Salesforce Pros: If you haven’t been getting out much…

You might have noticed the number of free/discounted online courses that are being made available.

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The latest is Pluralsight offering the month of April for free (no credit card required or other subscription shenanigans).

Over 7000 courses, a few hundred on Salesforce.

I’ve seen posts in the past regarding the lack of training available around CPQ. Pluralsight has 2 that I came across: Demystifying CPQ and CPQ for beginners.

Bonus tip: After taking a class, shoot a personal LI invite to the author. A great way to build a new connection for the future.

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Salesforce Admins: Riddle Time

Probably one of the worse, ever:

Q: What rhymes with Tails Horse Purity?

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A: Salesforce Security

How’s your knowledge on Salesforce Security?

Are you just making things work in your org to get by?

Did you inherit a disaster?

Maybe you’ve even given All Access Alan the full gamut of Administration Permissions, although he’s just a Sales Rep, just so he’ll leave you alone.

Well, if you need to brush up on your knowledge, please join Ryan Scalf’s Admin training class Tuesday and Thursday’s at 2 – 4 PM EST.

I’m pretty sure he’ll teach you something new and can probably help you get All Access Alan what he needs in a much better way.

Link to the Zoom meet-up in the comments.

We’d love for you to join us.

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Salesforce Pros: Is now the time to set sail?

As unconventional, naive, or ridiculous as this sounds, maybe now’s the time to make that change that you’ve been thinking about.

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Short story:

When I was full time with consulting partners, the thought of going the independent contractor route crossed my mind many, many times.

But, it never really felt like the right time, and internally I was himming and hawwing: 

too risky to go

I’m comfortable so I’ll stay

why make a change

I’m not good enough

I’ll just wait a little longer

and whatever other justifications and rational thoughts came to mind.

Then 2008 hit and layoffs started to happen, customers put projects on hold, the future was very uncertain.

So I thought, maybe now’s the time.

I mean if I couldn’t make a decision when times were good, then hell, I might as well make one when times are bad.

So I took the plunge, and while my arrogance that I’ll land on my feet overnight was a swift kick to my backside, the decision was made, I was moving forward.

If you’ve been on the fence on making a career decision, maybe now’s the time and the opportunity that you’ve been waiting for…the igniter that you’ve needed.

The waters are choppy now, but you’ll need to set sail, smoother times are on the horizon.

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Salesforce Admins: M.I.M.E. (Maximum Impact Minimum Expense)

Are you currently taking the initiative to think of and find creative ways to be a critical asset to your organization?

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Fortunately, Ian Gotts, came up with 4 excellent ideas to continue to be the all-star, value-added, Admin that you are:

1. Validating key dashboards and reports that are needed by executive management and looking out for data accuracy, overall usage, and key fields.

2. Simplifying page layouts. Removing unused and unnecessary fields, improving help text, adding a description for future trace-ability.

3. Removing unused managed packages resulting in a potential license cost savings or just unnecessary clutter.

4. Taking a deep dive into tracing what and how objects are being utilized throughout your org, what dependencies exist and then eliminating the waste.

Please check out the below URL, which Ian created 4 videos on how to do this with Elements.cloud which offers a 14 day free trial along with extensions if needed.

I think you’ll find this exercise very valuable once you dive in and start navigating around.

If you don’t have time due to other priorities, how about delegating it to a newcomer to analyze that would love to get more experience.

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Salesforce Pros & Newcomers: Opinion on the current job market

While my (list) view of the current Salesforce job market is relatively small, a few thoughts to share:

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Due to the uncertainty, it seems most companies are putting their hiring on hold. The good thing for those that aren’t, is the greater pool of available talent to choose from.

If you’re a Salesforce newcomer, this is an ideal time to ask your connections if there is an opportunity to pick up some volunteer work, particularly if you hear about layoffs happening. Those on the ground are probably overwhelmed with the workload which gives you a chance to get some experience on the lower level tasks they don’t have time for (data analysis, data cleanup, prototyping, etc.). CRM related functions are still happening.

If you’re currently one of those that have more work than hours and have the capacity to offload some of the smaller, maybe mundane, tasks that you think a newcomer could help out with, please do so.

For those that are in caught in the cross-fire, I’m sure you know about the importance of continuing to up-skill.

What better time to dive into understanding how those Apex Triggers work and why Developer Donnie seemed to get all the credit when it comes to building complex Salesforce solutions.

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Slowing down…

Maybe things have slowed down a little for you during this time and you’re not constantly running from one meeting, one call, one hallway conversation, one text, one email, one Slack chat, one Chatter feed to the next all day long.

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How about a little career discovery/self-reflection time?

Science says a little bit of discovery, followed by a lot of development, then a lifetime of deepening will keep you on the right track.

For Discovery, asking yourself:

1. What do I like to think about?

2. Where does my mind wander?

3. What do I really care about?

4. What matters most to me?

5. How do I enjoy spending time?

6. In contrast, what do I find unbearable?

Also some definitions on what you might be looking for:

A job: “I view my job as just a necessity of life”

A career: “I view my job primarily as a stepping stone to other jobs”

A calling: “My work is one of the most important things in my life”

Reference: Grit by Angela Duckworth

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Over the weekend, I caught “Uncle” Bob Martin’s presentation on The Future of Programming.

Within it, he speaks about the history and evolution of hardware, software, languages, methodologies and programmers, while stressing the importance for technical discipline.

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Back in 1945, it was predicted that the need for programmers was going to continue to be in high demand (considered mathematicians back then).

You might want to check out his presentation on YouTube as you’ll probably learn something new and it’s pretty entertaining (assuming you’re a techie).

Key takeaway (among many): as the amount of new programmers doubles every 5 years, this results in half the total number of programmers to not have experience, causing a perpetual cycle of inexperience, then causing the same programming mistakes to be made over and over, if the learnings of the previous are not taught to the new.

Below are some of the slides from his presentation.

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Salesforce Pros: How’s your Googling going?

You know, your ability to find exactly what you’re searching for in your 1st attempt by building a good looking query string like:

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Salesforce Apex Callout OR “APIs” AND REST -SOAP

Actually, I have no idea if that’s a good query string, but I do know if you’re not currently using Dan Appleman’s Search The Force Custom Google Search Engine, you might be spending more time than you need on your Googling.

Check it out here:

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SRTotD (Salesforce Random Thought of the Day): The Save Icon

In checking out Johan Yu‘s, latest book: Getting Started with Salesforce Einstein Analytics, he references saving a lens, by specifically calling out clicking on the floppy disk icon.

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This gave me a chuckle but also got me thinking…

To no fault of his own, but exactly which floppy disk is this lens being saved to?

Unfortunately, I just used my last one to create an emergency, bootable drive for my Windows 3.0 OS.

Long live the Save Icon!

Book review on Johan’s book coming out in a few weeks…

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Salesforce Professionals – are you gritty?

Do you want to be grittier?

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What defines grit?

Based on Angela Duckworth’s book, Grit, her research shows 4 characteristics:

1. Interest – when we’re captivated by the endeavor as a whole, although some of it sucks, overall we find it interesting

2. Practice – the need to continuously be better and resist complacency

3. Purpose – your work is important not just to you but others, interest without purpose is not sustainable

4. Hope – ability to keep going, knowing there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, when things get difficult

If your current situation has you down, maybe check out this book to help bring out the grit within you.

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Need some pointers on the future of your technology career?

Please check out Dan Appleman’s latest session on Pluralsight, as I’m sure you’ll gain some additional perspective, based on his years of professional experience.

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Best part of it: It’s free!

https://lnkd.in/expUMRz

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Expecting versus Accepting

Before an interview, are you expecting an outcome to be favorable or rather accepting the decision no matter what?

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There are so many variables at play when it comes to interviews and the outcome is unpredictable, would accepting before starting be easier on your emotional well being?

Particularity, because you’re not the one making the decision and although you might have felt it went well, those on the receiving end might have felt otherwise, or maybe they decided to put the position on hold, or received an internal referral, or promoted within.

All areas out of your direct control.

You did your best at the time, and even if you didn’t, the conversation has ended.

When we expect a specific outcome, if we don’t get it, we’re usually disappointment.

Being disappointed in someone else’s action or decision can be a monkey on our back that we don’t want or need.

I’m not suggesting for you to agree with the outcome, but by accepting it allows you to take ownership, understand, embrace and take what you can from the situation as it unfolds.

When it comes to interviews, plan for victory, and learn from defeat.

Then if you succeed, celebrate and if you fail, re-calibrate.

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Salesforce Professionals: It’s not fair!

Have you recently found out how much your new colleague (Newcomer Nancy) is making and thought to yourself, WTF?

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That can’t be right.

I don’t believe it.

How is that possible?

Let me confirm, reconfirm, and confirm again.

“Hey Tenure Tom, did you hear how much Newcomer Nancy is making, please tell me it’s just hearsay.”

<more thoughts>

Nancy is definitely not better than me, more experienced than me, more skilled than me…I can just tell, look how she walks.

Why would “they” do that to me, to us, to those who have been in the trenches for all these years.

They should be paying me at least that, not some newcomer who hasn’t proved themselves yet at “my” company.

Well, maybe it’s fair, maybe it’s not.

Companies need to bring in new talent and often may have to pay a premium to do so.

And maybe you’ve either been a Newcomer Nancy before or will be fortunate to be one in the future.

Until then, a better decision could be focusing on your best output, and let the rest work itself out…

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Salesforce 1st Time Career Seekers: Impossible

Is landing your 1st Salesforce position considered impossible?

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Impossible is an intriguing word meaning incapable of being true.

While there are some things that are considered impossible (e.g. changing the past), I don’t think landing your 1st Salesforce position can be one of them.

Maybe: Difficult, hard, frustrating, aggravating, challenging, annoying, disappointing and plenty of other verbs/adverbs.

But impossible?

Or asked another way, how can you prove it’s really impossible, can’t there always be one more attempt to make something possible?

Same concept can be applied to almost everything that we do…

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The risk/reward with paying less than market…

Especially for contractors.

Contractors do what they do because they’re good at it and there’s a financial upside.

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Occasionally, they may take a position less than market if they’re in a pinch.

BUT…

They know they’re being paid less, and they’re also probably getting calls regarding better paying options.

I think it’s only a matter of time when deciding to be cheap causes an employer to have to start over and back-fill.

Seems like a riskier move than to just start with market rates in the beginning.

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Are you easy to work with?

How about your colleagues, are they?

How about your boss, is he/she?

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While there’s different ways for this to be determined, I think it should land near the top of the skills/personality chart.

It makes working with you and you working with others much easier.

If you know someone who’s easy to work with, let them know.

It could make their day…

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Salesforce Professionals – Your work environment…

Is your current environment bringing out the best in you?

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Maybe you feel like no one really cares, or they don’t have the same passion, drive or grit that you know you have.

Are you surrounded by the type of people and leadership to help you and those around you grow?

It’s often said, your environment has the greatest influence in your success.

I’d suggest not to think:

“Just one more week, one more month, one more year, things might change.”

or

“As soon as:

so and so leaves

we move offices

I can work remote more often

we have a new round of funding

new leadership comes on board”

Sure, that might cause some changes for the better, but it will probably take time and won’t be the cure all solution.

Rather, why wait?

I know, change is hard, but being stuck is not any better.

“If you don’t like where you are, change it, you are not a tree.” ~Jim Rohn

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Brown nosing in the office…

“No way, Chris, I let my work speak for itself, I work hard, play fair and I’ll get ahead”

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According to research, managing what your boss thinks of you and continuing to make a good impression is more important than hard work.

A$$ kissing is known to be effective, even when the boss knows it’s insincere.

Results in a reduction of workplace stress, improving happiness, as well as physical health.

If it’s your thing: make your boss look good, keep them happy, have them like you, it may help during performance reviews.

On a comical note, a classic scene from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation:

Clark Griswold’s Boss: “Don’t forget that report, Bill”

Clark Griswold: “Yes, sir”

<as the corporate executives walk out>

Clark Griswold: “Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, kiss my a$$, kiss his a$$, kiss your a$$, Happy Hanukkah.”

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The internal challenge of continuous picking…

If you’re a parent with kids still at home, I think you have 3 primary things going on at a broad level:

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1. Your family

2. Your career

3. Your social life

Putting time into one, takes time away from the other.

Finding the balance and keeping everyone (including you) happy is where harmony resides.

For most, much easier to say (and write) than do…

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Do we often get too caught up or stressed out by asking:

“what’s next for me”?

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Trying to find that perfect job title and associated responsibilities, salary, culture, work environment, etc.

And also questioning if I was this title before, I can’t be this title again, as that’s not a career progression.

Or if I’m Jr. then I’m Mid then I’m Sr. or if I’m X, then I’m Y and then I’m Z, because that’s what society says is the right path forward.

I think it’s natural that we all question this.

Do our career advancements happen by timing, by fate, by chance, by serendipity, call it what you want?

But you hear someone followed these steps, did these things, and landed here, doing X, those same results should come my way.

I think one specific linear career progression is often a fallacy that we get too wrapped up in.

Rather, what do we enjoy most and can we excel at those few things?

Maybe we don’t know what THAT is quite yet, so we keep trying different positions.

But at some point, asking the questions:

“where do I consistently produce the best results and feel valued?”

“is the work I’m doing interesting, engaging, and financially rewarding?”

and then determining how and where can I spend most of my day doing those things.

Inherently, I feel your career will progress.

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Express yourself…

Do you find talking or writing about what’s troubling you, consoling?

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If you’re not sure, try it, it could help you get through your current obstacle(s).

Often, you’re probably not even looking for an answer, rather just to express your thoughts, get them off your mind, in order to be able to turn the corner and continue on.

This past week I had:

1. A new Salesforce career seeker write to me expressing the struggles they were facing in landing their 1st position

2. A junior level Salesforce Admin call me to determine which position they should take next and expressing why it made sense

3. A request to have a call for someone expressing the need to make a transition to a new career in Salesforce

4. A senior Salesforce COE (Center of Excellence) Manager expressing what they really enjoyed about their position, but why it was time to move on

5. A private message expressing an opposing point of view on one of my posts on consulting

These are all great forms of expressing, and I’m sure it helped them in moving forward in some small way, regardless of what I (or any recipient) says in response.

In my best Madonna voice:

“Express yourself, You’ve got to make him

Express himself, Hey, hey, hey, hey”

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More and enough…

Do we have enough or just feel the continuous need to do more, be more, earn more?

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Do we consider time = money, especially when we hear of all the Salesforce work that’s available out there.

Why can’t we have more (or bigger) slices of the Salesforce work pie?

If we’re working full time, that’s only 40, 50, 60 hours a week, we still have over 100 left (who needs sleep?).

