potential employer. We know she is going to find an excellent job that fits her skill set!

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Update: Dora Found a Job in Less than Two Weeks!

With her new resume in hand, Dora landed a job with an employer she loves in less than two weeks. She had multiple interviews, and was able to pick the employer that best suited her needs. Having a fantastic resume works! If you need help rewriting your resume, visit our Etsy Shop

Replace your customer service resume objective - feature

Writing a customer service resume objective takes finesse and creativity. The smartest thing you can do is ditch your resume objective all together and use a “professional profile” or “summary” at the top of your resume. While many other job candidates will rely on their customer service resume objective, you can make your resume stand out by pointing out to employers why you are unique and the best person for the job.

What to Say in Place of Your Customer Service Resume Objective

If you have worked in customer service for any amount of time, you have gained skills that are relevant to employers. After you’ve deleted the customer service resume objective section on your resume, create a list of your career highlights for your potential new employer. You can call this section your “professional profile,” “summary,” or even “career highlights.”

This section can be either a paragraph or a bulleted list, but in most cases, the bulleted list works best because it helps employers scan your resume for keywords quickly. Start by listing your years of experience. Then, use customer service keywords to highlight your accomplishments. You can get a list of customer service keywords form Job Scan, or better yet, you can use the duties listed in the job advertisement you’re answering with your resume to find keywords.

Example Professional Profile to Replace Customer Service Resume Objective

To make your resume writing easier, here is a list of example bullet points you might include in a customer service resume:

  • 30 years’ experience delivering exemplary customer service in the retail industry.
  • Advanced conflict resolution skills to ensure repeat guest business.
  • Highly organized, detail-oriented customer service manager.
  • Enhanced communication strategies for keeping customers happy.
  • Solutions-driven team member who delivers consistent customer satisfaction.
  • Received the highest customer satisfaction ratings in 2017 for Amazon’s South East region.
  • Dedicated customer satisfaction expert with advanced problem-solving skills.

What Employers Want to See in Your Customer Service Resume

Employers are scanning your resume to see that you are a problem solver and that you care about making customers happy. Disgruntled customer service representatives don’t attract repeat customers, so employers want to see that you have the willingness to go the extra mile to make a customer happy.


How to List Job Duties for Your Former Jobs

When you list your job duties for each job on your customer service resume, be careful not to just list the mundane duties like “checked out customers” or “kept customer records;” instead, focus what you say on how you benefited your past employers and helped their customers. Show that you’re more than an employee—you’re the answer to your new employer’s customer service prayers.

Instead of:

Checked out/rang up customer orders.

Try:

Assisted customers with purchases and ensured their needs were met during their shopping experience.

Instead of:

Maintained customer records.

Try:

Kept up-to-date customer records with notes regarding how we met customer needs and can exceed their expectations in the future.

Instead of:

Answered the phone.

Try:

Answered customer telephone calls with a cheerful greeting, actively listened to customer concerns, and then either solved their concerns or directed their calls to the person most suited to meet their needs.

Skills for a Customer Service Resume

In the “skills” section of your resume, you should briefly list the skills that make you an exemplary customer service professional. Avoid telling your employer that you can make Access databases, handle cash, or run a cash register. Instead, use keywords related to your industry. Here are a few examples of skills customer service professionals might have:

  • Conflict Resolution
  • Active Listening
  • Customer Relationship Building
  • Solution-Oriented Problem Solving
  • Point-of-Sale Terminals
  • Microsoft Office Software
  • Anything specific to your industry (product knowledge, specific software, customer management software, etc)

We’ve made it easy for you to improve your customer service resume with a handy Customer Service Resume Cheat Sheet that shows examples for skills, professional profiles, and job duty descriptions. Sign up below for your free Customer Service Resume Cheat Sheet.

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Side hustles are becoming a way of life for many of us. We consult in our industries, write blogs, teach part time—you name it. Your side hustle is giving you valuable experience and building your skill set. With any luck, you’re also building your network. You should list your side hustle on your resume in most cases. It’s too valuable not to!

List Your Side Hustle on Your Resume Just Like any other Job

In your list of work experience, list your side hustle just like you should any other job. Give yourself a title and list your duties.

