In the last 3 years, I have had friends, family, colleagues, and strangers ask me to review their resume in hopes of becoming a Customer Success professional. After analyzing a 100+ resumes, here are five mistakes aspiring CS professionals make when crafting their resume and how you can avoid them.
Most resumes I read have highly technical skills and accomplishments that sound impressive, if you are going for a job in your old or current profession. This may be fine if you're an expert in the company's domain. However, if the hiring manager sees unrelated language, it can indicate that you are not as interested in the role as others.
For example, I've worked with an aspiring CS professional that had a career in retail with brands like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Hermes.
Here are the accomplishments they listed:
Unfortunately, this reads like someone who wants to continue a career in high-end retail and not someone who wants to be a Customer Success Manager.
Here's what we came up with after some reworking:
Now this reads like someone who is interested in Customer Success as a long term career! It's important to use the terminology of your target profession. Help the hiring manager picture you on their team. Otherwise, you might not stand out.
If you try to showcase your transferable skills by using customer support terminology, it tells the hiring manager that you don’t understand the role.
Here's a good example of how someone who used their customer support experience to showcase their transferable skills:
Here is an example of someone who mistook customer support experience as customer success experience:
They positioned their customer service metrics as customer success metrics. This sent the message that their past experience IS customer success instead of transferable to the role.
The temptation to inflate your skills and past accomplishments can increase with every rejection email. Resist this temptation.
If you have limited experience with CS-related tools, common metrics/terminology, or it becomes clear that you're lying about your accomplishments, hiring managers will be highly skeptical about your hireability.
Some examples I have seen:
This is not how NPS is measured. Inaccurate metrics can convince the hiring manager that the person did not achieve that metric.
During the interview, the hiring manager uncovered that this person did not manage a book of business. After asking questions about their process for identifying upsell/cross-sell opportunities, they admitted that these were not from customers they had a pre-existing relationship with. They also were not able to identify how many of their customers have churned since they didn't track this metric. This indicated to the hiring manager that they did not actually manage accounts in their role.
First impressions matter so don't exaggerate your skills. Represent yourself truthfully, because hiring managers may value the skills that you already have.
Does your resume pass the eye test? If a recruiter needs to read more than three bullet points before they find relevant experience, they might move on to the next person.
I reviewed a resume once for a recent computer software graduate. He had completed two internships and had a strong GitHub portfolio. Unfortunately it was buried underneath positions like Subway Sandwich Artist and Cinemark Theater Attendant. If it isn't valuable experience to the hiring manager, it may be better to just remove it.
Lead off with your relevant and transferable experience so the hiring manager won't miss your most important accomplishments.
For many reading this, you may feel like you're not qualified enough to secure a CS role. The truth is, you have more to offer than you think. Believe in your value, and don’t sell yourself short.
So what if you don’t have experience in SaaS? You still have skills that are valuable!
I spoke with an aspiring CS pro who developed their voice of the customer response program at the last company they worked for. It wasn’t for a SaaS company, but the skill of documenting procedures is similar in any company. If the hiring manager is aware that there is no formal training resources, they could use someone like this who could be trained while simultaneously creating procedures for others.
I spoke with another aspiring CS pro who has an extensive network of strong hospitality manager relationships. If the company product caters to hospitality managers, that is more valuable than someone who has SaaS and Customer Success experience.
Lastly, if you've received awards, show it. This is not the time to be modest. For many of us, modesty comes naturally and we feel awkward giving ourselves a pat on the back. However, we have to push through it and represent ourselves well. That allows us to put together the best package for hiring consideration.
The aim in your job hunt is to put together a presentation that best showcases your transferable skills. There is no full-proof approach. Almost every successful person you see today has been rejected. Put your best foot forward and you will secure a role.
Prior to landing a role at Zoom and RingCentral, I was rejected 200+ times from companies high and low. It’s mostly about finding the right fit. I am much happier working for Zoom than I would be at any of the companies I was rejected from and you will feel the same when you land your role of a lifetime. Everyone here at CS Insider is rooting for you and is here to support you!
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