During our lunch hour, after hours, on our commute, weekends, during our kids soccer game, etc.

I can be made available, give me more…

Earlier in my career, I felt the same way, as either I was on the bench between projects, or the work wasn’t keeping me busy (fulfilled) enough.

Looking for ways utilize my time on part-time gigs.

Now reflecting back, what is enough?

An internal struggle, I think many of us go through, weekly, daily, hourly.

I have time, what can I do with it?

Enough for one, might not be enough for another.

Is having more the right answer, or maybe it’s having just enough, right here, right now.

Find your enough, however more or less or equal that is for you, once you have it, be happy, be content, be fulfilled.

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SRTotD (Salesforce Random Thought of the Day): It’s crowded, scooch over.

The congested Salesforce consulting space…

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Having a quick look at the Salesforce AppExchange, there’s 1475 partners.

How in the heck does a small consulting company get discovered?

How does a customer decide to choose this, that or the other company?

Maybe having a few 5 star ratings will help.

But, what if you don’t have any, yet?

Ok, you have one contact, who said they’ll bring your company on.

Great, but after the 3 month implementation is complete, now what?

You’ve been focused on delivery the whole time, not lead generation.

Your pipeline is now dry as a bone.

Back to square 1…

Occasionally, I speak to those that are thinking of starting their own Salesforce consulting company, and I believe the biggest challenge is the above scenario.

10 years ago, I’d imagine it was much easier, as the the field had a lot less players.

Now, without having an in-depth, well connected, entrenched sales and marketing engine already heavily tied to the Salesforce ecosystem, it seems pretty difficult to get noticed and keep momentum.

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Salesforce Newcomers: How are you standing out among your peers?

In addition to showcasing some of your work, how about publishing a few articles or videos and then have them as part of your extracurriculars on your resume.

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Here’s some ideas:

  • A weekly set of questions/problems and answers that were posted on https://lnkd.in/eSAxn9E and why you thought they were important..
  • The top 3 Salesforce bloggers you enjoy reading about and what were some key takeaways they’ve shared.
  • Some of the recent Salesforce acquisitions, the facts about them, why Salesforce thought they were a good purchase and how that can change the CRM landscape.
  • A review of the seasonal release notes and which will make the biggest impact to Sales, Marketing, Admins, Devs, etc.
  • The top 5 trailheads that you found the most useful to a Salesforce newcomer and why.
  • A review on some of the AppExchange apps that you’ve installed and your assessment of those on why those are helpful.

A good quote to think about:
“In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is a failure. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible” ~ Seth Godin (Marketer and Author)

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Salesforce Career Newcomers: Below are some thoughts and important questions I believe are important to ask yourself (or to ask someone else for help), if you’re considering down a new career in Salesforce.

1. Do I need an advantage(s) when compared to others to have success? If so, what are they? Talent, effort, education, background, personality, connections, all, none.

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2. How likely am I to succeed? Why do I feel that way?

3. How significant is the payoff?

4. Is there an opportunity cost? Could/Should I be doing something else with my time? If so, what?

5. Do I have the right support system and encouragement to succeed? Are they actually helping or just blowing smoke?

6. Will I learn something about myself if I fail? Can I apply those lessons elsewhere?

7. When should I decide on a different path? Do I/Should I put a hard date in place? Am I starting to feel the financial pinch?

8. Will I be happy if I succeed? If so, why?

9. Am I utilizing my time as effectively as I should towards this path? If not, what else should I be doing instead?

10. Do I feel any momentum whatsoever or am I just consistently treading water?

These are not intended to discourage, but they are meant to be real, to try and help ensure you understand the landscape and personal well-being.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: How do you receive constructive feedback?

Does it bruise your ego?

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Does it imply you were wrong and they were right?

Does it make you upset or distraught?

If so, maybe you can think about it differently…

It’s a GIFT.

To provide you better direction.

To give you more guidance.

To show you what’s needed to succeed.

To help you understand what’s important.

And it’s up to you to decide how to take it and make adjustments.

Rather than being upset, thank them that they took the time and energy to provide feedback as they’re helping, guiding and actually caring to make you better.

While this is an unnatural feeling, by taking a sense of gratitude to the individual or group providing you the message can be a game-changer in how you deal with constructive feedback, flopped interviews, discrepancies of opinion, etc.

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Chris, where should I go next?

To a big or small consulting company.

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The last few weeks I was asked for my point of view on going to a smaller versus a larger Salesforce consulting company as they were getting offers from both.

While I have my own personal biases based on the previous decisions I’ve made and where it led me, and there is no one right answer, as it really depends on where you are in your career and what you’re looking for.

But, if you’re indifferent, my suggestion: Go Big.

Often, the biggest players get the gnarliest implementations/transformations, have the toughest customers to satisfy, have more politics at play, work the longest hours, have more administrative overhead, and can cause more stress.

“That’s dumb Chris, why would I want to put myself through that?”

Answer: Exposure.

If you’re in the earlier stages of your career, being exposed to as much as you can early on, helps in determining what you want or don’t want for your future.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: “If I had only”

How many times have we said or thought this?

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After the interview…

If I had only:

– Gotten up earlier

– Left on time

– Prepared better

– Wrote it down

– Understood how

– Researched more

– Shook hands firmly

– Answered more thoroughly

– Shown more confidence

– Showered

– Remembered their name(s)

– Not gotten so flustered

– Tripped over my words

– Sat up straighter

– Talked with my mouth full

– Said “I don’t know” instead of BS’ing

– Ironed my suit

– Interrupted

– Looked them in the eye

– Spit out my gum

– Shown my work

– Asked more intelligent questions

– Thanked them

Well, we didn’t, we tried, we forgot, we got distracted, we came up short.

It’s over: 

– Reflect briefly

– Go for a walk 

– Eat a cheeseburger

– Watch a Seinfeld rerun

– Have “A” cocktail

– Talk to someone

– Write it down 

– Get it out 

You’re fortunate to have tomorrow, and the opportunity to go at it again.

“Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose” (Lyndon B. Johnson, 36th POTUS)

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The Salesforce Career Paradox (which can probably apply to most fields):

Entry Level Job Seekers: no choices (struggle to get their 1st position).

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Mid Level Job Seekers: too many choices (struggle to be able to decide which position to take next).

Senior Level Job Seekers: the right choice (struggle to find a position that can actually propel their career to the next level).

And while one category may seem like a “better” problem to have, as you’re not in it, each one has it’s own respective challenges that we go through.

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Effective Communication…

Describe an example of a process that you’ve built as a Salesforce Administrator:

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“Using an agile methodology, I’ve put together an in-depth and ultra-sophisticated series of highly regulated and error-free automation process steps that entails initiating and utilizing multiple decision criteria to produce an abundance of desired outcomes for the company’s sales team.”

Say what?!

There’s an art and genius to using simple language to get a message across.

By delivering precise answers that are clear and comprehensive to interview questions, you can be 2 (process builder) steps above the rest.

Rather, how about something like:

“I created a process that had 3 immediate actions, which included creating a new contract record, a post to a defined Sales Team chatter group, an email to the VP of Sales, as well 2 scheduled follow up tasks of 7 and 14 days, once an opportunity amount above $100,000 hit the stage of closed/won.”

I’m sure this could even use some refinement, but hopefully the point is apparent.

Practice your Q&A with yourself (or with your mom, your dog or favorite stuffed animal).

“Good communication is the bridge between confusion and clarity” (Nat Turner, Minister, Rebellion leader that led to the Civil War and slavery abolishment)

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Long term benefits of working for a consulting company.

You’re probably not always at a point to be too selective in all your career choices, but if you have a chance to work for a major, established, well-known consulting company and understand some of the nuances that come with it:

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travel, extra hours, difficult clients, metrics, driven management, egos, continuously being pushed out of your comfort zone, asked to take on more work, small fish in a big pond environment, etc. and can grind it out for a few years, please do.

As I meet with companies (industry and consulting), they often ask for this background for their next hire, as they were once there and can relate: “Oh, you worked at X, me too, let’s chat”.

It has benefited me in my career, although it often sucked at the time, being on conference calls on a Friday night or prepping for a go-live over a holiday break, it’s opened up future conversations and opportunities that I might not otherwise would have had.

It’s not for everyone, but might be something you’d like to think about trying as you continue down your career path.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Transferable Systems Skills

A good story on being smarter than the recruiting systems.

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Often applicant tracking systems spit out resumes without specific keywords being recognized and while I’m not suggesting to lie on a resume, I do suggest to take what’s available and apply it.

Over the past few weeks, Bhavana Patel, CSM and I were discussing how she could take her other non-Salesforce experiences and skills and relate it to what a Salesforce Admin’s responsibilities would be.

Intelligently, she took the relatable keywords and phrases from the below admin training description and ensured her resume accounted for those that were applicable based on other systems she has worked on:

https://trailhead.salesforce.com/en/academy/classes/adm201-administration-essentials-for-new-admins/

Keywords such as: Data, Formulas, Reports, Records, Logins, Access, Permissions, Configure, User Interface, Troubleshoot, Exceptions, Collaboration, Automation, etc.

I think it was a valuable exercise and if you’re not getting the results that you’re looking for, you may want to cross reference your resume.

“Do what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are.” Theodore Roosevelt, 26th POTUS

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“If you want to be a knight, act like a knight”

While the classic novel by Miguel de Cervantes of Don Quixote has many twists and turns, one theme is clear, that I think can apply to your goal of moving into or up in your Salesforce career as an Admin/Dev/Architect/Manager, etc.

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If you want to be one, act like one.

Don Quixote was considered a knight-errant, where he would wander the land in search for adventure in his pursuit for chivalry.

Acting as if…

How are you pursuing your adventure on becoming a better Salesforce professional, especially if your current position isn’t allowing for additional growth?

How about going out and speaking to some of those who are where you want to be some day.

Asking about how their days typically play out, the types of projects and challenges they deal with, and advice to offer you to get where they are.

Then, take some notes, think about these, and ask yourself:

“What would an Admin, Dev, Architect, Manager do in this situation when you come across them.”

Psychologically, having these thoughts and actions could help build your confidence as if you’ve already played the part in your mind.

Be creative, be that Salesforce-errant.  Just don’t fight any windmills.

“Thou hast seen nothing yet.” -Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote

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Previous Salesforce Career Seekers: Did you decide to quit?

In your initial pursuit of a career transition doing Salesforce work?

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Or even when you landed something and decided to eventually pivot out.

And more importantly, are you happy in whatever work that you’re now doing?

If so, I’d/We’d love to hear from you.

While I enjoy thinking and writing about Salesforce careers and will continue to do so, I think it’s equally important to discuss alternative paths to overall career success, enjoyment and fulfillment.

Particularly, when we seem to be consistently hit over the head with: Salesforce This, Trailhead That, Admin This, Certifications That, Community This, Opportunity That…the list goes on.

There are alternatives and I think perspective can help.

Maybe, I’ll come up with a short questionnaire to publish for those I hear from that decided that Salesforce wasn’t for them.

This post was inspired by a fitting quote I read today:

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again…then give up. There’s no use being a damn fool about it.” ~W.C. Fields (American Comedian and Writer)

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“Why are you looking to make a change?”

“That’s none of your beeswacks, Chris.”

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I asked this question this week when speaking with a candidate who’s currently employed.

She delightfully answered and didn’t say the above.

Then I thought about it some more, and whether the question was really any of my business.

If it was being asked to me, I might question as why it really matters.

In this case, I wanted to make sure the position we’re discussing is not more of the same of what the individual DOESN’T want.

Often a job description only goes so deep, so we often need to dig a little deeper.

This then allows us to add those notes on the submission to either proceed or end the process.

Feel free to ask the recruiters you work with, “why do you ask?” if you feel uncomfortable with the questions being asked.

The question on current salary is probably one you’re thinking, which often company’s ask us to request, which we should also have an answer as to why.

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“Jacked-Up”

The customer’s Salesforce org that is…

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Their words, not mine.

I’m sure there are some more elegant phrases to use.

It’s only Wednesday, and I’ve been involved with 2 conversations with very similar stories.

The good thing for you, especially if you’re a skilled Salesforce consultant, is that there’s plenty of interesting work to be had.

Call yourself – “The Jacked-Up Salesforce Org Fixer” if you’re looking for a new title.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: The right message at the right time.

“I already know dat, DADA!”

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I hear those words time and time again from my 5 year old.

But he doesn’t take action.

Then what happens?

Low and behold, someone else says something very similar and he’s all over it.

A different time, with a different demeanor, from a different person, under a different circumstance, causing a different reaction.

Often we hear or see something that we’ve come across before, and it doesn’t mean a thing to us.

Then our circumstances change, and it’s the one thing that we really needed to hear to keep us going.

Continue to keep your internal antennas up to catch those messages.

“For the 4th time, Son, go brush your teeth, it will prevent cavities…”

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Salesforce Professionals: Mo Money, Mo Problems.

“I don’t know what they want from me
It’s like the more money we come across
The more problems we see” ~The Notorious B.I.G.

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Do you believe this is true?

Have you experienced more headaches, more responsiblities, more stress, and less time as your salary has increased?

We would have to presume one typically leads to the other…

And does one amount over another lead to more happiness?

Studies show it could be $60K, $75K, $95K that just the right amount to make one happy.

And then there’s the hedonic treadmill: a person to remain at a relatively stable level of happiness despite a change in fortune or the achievement of major goals.

A thought provoking quote I heard yesterday:
“Money is the cheapest thing, liberty and freedom is the most expensive.” ~Bill Cunningham (American Fashion Photographer, New York Times)

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Salesforce Professionals: Do you read?

I’m not referring to just Salesforce blogs or other online articles.

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Real, physical books.

Yes, they still exist, and believe it or not, they’re FREE at the library.

Or e-books if that’s your thing.

More importantly, reading books that seem totally unrelated to your current day to day work.

Maybe philosophy, auto-biographies, self-help, history, etc.

If you tend to struggle with some of the problems you face at work, maybe reading has the answer you need.

The possible path to overcome problems, might not be with you thinking and dwelling on them directly, but rather subconsciously through reading.

Go off course occasionally, see what comes to mind.

I know, if you only had time…

How about just 15 minutes before your day gets hectic, or on the bus/train ride in, or instead of watching TV in the evening.

Surprisingly, you may become increasingly better at solving problems on the job by relaxing a little outside of work with a book.

Thank you to, Brett Habing, for asking me to write a post about the significance of reading who I know has had success as a Salesforce Admin and BA by reading.

“If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book.” – Joanne Rowling (Best selling author in history – of a book series)

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Learn from those who came before you.
Cartoonist Bob Mankoff’s, most reprinted cartoon in the New Yorker magazine history.

