Call centers are in many ways the 21st century's answer to the mills of the 20th century. They are a place for people with limited higher education to get steady work in a safe environment that often includes benefits like health insurance and paid vacation. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that call center employees can expect to wages between $11 and $18 an hour as of 2010, and that positions in this field are expected to grow faster than average between 2008 and 2018.
Locate call centers in your immediate area. This may take extensive Internet research, inquiring with contacts and general investigation. Call centers are not public buildings, and rarely advertise their presence.
Find the corporate website for companies with call centers in your area. Click through to the employment page and find out if they are hiring at the call center in your area.
Print the job descriptions for positions in your region. Read them, highlighting or otherwise noting the key skills and knowledge bases related to the job.
Prepare a template resume with the basic details of your employment, skills and education.
Create a specific resume for each position. For each, highlight the skills and experiences most suited to the job you want. For example, a position with a bank might mean you highlight the money handling and accounting aspects of your previous job at a fast food restaurant. For a position with a sporting goods store, you would focus on the customer contact and problem-solving skills associated with the drive-through.
Apply for the job via the company website, e-mail, fax or mail. Use your resume and draft a cover letter that specifically describes what makes you ideal for the call center position.
Prepare for the interview if called for one. You will want to research the company itself, the industry as a whole, and the position in particular for attitudes and answers the interviewer will be looking for.
Show up five to 10 minutes early for the interview. During the interview, always keep in mind that you are applying for a customer service position that relies on your voice and presentation. Focus on answering as you would like to hear a customer service representative speak to you over the phone.
Tips & Warnings
- Some call centers are subcontractors that work for name-brand companies, but hire and train on their own. It can be harder to find employment leads for this kind of center, but they are more likely to post advertisements in local job boards and on recruiting websites.
- You can get relevant experience by volunteering at the phone banks for charities in your local area, or by taking responsibility for the phone tree at your church or scouting group.
- Knowing a foreign language, especially Spanish, can increase your chances of getting a job in this field. Many employers pay a bonus to employees who speak multiple languages.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages 2010 -- Customer Service Representatives
- "Job Hunting for Dummies"; Max Messmer; 1999
- SnagAJob.com: What it Takes to Work in a Call Center
- Photo Credit Jack Hollingsworth/Photodisc/Getty Images
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