Top tips to enhance your Customer Service job search

Customer Service, Contact Centre, candidate...

Over the last 18 months the recruitment market has seen significant changes, impacted by historic events like Brexit, the Black Lives Matter movement and the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the ongoing national skills shortage, whereby employers are struggling to find candidates with the right skills to meet their job requirements.

In fact, the pandemic prompted the biggest workforce shift and reallocation of skills since World War II – the hospitality sector, for example, was hit particularly hard by lockdown restrictions and some workers were forced to reskill so that they could move into new jobs in other sectors. Today we’re seeing promising signs for job seekers in hospitality, with the Hotels & Retail sector in particular bouncing back as organisations are significantly increasing their recruitment activity in this coming quarter, compared to Q2 2021, according to the latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey (MEOS).

The data also suggests that employers’ confidence in the market is growing, as both business operations and recruitment activity are returning to how they were before the pandemic hit. Shaped by the events of the last 18 months, front office or customer-facing roles are among the UK’s top five most in-demand roles for this quarter, so now is the perfect time to look for your next customer service opportunity. In this post, we’re sharing market insights and top tips to help you succeed in your job search.

Make your job search a targeted one

According to research from thinktank Global Future, more than three-quarters of people in the UK say that the coronavirus pandemic has made them re-evaluate the most important aspects of their lives, including work. So before diving into your job search, take a step back and reflect on what kind of organisation you want to work for. Which missions do you care about and want to be part of?

Research companies’ websites, including their careers pages, to learn about the unique offering they provide as an employer, whether their values align with your own, or what they’re doing to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace. Look up the company on Glassdoor to see what current and former employees say about their experiences of working there. Do your homework to ensure that the organisation meets your own priorities, whether that concerns flexibility, professional development, team environment or the overall purpose you’ll be contributing to. When your job search is targeted, you’ll significantly increase your chances of successfully landing a new role.

The future of work is hybrid: a blend of home and office-based working

Rather than returning to a pre-pandemic, fully office-based model, many organisations are adopting a hybrid solution by combining a mixture of remote and office-based work. Data from the MEOS Q3 2021 shows that 3 of every 4 employers will require 50% of their workforce to be based in the workplace all or most of the time, given the type of roles they work in. However, most employers are building more flexibility into their jobs, through measures like flexible start and finish times, or offering the option to work condensed hours.

With all this in mind, keep your options open during your job search. Working-from-home job opportunities are now available on a volume scale, meaning that your proximity to an office location is no longer a barrier to entry and you could potentially work for an organisation elsewhere in the UK. But with the knowledge that many organisations are adopting hybrid working solutions, you should be mindful that some employers will want you to work from their office for at least part of the week.

Stand out from the competition with the skills that employers most need

According to MEOS data, 77% of employers in the UK are having difficulty filling their jobs, as they’re struggling to find the right combination of technical skills (otherwise known as hard skills) and human strengths (soft skills) in candidates. This is a great opportunity to assess your own skill set and consider upskilling to give yourself the best chance of success in your job search.

A quick scan through some customer service job descriptions will indicate the general base requirements, or hard skills, employers are looking for. Excellent communication skills will be a given, both written and verbal, so you need to be confident composing emails and picking up the phone. You’ll also need to be comfortable using IT, for example be proficient with MS Office. Consider refreshing or updating these skills to plug any gaps – if you want to boost your Excel know-how, there are plenty of training courses available online, or you could volunteer your time for a worthwhile cause to build up your experience in these areas.

Listed below are the most in-demand soft skills that employers need in their businesses, so come up with examples that demonstrate how you’ve drawn on these skills and share these in your application or during the interview process – this will really help you to stand out from the competition:

  1. Accountability, reliability, discipline
  2. Resilience, stress tolerance and adaptability
  3. Leadership and social influence
  4. Critical thinking and analysis
  5. Taking initiative

Invest in your future through learning and upskilling

Consider where else you could use your skills, creating the possibility of starting a new role or joining an industry that you haven’t worked in before. Many employers will welcome the different perspective you’ll bring to their organisation. Research which roles or sectors your skill set could adapt to, or if you want to make a career change, identify any skills gaps and break this overall ambition down into smaller step-by-step goals. By joining the customer service sector, this might look like starting out as a Customer Service Advisor, before eventually progressing to becoming a Customer Service Team Leader.

With offices spread throughout the country, we have hundreds of temporary and permanent customer service job opportunities available across a range of industries. Our experienced consultants will work closely with you to understand your experience and skillset, then use their specialist knowledge to match you with suitable roles. View all our job opportunities and apply for a role today.