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Robert Mankoff, a former cartoonist for the New Yorker, had a strong desire to be employed by the New Yorker, but had quite the uphill battle to get that opportunity. The New Yorker receives thousands of cartoons a week, and their acceptance rate is close to 0, but he knew if he could make that team, he would be considered one of the best.

For 3 years and after more than two thousand rejections, he said in an interview that he received enough rejection slips to wallpaper his bathroom. 

As Bob was getting frustrated, he realized that the adage of “try, try again was not working”, so he decided to take a different approach. He went to the New York Public Library and looked up all the previous cartoons that had been published in the New Yorker since 1925.

He analyzed the cartoon captions for length and the type of humor that was presented to see if he could find some missing element that he wasn’t presenting that was, in essence, causing all the rejections. After not being able to easily understand that missing link, it hit him, as he then realized that all the cartoons had one thing in common: 

They made the reader think.

And the cartoonists used their own personal drawing style to achieve that. Furthermore, there was no single, “best” style, as many variations were picked over the years.

Finally, Bob revised his approach to be more in-line with what would be accepted causing the viewer to think about the drawing, as well as adopting his own dot style of drawing (called Stippling).

With his revised approach, he drew the below cartoon, which was the first to be accepted by the New Yorker.

The next year, he sold 13 cartoons to the New Yorker, then 25 the following year, then was asked to become a full-time cartoonist.

While we often hear the saying, “success leaves clues”, I think this story is a great example of that. Although, discovering what “worked” wasn’t easily recognizable, Bob took his own approach to figure out how to get better by studying the history of those who “made it”.

If you’re currently going down the Salesforce career path and not sure how to achieve the success that you’re desiring, take a look at those who came before you, talk to them, research their background, ask intelligent questions, look for similarities that you can latch onto. Sure, everyone’s journey may be slightly different, but I think you’ll find patterns that have led to their success which you can also take into consideration to help you in yours.

Article inspired by a chapter on Robert Mankoff from the book Grit by Angela Duckworth

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Salesforce Professionals: Be Difficult!

To Replace…

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This past week, I went to the dentist and once again, he had a new dental hygienist.

I think that makes it about 4 different ones that I’ve met over the last 2 years.

And while I don’t why the turnover is so high (maybe it’s him), my point is about you.

Are you easy to replace in your current position?

We’re all replaceable to an extent, but how difficult would it be?

The more difficult, the better for you and your career.

Not just at your current position but over the longevity of your career.

How do you become more difficult?

I think by:

  • Being uniquely you
  • Standing for something
  • Bringing a point of view
  • Taking initiative
  • Doing the work no one cares to do
  • Inspiring others
  • Leading by example
  • Being assertive
  • Showing your brilliance
  • Connecting, innovating, communicating
  • Doing the little things well
  • Taking the time
  • Failing and trying again

It might take some guts and you don’t have to do them all, but if all your employer wants is cheap and reliable, that’s probably not where you want to be.

Rather, be difficult to replace.

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Salesforce System Integrators – Please don’t shoot the messenger on this PSA.

If you’ve hired someone to be a consultant and the candidate joined with the premise to be a part of a consulting delivery TEAM atmosphere and then based on a “situation”, you’ve decided to push them into a onesie/twosie staff augmention role, there’s a good chance, they’re not happy, as that’s not what they signed up for.

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You may want to have a candid conversation with that individual before they bail.

Or maybe you’re thinking, “Chris, shut your mouth, they’ll take what we have available”, which I understand, it’s business and the billables matter.

If that’s the case, a suggestion is to please let them know during the interview process what might happen.

Experienced Candidates – this goes for you too, ask those SI’s that you’re interviewing with, how their operating model works when it comes to staff augmentation and project work if/when times are slow.

If you want to be a contractor (aka staff aug), then just be a contractor.

Is there any point working for a SI, and then you being put on your own deserted island to fend for yourself?

I’m seeing/hearing more about the SI/staff aug lines becoming blurred.

Thank you on behalf of the voice of some (not all) of the Salesforce Talent Market.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Salary Negotiations

Maybe there’s a middle…

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Or rather an intermediate in this context.

I was asked to conduct a mock interview yesterday as part of the Salesforce mentor-ship program.

One of the topics we discussed was salary negotiations.

I believe it’s always more art than science, as there’s many variables that come into play when it comes to salary and only you can determine what “works” for you.

But maybe there’s a middle…

If a potential employer makes an offer that is a little less than what you’re expecting and they’re not budging.

Rather than declining the position all together and assuming that you’re really interested, express that, and ask if there are any options to accelerate you receiving a raise within 3-6 months of proving yourself.

Some companies have the flexibility to do this and it can potentially keep the conversation moving forward.

Obviously, there has to be some trust that they’ll come through, but it would get your foot in the door and help you gain some additional experience.

Don’t end the conversation entirely, think about if there’s a middle.

“Oh baby, why don’t you just meet me in the middle? I’m losing my mind just a little” ~Zedd, Maren Morris & Grey – The Middle

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Do you feel like it’s cheating?

When you decide to look for new opportunities while you’re currently employed…

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Do you question your dignity, your pride, your loyalty, your trust?

Does it create anxiety, stress or guilt?

You might be worried that word gets out and your current employer or colleagues could find out.

Then what? Will you instantly be “let go”?

These are all natural tendencies we have.

There are reasons why you decided to start your search.

Use those reasons to help propel you forward.

You don’t have to blast your resume to the world if you’re concerned.

Play it safer, start with just having a few conversations with those you trust to get the word out.

It’s your career and your future.

Sitting still won’t get you any closer.

You’re not a cheater…

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Salesforce Career Seekers: The Candidate/Employer Tension

I think we’ll continue to see this tension get tighter and tighter.

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You may be experiencing the same thing.

As more newly certified Salesforce career seekers come in to the job market, employers respond by adding another layer of qualifications.

And when barriers to entry to get into a new field are low (and relatively free), the ability to actually secure a position in said field gets harder and more challenging (although, not impossible).

If you’re venturing into a new career into Salesforce, I believe the more marketing that Salesforce does around job growth and the availability of additional jobs (how many are truly entry level?), the more tension employers will create to pull in the opposite direction causing the qualification bar to continue to rise.

Supply, demand, scarcity, abundance, wages, all of these weigh into the economic labor market equation.

I (and many others) will continue to think of ideas to encourage and help differentiate yourself from the masses with your creativity being the key differentiator, but please be aware of the candidate/employer tension that lies ahead.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Getting Help

In general, I believe your peers want to help you, especially if they see that you’re struggling.

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But, they need to “see” that you’re struggling and what you’ve done already, not just hear about your sob story about getting certs, badges and no interviews.

Over the weekend, I was working on my swimming and there is a guy in the pool who I often see.

He’s a good, experienced swimmer, I’m not.

After our swim session, he says, “hey, you should get some goggles, they’ll help you tremendously”.

We had never spoken before and it opened up some additional conversation.

I think this happened for a few reasons:

1. He’d seen me there at least 4-5 times before. (my consistency)

2. He was good at something, had been doing it for awhile, and wanted to help others/me. (his generosity)

3. He saw that I was putting a valid attempt in to get better (my effort).

If you’re not getting the additional help that you feel you need, think about if there’s other things that you can do to show others your consistency and effort.

It will often lead to the generosity of others.

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Nostalgia – the positive kind.

It’s interesting how nostalgia comes into play, especially in your career.

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The “good ole days” one may call it.

Often it’s a feeling of joy bringing back your career confidence of yesteryear.

Maybe, it’s you diving into code that you haven’t seen in years and remembering quickly how it all works.

Maybe, you’re a seasoned pro and starting out with a new company that reminded you of your 1st professional position after college.

Maybe, it’s you getting pulled into a new project where you’re finding similarities where you were able to perform your best work.

Maybe, it’s reuniting at a new company with past colleagues you previously worked with and were truly the A team.

Maybe, it’s having a lunch with a previous manager reflecting on how he/she has shaped you to what you are today.

Maybe, it’s passing that certification exam, and how it felt similar to handing in your last term paper in college.

Maybe, it’s you hopping on an introduction project conference call allowing you to reflect on previous experiences of starting something brand new again.

Allow the opportunities of nostalgia to sit in when they come, as I think they are a great motivator to keep you moving forward while remaining youthful and satisfied in your career.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: You control one thing.

Your effort.

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You don’t control:

if you get passed over.

if the recruiter ghosts you.

if the company cancels on you.

if someone on the team doesn’t care for you.

if you don’t get any feedback after an interview.

if the company drags their feed in making a decision.

if the offer is extremely lower than what you’re expecting.

Yes, all those things suck and shouldn’t happen, but they do.

Understanding that those annoyances you can’t control, and focusing on what you can control, is very important as you continue your journey.

Or maybe to put it another way, as the American rapper/producer/entrepreneur Sean John Combs/Puff Daddy/Puffy/P.Diddy/Diddy says:
“Can’t nobody take your pride, can’t nobody hold you down,
oh no, you got to keep on movin”

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Acres of Diamonds (Salesforce Style)

A parable about a farmer who left his land to go search for diamonds elsewhere (sadly he ended up drowning himself when he couldn’t find them), but low and behold he was sitting on a diamond mine in his own backyard.

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Maybe, you’re also sitting on a diamond mine in your current Salesforce org.

A diamond mine of knowledge to be discovered that is…

If things are a little slow at your company or you’re waiting for a project to get approved, this is the time to start digging.

Especially if you’re in a seasoned org, where there’s been many individual hands in it.

You’d be surprised how one diamond (or maybe a time bomb) that you discover may lead to another that leads to another.

An opportunity to learn something new, dig a little, see a shiny object, ask some questions, trace some processes or Apex execution to get a greater understanding of how things were designed to work.

Maybe, try to rebuild it in your Dev org, piece it together, see if there’s a way to improve on it, move it from highly custom Apex to declarative functionality.

Create your own mini-project.

It builds your confidence, your analytical and technical skills, as well as showing your management team that you’re no slouch.

Your Salesforce Acres of Diamonds awaits you.

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Thinking of going the independent contractor route?

Yesterday, I posted about giving this a try, if you’ve been considering it.

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Coincidentally, I had a full time employee call me that’s taking this path but didn’t know what their hourly rate should be.

I advised not to take your annual salary and divide by 50 (or 52) or however many weeks you work in a year.

You need to account for your loaded cost which is going to be ~20-30% more than just your salary.

This includes things such as: payroll taxes (SS, Medicare, Unemployment, Workman’s Comp), insurance (medical, dental, life, long-term disability), 401K matching, PTO, possibly an office, desk, laptop, cell phone reimbursement, training allowance, etc.

But the biggest intangible is RISK.

That should be included in your hourly rate calculation and that’s up to you to decide.

While also considering what a company (overall market) will pay for your services.

Easiest example:
Your current salary: $100,000
Salary + loaded employer cost: $120,000 – $130,000
Equates to hourly: $60-$65/HR
Going independent (1099): I suggest at least $65-$70/HR

There’s many variables at play, just don’t sell yourself short and think it’s a 1 to 1 match, as it shouldn’t be.

Hope this helps a little.

Note: I’m not HR, an accountant, or the IRS.

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Thinking of going the independent contractor route?

I would suggest to go for it, try it, see if you like it, you could always go back to full time if it doesn’t work out.

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IMO, I would not suggest it if you don’t have at least around 8+ years of solid experience first (ideally from consulting, or have a technical background, or a niche skil-set).

It may be a little rough getting your 1st gig, and you may hit some lulls along the way, but if you could use some independence in the work and projects you decide to do, maybe this is it.

2 good conversations I had with independents this past week:

Salesforce Architect – “Chris, I’m taking the month of May off to go hiking and will not be available”.

Pardot Consultant – “Chris, I’m currently working from Bali so only available for remote projects”.

That’s nice – they have the ability to depict how they spend their time, and it works for them…

If you’re not sure, post your resume to Dice (while still working), see what happens, it might be the calling you were meant to pursue.

Just step on the gas, don’t get stuck in the mud.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Why This Path?

If you’re currently on or are thinking about pursuing a career as a Salesforce professional, why is that?

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Is it strictly for the tangibles (salary, prosperity, longevity, culture, etc.)?

Once you land something, will you be satisfied?

Or asked a different way:

At this moment, do you truly enjoy being overwhelmed with the setbacks, the studying, the denial of opportunities, the bruised ego?

With the realization that it’s all a part of the path forward?

If so, great, because here’s the thing:

The obstacles won’t stop, once you land a position.

You’ll continue:

to struggle to keep your head above water with information overload

to want to throw your laptop out the window when you can’t solve a problem

to be pushed (often by an annoying manager)

to deal with stakeholders and users with unrealistic expectations

to get denied that raise, that promotion, that project, etc.

A career in Salesforce (like any other career choice) is not all sunshine and rainbows (regardless of what Salesforce marketing shows).

The tangibles might be nice, but I don’t believe it will compensate for your personal job satisfaction over the long run.

Enjoy the path forward along with the twists, turns, potholes, and dead-ends that come with it.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Trailhead Badges – Collecting or Connecting

Which are you doing?

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Which do you think is more valuable?

Questions that you might want to ask yourself:

Am I gaining real knowledge or is this considered trivia?

Is what I’m learning applicable to landing my 1st position? Can I relate them directly to a job description?

Am I retaining or just doing?

Is it actionable immediately?

Can I apply what I just went over to do something more creative? Maybe connecting one to another to build my own complete solution.

Trailheads like Lego sets usually have a series of instructions and are a good foundation.

It’s when we take what’s given and build something unique, better and using our inner genius that allows us to stand out.

Yes, it’s hard; yes, it takes more time; yes, you might fail.

That’s why most don’t/won’t do it.

It’s not that most can’t.

More importantly: you’re not most.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: “You Don’t Have To Pay Me, Just Give Me Something Real”

These were the words of Bill Bilichick, coach of the New England Patriots NFL Team, when he was applying for his 1st football coaching position.

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I realize the Patriots are not in the Superbowl this year, but I thought his story is still inspiring since today is Superbowl Sunday for the U.S..

When Bill finished college, he mailed out 250 letters asking for some type of position as a coach.

No response.

Then, the Baltimore Colts needed a cheap film guy to study the games, provide notes, collect the playbooks from players who were cut, and to run
random errands.

The coaching staff determined during the interview that he had the passion to succeed and hired him.

Since 1979, he’s considered one of the greatest NFL coaches of all times, winning 8 Super Bowls as either a head coach with New England or a defensive coordinator with the New York Giants.

