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Don’t overlook the value of customer service experience. While employers may focus on related work experience, they also want soft skills from recent graduates as well.

For many recent grads, the bulk of their resumé belongs in the customer service industry.

Jobs at movie theatres, department stores, supermarkets, fast-food restaurants…even gigs delivering pizzas or newspapers (you’ll soon find out why!) teach soft skills. But, these customer service roles are only valuable during a job search if the employer recognizes these skills, or the job seeker clearly displays them on the resumé.

Seen an angry customer yell at a young trainee for fumbling a complex order?
You probably criticized the customer for being unreasonable.

But, what about the trainee?

Weren’t you impressed that they demonstrated restraint by not raising their voice, while calmly resolving the conflict as professionally as possible?

Consider the level of composure, positivity, and respect a recent graduate who has endured this type of pressure from some of the most difficult customers for many years, would bring to your workplace, organization, and team.

Customer service representatives possess a wealth of product and service knowledge, researching what they don’t know and need to know. They’ve worked in a fast-paced, high-volume environment, learning how to listen, think quickly, and communicate effectively when surprises arise. They’ve consistently taken direction and worked in a large team. In a high-turnover industry, a longer term means they’ve likely held leadership roles and responsibilities, possibly training new staff.

Some past and present CEOs from well-known companies like Netflix, PepsiCo, Yahoo, Walmart, and Costco worked in entry-level, customer service roles.

If you don’t think delivering newspapers teaches you soft skills, ask Warren Buffett, he’ll probably disagree.