Resume Writing Tips
Why don’t you get more invitations to interview for a position when you respond to a posting or send your resume to a recruiter?
The reason could be your resume – what’s in it, and perhaps even more important, what’s not.
Resumes in General
Before examining the specifics of a call center professional’s resume, the general principles of all resumes need to be understood.
A resume should be a professional presentation by the individual. It is a reflection of the individual and gives the first impression to a prospective employer.
A resume will reflect poorly on you if you have typos or sentences running off the page. Even though you’re not applying for a position as a proof-reader, your resume should not contain any spelling or grammatical errors, especially in the era of spell check, although we know that is not always infallible. Have a friend check your resume. (Did you know one of the best ways to check for errors is to proofread your resume backward?)
Your resume should be presented in reverse chronological order, listing your last place of employment first, and working backward from there. It must also list the dates of employment at each company, and show if you have been promoted from one job title to another within the same company.
Shorter Is Not Better
There are varying opinions on how many pages a resume should be. I firmly believe a resume does not, and in most cases, should not, be limited to one page. Anyone with more than 5 years of work experience certainly needs more than one page to outline their work history, responsibilities and accomplishments. I have rarely had a client company reject a candidate because a resume was too long, but I have had clients disqualify candidates as being too “light weight” because their resume was too short!
In general, 2-3 pages is long enough to cover the essentials and spark interest, yet short enough to be read thoroughly.
One of the cardinal rules of resumes bears repeating, particularly since the call center industry is so small and closely knit: Always be truthful, especially about your terms of employment and your educational credentials.
A Treacherous Maneuver
It is foolhardy to stretch a term of employment at one company a couple of years to cover short stints at 2 other companies. Terms of employment are the easiest aspect to check and are the one piece of information that most Human Resources Departments will release without your authorization. So even if your old boss will gladly “cover for you,” stretching your dates is not advisable. It’s easier to explain a termination than to explain the omission on your resume.
Also, if you are no longer employed by your last company, reflect that by putting an end date on your resume. In this day of mergers and acquisitions, and downsizing and right sizing at all types of companies, the fact that you are temporarily unemployed is not a negative reflection on you. As a matter of fact, a prospective new employer may look at your unemployed status positively because you are immediately available and a serious candidate who won’t get a counteroffer.
The resumes of call center professionals have unique requirements. After the name of each company for which you have worked, give a brief description of what the company does. Is it an industrial manufacturer, consumer marketer, or service agency? What does it sell? How large is the company in sales, or number of employees? You may feel that everyone should know this, but you’d be surprised at how many people might not be familiar with your employer.
Next, give an overview of the department you manage. Were you involved in its start-up, or turn-around? Do you market to businesses, consumers, or both? Is your call center inbound, outbound, or both? Which automation tools are utilized and did you have responsibility in the selection process?
Also be sure to tell how large your department is. How many intermediate supervisors do you manage? And how many representatives do you oversee? Do they work full-time or part-time? How many shifts do you supervise?
Also, tell the reader what is accomplished in your center. Does your department sell a service or product, provide full account management, place cold calls, generate or qualify leads, set appointments, take orders or provide customer service? Although a resume can only serve to outline your experience, it should be fleshed out enough to spark interest as someone who is well qualified to fit the reader’s needs.
The best way to grab the reader’s attention is to quantify your responsibility and accomplishments whenever possible. In other words, try to translate your responsibilities and accomplishments into numeric form. Some employers scan resumes for numbers and percentages and place great importance on them. Therefore, tell what size budget you control, and how much revenue your department generates. If possible, tell how your department contributes to the bottom line. And be sure to mention how much growth, in percentages, has occurred since you’ve taken over the department. This may seem inconsequential, but when quantifying your experience, be sure to use numbers and not letters, i.e. “1,000,000” not “one million.” Numerals, especially with lots of zeros, make a much greater impact on the reader!
Describe your responsibilities. Tell if you hire, train, motivate, and briefly how you accomplish this. Describe any innovative methods you employ for ferreting out successful call center employees and how you keep them motivated and productive. If turnover in your department is impressively low, state so.
Mention the way you monitor productivity standards and if you’ve had responsibility for structuring pay scales and incentive plans for employees.
Describe your responsibility for devising marketing plans and strategies and your involvement in list selection, segmentation and database management. Also outline any involvement you have with other methods of sales or distribution, such as eCommerce.
And most importantly, make sure to emphasize your accomplishments in each position you have had.
Whatever you do, remember that key words are an essential ingredient for resumes to pop to the top of the prospect pile during the initial screening process.
You’ll find more success in your job search if you present as full a picture of yourself as you can in an orderly and concise manner.
Checklist For A Professional Call Center Resume
- What your company does
- How large the company is
- What your department sells or services
- How many you supervise
- Whether your department is inbound, outbound, sales, service or a combination
- Whether you sell to consumer or businesses
- Whether you sell nationally, regionally, or locally
- What automation is utilized
- If you have outside client contact
- If you’ve ever used a service agency
- If you’ve ever been involved in a start-up or turnaround
- The size of your budget
- The amount of revenue your department generates
- Your department’s contribution to the bottom line
- If you’ve been promoted
- Your accomplishments in each position you’ve held
- Your education, professional organizations or certifications