Tips to boost your career in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

1.  Read Microsoft Dynamics CRM Blogs

Reading blogs is a great way to keep up with the latest functionality in Microsoft Dynamics CRM.  CRM blogs will teach you new functionality, give you common development scenarios and resolve customer functionality you may need to implement.  Blogs are bite sized and focused on particular topics.

A great list of CRM blogs can be found on the Microsoft Dynamics website here

List Top 25 CRM Blogs 

I would recommend adding the blogs you like to an RSS feed reader.

Twitter is also a great way to find interesting CRM blogs, I have a CRM list

 2.  Try new CRM versions

Reading about CRM functionality isn’t enough, you have to get your hands dirty and try it out for yourself then you will have some first hand experience of the functionality.  This exwill be able to judge if you can use it in customer projects.  It’s always a good idea to try new functionality before you have to use it in a customer project, without time pressure.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM make this easy with free 30 days trials, so you have no excuse.

You can try CRM 2015 now and the new Microsoft Marketing has 30 day trial as well.

Check this link out for more details

3.  What is your dream CRM Dynamics Job

Before you go anywhere, you need to know where you are going or you will never get there.  The same can be said for your career, you need to decide what role in CRM your aiming for

The common Microsoft dynamics CRM roles are

  • Senior/Lead Developer
  • Consultant
  • Solution Architect

Depending on what your current job is you will probably need to climb the ladder of Junior, standard and senior or you may need to be a senior developer before you become a solution architect.

4.  Make a plan

Once you know what you want to do, you can make a plan how to get there.  So work out what role you are aiming for and create a three year plan to get there.

If are you are not sure what skills you need for the role, you can see what skills and experience are mentioned in job adverts for the role.

Once you understand what skill and experience are needed for the role, you can make a plan to build up those skills and build up the experience.

It’s a good idea to let your current employer know you career goal and they will often help you get there because it will benefit the company by bringing an internal employee through because you have experience of the company, the employees and projects.

5.  Get Certified

Lots of people don’t rate certificates but the bottom line is companies (people who employ you) do and customers do.  This isn’t just because I have a bunch of certifications and wrote some material to help you pass MB2-703 CRM 2013 customization and configuration –

For lots of reasons why you should get certified read this

Quick summary of reasons

  • Certified people get paid more and are valuable to companies (who need a number of certified people to get silver/gold partner status)
  • certifications are great bargaining chip to take into your next review
  • You learn new microsoft dynamics features and parts of CRM you haven’t used before e.g. increased CRM knowledge.

6.  Read books

I love books, they are awesome and think everyone should read more.

Books offer more in depth thoughts on an area or topic and will show you thoughts on a subject by an expert in the field.  I often find thoughts on other topics often shed light give me a different perspective on CRM issues, problems and work practices/processes

Recommended Books for Developers

Coding horror’s fantastic list of books for developers

Even reading books not related to CRM/Coding/projects will give you some benefit and get you away from the screen for a while.

 7.  Go for a walk at lunch

Going for a walk at lunch is not only good for your health but it gives you time to think.  Going for a walk at lunch allows you to step back from your work and see the wood from the trees.

I often come back from my walk at lunch refreshed, energised and usually armed with some fresh ideas on problems I was wrestling with before I went for my walk.

 8.  Write a blog

Writing a blog is a great way to learn new and existing CRM functionality and CRM Development.  Writing a blog will increase your profile in the CRM community and is great to show your current employer or new employees some of your CRM knowledge.

Writing a blog has some external benefits the biggest benefit will be yourself because you will be learning, analysing and sorting your thoughts on different topics.  A great method of learning a subject is by teaching others about that subject, read this blog – why teaching is the best way to learn

I wrote about the reasons I started writing a blog in my new years resolution blog post

The reasons I started writing the CRM blog

  • To help me learn about Microsoft Dynamics CRM (CRM 2011 at the time of creation).
  • A place for me to easily find solutions to CRM problems I experienced
  • To learn more about CRM development by blogging about it
  • To help the CRM community
  • To raise my profile in the CRM world.

Don’t know what to write

  • Write about your last CRM customization, problems and solutions
  • What blog posts do you find interesting
  • Write about functionality you haven’t used before


9.  Keep your social profile up to date

Keep your LinkedIn Profile up to date

Create profiles on

Rockstar profile

 Microsoft Dynamics Community

Create a Twitter account

The reason you should do this is it will help encourage people with similar skill sets to network with you.  If you are answering and interacting in LinkedIn forums and any other forums/websites on the internet, people can view your LinkedIn profile to see what knowledge and experience you have.

