I often get asked, “how do I start a career in Dynamics 365?” Or I have people approaching me on LinkedIn, email and WhatsApp saying “can you give me a job”. Or something like, “can I come and work in Australia with your company?”
In our practice, we've taken a lot of skilled people from around the world and sorted out their residency, so they can come and live in Australia and continue their careers. But because we’ve thrown our net so wide and allowed people to come from all over the world, it's made it possible for us to become a lot more picky in whom we choose. We tend to not employ people just starting out in their Dynamics 365 career, and we tend to hire people that have a lot of experience and start with that. This is one of the benefits of growing a large Dynamics 365 practice. You get to see a lot of CV's, interview a lot of people, and start to look for key qualities.
What if you are somebody who has had a taste of Dynamics but wants to make it your career?
You might have done one or two projects and you think to yourself, “I can really make a career of this.” You might be a graduate that has had an opportunity working on a project in a practice, or somebody that’s on a career switch. You might have come from a consulting or developer background or another CRM technology and you're wanting to skill up in this space.
Would you like to understand what I look for from people wanting a career in Dynamics? And when I say what do I look for, I'm looking at it from the perspective of someone that has employed many, many people in the Dynamics CRM space. I’ve got some learnings from that. What I want to do is share with you some of those learnings, so you can prepare yourself if you're wanting a career in this space. I will have similar things that other practice managers will want to see when they are hiring.
I have divided this blog post into a 3-part series so that I can tell you about what I’ve found works for somebody getting into the Dynamics 365 career. In this part, I will discuss what you need to do first and foremost if you want a career in Dynamics 365.
So, the first thing you need to do…
Build on your qualifications.
If you don't have a lot of experience, you must have a lot of qualifications. So, let me repeat that. If you don't have a lot of experience—in other words, if your CV doesn't scream of doing 20, 30, 40, Dynamics projects—you need to show strong industry-specific qualifications.
Now, that doesn't mean that if you've got 20, 30, or 40 projects under your belt that you can't or that you shouldn't show qualifications also. In other words, I'm not letting you off the hook in that respect. I have turned down people that have had seven years’ experience in Dynamics. Why? Because they are focused on an older version of Dynamics, like Dynamics CRM 2011. They have not maintained their skills on this fast-changing platform.
And then I'd say listen, your qualifications don't seem up to date, and it seems it's been years since you’ve sat an exam. I’ve had replies such as, ‘well I've got experience, so I don't need qualifications.' No. That doesn't fly, I'm afraid. The reason is that the rate of change happening in this technology space doesn't allow you to sit on learnings that you've learned 3, 7, 10, whatever number of years ago. You cannot sit on those learnings and think you can or should not be applying and learning more.
Keeping Your Qualifications Updated
First of all, when I'm looking at a CV, I want to see current qualifications. At the moment, there are four Dynamics qualifications if you're focused on the CRM space as opposed to the ERP space. My focus will just be on the CRM side of things. If we're talking about Dynamics 365, we're talking about Dynamics 365 around sales automation, marketing automation, customer service, field service, and project automation. We're not talking about the operations area. I'm not experienced in the operations area. It's not my key forte.
What am I looking for in a CV?
When it comes to qualifications, I would expect that anybody that is wanting to work in a Dynamics practice would have completed all four of the current qualifications: the Sales exam, the Customer Service exam, the Online Deployment exam, and the Customisations exam. I expect those four to be an absolute given.
The beauty of certifications is, it's a time-stamped metric of when you last studied to actually develop your skill set. There's a range of resources that can help you pass exams simply or easily that you might say hey, ‘am I only learning to memorise answers from those resources?' The benefit of that is you’re still actually learning real-world questions and answers that are appropriate to them. And when you do get a scenario on a project that you do need the answer, at least there's something tucked away in your memory that reminds you, ‘hey, this is covered in that exam. Perhaps I should do some more research on this topic.'
Anyhow, I digress. Let me get back to the need to show qualifications if you're new to this game.
I would expect to see a transcript reflecting all the content in the Microsoft Dynamics Learning Portal relating to the subject areas. This can be either Dynamics CRM or Dynamics 365. Your learning transcript should show that you have watched and completed all those videos. Straight away, that tells me that the latest information in this area fills your brain.
Other Knowledge Enhancement Endeavors
I would want to see common blog posts that you read or blog authors that you follow, such as:
- CRM Tip of the Day
- CRM Audio podcast
- Sonoma Partners
- Surviving CRM
- Dynamics Community
- Dynamics CRM CoE (This is a blog I started while working at the company.)
- Magnetism Blog (This is a blog I started when I founded this company.)
Those are the types of things I want to see when it comes to updating and building your qualifications.
In Part 2 of this series, I will discuss the next three key things you need so you can be on your way to building a career in Dynamics 365.
If you have been working in the Dynamics space for some time, what things do you look for on a CV? Please comment below.