While I’m not saying working for free is the right choice for you, if you have only applied to 3 positions, or you’re not being creative in figuring out ways to
get your foot in the door, hopefully the above story will help.

Go San Francisco Chiefs!

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Your January

How did you do?

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Did you hit the new year running like you had planned back in December?

Maybe not.

Maybe you hit some unexpected obstacles.

Maybe you let some distractions tilt you off course.

Maybe you didn’t get the call back for the interview that you were hoping for.

Maybe you didn’t pass that certification exam that you prepared intensely for.

Maybe you went through 3 interviews and then didn’t get offered the position.

Maybe the offer that was presented just didn’t feel right, so you declined.

Maybe you started something new, and quickly realized it wasn’t for you (or the company decided that for you).

Maybe you got bruised, torn, cut or upset along the way.

Guess what you have the chance to do?

Begin your February!

How exciting! Another month to move forward.

Rip January off the calendar, it’s come and gone.

Reflect briefly, then get back at it.

You have the fantastic opportunity to go another round.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Restating The Obvious To Help You Standout

How about using the job description of the position you’re applying for to be the focus of your objective on your resume?

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For example (Salesforce Admin position I found from LI):

Responsibilities include:

-Interviewing stakeholders to understand needs and outlining solutions in Salesforce

-Creating and/or testing automation processes

-Manipulating data

-Working with the development team and assisting in their functionality testing

-Assisting in end-user training

-A background in innovation, problem-solving, data management

-Self-starter who is highly motivated and resourceful.

Suggestion for your objective:

“A highly motivated, resourceful and aspiring Salesforce Administrator with a background in innovation and problem solving with a strong emphasis on interviewing stakeholders to understand requirements, specific to Sales and Service clouds. Specialties include: workflow automation, data manipulation, end user training and testing, while working directly with the technical development team to help achieve greater success for XYZ company.”

Specifically, state the company to make it personal.

I think this approach is much better than: “Using my skills and experience to help a company achieve success.”

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Salesforce Career Seekers: The Blockbuster Model

About 20 years ago, Blockbuster offered a “try before you buy” approach.

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They allowed a customer to listen to a CD (yes, CD’s as in Compact Discs) before making a purchase.

It was a great model, as a customer could gain more clarity on what they were buying.

This model is applied to most services and products online now (streaming, shareware, etc.).

Sometime it’s just a sample, but enough to spark an interest.

Maybe this same approach can work for you.

By building out example Salesforce projects and solutions for potential employers to view and sample.

Providing a glimpse of what you can do, what you’ve learned, and how you’ve applied it.

It may lead to a phone call, an email inquiry, an interview and ultimately a job offer.

Companies often have resistance to making a hiring decision, so allow your work (not your resume alone) speak for itself and reduce their hiring reluctance.

You have a best-selling Top 40 hit to offer.

Potential employers need and want to listen, see, and experience it.

Create your hit!

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Salesforce Career Seekers: The Significance of Patterns

Patterns are used to solve problems.

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They help in reusability, maintainability, and performance.

Not just Apex, Integration or Error Handling.

How about the interview patterns you face?

Would you say most follow a series of patterns with the questions that are asked?

Functional, Situational, Technical, Personal, etc.

Continue to get comfortable with those.

Use those patterns to your advantage.

Occassionally, an exception is thrown, can you rely on a how you tackled a similar situation using the same type of pattern (technique)?

The significance of patterns…

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Your Work (no one else’s)

In the mornings, at the gym, there’s a guy who is in his lower 60’s and in pretty good shape.

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Every few weeks, I tend to see him with a different workout partner.

For only about a day or two.

Then he’s by himself, again.

This has happened at least 5 times over the last 6 months or so.

So I asked him, “What’s happening to all your workout partners?”

His answer: “I’m here, I’m putting in the work, if they show, they show, if they don’t, they don’t”

It doesn’t get much simpler than that.

Please don’t get so wrapped up in what others are doing, the success they may or may not be having, as the work that you’re doing is all that matters.

Keep it simple…

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Salesforce Community Group Leaders: If you’re looking for presentation ideas for future meet-ups, how about:

Having Salesforce authors present their books.

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Outside of the hard work to write a book, the opportunity to promote it is critical.

We often see and hear authors, actors, and other entertainers, as guests on talk shows, podcasts, and live events trying to get more awareness of their name and their book.

The local Salesforce community events would be a great stage for our authors.

I think hearing their story would be informative and educational on:

– What inspired them to write it

– Walking us through the writing process

– Who the book is for and how can it help

– Q&A

A few of the publishing companies and contacts for some of the books I’ve read: Susan McDermott of Apress, as well as Packt, and a few others.

Thank you for your support.

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Lack of communication often leads to bigger problems.

One of the biggest challenges, yet often easiest to correct, is communication break-downs.

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It’s usually not about the actual work, rather about how the situation was communicated (or rather not communicated).

Not communicating leads to surprises and management hates surprises.

If you’re interviewing and already have personal vacation scheduled, let them know.

If you’re behind schedule on a project, let them know (beforehand).

If you don’t understand how to do something (and have tried different options), let them know.

If you have a personal situation going on and are not your usual self, let them know.

If you’re going to be late coming in, let them know.

If the spend is approaching the budget, let them know (before it’s spent).

If you’re having a conflict with a co-worker and you don’t see it being resolved, let them know.

If a decision was made that really bothered you, let them know (I don’t mean whine).

Managers have intuition, most can get a pretty good read on people/situations.

Whatever message you need to give, they would much rather hear it from you.

It may cause you anxiety and some friction, but a majority of time, the problem can be resolved or minimized with effective and proactive communication.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Don’t stay in neutral

Neutral: Scrolling, reading and just liking content is not the gear you want to be on LinkedIn.

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You won’t go anywhere and may even start rolling backwards.

Start shifting those gears…

You never know who may be paying attention to what you’re saying, doing, contributing or engaging with/on.

Take your foot off the clutch and let the world and possible employers see that you’re moving forward.

Have no fear, an opportunity is near, just get your rear, in 1st gear.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Strengths or Weaknesses

One challenge I think we often have is, where do we focus our time and energy when it comes to our skills and inherent abilities.

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Do we work on identifying and improving our weaknesses or continue to zone in, refine and further build upon our existing strengths?

We see this being asked when it comes to what our next Salesforce certification should be or where should I go next in my career.

I don’t believe there is one perfect answer, but as long as we’re moving forward, rather than backward or staying stagnant in our current work, we’re headed in the right direction.

This thought conceived when I was doggy paddling in the gym pool yesterday attempting to swim when I’m traditionally a runner.

Keep moving forward, with or without swim floaties…

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Salesforce Career Seekers: “We Decided To Go In A Different Direction”

I hate that answer…

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Don’t you?!

I was told that yesterday.

What does that even mean? I have no idea.

But, who cares? Let’s not worry about it.

Let’s do this instead:

* Be thankful that they were impressed enough to schedule an interview (maybe my resume is actually quite good)

* Add those that I met to my LinkedIn network (for future relationship building)

* Find a better opportunity that would be more fulfilling (smaller/bigger organization, more/less structured, better hours, etc.)

* Finish that project I’ve been putting off (cleaning the garage, sorting my mismatched socks)

* Analyze the results internally and make some adjustments for next time (build my emotional muscles)

* Connect with new organizations and people (wow, I never knew they had an office here)

* Further research those topics that were discussed during the interview to expand my knowledge and potential (Apex – what the heck is that, I better check it out)

You can go in a different direction too!

Or maybe, you’re not in the mood for any of the above:

No problem…

Go for a long walk, then write a little, then sing out loud, then:

Go eat a chocolate cupcake!

Better direction awaits…

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Be Quick To The Point

Or rather, be the 1st to respond.

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To have a better shot at a new opportunity.

Recruiters often stick and move all day long.

Usually, the 1st qualified applicant that responds starts the conversation and possibly the submission process.

Sure, you might get ghosted, ignored, and whatever else, you can’t control that.

Control what you can control, which is your promptness.

Maybe some Vanilla Ice lyrics will help:

“Quick to the point to the point no faking

You’re cooking those recruiters like a pound of bacon”

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Cover Letters

I was asked to review a cover letter last week, which I don’t do that often, but glad I did to share some ideas:

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* Make it as specific as possible, not just one version and change out the company and job title.

* Share your knowledge on what you’ve learned about the company’s goals, accomplishments and accolades or the industries and customers they serve, and the expertise and value proposition they offer.

* Specify why you’re interested as it directly relates to them and their mission. Possibly use wording and phrases that they’ve already used in their marketing material without going overboard.

* Take the top 3 requirements of the position and speak directly to how you have met those (provide examples or links to work if you can).

* Be less “you” and more “them” to speak to how they can accomplish greater success with having you on board (again based on your previous track record).

All this with the goal of being concrete, succinct and interesting, as you have about 5 seconds of their attention.

Or to summarize it nicely, as the motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar, often said: “Be a meaningful specific, rather than a wandering generality.”

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Salesforce Certifications – if you’re setting out this year to get more, below are some questions you might want to ask yourself.

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The intent is not to persuade or dissuade, rather to help ensure you’ve thought about the process (aka your time), your goals and the associated benefits.

Why am I getting it?

Am I choosing or is it being forced?

Is what I’m doing really learning? or just memorization?

Is it about curiosity and passion or just accreditation?

Will it help me, my organization, my peers, in the long run?

Could I be using my time more effectively? If so, doing what?

Does it make me more valuable?

Will it open more doors?

Does it translate well into career advancement?

Do I know others who have seen more success because of it?

Does it make me a differentiator when evaluated against my peers for a promotion or during an interview?

What is my end goal with another certification?

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SRTotD (Salesforce Random Thought of the Day): Salesforce Connectivity

No, I don’t mean how to connect Marketing Cloud to Service Cloud.

Rather, the connectivity of people.

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As big as the Salesforce ecosystem may seem, I believe it’s actually quite small based on how connected it is.

People talk, connect and share ideas, experiences and stories.

The good, the bad, and the ugly.

If we’re not providing qualitative feedback to those who interview and do not get hired for the position, word spreads, possibly causing company’s reputations on culture being damaged, or even the hiring authority’s credibility to be reduced.

Maybe, we can do better this year, especially to those who are looking for their 1st opportunity.

The feedback they receive, however akward or difficult it is to give, could be just the right ingredient they need.

I think Martin Luther King, Jr. said it eloquently: “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be, until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality”.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: The “right” connections and conversations

Are you spending your time connecting and speaking with those that can get you a little closer to your 1st opportunity or are you reaching out to everyone and anyone that has Salesforce somewhere tied to their title/LI Profile?

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A few thoughts:

1. Many companies do not use external recruiters, those that do, are looking for those they cannot find themselves, typically that’s the needle in the haystack, you know the all in one: “Admineveloperarchitectbusinessanalysttrainertesteroperationalstrategist”

2. Companies that are looking to fill entry level positions will often use their own network, alumni programs and internal connections and referrals to find someone.

3. Salesforce recruiters are everywhere (or so it seems), most do the majority of their work in their respective geographical region where they have the closest relationships with companies. The odds that a recruiter located in Chicago will have a direct opportunity in Jackson, Mississippi where you live, is pretty slim (although they might have a colleague managing that region based on size).

While you never know where one conversation will lead, please make sure that you’re using your time and outreach approach effectively in your pursuit.

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Experienced Salesforce Professionals: New Year, New Possibilities?

Almost 2 weeks into 2020 and I have been asked to review and provide my opinion on more resumes than usual.

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Maybe it’s just that time of the year…

The question is: is there anything holding you back?

If you’re unsure on what you want to do, or where you want to go, maybe dip your toe in the water, it may be ice cold, lukewarm or boiling hot, but you’ll need to take off your stilettos and penny loafers, to find out.

“If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable” ~Seneca (Roman Stoic Philosopher)

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Salesforce Career Seekers: You Can’t Walk Your Way Off The Island

Huh?

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This statement is an adage that is embraced in Latin America for up and coming baseball players who have dreams to make it to major league baseball.

Which means, they needed to swing hard and often…taking a base on balls isn’t enough.

As Roberto Clemente (Hall of Fame Hitter) once said (paraphrased): “Outside, inside, ankle high, at the head, it doesn’t matter, we’re swinging.”

I think this is the same approach you should have as you continue your Salesforce career search.

Take every conversation, every interview, every opportunity, every pitch, to swing your way into your 1st position.

100% on-site, help-desk, part-time, data cleansing, evenings, weekends, a lower than desired wage, lack of benefits, 1 hour commute by bus, train, walking, relocating, sweeping floors 70% of the time and Salesforce related work 30%

Any and every pitch that’s thrown your way.

If you’re not swinging at them all, someone else is…

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Inspiring and Motivational Quotes to Share

While some of us are internally motivated, I think many of us want or could use a little help to get us through the occasional troubling times that we’re currently facing or might experience in the future.

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Below are a list of quotes (some slightly improvised) from Jim Rohn, who’s considered America’s foremost business philosopher who wrote the book: “The Treasury Of Quotes”, where I chose the top ones that I felt might be the most helpful for you.

Movement/Activity/Labor:  🏃‍♀️🏃‍♂️

·      You must act, God said, “if you don’t move, I don’t move”.

·      The few who do are the envy of the many that watch.

Basics/Fundamentals: 🧮

·      Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines practiced every day. Failure is simply a few errors in judgement repeated every day. 

Career/Marketplace: 💻

·      We get paid for bringing value to the marketplace. It takes time to bring value, we get paid for the value, not the time.

·      Where you are currently, is not where you have to stay.

·      The worst days of those who enjoy what they do are better than the best days of those who don’t.

·      You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight.

Communication: 💬

·      Effective communication is 20% what you know and 80% in how you feel about what you know.

·      Communication is the ability to affect other people with words.

Desire/Motivation: 🙌

·      Motivation alone is not enough. If you have an idiot and you motivate them, now you have a motivated idiot.

Education/Learning: 📚

·      Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.

Sharing Your Work:  ✌️

·      Nothing teaches character better than generosity

Goal Setting: 🥅

·      The value obtaining a goal makes out of you will always outweigh the goal itself.

Happiness: 😊

·      Learn how to be happy with what you have while you pursue all that you want.

·      Happiness is the art of learning how to get joy from your substance.

Health: 🧑‍⚕️

·      Make sure the outside of you is a good reflection of the inside of you.

·      Take good care of your body, it’s the only place you have to live.

Influence/Association:  🤼

·      You must constantly ask yourself: Who am I around? What are they doing to me? What have they got me saying? Where do they have me going? What do they have me thinking Most importantly: What do they have me becoming and is that okay?

·      Some people you can afford to spend a few minutes with, but not a few hours.

