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Customer Service Representatives

If you enjoy working with people, are computer literate and have good communication skills, a position in customer service might be a great fit for you. Get started in this very portable career path with a high school diploma or equivalent and on-the-job training from your employer.

The median salary for customer service representatives is $32,300 per year with the field growing at an average rate of 5 percent. Customer service reps can find employment in almost every industry including credit and insurance agencies, banking, health care, retail, call centers and virtual positions representing many types of organizations. As a customer service rep, you may take orders, handle customer complaints, assist customers with technical issues, instruct customers about products or services, or any combination of these duties.

Working in customer service is a wonderful way to gain job experience and learn transferable skills you can use in any career including the following:

  • Clearly communicating with customers and co-workers in person, on the phone and electronically
  • Answering customer questions and maintaining a professional attitude, even if the customer is difficult or angry
  • Listening skills and patience
  • Problem solving skills
  • Educating customers about products and services and learning to upsell them when appropriate

As you gain experience in customer service, you may find opportunities to advance in sales, training, team leadership or management. You may decide to return to school for additional education and possibly continue in a customer service role to help pay your way. Customer service is also a great fallback position when your life situation changes and you want to work part-time or from a home office, need a flexible schedule or are seeking a virtual opportunity.

Be aware that working in this field can involve unpredictable shift changes and evening, weekend or holiday hours. Some positions may require flexibility, organization and dependable childcare resources you can rely on if necessary.

To learn more about customer service careers, review the Research Occupations tool on MySECO and investigate your options. Take SECO self-assessments to make sure your skills and interests align with your career choice. Talk to others in the field and get their feedback.

Finding employment

Start your job search for customer service positions on the Military Spouse Employment Partnership Job Search. Hundreds of partner employers have made the commitment to recruit, hire, promote and retain military spouses in portable careers.

Job titles to consider when you search include customer service representative, account representative or account service representative, call center representative or member services representative. A recent search of the Military Spouse Employment Partnership Job Search provided job listings with organizations including the following:

You can also search your local state and national job bank for customer service positions or use MySECO's Job Search Tools, which include the following:

Consider volunteering, if possible, or doing an internship and proactively networking to build your contacts and customer service experience. Tell family, friends, co-workers and all others that you are hoping to work in customer service and ask for contacts they might have who can help you build and expand your network. Networking is the most effective job search method.

Customer service offers easy entry into the workforce, a portable career path, an opportunity to build new skills and the ability to grow within an organization. Consider customer service positions as a starting point in your career, a way to earn income in almost any location and a stepping-stone to re-enter the workforce after time away.

Next steps

Call 800-342-9647 and speak with a career coach to discuss career or education choices, searching for a job or overcoming challenges. Coaches are available to review your resume, practice interviewing, discuss networking or assist you in understanding employer requirements for this field.

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