Job Descriptions Decoded: Sales/Customer Service Position

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In this week's "Job Descriptions Decoded," I feature a position for a sales/customer service position. In this series, each week, I analyze a live job listing in a different industry from AOL Jobs and guide you through how to apply for the positions and how to determine what the hiring authority wants to know. This is the third in a series – last week I examined a senior-level finance position and the week before that, I analyzed a tire maintenance job listing.

It's interesting to note that this position description for an "inbound sales rep – customer service rep" leads with information about the company's benefits package.

Keep in mind: when you apply for the position, you should not include anything about your interest in their benefits when you apply. This is just informational and does not require your comments. Keep your focus on how you help them and you'll be more likely to attract the employer's attention.

While it includes "customer service" in the title, the fact that the job leads with a need to accomplish daily, weekly and monthly close rates makes it clear that sales is a primary focus. If you have not worked in sales, it will be a stretch to land this job. Be sure to outline your sales figures, including dollars and percentages in your resume. Be clear about how much above targets you were able to reach, and how your sales compared to those of your peers. Don't forget to list awards, but be sure to include why you won them. For example: "Won organization's 'Supreme Award' for having the most total sales in Q1 2014. Exceeded goals by $28%."

Clearly, you'll also be on the phone answering questions in this job. Be sure to describe any customer service or help desk experience you have. Communication skills are a must, but don't just say you have "strong phone skills." Prove it! For example: "Answered inbound sales calls and effectively solved an average of 15 consumer problems per hour, outranking company expectation of10 resolutions per hour. Consistently earn 4.8/5.0 customer satisfaction rate, compared to average 3.2 company rating."

This is a good reminder to indicate how well you can get to the bottom of a problem. Anyone skilled in customer service knows an upset client doesn't always lead with their actual problem; it's up to you to drill down to assess what is happening and how you can help. Explain how you've been successful in this regard.

Since you'll need to learn about this company's product, be sure to incorporate either specifics about what you know about their industry or your ability to quickly get up-to-speed on whatever information you need to know to provide exceptional customer service. For example: "Quickly ramped up to learn technical and lay-person details of XYZ in order to provide useful, accurate customer service for all clients. Noted as a quick study."

Typically, sales jobs will seek experienced people with track records. However, don't expect the employer to give you credit for your accomplishments just because you've been in sales for a long time; be sure to specify how you've contributed to organizations' bottom lines and list your specific accomplishments.

These specifics are key to include for a successful application. You need to demonstrate how you've been able to communicate well, especially on the phone. "Build relationships" reminds you to include details about how your past customers appreciated you, but don't forget to describe your relationships with colleagues, too. Since you'll be building relationships from scratch, be sure to use examples of how you were able to gain trust and be considered a go-to person in your past work environments. Keep in mind, listening skills (noted here) are as important as your ability to talk! Don't forget to indicate if you are known as a good listener and problem solver.

This is not an uncommon requirement: everyone believes their environment is fast-paced. Include this phrase in your resume, along with a description of how you've succeeded in a fast-paced environment. Including numbers and specifics can go a long way to convincing someone you're prepared to succeed in an intense workplace.

It's possible this organization will expect you to list your skills in PC Windows applications. Be sure there is a line item on your resume, under "Skills" or "Additional Experience" at the end to address this item.

Unless you already work at this company, you'll need to rely on your ability to learn quickly or some research you can do before you apply to make yourself look like you have an understanding of the products before you apply. Use all research tools at your disposal to make sure you sound intelligent and informed about the product.

In your cover letter, you should indicate your availability work a flexible schedule. You can also list this under "Additional Information" at the end of the resume. For example: "Able to work flexible hours." Similarly, if the position had requested someone available to travel, this would be a section to include, "Available to travel." An "Additional Information" section is a great place to include details you want the employer to know, but don't fit easily into other parts of the resume. Keep in mind, not every employer reads cover letters, so keep all of these crucial details in the resume itself.

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