A downside or side effect could mean you get InMail from recruitment consultants.   This could be of interest if they offer you attractive roles it will give you some information to take into your yearly appraisal as to what salary (in a rough ball park way) bracket you are in.

10.   Use social media to raise your profile

Write interesting and useful CRM blog, show your CRM skills

Tweet great CRM articles and interesting thoughts about CRM.

Social media is a way to interact with the Microsoft Dynamics community and get to know people who are knowledgable in this area.

if you are not sure about the benefits of Networking read this article

Networking will find you your next job

11.  Watch less TV, Watch Good TV

Watching TV is passive, do something more creative and interactive.   The problem with TV is most people watch too much and you get little back from watching TV.

Watch less TV and use the time to do something more constructive towards your career, otherwise you will have to look back on the year and think, what benefit did watching all the TV have.

You can either watch less TV each night or turn the TV one night a week


12.   Research the new CRM add Products

Microsoft has recently released a number of Add in products which are not built into the core Microsoft Dynamics CRM product but offer tight integration.  If you have time look at the products and try it out but definitely spend some time working out what each product does and the benefits/limitations of each product.


Ringing in the New Year with the Latest Release of Parature, from Microsoft

Microsoft Dynamics Marketing (MDM)

Connecting Dynamics Marketing to Dynamics CRM – Let the Sync Begin

Microsoft Social listening

Unified Service Desk

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Unified Service Desk

Overview of Unified Service Desk


13.  What is social CRM

Social CRM will continue to gain popularity with Microsoft releasing social listening. You will see more and more articles about Social CRM and Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

I believe social media projects will grow in number and size during the forthcoming years and it’s quite possible you may find yourself doing a social CRM project in 2015.

 Read this article 15 social CRM predictions for 2015

The time to start researching and understanding social CRM is now.

14.   Answer CRM Forum questions

Answering questions on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Forum will

  • Learn about common problems people have using CRM
  • Learn about new functionality and new releases of CRM
  • help the Microsoft Dynamics Community
  • Earn badges and raise your profile in the Microsoft Dynamics Community
  • focused learning or learning with a purpose


15.  Create a CRM slideshow

Put your Microsoft Dynamics knowledge into a slideshow and upload it.  This will enable you to use it again and again.

You can add

You will raise your profile and show case your CRM knowledge

16.  Side project – Create a CRM tool and put it on codeplex

Creating a CRM tool is a great way to get experience developer, create something  useful which can save yourself and many other Microsoft Dynamics CRM users time.

It’s great to put on your CV you have created a tool because you are showing you are a good developer rather than just saying to people you are a good developer.


17.   Keep going

It takes a long time to become a CRM expert, don’t expect to be CRM expert overnight.  The key is to not get disheartened, write down your accomplishments this year.

  • Experience gained
  • new Skills learnt
  • Task accomplished
  • Achievement


Statistics are not a sign of quality but they can be a metric to measure progress in some areas e.g.

  • Blog posts created
  • Books/pages/chapters read
  • Projects worked on
  • Twitter followers


18.   Start Networking

Get networking, meeting and chatting with people in the Microsoft Dynamics Community.

  • Join some groups on LinkedIn answer peoples questions in LinkedIn groups
  • Follow people on twitter.
  • Comment on peoples blog posts
  • Comment on interesting updates on LinkedIn
  • Answer Forum questions
  • Tweet interesting things, reply to interesting tweets

Build up people you know in the Microsoft Dynamics Community.

Don’t get hung up on the term networking, it all really means it chatting with people who have similar interests.

Networking could also find your next job


19.  Stay focused

It’s important to make sure you are working towards your goals and haven’t been blown off course.  This means you constantly need to check you are heading towards the correct goal and focusing your time and effort on activities which add value and are important.  You goal could be promotion or learning new skills.

Check your goal is still the goal you really wan to achieve, analyse your plan to see where you are, what is and isn’t working, update your plan if necessary.


20.  What opportunities are there at work

Most people wait for opportunities to be given to them but the problem is you could be waiting a long time.  You have to make

things happen at work

Get the skills needed for the next job e.g

If you want to move to a senior role, what extra technical skills and experience do you need for the role, how can acquire these.  It’s better to


21.  Read the Hosk Dynamics CRM blog

I have great articles like this

12 Ways to become a better CRM Developer


Other CRM Developer articles





CRM MVP Question and Answer – Joel Lindstrom

It’s Wednesday which means it’s time to demand some more answers from the CRM MVP’s, today we are off to the good old U S of A, where the effective people live (or at least those who work for them, that’s a customer effective joke for you).  Today’s CRM MVP on to come down Hosk’s red carpet is Joel Lindstrom.