Journals: 📒

·      Don’t use your mind for a filing cabinet. Use your mind to work out problems and find answers; file away those good ideas in a journal.

Leadership/Management: 👑

·      Be strong, not rude; Be kind, but not weak; Be bold, but not a bully; Be thoughtful, but not lazy; Be humble, but not timid; Be proud, but not arrogant; Be humorous, but not insulting

·      Start with where people are before you try to take them where you want them to go.

·      Lead the way by personal example.

·      Managers help people to see themselves as they are. Leaders help people to see themselves better than they are.

Personal Development: 📖

·      How long should you try? Until.

·      What you become directly influences what you get.

·      The most important question to ask on the job is not: “What am I getting?”, rather “What am I becoming?”

·      It’s not what happens that determines the major part of your future. What happens, happens to us all. It is what you do about what happens that counts.

·      Your paycheck is your responsibility not your employers. Your employer has no control over your value, but you do.

·      You should do more than what you get paid for, as that’s where the fortune lives.

Problem Solving: ➕➗➖

·      To solve any problem, here are 3 questions to ask yourself: What could I try? What could I read? Who could I ask?

·      The best place to solve a problem is on paper.

Time Management: ⌛

·      Time is our most valuable asset, yet we tend to waste it, kill it, and spend it rather than invest it.

·      Don’t mistake movement for achievement. It’s easy to get faked out by being busy.

Hopefully, some of these made an impact for you as you continue down your Salesforce career journey.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Please check out this video!

By Stephen Church, Salesforce Administrator, as this is one of the best that I’ve seen.

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In ~11 minutes, it highlights:

* His approach to landing his 1st Salesforce position

* How he stood out with creativity

* His understanding and awareness that he did not have any hands-on experience and what to do about it by creating a custom application

* How he identified what most employers are looking for in an Admin and how to build a solution that included a data model, page layouts, security, automation and other features

* The use of diagrams, videos and screenshots (using simplicity)

* Identifying future enhancements to have an agile, continuous improvement mindset

* And many other valuable lessons

While this process is not the end all, be all, I strongly believe the work he put into this, helped him lead the field and land his 1st opportunity.

YOU can definitely do the same.

Thank you to Andy Davidson, MBA, for introducing me to Stephen and the excellent job Stephen did putting this together, along with the opportunity for me to share it with others.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/19JNi4I5KNYCKsM3XGryxeCmnAMYG9M3s/view

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Salesforce Career Seekers: A Few Lessons from Misters Rogers’ Neighborhood

In learning a little more about the symbolism that was provided to us in the children’s television series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood that lasted over 30 seasons, 900 episodes, from 1968 to 2001 winning multiple Emmy’s, I believe there’s a few lessons that might apply to your Salesforce Career Journey.

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Blinking Yellow Stoplight = Slowing Down

In the beginning of every episode a stoplight is shown, blinking yellow.  As we deal with constant digital interruptions and always being on the “go” moving from one task to another, Mr. Rogers wanted to help enforce the need to slow down and take time to think for ourselves. Rather than always working on your next certification or that next Salesforce badge, slow down and think about creative ways to help you either advance your Salesforce career or to land your 1st Salesforce position. 

Maybe each morning, spending 10-15 minutes to write some creative ideas down to try, these ideas are unique to you. Rather than using specifically what a Trailhead or any other blog might suggest, trying using these as an initial guide but then come up with your own creative solution/approach.

Egg Timer = Focusing On The Task At Hand

In one episode, Mr. Rogers would cook an egg, timing it for 60 seconds in silence to show his audience how long 1 minute is, as well as how to be quiet and still during that time. This quiet time and focus helps prevent any outside distractions from interfering with what you’re currently working on. It could be an egg timer for 1 minute or a stopwatch for 30 minutes, it’s the ability to tune out emails, text messages or phone calls that will allow deeper focus on your current work.

Look For The Helpers = Mr. Rogers Would Turn To His Neighbors For Help

Whether it’s the postman, the policeman, the milkman or anyone else that was in his neighborhood, he would have them be a part of his show to teach his audience new things while carrying on an interesting and informative conversation about a specific topic.  In your Salesforce career search, are you turning to others to help you? While there’s plenty of information written already on various Salesforce topics, connecting with others and having a meaningful conversation to look for help and guidance can be a powerful process in your Salesforce career progression.

There’s many more lessons from this hit show, these were a few that seemed to have relevancy to your Salesforce career. Lastly, as he closed every episode, he told his audience:

“You’ve made this day a special day, by just you being you”.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: You Control How You Show Up

In the spirit of the NFL playoffs and the controversial call (or lack thereof) between the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints, that some may say cost the Saints the game, the refs not making the correct call was out of the players, coaches, owners, and fans control.

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For you as a Salesforce Career Seeker, you not being offered the position after the interview is also out of your control.

What is in your control is how you show up and present yourself.

Were you as prepared as you could have been?

Were you on-time or even early?

Did you articulate answers to questions as thoroughly as you could and show humility on those you could not?

Were you able to present confidence and exuberance without coming across as egotistical?

Did you do more listening than talking, and not cut anyone off mid-sentence?

Did you thank them for their time even if you didn’t get the position with long-term relationship building in mind?

The Saints will try again next season and you’ll have your next interview sooner than that…

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Some Good Success Verbs for Your Resume (and a few other ideas)
  • Accelerated
  • Achieved
  • Contributed
  • Delivered
  • Eliminated
  • Exceeded
  • Grew
  • Improved
  • Maximized
  • Optimized
  • Produced
  • Sold
  • Streamlined

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  • Add a numerical accomplishment if you can. $, %, Time/Money Saved, Processes Eliminated, etc.
  • As you review your resume accomplishments, craft it to persuade an employer to hire you based on the benefits you have delivered. Even read them out loud saying: “You should hire me for this position because I…”
  • Your resume doesn’t just relay what you’ve already accomplished, but rather to help an employer envision what you can do in the future.

More context on this subject can be found here:
https://www.inc.com/peter-economy/the-ceo-of-ladders-reveals-surprising secret-of-crafting-a-winning-resume-that-will-get-you-your-next-job.html

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Providing A Reason to Listen

Below is a quote that I think is relevant to your career search:

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“You cannot sell to someone who isn’t listening; word of mouth is the best medium of all; and dullness won’t sell your product/service, but neither will irrelevant brilliance.” ~Bill Bernbach (Pioneered creative advertising for Volkswagen – Think Small, Avis – We Try Harder, Life Cereal – Mikey Likes It)

Questions to think about from this quote:

1. How are you getting a hiring manager or HR to listen? It probably won’t be by yelling or pestering the same message: “Pick me” more or louder.

2. How are you using and amplifying the medium of word of mouth to get you a little closer to an interview? Can you be referred in, are you building relevant relationships through networking?

3. How are you helping to ensure your message is not “dull”? Dull may also mean the same message as everyone else.

4. How is your brilliance relevant to where you’re applying or who you’re interviewing with? You have brilliance, but having a one size fits all resume as your only credential is not it.

Hope these ideas help as you strategize your career search this year.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Why Write?

Over the last few years, I’ve become a strong advocate of writing and I encourage you to try it as well.

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I believe writing allows you to decompress, as well as the opportunity to help others.

To summarize a stoic philosophical conversation:

A philosopher was asked:

“What was the objective of all the trouble over a piece of craftsmanship when it would never reach more than a few people?”

The philosopher answered: “A few is enough for me, so is one, so is none. I am writing this not for the many, rather for myself, or for you alone, for each of us is an audience for the other”.

This year, you might want to incorporate writing into your daily or weekly routine or at least when something is troubling you, to see if it helps gets you over whatever hurdle you’re facing.

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Experiencing Cold, Gloomy Winters In Your Salesforce Career Search?

In the U.S., we just hit the official season of winter, and for many of us, that brings the colder weather, gloomier days, along with the potential for a little less motivation to do the things we want/need to do in our Salesforce career search journey.

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If we relate the winter months to your career search and maybe you’re hitting some cold, windy, icy, overcast days without much sun (new opportunities) in the forecast, causing you to feel a little down and unmotivated. Especially, when you’re not getting a call back after the interview or receiving any responses after submitting your resume for a position that seems to be the perfect match for you.

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.” ~Anne Bradstreet (1st Puritan English Poet)

If this is the case for you and you’re hitting the winter season, remember that for the last 6000 years of recorded history, spring follows winter, which means brighter, warmer, sunnier days lie ahead.

“No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.” ~Hal Borland (American Author, Journalist and Naturalist)

It’s during these winter months where our tolerance is tested and patience to persevere matters the most and this is the time to double down on your career search efforts when others may not “be in the mood” to do so, leaving you at a distinct advantage.

“Winter forms our character and brings out our best.” ~ Tom Allen (American Politician and Author)

If we decide to neglect today’s undesirable climate and corresponding gloomy mood for a better, more appealing tomorrow, once the warmer weather is finally here, we might not be as prepared as we should/could have been. Therefore, the act of planning, executing and having the confidence now, so when spring arrives, the possibilities of new career opportunities can be made available to you.

“Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius.” ~Pietro Aretino (Italian Playwright, Poet, Author)

The Winter Season In Your Salesforce Career Search

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Salesforce Career Seekers: For 2020…

If you’re looking for an idea (or New Years Resolution) for 2020, how about:

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Allowing yourself to get slightly more uncomfortable with your career search.

Being uncomfortable means something different to each of us, but whatever you did for 2019, can you add another step to the process to see if better results can be obtained?

Some suggestions:

* Write that/those article(s) that you’ve been thinking about but haven’t executed on.

* Build and display those apps that will show your creative side.

* Reach out (leave voicemails) to hiring managers/internal recruiters after applying for a position.

* Follow up on a position until you hear the final decision.

* Ask a local Salesforce professional out for coffee or lunch to build a new relationship.

* Collaborate with others on your job search asking for engagement and opinions.

* Ask another Salesforce career seeker to team up on a project together to hold each other accountable.

* Find an opportunity where you can bring out your inner leadership capabilities.

The list goes on…

“Discomfort brings engagement and change. Discomfort means you’re doing something that others were unlikely to do…” ~Seth Godin (American author, blogger, marketer)

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Creating Momentum: Amelia Earhart Style

Salesforce Career Seekers – are you creating momentum and continuously moving forward as you work towards launching your Salesforce career?

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Or are you waiting for that perfect position to be thrown your way that allows you to work from home, make or exceed what the inflated salary surveys suggest, and jump right into a role that utilizes the certifications that you’ve spent hours and days studying to help show employers you have the necessary Salesforce skills to make an impact?

Maybe this story will help put things in perspective:

Amelia Earhart wanted to be a great aviator, but it was the 1920’s where women were often still considered frail, weak and women suffrage was just beginning, but she had one goal in mind: to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

She knew she couldn’t make a living as a pilot on day 1, so she took a job as a social worker.

Then one day she received a call… 

We have someone willing to fund the first female transatlantic flight, our first choice backed out, you won’t really be flying, rather just riding as two men will be flying and they will be getting paid and you will not. Oh, and you might die.

Guess what? She said “Yes!”.

After the flight she was interviewed and said:

“I was just baggage, like a sack of potatoes. Maybe, someday I’ll try it alone…”

Amelia knew she needed to get started somehow, someway, somewhere and she didn’t care if the conditions were perfect or ideal, she felt deep down that the momentum would continue and this trip was needed in order to move forward with her dream.

5 years later, she accomplished her goal and was the first woman to complete a nonstop transatlantic flight as a pilot, solo. 

As a Salesforce career seeker, are you taking every opportunity to move forward or are you waiting for a better situation to come along?

Could you be doing more to get some better traction in your journey?

Could you reach out and connect to more decision makers, could you go to more Salesforce networking events and consistently show up, could you build more apps to illustrate that you know how to figure things out by solving problems, are you thinking of creative ways to be a differentiator in the competitive Salesforce job market? 

Or are you just waiting for that 100% remote, Salesforce Admin Day 1 position, offering $80K with 4 weeks PTO and a company Tesla?

If you want momentum, it’s up to you to create it.

Those who attack challenges with the most energy, initiative and creativity, win.

Amelia understood this as well as many other successful high-achievers.

Keep moving forward.

“The most effective way to do it, is to do it.” ~Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart – Los Angeles – 1926

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Write It Down

You’re never going into an interview empty handed, right?! but are you also leaving the interview without anything new written down?

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Suggestion: before the interview, make a mental note to write a few keywords that are being asked/discussed during the interview, hopefully without interrupting the flow.

I believe this shows that you are engaged in the conversation, you stand out, as well as showing your studious side.

After the interview is over, reflect and expand on those keywords, while writing a few sentences about the topic, maybe what questions were asked and if you recall how you answered and how you felt while discussing them.

I think you’ll find a pattern in some of the questions that get asked, as well as some self-reflection, and it will also help you prepare for your next interview.

Bonus: write a post-interview summary article on LinkedIn to share with your connections to bring forth additional insights and conversations.

“Journaling helps you to become a better version of yourself” ~Asad Meah (Blogger of AwakenTheGreatnessWithin)

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Salesforce Career Seekers: What’s Your Story, Morning Glory?

Salesforce Career Seekers – as you continue your journey to land your Salesforce position, what’s your story?

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Do you have one? If so, is it compelling, not compelling to you, but to those that are interviewing you?

There are many Salesforce professionals looking to tell their story, but it’s not yours. Think about yours and how it might be relatable and appreciated, because it’s all yours.

Does it allow the Hiring Manager, HR, other personnel (whoever you’re speaking with) tell their boss that they want to move forward with you in the hiring process?

Is there any fear or tension created that if they don’t hire you, they might be missing out on something special?

Not with arrogance layered within it, rather with confidence that you’re the right individual to get the job done and make their lives easier based on your story telling.

What would you like them to tell their boss behind closed doors? That’s the message you want to convey, that’s the story you want to perfect and have them understand clearly.

Many times, that interaction, that story, that dialogue, is what they’ll remember, not so much just what’s on your resume, your certifications, badges, etc.

If telling your story didn’t come across as you thought, planned, or rehearsed. That’s OK, there will be more opportunities to tell it again. Fortunately, you can hear it and perfect it over and over to yourself.

Remember, your story is your unique story, it may not be appreciated by all, heck, it may not even be appreciated by many, but it will be appreciated by some (or a few, or just 1), and your goal in your Salesforce career journey is to find those that need you and your story to be a part of their organization.

Perfect, rehearse and refine your story…Morning Glory.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Did you miss the career fair at Dreamforce this year?

