4 Practical Rules For Landing Your First Customer Success Job
Job hunting takes time and patience, especially in Customer Success. Here is what I've learned about it.
Job hunting isn't fun. In fact, it can be terribly hard and draining.
Applying for positions, writing cover letters, and reaching out to companies, only to hear back from 30% of them.
Getting ready for the first interview and working hard on making the best impression.
You try to keep your hopes down as this process proceeds but to no avail.
At long last, you're told that someone else got the job.
"Now I need to go through this process all over again,"
you say to yourself as disappointment takes over.
I know. I was there over 4 and a half years ago, and I'll be there again in the future.
Job hunting takes time. Especially in Customer Success.
It took me three months and so many applications to land my first job in Customer Success.
In fact, my first role wasn't even a Customer Success Manager - it was a Customer Support Rep.
I just knew that I had to get into the high-tech market first.
Only then it would be much easier to find a job in Customer Success.
Fast forward, 4.5 years and I'm a Customer Success Professional
who built a Customer Success Team all by myself with no funds/resources.
I've learned a lot on my journey, and I want to share the main lessons with you as practical tips that can guide you through your job hunting.
They are my way of telling you:
Do not give up. Ever.
By following these tips, you will get closer to landing a customer-facing job, or even your first Customer Success role.
4 lessons I learned in my Customer Success job hunt
#1: Don't hold yourself back.
The way you talk to yourself affects your mental state, emotions, and reality.
If you apply for a job thinking that you're:
Not going to get it,
not a suitable candidate,
you essentially create a reality where you are absolutely right - you're not suitable for the job, which is why someone else will get it.
Next, it becomes a vicious cycle:
You talk down on yourself -> Apply for jobs -> Rejection -> Negative self-talk.
This cycle gets worse after every rejection, as your negative self-talk becomes more destructive.
Don't get me wrong - rejections suck.
The more rejections, the easier it is to be taken by an overwhelming feeling of failure.
But there's another way to look at them.
When I started looking for a job, my mom said:
"You don't need 10 jobs. You need only one - the right one."
I've been carrying this sentence with me ever since.
Every rejection brings you closer to the right job.
Next time you reach out to a LinkedIn connection or just apply for a job,
pay close attention to your self-talk and make sure it's positive.
#2: You gotta be patient.
Job hunting takes time. A lot of time. Especially if you want to find the ideal job for you at the right salary and role. The feelings of nervousness and anxiety are completely normal, as after every action you take, you enter the "waiting game"; For example, you're waiting to hear back from the HR person after applying for a job or having an interview.
This waiting game can take a toll on you and make you doubt yourself and your chances of getting the job. At this point, you need to do two things: 1. Go back to tip #1. 2. Manage your expectations and accept the waiting game. There's genuinely nothing you can do at this point - the ball is in the company's court.
Waiting doesn't mean you won't get the job.
It merely means that the hiring company has a set procedure for hiring. This could be:
They have other applicants to interview.
The person who interviewed you had to pass their notes to another person.
The next step requires the involvement of additional people in the company.
Consider my fiance's story as an example:
It took him three months from the moment he applied for his job to the moment he got it.
Throughout this period of time, he had about 3 interviews.
After each interview, his company had to go through multiple processes that took about a month.
#3: Be open-minded.
Ever since I graduated from university, I knew I wanted to be a Customer Success Manager in a high-tech company.
I was (and still am) extremely passionate about Customer Success as it challenges everything we've known about customer service,
and forces us to narrow the gap between the business world and academia.
Having said this, I knew this wasn't going to be easy -
I had zero experience in high-tech or in Customer Success, which is exactly what companies look for.
Instead of narrowing my job hunt to Customer Success roles only,
I also applied for Customer Support roles.
In fact, I applied for every customer-facing role I could find.
There's much more to learn than "just" Customer Success.
When you get a job in a new industry, in addition to learning the job, you also need to learn the industry;
the language, the metrics, the customer personas, and much more.
If you're currently looking for your first role in a new industry, the lack of knowledge might become an obstacle.
For this reason, I recommend keeping all of your options open.
Once you learn everything there is to know about the industry and get enough experience,
finding the position you were initially looking for would be much easier.
#4: It's all about learning and improving.
As you look for your first role in Customer Success, you need to focus on learning and improving.
For example, nowadays LinkedIn is a necessary tool for networking and job hunting.
The companies you're applying for try to find you on LinkedIn to learn more about you,
even before replying to your application.
Put differently, if you don't have a LinkedIn account, or if it's not updated, you'll have a hard time finding a job in Customer Success.
Another example is the requirements for job applications.
Take a minute to answer the following questions:
When was the last time you updated your resume?
When applying for jobs, do you send a cover letter? If so, do you update it for every job application?
When was the last time you researched online for the best practices around resume and cover letter writing?
Whenever I'm at the point of starting a job hunt, these are the very first steps I take;
I research the field/position I'm interested in.
I read about the best practices for writing the best resume and cover letter.
I learn about what companies are looking for in their new hires.
Improving means that you're implementing what you learn.
Just learning won't get you far if you don't implement it.
Once you learn everything there is to know about writing Customer Success resume, go back to your own resume and update it.
You need to ensure that the way you describe your previous jobs matches Customer Success and the job you're looking for.
You want to "prove" to the company you apply to that even though you've never been a CSM,
you're qualified for the job and will help the success of the company (and its customers).
At any given moment, more CS positions open up as more companies realize the importance of Customer Success.
These four rules are not only relevant for landing your first CS position, but they are also relevant for your success in this field.
What rules would you add to the list? Comment below.
Please share this post with anyone looking for their first job in Customer Success.