5 Ways (NOT) To Apply For A Customer Service Job

bn-apply-hereHave you ever posted or applied for a job on Craigslist?  It has actually turned out to be a fantastic place to find AWESOME customer service professionals.  The only problem is that along with some great candidates comes a lot of crap to sift through.  Pardon my French but I’m hard-pressed to find a more appropriate word.

What so many applicants don’t realize is that their interview for the position begins the moment they press send on the email.  Some REALLY don’t realize that.  If you are applying for a job that requires you to email a resume, here are five ways to put your best foot forward.

1. Follow the instructions- It is important to follow the instructions in the job posting.  It shows that you have the ability to read, comprehend and follow instructions–all critical customer service (and life) skills.  I have received a few emails asking “How do I apply?” when it clearly says to email your resume and gives the email address to send to.

2. Your email is your cover letter- A huge percentage of the emails I receive have one of the following:

  • A very poorly written email
  • The contents of the resume pasted into the email with no introductory text
  • An attached resume with nothing written in the email

This is your opportunity to write a professional and friendly email that connects with the person doing the hiring.  Always include a proper greeting, signature and a well-written message that shares why you are ideal for the position.  I’m not looking for pages of proof–just one or two paragraphs.

3. Proofread your message- Always proofread your work.  Even the best writers have a second pair of eyes review their writing.  If the message is time sensitive with no one available to read your work, read it out loud.  Your ears have a way of finding typos that your brain might gloss over.

4. Follow the instructions part two- When the post asks you to email your resume, don’t dig up our phone number and start harassing our customer service team.  True story!  Yesterday a guy called our customer service line three times and sales once to demand an interview.  A well-placed call to confirm that we received the resume is within reason.  Harassing your future coworkers is never a good plan–especially at a company that asks them for their input in the hiring process!

5. No pictures, please- I’m sure you look really amazing in that Hollister jacket but you can go ahead and leave that picture on Facebook.  I really just want to see what qualifies you to be a part of our awesome customer service team.

Thank you for hearing me out.  After reviewing hundreds of these emails in recent days, I needed to share these pet peeves.  Now back to the task of hiring AWESOME customer service representatives at Phone.com!


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  • Hello, Jeremy. I recently found this blog and am really enjoying both your and Jenny’s insights into providing better customer service!
    I hate to nitpick, but speaking of tip #3 in this post, you may actually want to revise your December 8 post, “Monday Motivation: There’s Power In Releasing Ownership” (which is numbered 1, 2, 2).
    Thank you for the invaluable resource, I look forward to reading more in the future!

    • Hey Alicia, thanks for stopping by and commenting! Indeed if I’m going to tell people to write well, I should practice what I preach. Thanks for pointing that out!

  • Great post. I one time got a TEXT message from someone interested in a position with my company. I applaud the fact he did some investigation to get my cell phone number but the message read as follows to the letter: “heard u were lookin for someone. Hit me back if interested.” I might also add it came to me at 1:30am. Guess who is NOT getting an interview.

    About the last comment you received, I like the new numbering system of 1, 2, 2, 4. I say let’s banish the number 3 from our system. Three always seems to leave an odd man out. And we NEVER want anyone to feel left out when it comes to #custserv.

    Love ya Jeremy. xoxoxoxo

    • Wow, Doug! I think that one takes the cake. And yes I think we should banish 3. I wish I could say I had done that intentionally. What can I say? I make my share of typos.

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