Don’t worry, be happy…

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Below is the Quip doc of all the employers that were there (over 60 of them) and what open roles they’re hiring for: https://lnkd.in/ekrk5BE

Over the holidays, you might want to review this list and make a connection (or follow) the hiring managers, other employees and internal recruiters to keep on eye on their LI postings for further engagement for the new year.

Tip: if you cannot determine who to connect to, review their profiles to see how active they already are on LI and focus your time on those individuals.

2020 is your year for a rewarding Salesforce career.

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Salesforce Career Seekers – Not Hearing Back After The Interview?

If you’ve interviewed yesterday, here’s probably what’s happened since then:

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The hiring manager’s heart beat ~104,000 times, their blood travelled ~168,000 miles, their lungs inhaled ~23,000 times, they’ve used ~7,000,000 of their ~9,000,000,000 brain cells, and spoken ~4,800 words (~20 may have been about you).

This doesn’t include the ~65 emails they received, ~10 phone calls or text messages, ~3 new fires they have to now put out at home or in the office.

Among all of this, you, as a career seeker want to find out where things stand.

It may not be an immediate priority at the moment.

Please be patient, give the hiring manager a little room, they have a lot going on, and there’s a good chance you may need to ask more than once.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Do You Have A Strategy In Mind To Land Your 1st Position?

As Neil Armstrong once stated: “You only need to solve 2 problems when going to the moon.  First, how to get there, second, how to get back. The key is don’t leave until you know how to get back”.

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In our case, you’re also working on solving 2 problems:

1. Getting to the moon: how to get educated and re-skilled on the Salesforce platform

2. Getting back to earth: how to land your 1st Salesforce position

As you put the time and energy into #1, in parallel, please also start putting a strategy in place to accomplish #2.

Inevitably, #2 will most likely be longer, harder, and more frustrating than #1, but Neil and Buzz accomplished both, why can’t you?

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Interview Questions That Involved Prior Research

I’m curious to know if you were recently asked a question during an interview that you could have known (or actually did know) ahead of time based on your research.

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What were those questions?

I’m not referring to experience, technical, behavioral or circumstantial, but more along the lines of:

“What do you know about us?”

“Do you know what we do?”

“Why did you decide to apply here?”

“How did you hear about our company?”

“Do you know how we use Salesforce?”

etc.

The intent is to hopefully prepare those who are actively interviewing to take note and have written responses to these.

Thank you.

“If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it.” ~Margaret Fuller (19th Century Women’s Rights Activist)

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Your Credibility

As we go into the holiday season, one area you may want to continue to put some additional thought around is, how to increase your credibility in your Salesforce career journey into 2020.

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While there’s many facets that go into a successful interview (personality, attitude, background, experience, communication, etc.), and some you cannot change as they’re in the past, credibility can continue to be built by demonstrating (showing your work), speaking to (providing examples/stories) and being referred in (building connections).

Credibility leads to trust which leads to less risk in a hiring manager making a decision.

Suggestion: come up with a game plan on how to increase your credibility for 2020.

Then execute.

Day by day, week by week, month by month.

As you chip away, your confidence will build and so will your credibility.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Your Post-Interview Follow-Up Cadence

If you’ve had an interview, how are you following up?

While I don’t believe there’s one approach that trumps them all, here’s 1 suggestion:

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1. Within 24 hours of the interview, thanking them for their time.

2. Within 1 week to ask if any decisions have been made and if there are any additional questions or misunderstandings you could address.

3. Within 2 weeks if #2 above was not addressed.

<If you did not get the position, there may still be some potential, don’t give up…>

4. After hearing they decided on another candidate, follow up within 2 weeks of hearing that message, as that candidate may have fell through.

5. If the position was confirmed to be filled, follow up 30-45 days after hearing that message as there are times when things didn’t work out as intended.

6. 90-120 days after #5, stay connected as there could have been other changes internally, another position opening up, etc.

7. Semi-annually to continue to build the relationship, regardless of what your current situation is (landed something else, etc.), you’ve made that connection, stay in touch.

With following up, the intent is to build, maintain, nurture and stay top of mind, while also differentiating yourself from others.

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Adverse Impact To Credential Inflation In The Salesforce Job Market

Credential inflation refers to the devaluation of educational or academic credentials over time and a corresponding decrease in the expected advantage given a degree holder in the job market. Credential inflation is thus similar to price inflation, and describes the declining value of earned certificates and degrees. ~Wikipedia

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While I’m far from an economist, this past week I learned more about credential inflation and the negative downstream impacts this might be having on the Salesforce job market. Credential inflation can lead to NOT what’s considered a candidate job market (where the candidate has the upper hand in being able to pick and choose what organization to work for) but rather the opposite where it’s leaning heavily in favor to an employer’s job market (allowing the employer to have the final say in how they want to recruit talent in), specifically when it comes to the inexperienced Salesforce talent pool.

When obtaining a Salesforce credential can be achieved from passing an exam causing a mass influx of certification holders, employers in return need to raise the entry gate for an applicant to be considered, with the hopes to reduce the number of applicants that apply. Therefore, resulting in most job descriptions requiring 2+ years of experience rather than entry-level. The cause and effect phenomenon.

Another potential indication of the devaluation of certifications is the gap (i.e. hardship) between what was needed for a newcomer 3+ years ago and the time and resources they had to spend searching, interviewing, etc. before landing a Salesforce position compared to those who are looking to get in now. Additionally, the “Accidental Admins” may not be as prevalent as they once were, as companies are able to find and hire experienced Salesforce Admins if desired, where as prior years the supply may not have been so readily available.

Of the millions of jobs that are expected to be made available with the Salesforce (cloud) economy, how many of those will ever be made available to the inexperienced talent pool raising the question: is the over-abundance in credentialing leading to a devaluation of said Salesforce certifications causing companies to take an adverse response?

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Being A Successful Contractor

If you’re thinking about becoming a contractor (not out of necessity but because that’s the path you’re choosing) please keep these thoughts in mind:

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You’re more expensive (or you should be compared to being a FTE), you’re probably not getting paid PTO, etc. and should be making up for the difference in your hourly rate.

Therefore, you’re also dispensable, under more scrutiny and have a constant target on your back.

Suggestions to help be successful:

1. Do not rock the boat, play into company politics or think what’s being said will be kept confidential (land mines exist)

2. Do not become complacent or feel “privileged”

3. Work more than you report (meaning, be professional but don’t nickel and dime, especially if it’s something you should already know)

4. ALWAYS stay engaged and find something valuable to do

5. Do NOT be an administrative P.I.T.A. (and I’m not referring to what’s served with Greek salad)

You can be terminated at any point and it may hit you broadsided along with not knowing the full reason why, but it’s typically due to one of the above.

Contracting can be a lucrative and rewarding career option, but thick skin, humility, and understanding where you stand in the internal hierarchy (the bottom) should be taken into consideration at all times.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Cyber Monday And You

As you go about your day browsing for those spectacular online deals, how often do you go into this process looking for one specific item, then potentially buy something that you had not planned for because you realized you could not pass it up?

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Think about this and how it relates to you, your career search and what a specific job description states.

Many times, a company and/or hiring manager are shopping around evaluating candidates and have a specific “type” in mind.

Skills, experience, salary expectations, professionalism, attitude, personality, etc.

But, they are also not sure what additional possibilities might be available.

That’s where you can show up in their “not planned for, but can’t pass up” shopping cart. Be that unplanned exception…

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Interview Setback? How Edison Dealt With Adversity

On December 10, 1914, Thomas Edison’s plant was engulfed in flames causing him to lose years of priceless records, work and prototypes.

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Thomas was at home and was alerted to hurry and get to his plant. He and his son quickly arrived to see everything he had worked for, disintegrate.

How did Edison respond?

He told his son:

“Go get your mother and all her friends, they’ll never see a fire like this before”.

What?!

When his son, Charles, objected, Edison said: 

“It’s alright, we’ve now gotten rid of a lot of rubbish”

While many thought Edison had lost his mind, with the right perspective and understanding that what happened was out of his control, he rebuilt his plant in 3 weeks and end up producing more products and revenue than he had ever done before.

I think this is a very relevant story on how we deal with adversity and setbacks, specifically when interviewing and not being offered the position.

Were you able to think about all the benefits that came from that interview?

  1. You learned how to prepare effectively and creatively by researching the company and coming up with thought provoking questions (maybe learning a new technique you can use for your next interview).
  2. You made new connections that you would have never met otherwise that you can keep in touch with and possibly have paths and opportunities cross again.
  3. You may have heard new interview questions that you had not heard before that you can review and rehearse for future interviews.
  4. Maybe you have someone in mind that would be a better fit, which will strengthen the relationship for all those involved.
  5. You acquired new information during the interview, telling you what you’re not looking (or don’t care) for in a position, management style, industry, type of company, etc.
  6. The commute was longer or more strenuous than you had intended which tells you that’s not a part of town that you’d be interested in working in.
  7. The interview process was a new one for you that you had not experienced before (panel, over video, 3 hours long versus 1, etc.) and you’ve learned how to present better.
  8. You received qualitative feedback that can be analyzed and possibly used to your advantage to improve your skills on.
  9. You’re becoming more comfortable speaking in front of others and being introduced to various personalities.
  10. You learned about a new technology or feature that you would have not otherwise been introduced to.

How are you finding and reflecting on the benefits of an unexpected outcome versus spending your time dwelling only on the negatives?

To do great things, as Edison has, we can learn from setbacks while also finding joy and a sense of accomplishment, if we’re able to approach them with the right perspective.

Edison and the fire that destroyed everything!

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Break Into Your Salesforce Career With Dreamforce

Salesforce Career Seekers – I was fortunate to catch another session today at Dreamforce offering a program for those looking to break into their Salesforce career.

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“CareerCircle was founded in the spirit of finding solutions to address the pending skills gap versus falling victim to it. With so many capable people wanting to find employment and employers needing partners to achieve their goals, CareerCircle is here to provide a bridge.”

Below is the slide I captured, a link to their site, along with my copyrighted rap (my royalty check is lost in the mail somewhere):

If you’re in a drought.
You’re not out.
You’ll never pout.
Without a doubt.
You’re gonna sprout.
Persist throughout.
Go show em your clout.
What you’re all about.
Here’s another route.
Check, check, check it out.

https://www.careercircle.com/

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Interview Setback? How Edison Dealt With Adversity

On December 10, 1914, Thomas Edison’s plant was engulfed in flames causing him to lose years of priceless records, work and prototypes.

Thomas was at home and was alerted to hurry and get to his plant. He and his son quickly arrived to see everything he had worked for, disintegrate.

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How did Edison respond?

He told his son:

“Go get your mother and all her friends, they’ll never see a fire like this before”.

What?!

When his son, Charles, objected, Edison said: 

“It’s alright, we’ve now gotten rid of a lot of rubbish”

While many thought Edison had lost his mind, with the right perspective and understanding that what happened was out of his control, he rebuilt his plant in 3 weeks and end up producing more products and revenue than he had ever done before.

I think this is a very relevant story on how we deal with adversity and setbacks, specifically when interviewing and not being offered the position.

Were you able to think about all the benefits that came from that interview?

  1. You learned how to prepare effectively and creatively by researching the company and coming up with thought provoking questions (maybe learning a new technique you can use for your next interview).
  2. You made new connections that you would have never met otherwise that you can keep in touch with and possibly have paths and opportunities cross again.
  3. You may have heard new interview questions that you had not heard before that you can review and rehearse for future interviews.
  4. Maybe you have someone in mind that would be a better fit, which will strengthen the relationship for all those involved.
  5. You acquired new information during the interview, telling you what you’re not looking (or don’t care) for in a position, management style, industry, type of company, etc.
  6. The commute was longer or more strenuous than you had intended which tells you that’s not a part of town that you’d be interested in working in.
  7. The interview process was a new one for you that you had not experienced before (panel, over video, 3 hours long versus 1, etc.) and you’ve learned how to present better.
  8. You received qualitative feedback that can be analyzed and possibly used to your advantage to improve your skills on.
  9. You’re becoming more comfortable speaking in front of others and being introduced to various personalities.
  10. You learned about a new technology or feature that you would have not otherwise been introduced to.

How are you finding and reflecting on the benefits of an unexpected outcome versus spending your time dwelling only on the negatives?

To do great things, as Edison has, we can learn from setbacks while also finding joy and a sense of accomplishment, if we’re able to approach them with the right perspective.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Striking Out

In the spirit of the Major League Baseball “World” Series.

When Babe Ruth, one of the best baseball players in history (714 home-runs) would strike out, he would smile on his way back to dugout.

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His teammates would ask, “Babe, why are you smiling, you just struck out”.

Babe’s reply: “Stick around, I’m just that much closer to hitting my next home-run”.

A great outlook to have, if you end up striking out on your interview.

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SRTotD (Salesforce Random Thought Of The Day): Going Independent

Are you talented?

Do you have at least 3+ years of either prior Salesforce consulting experience with a SI or have worked on multiple complex transformations in the industry?

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Have you thought about going the independent route?  I think most have.

What’s holding you back?

Asked another way: Have you worked with independents that didn’t meet your expectations?

If yes, that tells you people less talented than you are having success.

But it doesn’t have to be just “their” success.

It’s not all rainbows and sunshine, but if you haven’t taken the plunge, and have debated it over and over, I don’t think there’s a better time.

Maybe 2020 is your year.

You can always go back if it doesn’t work out.

I went independent at a much worse time (2008), it was a very rough start, but made it out the other side.

You can too…

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Salesforce Career Seekers: I Wanted To Share A Success Story That Was Brought To My Attention.

The intent is to hopefully pick up a piece or two of wisdom to store in your back pocket as you continue your search.

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This individual specifically pointed out that it was not their current skill set but rather their potential that Accenture Federal Services saw.  Also, they expressed how flexible they needed to be with what was being offered just to get started, as well as how they branded themselves on social.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Dust Mites Love Resumes

If you’re adding your resume to the stack of 50 that’s already on a hiring manager’s desk collecting dust mites, that’s probably not where you want it to be.

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Another idea: allowing your work to speak for itself. 

It’s up to you to show why your work (projects, articles, dev org prototypes, problem/solutions you’ve thought of, etc.) can be relevant to them and their organization.

Also, don’t assume, just because your work is interesting to you, it’s interesting to them, as it might not be.

But, your creativity, your ability to be different, the small risks you take, and the extra things that you do, will continue to help you differentiate yourself.

Dust mites love resumes, but don’t allow them to sleep, relax and get fat on yours.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Airplane Runways

How long will it take to launch your Salesforce career?

Airport planners have to consider a number of factors to determine the length of a runway: airport elevation, temperature, wind velocity and direction, airplane operating weights, runway surface and thickness, as well as the ability to restrain cracking and buckling.

