Great Customer Service Skills to Put on Your Resume (and How to List Them)

May 27, 2020 | Resumes

A title graphic featuring a service worker delivering bags to a woman with an alternate version of the article's title: "Customer Service Skills to Put on a Resume"

Transitioning into a retail job? Here are some great customer service skills to put on your resume (and how to do it.) 

By: Matt Dupee, CPRW | Resume Writer for Let’s Eat, Grandma

It’s no problem if your career path has taken a detour. (Few careers follow straight lines anymore.)

You may have recently found yourself unexpectedly applying for retail or service-sector jobs, which may feel like a downgrade. Maybe you are in a period of transition between jobs, recently relocated to a new city, abruptly left your last role, or just need a break from sitting at a desk all day. 

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No matter the reason, it’s important you understand how to show customer service skills on your resume for retail jobs. Doing so is crucial if you want to score that ideal position quickly and without much heavy lifting.

Why is it Important to Emphasize Transferable Skills? 

When applying for roles outside your comfort zone or skillset, whether that’s as a delivery driver, sales associate, or anything else, it’s important to highlight transferable skills and show relevance from past jobs on your resume. The resume that you used for one type of job won’t necessarily work for another.

Say you are a UI/UX designer who’s just been laid off, or perhaps the startup you joined lost funding. (Or maybe you’re a project manager, a business development associate, or a software engineer — just insert your own job throughout this article!)

All of sudden you’ve found yourself in an extremely competitive market where the job search could take some time. You need to keep earning a steady income so you make the decision to apply for some retail roles while you continue actively job searching.

You figure that you can just use your UI/UX tailored resume that landed you your last role as a designer. No problem, right? No, big problem!

That UI/UX resume you wrote is designed to target keywords and skills required to make it past the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) for a technical design role. You have things like Agile team management, wireframing, or user experience testing all over your resume (at least you do if you want to make it through the ATS).

The problem is that you won’t work on an Agile team or do wireframing in retail. Those technical skills that were crucial for your past jobs won’t be relevant in this new industry. They won’t show why you’re qualified to do this job, in either the ATS or the eyes of the hiring manager.

How Do You Fix the Problem?

Don’t panic! With just a few easy steps, you can re-target your resume for a retail or customer service job. You’ll just need to swap out all those technical terms for skills that speak to the retail space. Sounds simple, right? Well, yes and no.

We can’t just pull words out of the air and think they will work for the ATS because they sound technical. We need to target exact words in job postings. (More on that in this blog.)

I suggest reviewing several retail job postings to understand the skills they are looking for. You can find them under the ”Qualifications” and “Desired Skills” sections towards the end of most job postings.

Then, make a list of the skills in those job postings that you have and trade your technical skills for retail skills. You most likely have utilized many of these skills throughout your career and just haven’t realized it!

Here are some ideas for customer service skills you can emphasize from your past experience:

    • Communication
    • Teamwork
    • Conflict Resolution
    • Active Listening
    • Multitasking
    • Adaptability

Not sure where you’ve used skills like these in your past jobs? Just think about all the complex things you’ve communicated with co-workers, management, and clients: all the efficient phone calls and all the thorough emails that killed the need for a meeting. Think about how you solved problems, no matter what kind of work you were doing. Think about the times you listened to someone’s needs and built a working relationship with them. (Because guess what? Retail is about building relationships!)

And remember: to list the skill on the resume, you must actually possess the skill.

Don’t walk into an interview saying you are a master of conflict resolution if you don’t have a good example of when you resolved an important conflict. I guarantee you will be asked.

Where Can You Integrate Customer Service Skills on Your Resume?

We’ve identified the types of relevant skills we can use to adjust our resume for a retail job. So how do we best show these customer service skills on our UI/UX designer resume?

When I build a resume for a client, I create a customized strategy to help them naturally integrate appropriate ATS keywords. I will typically leave three areas for my clients to customize with ATS keywords down the road so that their resumes can break past the electronic gatekeeper and be “seen” by a human. This includes their resume title, some broad skills under the title, and a more detailed skills section in bullet or list format, like this:

An example of the top of a resume with several places to integrate ATS keywords.
An example of a well-formatted skills section with several places to naturally include customer services on a resume.

You can also tailor your professional experiences in the same way. Perhaps you have a bullet point about how you conducted user experience research for an important project:

  • Created and implemented a user exit survey for new product line, gaining key insights on eCommerce checkout process and improving usability KPI’s by 40%

Turn it into a bullet about directly communicating with customers and your team, like this:

  • Created a user survey and followed up directly with respondents to gain feedback on a new product, then communicated insights with team to improve product KPI’s by 40%

You’ve just turned an experience with research into an experience about customer service and teamwork! Subtle shifts in language like this throughout your resume can go a long way towards showcasing your transferable skills.

With a new resume that translates your past experience into customer service skills, you’ll be sure to get through to the interview stage. But what happens in the interview? We have another blog for that.

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