If you can’t find that first job in your chosen profession, but there is a service industry position available, take it. People sometimes look down on customer service jobs as being beneath them, or dead-ends. In a hot job market, like we are currently experiencing, employers often have trouble filling these roles.
So, if you’re stuck in a career rut, or not getting hired for the gigs that you really want, you could do worse than taking a service industry role. Many of the most sought-after skills that can set up the rest of your career can be acquired in jobs like these.
One of the most important lessons that people learn on the job is that on some level we are all in customer service. Whether you are in a directly public-facing role or not, if you are paid to do a job, then someone is expecting results from you, and that person is your customer.
Being successful in a customer-facing role can be the secret to career success. The essential skills practiced in these jobs are crucial to managing working relationships, leading teams, and succeeding in future job interviews.
Five valuable transferable skills from customer service training that can lead to career success:
1. Remembering to smile and keep interactions positive. Act like you’re happy to help out with whatever is asked of you. An upbeat attitude and good work ethic go along way with employers and team members as well as customers.
2. Maintaining eye-contact and effective non-verbal communications. Both in job interviews and on the job, being a pleasant and polished communicator are vital to success. The more people you interact with, the more confidence you will have in future interactions. Skilled communicators get ahead.
3. Practicing active listening and conveying empathy. The ability to really listen to another person is an often overlooked skill. Listen and understand what the other person is saying, rather than just thinking up what you’re planning to say next while they’re still talking. Don’t just hear them, strive to understand how they feel and where they are coming from.
4. Speaking from a prepared script without sounding robotic or wooden. Many customer service roles involve delivering pre-written responses to customer challenges. The trick is to do this while still sounding like an empathetic conversationalist. Telling your accomplishments in a job interview or making your ‘elevator pitch’ in a meeting should all sound friendly and conversational, but you should still practice and prepare them in advance.
5. Being able to think on your feet and problem-solve in unpredictable situations. When your job is interacting with the public, you will meet all kinds of people in a variety of sometimes challenging situations. While some of these will be unpleasant at the time, the skill you gain dealing with the unexpected and resolving customer issues on-the-fly will benefit you throughout your career.
So, don’t look down at that service sector job. If it is the only role available right now, take it and do it well. All career growth comes from showing up, making positive impressions, and learning.