You can hear Joel when he gave an interview to Rockstar 365

He can also be seen on one of the great MVP chat’s hosted by Donna Edwards


looking at Joel’s highlights on his Rockstar profile –, well it certainly won’t take you long to soak up his highlights

Joel Lindstrum

But if you want a good biography of Joel then you you should look at his CustomerEffective Bio , I have taken the Certifications and accolades below and we can see Joel has been an MVP 5 times and been number 50 in the Microsoft Dynamics most influential people.

Certifications & Accolades:


You will have probably have read many of the tips Joel has recently been writing about CRM on the blog CRM Tip of the Day, which is definitely a favorite among the CRM Twitters out there


As always thanks to Joel and the other CRM MVP’s who have answered my questions and shame on you those who have not yet done so.  BOOOOOOO

As usual you can find the previous CRM MVP Q&A at the bottom of this post




Name, current job title and social media links please

Joel Lindstrom, Solution Architect, Customer Effective

What does an average day at work look like

I tend to work some unusual hours. I will catch up on email before my kids get up, then help them with breakfast and getting to school, then work on client projects. During lunchtime I will catch up on blog posts or tweets, work on projects during the afternoon, After my kids go to bed at night I write blog posts or work on extra-curricular projects.


What different roles/Job titles have you had whilst using CRM

I started as a solution consultant, then my title was changed to technical specialist, now I’m a solution architect. I used to be focused mainly on technical aspects of installing CRM, now my job is more guiding other consultants and ensuring that our solution design quality standards are met and that we follow best practices.


What job did you did before you starting using CRM

I was an inside sales representative for 10 years for several companies. Even though that was not my favorite job, I credit it for a lot of what I do now—the sales part gave me an interest in CRM.


What was the first version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM you worked with and how long have you been using Microsoft Dynamics CRM

I started with Dynamics CRM in 2007 using version 3.


How do you stay up to date with the CRM

I push myself to try new functionality and be actively involved in the previews. I force myself to write blog posts—if you don’t know about something, write about it. It forces you to learn how things work. If there is a part of the application that you don’t use, teach someone how to use it—no better way to become familiar with something.


How do you find time to contribute to the CRM community whilst doing your job

I have trouble sitting still and watching television, so I do my CRM community activities after hours, but I will also write blog posts and engage in community activities while taking a coffee break during the day. Like anything, the more you do it, the easier it gets. You definitely want to generate quality content, but don’t think you have to write a 10,000 word blog post each time. It is much better to consistently deliver good average work than to only one time deliver something extraordinary.


What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a successful career in Microsoft Dynamics CRM?

Be yourself—don’t try to be someone else. Find your voice, don’t think you need to be someone else. Also, you don’t have to be the smartest person in the room—there will always be someone who can do something better than you can. But deliver good work, always push yourself to be better, never get comfortable.

Find your niche—if you are a developer, be the best developer you can be. But if you are not a developer, don’t feel you have to be to be successful. The great thing about the CRM community is there is plenty of room for many different types of proficiencies. We need people who are good configurators, good developers, good report writers, server/networking experts, and business process experts.


What where your first impressions of CRM 2013 and what do you think now.

Very positive. The UI changed dramatically. I was a bit unsure of how existing users would    take to it, but excited to see Dynamics CRM become more modern.


What one feature would you add to CRM 2013

Server sync for every deployment type. This is one of my top 3 favorite features. Can’t wait for Online and mixed deployments to be able to use it and kill the email router.


Most annoying feature of CRM 2013

No offense to her, but the “What’s new” woman. She keeps coming back.


You favourite 2 CRM blogs (I have filled the first one in for you)

Hosks Dynamic CRM blog Not saying this because I am one of the authors, but   because I’ve learned a lot from the other tipsters


What year will Microsoft Dynamics CRM have more customers than Sales force

We don’t already?J Hard to say, but I think momentum is on our side.


Are you doing more CRM projects with CRM online?  Do you think it will all be online in the future

We are seeing a lot more online projects than we used to, but still a fair amount of on premise. I don’t think On premise is going away any time soon, there will always be industries that can’t go to the cloud, but that number is shrinking. Industries like insurance and banking are still primarily on premise though.


What is the best tool/solution you have used recently

There are many of them. Jason Latimer’s CRM 2013 Duplicate Detection, Tanguy’s XRM Toolbox just added a fantastic sync filter manager that is fantastic, I use the orgdborgsettings tool to change the organization settings in CRM Online.


