Written by Erika Villarreal - Contributor for CS Insider
It’s been one year since I completed my first Customer Success certification. I had been job searching for a month and I was struggling to communicate my experience to hiring managers.
You might be in a similar position. Breaking into Customer Success is challenging. Especially if you’re from a non-SaaS background.
Knowing tangentially about these terms and responsibilities and knowing how to communicate your understanding of them are two different things.
After numerous failed interviews, I realized I needed to change my approach and learn how to position my experience as a value add to the company.
Then I met Andrew Cartwright. He worked for one of the companies I had applied for a role at that time. I was browsing through his LinkedIn profile and noticed he had a Customer Success certification badge from Success Hacker. He had also taken Pulse’s certification and many others. So, I was curious.
I reached out to him and asked about the certifications he had taken. He highly recommended them, especially for someone who was just getting started.
So I thought it would be easier to take one of those certifications and save me time from googling all these different concepts and trying to discover which content would be better to spend my time on. I was trying to absorb as much as possible in the shortest time.
If you’re considering whether it’s worth getting certified in Customer Success, here’s what I learned.
No one mentioned my certification during the interview process. In fact, you’ll be hard-pressed to find it as a job requirement in Customer Success. Aspiring CS mistakenly assume having a certification will land them a job. Don’t make this assumption.
Yes, completing a certification shows that you’re more serious about a career in CS, but it isn’t a magical pill. It’s the spark that ignites your path toward competence and mastery.
I like having structure when learning the basics.
Certification programs are designed to:
If you want a clear path through the learning process, then certification is a fine approach.
After I took my first certification, a few things changed.
Even if I didn’t have all the experience listed as “required”, I was able to let hiring managers know I could do it. Being confident plays a big part in both interviewing and in a CS role.
If you want to break into the industry and are short on cash, there are plenty of free places to start. But if you have some extra money and are serious about devoting the time necessary, here are two good options from my experience.
The first certification I took was SuccessCoaching: CCSM Level 1.
I recently started Practical CSM’s certification. I recently completed Level 1 and 2 and look forward to finishing Level 3 and 4 soon.
Taking a CSM certification will not guarantee you a job. And completing it won’t mean you’re a competent CSM. That only comes with actual experience. But it can help you be better prepared.
Taking these certifications has been a game-changer for me and totally worth the money. Again, it doesn’t mean I’m an expert. It doesn’t mean I’m qualified to make more money or get a promotion. But I am no longer afraid to put myself out there. These certifications have given me the confidence needed to dive deeper and fill in my gaps.
If you’re feeling stuck, overwhelmed, or confused about where to invest your resources, consider the certification path. Invest in yourself. No one else is going to do it for you.
I wanted to make the transition from a CSM role to a manager for a long time. But how did I get there? Through many mistakes, one thing stood out above all: I had to be a CSM to myself. To treat my career the same way I treated customers. Here’s what that looked like.
As a leader, you’re never 100% sure what your reports think of you. But knowing who you should be towards them is of utmost importance. Here are three key things you should be as a leader in Customer Success.
Having domain experience can help you stand out when applying for your first Customer Success role. This could be expertise in retail, education, hospitality, accounting, etc. Here are some things to do and avoid when targeting a CS role in your domain.