Mystery Shopping and Your Resume

mystery-shopper-resumeLots of people are looking for work these days. If you are unemployed and looking for a job, or thinking about changing jobs, you need a good resume. Should you include your mystery shopping work on a resume? And if so, how should you list mystery shopper jobs?

There isn’t just one answer, so let’s take a look at a few possible scenarios.

If you are preparing a resume that will be submitted to mystery shopping companies, you should definitely include any secret shopping experience you have. (Most companies do not require a resume, but a few may.) Never mention the names of clients, as that would violate confidentiality agreements with the mystery shopping companies.

You generally may mention the names of mystery shopping companies for which you have worked, although it is not necessary. For example, when mystery shopper applications ask about my shopper experience, I say something along the lines of, “I have been a mystery shopper since 1995, and I have performed assignments for many companies including…” and there I name a few of the mystery shopping companies I have worked with most often or most recently.

If you are employed full-time and looking for a new job in your field, you may not want to include your mystery shopper jobs. One reason is that the fewer people who know you are a mystery shopper, the better. Also, some employers might be concerned about your attentions being divided or may not really understand mystery shopping.

If you are applying for a job in a field where mystery shopping is commonly used, however,  it may be a plus that tells the prospective employer you understand the importance of quality customer service. In that case, go ahead and let them know that you are a mystery shopper.

If you have been out of work (e.g., laid off or an at-home mom) for an extended period, including your mystery shopping experience can help fill in employment gaps.

How to Include Mystery Shopping on Your Resume

First of all, remember that you are an independent contractor and not an employee of the secret shopping companies. Do not say you were “Employed by” or “An employee of” the mystery shopping providers.

As a contractor, you probably have worked with several companies. Rather than listing all of them, you could simply say something such as, “Worked as an independent evaluator, assessing the customer experience of a variety of businesses in the retail, banking and hospitality fields.” (Your list of industries should include those in which you have worked, so it might include those I listed as well as housing, senior living, online retail, etc.) Just as mentioned above, do not disclose the names of the clients you have shopped. If the prospective employer asks, let them know that you signed confidentiality agreements that do not allow you to discuss specific clients. Honorable people will respect that you are behaving honorably.

Should You Use the Title “Mystery Shopper”?

You could, but I would probably say something such as Independent Auditor, Service Evaluator, etc. Get your thesaurus out and you will come up with lots of great titles!

In summary, mentioning your secret shopper experience can help fill in gaps in your full-time employment history, and can show that you are knowledgeable about customer service issues. However, if you do not need to mention it for those reasons, you may want to pass. Consider that if you are not hired by the business to which you are applying, you may mystery shop them one day. It’s best that they not know about your undercover activities.

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