The job duties you list for your side hustle are entirely your choice. For example, if you are trying to show a potential employer that you are a strong managerial candidate, you can list your small business owner duties, like expense tracking, employee scheduling (even if the only employee you schedule is you), and project management.

If you are trying to change industries, look at the duties the employer lists for the job you want and figure out how what you’re doing in your side hustle that fits the ad, and write that for your job duties. The closer you can get to the job advertisement’s language, the better your chances at scoring an interview.

If your side hustle is more in line to the job for which you applying than your full-time job, list it first on your resume. Since you are doing both jobs presently, this is completely your choice.

Choose Your Side Hustle Job Title Wisely

You can play with your title. If you do business under your own name as a consultant and haven’t incorporated, stick with “consultant.” If you write a blog, but see yourself becoming a freelance writer, call yourself a “writer.” Your side hustle gives you the opportunity to craft your story in whatever way you need to for the job you want.

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Add Your Side Hustle Skills to Your Professional Profile

Certainly by now you’ve ditched your resume’s objective in favor of a professional profile, so now is the perfect time to add the skills you’ve been cultivating in your side hustle to your professional profile. All the experience you’ve been gaining on the side should shine at the top of your resume.

Be sure to list the soft skills you gain as your own employer, like marketing and branding. If you are running your own blog, you are probably learning SEO skills. If you hire independent contractors to help you, you are adept at contract negotiations and payroll processing. These are all perfectly transferrable skills.

We will makeover your resume for just $49!

When Not to List Your Side Hustle on Your Resume

If your side hustle could get you fired from your current job, and you want to keep your current job, don’t list it on your resume. The world is too small to take this risk. Your new potential employer may know your previous employer, and this could spell disaster.

If your side hustle is completely unrelated to the job for which you are applying, leave it off of your resume. If you work as an accountant by day but mow yards on the weekends, the gap between the two jobs is too wide to help you in your job search.

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Ideally, your resume should be one-page long, but definitely no more than two. No matter how cool you think you are, the truth is, employers are scanning your resume for keywords. The more “stuff” you can get rid of between those keywords, the better your chances at landing an interview. The first thing to do is delete high school from your resume.

We read a lot of resumes that contain irrelevant information, or worse, information that makes the candidate look childish, ill prepared, or unprofessional. The last reaction you want from a potential employer is a giggle at your expense. You also want to avoid eye rolls. Do yourself a favor and delete these items from your resume:

Trash High School Achievements on Your Resume

If you are trying to look professional to a potential employer, the last thing you want on your resume is a nostalgic look at your high school accolades. We know your mom was proud of you for making the honor roll. We love that your classmates remember the time that you scored the winning touchdown. Your membership in the National Honors Society or Who’s Who among American High School Students might have been cool back in the day, but it’s of no interest at all to a potential employer.

In fact, listing your high school achievements on your resume makes you look immature. You are a grown adult, and you have done bigger and better things than attending the pseudo-society that is high school. Mentioning your high school glory days is like asking for your resume to be thrown in the garbage.

The only exception to this rule is if you are writing a resume that isn’t intended for an employer, but instead is intended for a scholarship committee or college application—while you’re still attending high school!

Ditch College Sororities, Fraternities, and Clubs

If you were a social butterfly in college, that’s fantastic. We hope you used the opportunity to network with the right people (that is, those with connections that can help you find a job or otherwise grow your career). You should connect with all of your fellow former club members on LinkedIN—but don’t list your college club memberships on your resume!

Like listing your high school accolades, listing your college memberships makes you look immature. Again, you have better things to talk about. Where did you intern while you were in college? What volunteer work did you do? What skills did you master that you’re bringing to a potential employer? List that instead.

No One Cares About Your GPA

Be it high school, college, graduate school, or something else, no one cares about your GPA. Don’t list it on your resume.

The only exception to this rule is if the audience is academic. For example, if you are applying for a teaching assistantship, and your resume is 4.0, list it. If it’s 2.5, don’t list it. If you are applying for a professorship, it won’t hurt you to list your resume if it’s over 3.5, but it more than likely won’t help you either. Academic jobs require you to submit official college transcripts, so your potential employer knows your GPA anyway.

