In the modern job market, call centers are a significant employer. The work often does not require specific prior experience or education, but there are some basic people skills that are necessary, or at least helpful, if you want to be a successful call center agent. You’ll get a call center job more easily if you practice being calm and patient, learn the phonetic alphabet to aid communication, and get really good at multi-tasking. To help secure the job, you can write a great cover letter highlighting your best attributes, practice for the interview and learn about the company. You’ll still have to search the job boards and send applications, but you can get yourself ready to look like a great candidate in the meantime.


Practice patience. One of the stressful aspects of call center work is that people you talk with often do not want to be on the phone with you. If they are calling because they have a problem, they want it resolved quickly. If you called them, they may feel intruded upon. So to prepare for call center work, you must learn to be exceptionally patient even with the most difficult people. If you are prone to hurrying people along or interrupting, you will need to reduce these tendencies quickly.[1]
  • In your daily conversations, make a specific effort to never interrupt people. Always let them completely finish what they are saying, even if they take way too long.
  • When you are having a misunderstanding with someone and you start to get agitated, take deep breaths and remind yourself to stay calm.


Learn the phonetic alphabet. This is the ABC’s code designed by NATO, also known as Alpha Bravo Charlie code, and it designates a word for each of the 26 letters of the alphabet. When taking calls you will often be speaking to people with varied accents. You’ll also have some calls where the connection has static which makes it hard to hear. Using the phonetic alphabet will help ensure that anytime you are unsure of what you heard you can double check.[2]
  • Since memorization skills are so helpful anyway, this is a good place to start.
  • There is a fairly standard phonetic alphabet, but there are variations, so learn both if possible. An internet search for “phonetic alphabet” will return a simple graph listing all of the code letters.
  • For example, if someone is speaking and spells their name to you “B-e-t-t-y,” you may be unclear if they said B or P, since they have similar sounds. So you can ask, “Is that B as in Bravo?” which helps clear things up.