What CRM certifications do you have, do you try and keep up to date with CRM certifications

I have application, customization, and installation certs for 2011 and crm 3. I will be taking the 2013 certs soon. I think it is important, as it helps you keep up to date, exposes you to areas of the application that you might not otherwise experience if you don’t use them.


How important is it to have good business analytical skills working with Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Very important if you want to be successful in a career with Dynamics CRM. To be good you need to know how the technology works but also how to adapt it to client’s business, and you need to be able to analyze business processes and translate to CRM design requirements.


How useful is it to have programming knowledge to become a good Microsoft Dynamics CRM Professional?

Helpful, definitely, but not required. The more programming knowledge that you have, the more you will be able to do with the application, but you want to balance programming with standard functionality. Every release, there is more that you can do without programming. In CRM 2013, we got synchronous workflows and business rules. If you approach everything as a programming exercise, the risk is you will overcomplicate some solutions where a non-developer solution will work, and if you are not a programmer, you might try to use a workflow for a scenario where a plugin might be a better fit. The trick is being able to know what is the right tool for the job.


What knowledge/experience do you have with software/systems which integrate with Microsoft Dynamics CRM e.g. (sharepoint, SQL Server, Scribe, Etc)

I’ve done a lot with Scribe and SSIS. I love Scribe for how easy it makes some things like   connecting to virtually any type of database and find it very approachable for people with little ETL experience, and I appreciate SSIS for how powerful and flexible it is, especially with the Kingswaysoft adapter.

My take on it is that the ETL tool you use is less important than following good integration design principles.


How often do you travel as a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Professional?

It really depends on what projects I’m working on. I do a lot of remote client work, but will   also travel regularly.


Can you see yourself not using CRM in your career in the future

Anything is possible


What is favourite part of being a CRM MVP

By far the insight I get from other MVP’s. Being able to call the smartest people in the CRM community my friends


What are your hobbies outside of CRM

I play Legos with my kids and collect vinyl records


 What was the last book you read and what was the last film you watched

David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell and the Lego movie


Has CRM ever got you in trouble with your partner/family.

Yes, when I had to spend Christmas vacation getting a CRM server back up.


Have you friends ever told you to stop talking/tweeting/blogging about CRM? What does your partner/family member(s) think of CRM

I always tell my friends that they can follow me on Twitter, but they probably won’t understand anything I Tweet.


Tell me something interesting/unusual about yourself

I have every Johnny Cash record ever made except for one.


Who is the first CRM MVP you remember reading/seeing

Aaron Elder


Tips for someone who wants to become a CRM MVP

Be consistent—someone will not be a MVP by writing blog posts for 3 months—you have to regularly contribute, and find a pace that you can keep up with for the long term. Don’t do it if you are just looking to advance yourself—you won’t make it. Do it if you genuinely enjoy helping others and giving back to the community.

The way I became an MVP was by setting a goal to answer 1 forum post a day—something that you can do in 10 minutes while watching television at night. By answering forum posts, I found out what people were wanting to know. This gave me ideas for blog posts. If I didn’t know the answer, I figured it out, wrote a blog post with the answer, and posted it as the answer.

Even if you don’t make MVP, you will still benefit from growing your knowledge of CRM.

Don’t be intimidated by others in the community—everyone has something that they are better at than you, but you are probably better at some things than they are. And don’t view them as your competition. By sharing your knowledge, we all benefit.


Quickfire questions (choose one option and no explanation)

Steve Jobs or Bill Gates

Javascript or .NET

Internet Explorer/Chrome/Firefox/Safari

Wine/Beer/Soft Drink – Water

Certifications or Use CRM

twerking or tweeting

books or ebooks – both—fiction books, nonfiction ebooks

save or autosave

OnLine or On Premise

Windows 7/Windows 8.1/Linux/Mac/Other

work from home or work from office 

Miley Cyrus or Billy Ray Cyrus – Johnny cash

Vinyl/CD’s/MP3’s/Subscribe – Vinyl at home, xbox music on the go/at work

Zero Inbox/Overflowing Inbox

Early Bird/Night Owl – Too often both

Do Today/Do Tomorrow

CRM Developer/CRM Consultant

Hot Weather/Cold Weather – Rainy weather

Half Full/Half Empty


Previous CRM MVP Q&A

Gonzalo Ruiz

Leon Tribe

Tanguy Touzard Questions


finally don’t forget to check out my CRM Developer YouTube channel

Hosk’s CRM Dev Youtube Channel