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Some runways are 804 feet long to handle small aircraft and others are up to 39,098 feet long to handle a space shuttle.

Like a runway, your length may vary for your Salesforce career to launch.

Your background, experiences, connections, projects, interview repetitions may come into consideration to determine how long your runway will need to be.

Give yourself enough runway to get airborne.

#1 Best Comedy Plane Movie of All Time: Airplane! (1980):

“Can you fly this plane and land it?” – Dr. Rumack

“Surely, you can’t be serious” – Ted Striker

“I am serious, and don’t call me Shirley” – Dr. Rumack

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Hitting Radio Silence? Reset Your Station.

Radio Silence: In the field of communications, radio silence refers to a period or condition when radios are not transmitting.  In the military, this may happen due to fear that a signal might be intercepted by an enemy.

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As a career seeker (and as a recruiter), we often hit radio silence after an interaction with a company (HR, internal recruiter, hiring manager, or another point of contact).

While there may be many reasons for this, I think the best way to think about this is:

“At this current moment, it’s not a high enough priority for them to solve or to get back to you (me), and it’s not a reflection on you (me).”

You, nor I, can usually change that prioritization, but what we can do is reset our station and tune into working towards other opportunities.

Reset your station.  Better melodies await you…

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Unity Over Self (An Unconventional Thought)

Did you interview and not get offered the position?

How can you take that situation and make the most of it by demonstrating leadership, character, authenticity and unity over self?

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And I bet dollars to donuts will help make you feel better…

How about: Post about it, share it and let others know about the position to see if they or someone they know can have a shot at it.

“I just interviewed at Company X, and although I didn’t receive the position, here is what I learned (what they’re looking for): X, Y and Z.

If you or anyone you know may have these qualifications, have them reach out to me, we can go through it in more detail, and I can connect you with the decision makers.”

Think differently, be humble, other decisions makers will see that quality, and new opportunities may open up for you.

I think this will also give you the extra momentum internally to keep your journey going.

You’re not in this alone.

Unity Over Self…

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Salesforce Career Seekers – Illustrating Transferable Skills In Your Resume

Salesforce Career Seekers – a topic that I’ve seen brought up recently was transferable skills and how to accurately illustrate those in a resume.

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While sometimes those are easier to portray than others, you may want to outline it in a table in your resume for a potential employer to see, if you think that might help.

I reviewed an up and coming Admin’s resume on the flight to Dreamforce and came up with the below.  Their’s was easier since they came from a sales background, but I think the same concept and thought process can still apply to you, allowing you to show a little ingenuity.

That is why an employer is hiring you, isn’t it?  Creativity, solving interesting problems, being analytical, taking a little bit of information and being able to extract relevancy out of it.

If they wanted a rote task taker, they can go to Craigslist. 

You’re far better than Craigslist, unless you’re selling your lawnmower.

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Keeping Up (Or Getting Left Behind)

SRTotD (Salesforce Random Thought of the Day): Keeping up or getting left behind…

I often wonder if that’s really true.

With the rate of innovation, Salesforce acquisitions, hundreds of enhancements coming out in it’s seasonal releases, hearing about competitors doing X, Y and Z, so we HAVE to do it too.

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Do customers get stretched too thin to make good, informed decisions just to keep up?

Do we hire sub-par talent as we need someone “immediately” and end up with our eyeballs full of technical debt?

Do we bring in a relatively new SI since they were referred to us?

Do we build/buy something (new products) that we didn’t really need or know what to do with and then we’re left figuring out what to do next since that didn’t work?

Have we lost the core fundamentals of CRM and getting that working first with the hopes to instead be the innovative leader in X, Y and Z?

Maybe keeping up or getting left behind isn’t the only options.

How about neutral (CRM) + 1, rather than neutral (CRM) -1 or neutral (CRM) + 1,000?

Maybe slow and steady is the answer in this 4th (or is it 5th now?) industrial revolution.

With love,

The opinionated CRM recruiter

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Democratization

This is a strong and powerful word.
Definition: The action of making something accessible to everyone.
The greatness about this: accessible to everyone
The challenge with this: accessible to everyone
As you continue down your Salesforce career journey, please think about this.

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The biggest differentiator: Your individual work that’s not democratized which will separate yourself and have a potential employer say:

“Yes, that’s good”

“I like what you’ve done”

“This is valuable”

“This is very insightful”

“You’ve really put some time, thought and energy into this”

“Tell/Show me more”

“We could use you (this)”

“Why did you do it that way”

“How did you come up with that idea”

“Work like this is what we need”

And eventually:

“We’d like to offer you the position”

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Be Picked To Present (Dreamforce – Next Year)

If you didn’t make the cut to be a Dreamforce presenter this year, I would like to share a few (actually 4) ideas that may be helpful for you in the future, based on some of my own experiences over the past few years.

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While there’s plenty of existing articles around this subject on how Salesforce chooses who gets selected and how to have better odds going forward, I thought using my experience might make it more realistic.

Below are the statistics for 2019 :

  • Developer – 825 submitted, 200 selected (~24%)
  • Administrator – 1,435 submitted, 149 selected (~10%)
  • Architect – 350 submitted, 80 selected (~23%)

To begin, do you have a subject on Salesforce that you’re passionate about and feel sharing what you know will really be beneficial to others? If not, I suggest to spend some time making a list. It doesn’t have to be created all at once, but rather one that you can keep handy and refine over time. Eventually, the top 2 or 3 should bubble to the top as the “best”.

Idea #1 – start to speak at Salesforce user groups. Whether that’s local to your home city or remote via video conference. You’ll need to get your reps in and what better way to do this than with a small audience? This will allow you to refine your presentation over time, answer questions that come up and bring new thoughts for consideration. Most Salesforce User Group leaders post when their local sessions will occur on LinkedIn or the Salesforce Community site, and are always looking for presenters to share their knowledge. They may not be able to get you in immediately, but they will get you on the agenda for a future meetup.

We’ve had presenters at the Houston user group present some fabulous material that really resonated with the audience, which told the presenter they were on to something that needs to be heard elsewhere. They started locally.

Idea #2 – speak at regional events. Similar to the Salesforce user groups, the regional events are also looking for content and presenters. When you get to the regional event level, the audience is bigger and since it’s a paid event, the attendees are going to want to get their moneys worth. Here, you’ll need to make sure your content has been tweaked and refined to make a thoughtful impact. 

In my personal situation this year, we had some key attendees from Salesforce at NorCal Dreamin who saw us speak on Salesforce careers. After the presentation, they approached us and asked if we’d be interested to speak at Dreamforce.

You never know who’s attending these regional events, and it could be someone from Salesforce that may reach out to you and request you to speak at Dreamforce.

Idea #3 – write, write, and write. Start to publish more content. Whether that’s blogs, YouTube videos, or LinkedIn posts, you need to get your name and your content out into the Salesforce community. It can be short snippets of what your presentation would be about to give your network a glimpse of what’s on your mind or it can be a totally unrelated subject all together. The point is, you’re becoming known and over time the right eyes will see your efforts. 

In my case, I had written article after article, LI post after LI post around Salesforce careers, and eventually some Salesforce MVP’s saw my material and asked if I would be a part of a topic where they could use a Salesforce recruiter’s point of view on.

Idea #4 – piggyback off existing presenters. If you’re making it to Dreamforce and attending a session that interests you and you believe that your area of expertise could bring additional positive impact to the presentation, introduce yourself to the presenter and ask to meet up with them afterwards to see if they’d be open to a conversation on the subject which may open up the opportunity to co-present for next year. 

Even if you’re not making it to Dreamforce, you can still go the Dreamforce website and search by topic and look for presenters to connect with via LinkedIn. From there, you can take the same approach and start building a relationship with them collaborating on ideas. Obviously, they may have a little resistance until you can prove to them that you know what you’re talking about and they see value in another dynamic you bring to the topic.

Hopefully, these 4 ideas are helpful to get you a little closer to making it to the big dance. You have around 8-9 months between now and the deadline for the 2020 Dreamforce event, so plenty of time to devise a game plan to execute on.

Ideas can be life-changing. Sometimes all you need is one small idea that can open the door of opportunity for you.

References:

https://developer.salesforce.com/blogs/2019/09/the-dreamforce-developer-track-2019-how-we-select-sessions.html

https://admin.salesforce.com/blog/2019/how-we-picked-the-admin-track-for-dreamforce-2019

https://developer.salesforce.com/blogs/2019/09/behind-the-scenes-of-the-architect-track-at-dreamforce-19.html

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Digging Your Well (A Short Guide For College Grads Thinking About A Career In Salesforce)

Dig your well, before you’re thirsty…

No matter how smart you are, no matter how talented, you can’t do it alone.

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Recently, I had a soon to be college graduate, ask me about the best way to land a position as a Salesforce technologist before he finishes school. I thought this was a great question given he has 4 months of runway between now and the time he graduates, barring he does not get expelled for ordering a pizza in the middle of class between now and then.

The suggestion I had was an easy one to make: “start building your network of connections in the Salesforce ecosystem immediately”.

As the world changes, one thing will remain constant: the relationships you develop over a lifetime.

I think many of us wait until we are very close to graduating to make networking a priority, but to give yourself a competitive advantage against your other graduating classmates, start building the necessary bridges (aka connections) to help in forming meaningful relationships with those in the Salesforce community.

If you’re in an area that has Salesforce community meetups, please start attending and expressing your interest. I’ve been going to these for years, and very rarely do we have college students attend and I live in Houston where we have over 40 colleges and universities with over 300,000 students. You would stand out among your peers and have the opportunity to network with those already working in Salesforce. 

You can register for the various community groups here: https://success.salesforce.com/

Additionally, many universities have their own dedicated Salesforce Community Groups that are dedicated just to students. And if you don’t have one available, you could always start one.

If an in-person option is not possible, start showing up to the Salesforce virtual sessions such as the MVP Office Hours where the Salesforce community collaborates and aids those that are needing help and looking for real time feedback. Although, you might not be actively participating or don’t have questions, you should be listening and understanding the challenges existing Salesforce professionals are having, and then even start to build your network with those that are part of the group, by having conversations outside of this group setting.

Another great option is utilizing your alumni network. Search for alumni on LinkedIn that have a Salesforce title and connect with them to start conversations about their career, how they landed their 1st position and any suggestions that they might have if they were in your shoes. More importantly, KEEP IN TOUCH after making that initial outreach.  Most alumni are always open to helping a fellow student from their Alma Mater and if you’re genuine in asking for help and have humility in your conversations with them, I think most will oblige.

There’s a good acronym when it comes to networking and since we’re talking about school, what better way to tie this subject together:

R.I.S.K. 

Reciprocity – understanding that it’s a two-way street when building a network; you give, you get, you no give, you no get

Interdependency – our success does not come in isolation; we need to rely on each other for help

Sharing – hopefully we’ve all learned that sharing is caring; this is especially true in building your network

Keeping at it – sure, you may get the occasional brush off and that’s OK; if a door is closed, that just means another one somewhere else is waiting to be opened

The networking mistakes people make in their lives come from the risks they never take. 

Article was inspired by the book: Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty (The Only Networking Book You’ll Ever Need) By: Harvey Mackay, 1997

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Salesforce Jobs: Numbers That Matter (A Rant)

Salesforce Economic Impact – 4.2 Million New Jobs 2019-2024

For every positive message about the economic boom that Salesforce is creating, there should probably be at least one naysayer or at least someone to challenge the positivity.

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I’ll be the first to step up, based on this latest report.

Salesforce sponsoring this report for what purpose?

Are we creating or filling jobs?

I think anyone who’s been following Salesforce for any period of time knows the growth curve continues to go up exponentially.

Salesforce has done the necessary marketing to speak to it’s revenue targets, large acquisitions, increased customer market share and positive, inspirational initiatives it has taken on.

But, within this report, I don’t think we’re targeting what needs to be addressed. Sure, numbers like the below shows there’s opportunity to be had for future career seekers, but that only tells one side of the story.

From 2019 to 2024:

  • 4.2 Million new jobs worldwide
  • 1.2 Trillion of new business revenue to their local economies
  • For ever $1 Salesforce will make, the ecosystem will make up to $5.80

For Trailhead:

  • 17.5 million badges earned since 2014 on Trailhead

Benioff signing the Pledge to America’s Workers to train 500,000 workers, and then making a real-time decision to increase it to 1,000,000 to make it a nice, round number.

Does it matter if it’s 500,000 or 1,000,000 or 10,000,000?

New job creation and training is one thing, job fulfillment I think is what should really matter and be reported on.

Here’s the numbers I would like to see and questions to have answered from any future report:

  • Exactly, what are those 4.2 million new jobs by type? What are the specific required skills and experience needed to fill them? How many are entry level?
  • Of those 4.2 million new jobs, how many are actually getting filled? Per year?
  • What is the experience level, backgrounds and demographics of those that are getting filled? Broken down by programs like: PepUp Tech, Pathfinder, Vetforce, Merivis Foundation, JVS, etc.
  • What percentage of those that have no prior hands-on experience but are certified or have badges are getting employed? And how long is it taking? And by what employers and industries?

Yes, we see the occasional Trailblazer story of those that “made it” that gives encouragement to others, but wouldn’t real numbers that back that up demonstrate a much better story?

If we can make a prediction of what’s to come with Salesforce job creation and revenue growth, couldn’t we use a similar analysis of what’s already occurred and use that to help encourage (or discourage) those in making a determination if this path is worth their time, energy and resources?

Speaking to only the positives can create a false sense of what’s really happening in the Salesforce job economy.

Hopefully, you’ll agree that numbers matter, but the right questions need to be asked to produce the numbers necessary to make an informed decision for our future Salesforce career seekers.

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Being Defeated Is OK (A Different Perspective For Aspiring Salesforce Career Seekers)

In speaking with aspiring Salesforce career seekers that have yet to get their break in landing their 1st PAID Salesforce position after months or even over a year of disappointment, I often think, maybe there’s a better path forward for them which has nothing to do with Salesforce.

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Daily, we are getting hit upside the head with the future of Salesforce opportunities, thousands of jobs to be had, the projected growth of the platform, the ease of training oneself on Trailhead, the vast support system that’s available, the big money to be made, the local and national events, the list goes on and on, BUT…

This career path may NOT be the right one for you.

Sure, obstacles, challenges and the ability to push through the anguish to land that 1st Salesforce position might be what you have your heart and mind set out to do, but maybe another way to think about it, is: 

A Salesforce career or something better than where I am today

With this mindset, it gives you the opportunity to explore other career options that exist that can also give you the sense of accomplishment and career satisfaction, and only you can decide what better might be by being open to hear, explore, think and try those options.

