The day I graduated from NUIG, like many, I wasn’t sure what career path I would end up on. I’d spent the previous four wonderful years studying Drama, Theatre and Performance.
Now everybody was now asking the all-important question: what next? I worked in retail for a good stretch, but I knew before long that I wanted a different type of opportunity.
Transferrable Skills & Career Paths
In my search, I came across a job ad for Cpl taking on new Recruitment Consultants. I took the leap and reached out to the internal TA for a chat. Cue a whirlwind of interviews after which I happily learned I had landed the job.
I was thrilled to be joining a company with such a strong reputation and a clear idea of where they wanted to go. My background in performance had taught me the value of teamwork. This would be teamwork in business.
I handed in my notice to my retail job on New Year’s Eve and got ready to start 2020 on a brand-new leaf. The lesson here is you never know what opportunity will steer your career or what transferable skills you might have.
Customer Support and Team Lead Job Opportunities
Within my role I specialise in Office Support recruitment and two of the main roles I recruit for are:
Many people transfer from other industries into customer support roles and in positive news, they are especially remote work friendly. We’re fortunate to live in such a tech-forward age that the basics needed to get most customer support jobs done are access to a phone-line and a stable internet connection.
You’ll see lots of SaaS companies serving in both business-to-customer and business-to-business capacities frequently looking for people to fill positions like these.
As for the personal specification of the differences between Customer Support Specialists and Team Leads, here’s a bit of insight.
Customer Support Specialists
In essence, Support Specialists are the go-to figures for resolving a wide range of queries, complaints and requests from customers and clients.
The role of a good customer support team is to ensure users have a line of support at the ready and that queries or issues are answered quickly and efficiently.
Lots of queries come knotted and some detective work may be involved to unravel them. If you are interviewing for a customer service role you should always practice competency-based interview questions.
For example, if you have a strong example of a time when you took ownership of a complex issue and how you led it to a resolution, you’ll make a good first impression.
The skills you need to be a Customer Support Specialist
If you’re coming from a background that isn’t already Customer Support, any prior experience in administration and acting as the main point-of-contact for a set of customers or clients are great to highlight in any application.
It goes without saying that excellent communication skills are one of the foundational skills for a good Support Specialist. Add to that problem-solving and curiosity to piece together the elements of an issue and you’ll be well set up.
Hard skills, on the other hand, will need to include good PC literacy, even if you don’t consider yourself an IT expert. A willingness to learn is also absolutely essential.
A Team Lead, as the title would suggest, is the spearhead of the customer support team and a more senior position. They act as the point-of-contact for any issues that occupy an urgent or particularly sensitive space, sometimes referred to as escalations.
A good Team Lead is someone who is quick off the mark, as more often than not the team’s work will be measured against time-related metrics or SLAs.
The Skills you Need to be a Team Lead
Apart from experiences similar to those of a Support Specialist, add in previous People Management. This could mean managing a team of colleagues, external stakeholders or, at best, a mixture of the two.
If possible, try and demonstrate on your CV any skills you may have in report-writing and metric analysis. Having a strong eye for detail really counts too, as the Team Lead is often responsible for reporting and presenting results and insights to Senior Management.
CV advice and how to apply for these roles
Given that so many have felt the effects of Covid-19 in their professional lives, the job market now seems more congested than ever. It can feel dizzying trying to know where to begin with an application for one of these roles.
Establishing a strong routine comes first. Whether you prefer to put in the hours in the morning or the afternoon, schedule in some job search time each day. Research these types of roles and start tailoring your CV to the job spec.
As a general rule, any impressive metrics you’ve achieved, awards or recognitions are all gold stars to include on your CV. If absolutely nothing else, don’t give up – resilience pays off.
These are important and challenging roles, whether or not they present themselves first up on your career plan.
A couple of years ago I didn’t predict that I’d be in recruitment or that I’d be working from home every day, but then we’ve all been situations where we haven’t seen what was around the next bend. It can be a scenic journey.