So, you know a bit about Journey Mapping, you’re constantly reading up on the Jobs to be Done method, and you’re yearning to dive deeper into the world of Customer Experience (CX).
But you’re not quite sure what steps to take next.
How do you ace your interviews and land the CX job of your dreams?
At Highland’s January CX Meetup, we brought in panelists from Walgreens, Rightpoint, and WunderLand Group to share advice and resources that would help CX newbies and seasoned practitioners land jobs in Customer Experience.
I’ve recapped our conversation into 7 steps that will help you get started on your path to a new career in CX.
1. Understand the difference between UX and CX.
While there are a lot of ways to think about this, my personal favorite explanation is contained in a blog post we wrote at Highland after one of our team members almost burned his hand on our office toaster oven. This silly — and nearly painful — mishap led to a deep conversation about the difference between UX and CX on Slack.
Highland’s President Jon Berbaum followed up in the thread to share how he distinguishes between UX and CX:
A screenshot from the #Highland Slack Channel
2. Consider enrolling in an immersive Bootcamp to help prepare you for your transition.
Bobby Dixon, Client Engagement Manager at WunderLand Group, encourages applicants not to shy away from a non-traditional contract role — it can help you build up the experience you need to land your dream gig.
Florence McCafferty, a CX Researcher & Designer at Highland, took a General Assembly UX course to transition from her background in nonprofits to her current role at Highland. She wrote about her journey here:
3. Utilize these resume tips from CX experts.
WunderLand, a staffing agency and project studio dedicated to creative, digital, and marketing talent shared some savvy tips to help get your resume in shape.
To start, sum things up
First, start your resume off with your contact information, followed by a short summary and key competencies that are easy to scan. Tim Stahl, VP of Experience at Righpoint, recommended emphasizing your leadership and team member capabilities here.
Chad Wilson, a CX Meetup regular who’s also done some freelance CX work at Highland, has an exemplary CX resume and portfolio that he has graciously allowed me to highlight throughout this blog post. (Thanks, Chad! You’re the best!) He does a great job of summarizing his skills — especially leadership and collaboration skills — at the top of his resume:
A portion of Chad Wilson’s resume | Provided byChad Wilson
Use bullet points whenever possible
- They’re efficient and visually attractive
- Shorter lines will force you to be concise with what you’re trying to say
Keep it brief
Resumes should not (I repeat: should NOT!) be more than two pages long. One page is ideal.
Panelist Bobby Dixon advocated for brevity. “The goal of a resume is to get an interview,” he shared. “A three- or four-page resume is way too much to open the door to that initial conversation.”
Narrow it down to your most important, most relevant information, and you’ll have a better chance of getting on the phone with a hiring manager.
Tell me the impact you made
Here’s one more tip we didn’t mention at the Meetup that I’ll give you for free. I have a little passion project/side business editing resumes and cover letters. And the one thing I am always, always telling my clients is that a resume shouldn’t just tell me what you did — it should tell me the impact you made. More on what that means and how to do it here:
- The One Piece I Gave to All of My Resume Editing Clients: Don’t tell me what you did, tell me the impact you made
5. Develop a killer CX portfolio.
Our panelists’ thoughts on CX portfolios were pretty straightforward:
Portfolios are really important, and they have to look great.
To illustrate, let’s look at some of the things about Chad’s portfolio that really pop. First, he starts his website off with an introduction to him and his approach to CX and UX work. (Extra points for the great headshot and extra extra points for that excellent shirt!)
Chad Wilson’s website | Photo provided by Chad Wilson
When building your portfolio, don’t just show the results of your work. Show how you got there and what the process looked like (think sticky notes and sketches).
Chad does a good job of showing this in the “Work” section of his site:
Sketches from Chad’s portfolio | Provided by Chad Wilson
Chris Leake, Associate Creative Director at Walgreens suggested that every portfolio should tell a story — take people on a visual journey and show them how you started in one place and ended somewhere completely different.
Chad’s portfolio does this by taking people through the entire experience of a project, showing how he moved clients from their initial challenge, through a CX process, and to a final result.
Prototype images from Chad’s portfolio | Provided byChad Wilson
Also, all of our panelists agreed that you should be a good friend and let your friends know if their portfolios don’t look great.
Friends don’t let friends apply to jobs with lackluster portfolios!
6. Commit to networking.
Networking is key! Keep going to Meetups and making connections.
When it’s time to hire, most companies start by asking around their networks first — building a network before you start applying will ensure you already have your foot in the door.
Does the idea of networking make you cringe? Suzanne has some great insight on how to push yourself out of your comfort zone and make new connections:
- How to Make Networking Less Painful: Advice from a Super Networker on Creating and Sustaining an Awesome Network
And if you’re an introvert:
Panelist Tim Stahl, a self-proclaimed introvert, has a small hack: stand up if you’re on a phone interview. It really helps you project a confident tone that may not come across when you’re sitting down.
Panelist Chris Leake suggests thinking about who you are and the unique skills you bring to the table, and then focusing on the qualities you want to communicate.
Also, feel free to take some time and think about your answers before you respond in an interview. You don’t have to respond right away.
7. Embody the qualities of CX hires.
We asked our panel of CX leaders what they look for in a CX hire and received so many great tips! Here’s the list of qualities I captured:
- Grit — the ability to figure things out on your own
- Ability to pivot
- Positive energy and spark
- Emotional maturity — you won’t cause drama
- An eye for improving existing processes
- Someone who wants to work with this team at this company
Out of all of the qualities I heard CX leaders say they look for in a new hire, I heard a common thread: they’re looking for people who take initiative, have ambition, and care deeply about other humans.
More resources for CX success
So you’ve ramped up your resume, you understand the nuances of UX, and your friends all think your portfolio is on point. Now you’re ready to land your CX dream job!
Looking for more advice and support — and maybe a little networking? Highland hosts CX Meetups on a monthly basis to give the CX curious and CX practitioners a chance to connect with and learn from one another. Join us at our next Meetup in March! More information here.