Major companies have a certain allure. Because of their reputation, many of us would be proud to say, we work for a brand name. It might be that they fill something important in our souls; perhaps identifying with the image that such a company conveys.
Or, it could be that we have preconceived notions of what a wonderful employer they might be, or the bragging rights one would have by belonging to their team.
There are several companies and organizations like this throughout the nation: brands and services that evoke positivity through their reputations.
But trying to break into a major company is hard. You might see opportunities frequently on job sites or via friends (of friends) on Facebook, but they list likely list skills or experiences that you do not have. Or they might only be accessible through connections you wish you had. From the outset, they seem unreachable.
However, all is not lost, for where there is a will, there is a way. As a rule, there are always going to be jobs that some people do not want to take. And that applies to big names as well. These, of course, will still require some skills, but they are not the ones that take years to gain. Instead, they are the ones that require self-control and working with people.
They might be physically or mentally demanding, have odd or long hours, or be remote. But in many cases, the jobs that are among the most challenging, and are open to people with less highly developed technical skills are those that are customer-facing such as telesales or call-handling.
These departments are, let’s not kid ourselves, mentally demanding. They require resilience and fortitude as the people on the other end of the phone can be emotionally demanding, excited (to be polite), or perhaps obtuse. Interacting with John Q Public is not easy. And as such, companies will burn through their call handling staff.
However, what one person might cast aside could be another person’s diamond in the rough. If one has the interpersonal skills to listen, follow scripts, reinforce company policies, and be detached, then working as a customer service representative is a way into a big company.
You might be asking though, can I endure that sort of pressure? And that is a valid question. But if your objective is to break into that Google or Amazon and you don’t have the programming or finance skills, this would be a sacrifice worth making. If you keep that long-term goal in mind, then you know that there is an end of the tunnel.
But you must also realize, even if you find it tough, this is a job you have to do well.
Customer representatives have to have good interpersonal skills. Top of the list is actively listening to coax out of customers what they are trying to communicate. Customers can find it challenging to explain what they need or might be overwrought and frustrated, evincing anger in a conversation. As a call handler, you have to detach yourself as a member of the company in order to cut through the confusion or not be spurred to react to the anger.
Keeping one’s composure under stress is, therefore, a critical factor in this sort of work. But also, being able to find the best way to proceed is important. This requires understanding how the organization works, the right department to solve a situation, and/or whether there is anything that you as a rep can do. Many times, call handlers form the bridge between customers and other departments. Therefore they need to accurately record issues and explain solutions.
Some representatives are more involved in sales. In these situations, having some charm that can upsell a customer, suggesting perhaps a premium product, or extra package of features is valuable to the company.
All of these different situations will help you get to know the company, network, learn the company jargon, policies, and in some cases develop clientele who will want to reconnect with you the next time they need something from the company.
By working in any capacity in the company, you can learn when other opportunities arise as well as establish a reputation.
Customer-facing differs between companies. Some have centralized call centers while others might be remote; some have active telesales approaches, some might have service desks or put people in the field to meet with customers. While the way that companies interact with the public varies, what is common are those key interpersonal skills to deal with the customers as they are the ambassadors for the company that you admire.
When applying for a customer representative post, you need to highlight your interpersonal skills strengths. You can do this by having relevant work in your resume, but you can also communicate such when you attach your cover letter. There, you need to show you:
–Have patience and can actively listen
–Want to be of service to others, and get personal satisfaction by doing such
–Can be resourceful
–Are adaptable and flexible.
You can illustrate your nature by telling about any prior experience you have which would show the above being applied to a situation. If you do not have work experience on which to draw, then consider other experiences in your life. Perhaps it might have been in your academic career or something in your local community. You might have done something for family or friends on which to draw.
What is important is that you demonstrate you understand what is critical to the job and that you are thinking about how you would fit into their organization. You are also showing your motivation and ability to problem solve as well as being goal-oriented.
Wanting to participate in something greater than yourself is a way to grow. It moves one from being but one individual to part of a team delivering something for a company that others, like you, admire. It is a journey you want to take. And while the route might be challenging, finding your way into that admired company is that first step.