“Proficient” is Another Word for “Loser”

It seems like everyone struggles with what to write in the “skills” or “qualifications” sections of their resumes. The word that makes us (and potential employers) look to the heavens in frustration is “proficient.” Think about it: Would you want to hire a “proficient” heart surgeon? How about a “proficient” fireman?

The word “proficient” means “competent.” Yes, you want a competent doctor, but wouldn’t you rather have one with advanced skills and experience? When you’re competing with other candidates, do you want to look “adequate,” or do you want to look outstanding?

What’s worse is that most employers know that people embellish a bit on their resumes in terms of skills, so when an employer sees that you’re “proficient with Microsoft Excel,” they think, “Oh, so she’s heard of Excel and might be able to locate the software on her desktop.” Instead of using an adjective like “proficient” to describe your ability, try listing how many years’ experience you have using the software or performing the skill. If you have a certification in the skill, list that too.

Save Your Hobbies for Small Talk

We are well aware that one of the standard resume templates in Word has a place for you to list your hobbies. This might be the worst thing to have on your resume on this list. It’s at least tied with high school achievements for last place.

Hobbies enrich our lives. They unlock our creativity and make us well-rounded individuals. They give us something to talk about when making small talk. However, they have no place on your resume. Employers don’t care that you can knit, or that you go sailing on the weekends—at least not during the candidate sorting process. Save it for after you’re hired, or if the interview committee asks what you do for fun. Leave it off of your resume!

One of the biggest mistakes we see on resumes is candidates continuing to use the outdated resume “Objective” line at the top. Here’s a tip: Delete it. Right now.

Resume Objectives Do Not Help You Get a Job

No matter what your industry, your resume’s actual objective is the same—to get a job. Anything you write on the “objective” line is just is some version of “I want a job.” One of the worst objectives we see goes something like, “to work in an environment where my skills may be used for mutual benefit.” Well, duh. If your employer does not see your skills as beneficial to them, they aren’t going to hire you in the first place.

The next worst objectives we see are the ones where the applicant states the job to which they are applying as part of the objective. These look something like, “to be hired as a manager at Vandalay Industries.” Even worse, we see objectives targeted to a different job or company to which the job seeker is applying! Recently, we saw a recently graduated high school student who was applying for an entry-level retail job with a resume objective that read, “to work for Google as a research analyst.” Nothing is more offensive to an employer than to point out that you don’t see their job or company as a place you could stay forever. Sure, Best Buy knows that you probably won’t work there after graduate with your Masters in Engineering, but it’s still rude to point it out—especially before you’ve even scored an interview!

Use Your Resume Real Estate Wisely

The top lines of your resume are important real estate. Employers aren’t reading your resume word-for-word. Instead, they’re scanning for keywords that align with the job for which they’re hiring. They’re scanning quickly to see if you are different than all of the other people in their tower applicants. So, your goal is to make it easy for them to see that you are different. You are special. You are exactly the candidate they’re seeking.

Instead of wasting the top lines of your resume on a boring, obvious objective, use that precious space to explain precisely who you are and why you’re the best candidate for the job. You can do this in a few different ways, but if you’re new to crafting a resume specific to the job for which you are applying, start with a professional profile.

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What to Say in a Professional Profile

Your professional profile can be either 1-2 concise sentences, or a bulleted list of no more than four items. You should tell your accomplishments and what makes you different than all of the other applicants. Here are a few industry-specific examples:

Teacher’s Professional Profile

Certified elementary school teacher with 15 years’ experience helping special education students reach their goals.

Writer’s Professional Profile

Award-winning freelance writer with over 150 articles published in major travel magazines such as Travel and Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler.

Computer Consultant’s Professional Profile

  • Computer consultant with more than 20 years’ experience designing websites and repairing PCs, Macs, and servers.
  • Advanced coding experience in C++, Python, and HTML.
  • Portfolio of more than 200 website designs.
  • A+ Certified computer repair technician.

Customize Your Professional Profile to the Job You Want

Professional Profiles are not a one-size-fits-all description of who are you. You should customize your profile for each job for which you are applying. Try to echo the words the you see used on the company’s website and throughout the job advertisement. Leave no doubt that you are exactly the candidate they want to hire!

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Ditch Your Resume's Objective - Here's what to do Instead - #resume #resumeobjective #job #career #careeradvice