Being passed up for a candidate with more "industry experience"

Erie Burkland
Erie Burkland Member Posts: 1 Navigator
edited August 2023 in CS Conversations
Hi all, 

First time posting here!

I've been on the job hunt since April due to Covid-19 layoffs and it's not been easy. Unfortunately, all of my software experience is in the restaurant tech space which I'm trying to avoid in my next role. I'm looking for a Sr. CSM or CS Lead position at a company that serves a different industry so I can keep learning and not pigeon hole myself as the "restaurant guy".

This has been a big challenge because every time I complete the interview process, I hear back that the company went with another candidate that has more "industry experience" than me. It's frustrating because I'm only applying to roles where I meet every requirement listed on the posting.

I have 5 years of software experience - 4 years are in CS (CSM up to Team Lead) and one year as a Product Manager. I have a thorough understanding of Customer Success both as a philosophy and a discipline. I've been part of an agile product development team. I'm constantly seeking out and consuming Saas related articles, podcasts, forums to stay on top of the latest trends. 

My question is for anyone here that has done the hiring for a CS department- Is there anything I can do to stand out from other candidates during the interview process (regardless of industry experience) and show them that I'm a no brainer for hiring? 

Thank you in advance.


  • Tiffany Morin
    Tiffany Morin Member Posts: 20 Thought Leader
    edited September 2020
    I am assuming your resume hits all of the keywords needed? Do you mention your successes in terms of retention, expansion, etc? Maybe stay away from mentioning your specific industry experience unless it applies to the role at hand.

    I will say that finding a job through networking is the best way to go about this though. BS like resume formatting, specifics about your background (outside of success metrics) are not as big of a blocker if you approach the job search that way.
  • Yanira "Janita" Sesniak
    Yanira "Janita" Sesniak Member Posts: 52 Expert
    First Comment
    edited September 2020

    Hi @Erie Burkland job searching right now is no joke so I'm sending you positive vibes on your journey.

    I've heard similar feedback from my coaching clients and feel that based on your message these articles will help you gain clarity and confidence for your next interview. 

    3 Ways to land a Customer Success Role without prior experience (or in your case "not enough"):

    3 Books to Bring Clarity During Your Quarantine Job Search:

  • Brian Hartley
    Brian Hartley Member Posts: 184 Expert
    First Comment First Anniversary
    edited September 2020
    Erie - are you asking the HR team's to "expand" on what they mean by lack of industry experience?  Or perhaps ask them what you could do differently aside from the industry experience requirement?

    From my standpoint, internal referrals have a leg up and true external applicants.  Qualifications aside, I look for how the candidate meshes with the team and the dialogue that happens through the interview.  I want to ensure who we hire will fit in with the team, etc.