Better for you is FOR YOU, not what anyone else necessarily encourages you to do. Your own personal perspective weighs heavily into what “better” might be, and having context around what you enjoy, and excites and motivates you to move forward.

Therefore, if you feel extreme anxiety, or the burden upon you every day as you chase this Salesforce career path, re-evaluating your situation with a deeper perspective should be the next, best course of action.

Giving up is also a sign of maturity and internal wisdom to realize something is not working and a change needs to be made.

Additionally, we often don’t speak to or highlight the challenges that a Salesforce professional experiences as part of their day to day activities, but they should be accounted for.

Some examples:

  1. Additional stress of managing unrealistic expectations by company stakeholders
  2. Dealing with end users who really don’t care about using the platform
  3. Working with other members of the team that end up breaking what you’ve built
  4. Spending hours during your personal time on the weekends or evenings to meet specific deadlines
  5. Carrying dead weight of other members of the team that make you miserable working with
  6. Layoffs will/do happen even for a Salesforce professional

I think if you have a candid conversation with most Salesforce professionals, they will tell you that their Salesforce career has its associated challenges.

For some, Salesforce fell into their laps, for others, the challenge to break in wasn’t extremely difficult, for others it was, but in summary:

It’s OK if you determine that this path is not meant for you, it doesn’t have to be, as there are endless possibilities to finding a career that brings you joy, satisfaction and success, and it’s up to you to find it.

As you continue your pursuit, rather than having the mindset of: 

Salesforce only

Think about:

Salesforce or something better than where I am today

Hopefully you would agree, that’s what really matters in your career…

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Buying A Book VS Interviewing You (An Analogy)

Why does someone buy a book when they don’t really know exactly what’s inside?

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It could be a little risky, right?

But risk is reduced because:

– It was recommended to them from someone else (your referrals)

– They read the front or back covers and it intrigued them (your resume or LI profile)

– They recognized the author from past bodies of work (your content, your blogs, the apps you’ve built and demonstrated)

– The buyer showed up at the same event as the author and they had similar interests (Salesforce networking events)

Book buyers tell themselves stories about why to buy a book which helps reduce their purchase risk. 

Hiring managers tell themselves stories about why to interview you which helps reduce their hiring risk. 

Have your book chosen…

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Interviewing Nervousness…

Do you have: nerves of steel, or nerves of play-doh?

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I’m in my 40’s now, have been through my fair share of nerve-racking experiences and I still get a little nervous when speaking to C-Level Execs.

Some of the things I tell myself that might be helpful for others when interviewing:

– They were once where you are today.

– Be yourself (which hopefully includes): likable, relatable, enthusiastic and personable.

– Talk less and listen more.

– Show genuine interest.

– Think: How can I help?

– Be nice.

– They need someone, that someone could (and should) be you.

We all have our respective issues, worries, feelings, egos, lifestyles, ideas, experiences, thoughts and desires and at the core, I would venture to guess they’re not that far apart from one another.

“Success has a simple formula: do your best and people may like it” ~Sam Ewing (Former American Baseball Player)

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Bamboozle, Bluff, Deceive, Dupe, Embellish, Hoodwink, Mislead, Misinform, Trick

In having a heart to heart with a hiring manager yesterday, the #1 challenge she has is the amount of false information she finds on a resume.

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The resume shows that the candidate appears to be a water-walker, which then entices her to interview, but as soon as a few questions are raised on their actual experience based on what’s documented, the conversation quickly dissipates.

Why?

Her words (paraphrased): “Chris, we support a billion dollar business, if I can’t trust what a candidate has on a resume, how can I trust them with anything else?”

At this point, it’s not even about the experience (or lack thereof), it’s about the deceit the hiring manager feels.

Most interviewers will probably not call this out to you during the interview or might not even tell me why you were disqualified.

I realize many are trying to get that next position, but I wanted to share the above in case you’re not seeing the success you would like and why you might not be getting a call back.

Please ensure you can speak in depth to anything that you have in your resume, as hopefully it will lead to more meaningful interviews and outcomes.

Thank you.  

With love, peace and chicken grease.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: The Importance Of Being Social On Social

I’m not saying to live on LinkedIn all day, every day, by scrolling, liking and consuming content, as that probably will not get you much closer to landing a position.

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What I am saying is to engage, post and well, “be social”.

If you’re consistent, it helps build awareness and occasionally it might catch the right person at the right time to what marketers deem: CTA, Call To Action (not Certified Technical Architect).

Last weekend, I caught EJ Bantz‘s post that he was looking to hire a Salesforce newcomer in Wisconsin.

No one immediately came to mind, then Tuesday John Schroeder ☁️ a newly certified Admin posted some content and I recalled John being from the Midwest (I couldn’t remember exactly where).

Low and behold, it was Wisconsin.

Ding, ding, ding.

I made the connection between EJ and John and they’re now in discussions.

LinkedIn is a great way of connecting ideas, awareness and opportunities with others, but you’ll need to produce more than consume to get noticed.

“Showing up is not all of life, but it counts for a lot” ~Hillary Clinton

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Why Are You Being Ignored (AKA Ghosted)?

I don’t know THE reason

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But I know A possible reason (or two or many):

– You’re not what they need 

– They went another direction

– They’re way too “busy”

– They hired internally

– Their budget was cut

– They don’t care to make a decision 

– Management changed 

– You are (this is) not a priority

– They just didn’t like you (for their own reasons)

– You were forgotten about 

– They fell into an alligator swamp

– Your perceived value is not their actual value 

– The relationship isn’t what you thought it was

– They don’t know how to break the bad news, so it’s easier to ignore you 

If none of those work, maybe this will help you feel better: 

– their loss, it’s better this way

Remember: you can’t force “them” to respond

Your goal is to find those few that have interest and try not to let the others get you down.

Post inspired by a friend recently asking why I thought he was being ignored by a potential customer when he felt he did everything right. 

Which falls hand in hand when job candidates ask why they’re being ghosted.

“A man said unto the universe, “Sir, I exist!” “However,” replied the universe, “that fact has not created in me a sense of obligation.”  ~Stephen Crane (American Poet)

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Throwback Tuesday: Interview Flops

Stage: 1999, last semester of college, Hewlett-Packard was hosting a career day in Atlanta

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Me: New suit and shoes, resumes printed (on resume paper, mind you), black portfolio in hand; So Fresh, So Clean (for you OutKast fans)

Short intro with the interviewer (a techie), he didn’t care about my resume (why would he? I’m 21 after all)…

1st Question: 

Interviewer: What is the purpose of using a ping command?

Me: A what?

Interviewer: A ping command 

Me: I’m not sure (yes, I did have a networking class in college, but probably day dreaming about being a rapper during that day’s lesson)

Interviewer: Thanks for coming by…NEXT CANDIDATE!

End to end, maybe a 55 second interview.

I’d like to think I have had a reasonably successful career in tech after that embarrassing mishap. 

Don’t let 1 poor turnout define your career. 

Or better said:

“Make a business for yourself, set some goals. Make a fat diamond out of dusty coals” ~OutKast

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Flow

Not Salesforce Flow. Rather: Interview flow.

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Or said more politely: shut-up some

One of the more difficult pieces of feedback that I receive from a hiring manager is:

“Chris, Fire-Mouth Fred didn’t let me get a word in during the interview”

Yes, I realize that you have a limited amount of time during an interview and you have a wealth of knowledge that you want to share. 

But, not allowing the interviewer to speak and ask questions can kill the interview.

I used to do this on sales calls. 

Prospect picks up the phone:

“Hi, this is Chris (then a massive up-chuck about why I’m so great and can solve all your recruiting challenges)”.

Click…

“Hello, hello”

In your next interview, don’t be a Fire-Mouth Fred or an Up-Chuck Chris, please be more of a Free-Flowing Frances. 

Your friendly recruiter and hiring manager thanks you in advance.

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SRTotD (Salesforce Random Thought Of The Day): Show Me The Money!!!

Salesforce Agents.

I’ve often wondered if there’s a market for this.

Professional Athletes have Sports Agents, why not Professional “Salesforcer’s” have Salesforce Agents?

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I think many of us have anxiety when it comes to negotiating a salary, raise or a promotion and frankly don’t want to deal with it…especially if we’re new to it.

For new hires, yes, that is the recruiter’s job, but how about for existing positions?

Does it make sense to hire this process out?

It was fitting today, as 2 things happened: 

1. I had to get in front of an Appraisal Review Board to protest my property taxes (there’s 3rd parties that do this too).

2. I spoke to a Salesforce Admin who needs to get her salary up to market conditions and we were strategizing on how to go about it.

Jerry Maguire: Show you the money.

Rod Tidwell: No, no. You can do better than that! I want you to say it brother with meaning! Hey, I got Bob Sugar on the other line I bet you he can say it!

Jerry Maguire: Yeah, yeah, no, no, no. Show you the money.

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SRTotD (Salesforce Random Thought Of The Day): Salary Surveys

This past week, I was asked about salary surveys in our Houston Admin User Group.

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In my opinion, unless a reasonable amount of specific details showing the data points are also included, the salaries stated should be taken with some caution. 

Stating every Developer should make at least X and every Admin should make at least Y, makes little sense.

There’s many variables at play that making blanket statements causes more questions to be asked. 

Now, if the results had details that stated: Admin Group A included those living in greater New York City, working for Fortune 500 Financial Services companies being in the office daily for 2+ years with 4 years prior experience supporting an Enterprise level Sales org with 600+ users along with 2 other admins classified by org complexity made between X and Y as a base salary, that could help put some more context to compare against.

I realize the above example is a stretch and even then, there may be some variance. 

My point is, every situation, employer, role and responsibility is unique. Please keep this in mind when viewing salary surveys with emphasis on the term “average”.

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SRTotD (Salesforce Random Thought Of The Day): The Continued Rise Of SI’s

One of the more strategic discussions that I’m often a part of is small SI’s (consulting partners) that are already established and are looking to build a practice in a new city/region.

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I think if you’re currently consulting with a major SI, and have thought about entrepreneurship and breaking out on your own, but don’t want the weight of starting a practice with little know-how (back office, marketing, sales, recruiting, etc.), a favorable alternative is to join a small player that doesn’t have a presence where you’re located and help them plant their flag there.

In this scenario, you’ll have (should have) the financial backing to get you started, the mentorship/leadership to guide you, the ability to determine strategically how things should run (creativity and entrepreneurial), and the joy (and pain) of getting your name/company name in a place where it’s not known, and ideally some financial upside/equity based on the results. 

This role is not for the light hearted, relies on pre-existing relationships, your ability to sell/deliver, and has a long cycle (years not months) to get established, but might be a good middle ground for you based on your career aspirations.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Interview Prep

This week was a great week doing interviewing prep with candidates.

In doing so, I thought of the below questions that you might want to ask either an external or internal recruiter before it’s your time to shine in front of the hiring manager.

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Your success should go both ways, you asking, and recruiters answering.

Yes, I know you might not get all the answers, but anything you do get, should be valuable.

The more direct questions you ask, the better.

Start with these to get the conversation flowing:

– Do you know what the hiring manager is looking for, in addition, to the job description?

– Do you know why this position hasn’t been filled yet?

– Have you received any feedback from previous interviews that can be used to my advantage?

– Are there any other areas of focus that you can recommend that I should highlight during my conversation?

Please keep in mind, some company’s treat external recruiters as strictly transactional, meaning:

“Here’s a job description, go find me someone”

Which causes a struggle to get you answers to the above, but you should ask and hopefully they can find out for you.

“Interview Prep, It Adds Some Pep, To Your Step,

For More Success? The Answer Is, Yes!

Don’t Stress or Digress, Just Impress”

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Salesforce Career NON-Seekers: Keeping Your Connections Tied…

When speaking to those who have lost their job and are now actively looking, often they mention that they should have kept up with their existing connections along the way.

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Yes, I get it, when you have a position, you’re easily occupied and focused on the job at hand, but if you can make it a point to keep in touch with your previous connections routinely, hopefully the transition, if you were to lose your job, would be smoother.

Or maybe, you don’t think this conversation is awkward:

“Hey Chris, it’s been 15 years, how have you been?  Oh, by they way, can you help me find my next position?”

Since I’m a recruiter, I take these reach-outs with open arms, but statistics show most opportunities are landed through personal connections, not some recruiter giving advice on personal connections.

Keep your connections tied…

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Being Ignored Sucks

Over the weekend, I received a message regarding some of the suggestions that I provide aren’t effective and are not working for them and they’re often being ignored by hiring managers.

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They suggested maybe it’s their culture, their part of the world, etc.

I don’t think that’s the case.

We all get ignored and it doesn’t feel good.

It damages our ego and demotivates us in our job search.

I used to get ignored ALL THE TIME when prospecting.

For example:

Cold, generic emails returned = 0% (1 exception – someone telling me to stop emailing them) 

Cold, generic Inmails via LinkedIn returned = very low and usually after one correspondence, stops

Cold, generic calls returned = another 0% (another exception, someone calling me back thinking it was someone they knew)

Then I determined some better ways:

– Being referred in

– Providing something of value and not asking for anything in return

– Creating a message that interests them (hint: it’s probably not about me/you)

– Being creative and personable

Do I still do things wrong? For sure.

Am I still being ignored?  Without a doubt.

What needs to continue to change & evolve?  ME and the ability to BE BETTER.

If you’re consistently being ignored, maybe some of the above will help.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Giv Em Da Bizness!

Da bizness. 

Da bizness.

The interviewer that is. 

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Give them the business. 

Maybe said a better way: provide them examples of business value that you’ve previously created.

Not just all the cool things that Salesforce as a technology can do, but rather what was done to improve the business (sales, service, marketing) operations.

I’m pretty certain that’s what they care about most.

How about :

Increased sales, reduced manual steps, identified and corrected delays or hindrances, improved customer satisfaction, allowed collaboration amongst silos, streamlined workflows, provided effective marketing messaging, reduced turnover/waste, improved ROI and user adoption. 

The list goes on…

Giv em da bizness for a more impactful interview result.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: How About Some Wednesday “WOW”?!

In doing a debrief with a Salesforce Admin/BA after her in person interview, we talked about the conversation and the types of questions that were asked on both sides. 

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My 2 favorite “wow” questions that she asked (paraphrased):

1. Why does this position exist? 

This question alone should give you a greater understanding about what’s happening within the organization, is it new, is it a replacement role, what’s the history behind it, etc. (CH Wow Rating: 4 out of 5).

2. What do you feel is the biggest challenge I will have in this position? 

This question is fantastic! Let the interviewer(s) provide their opinion, which opens them up and gives you insight into what you might be up against if you were to join. (CH Wow Rating: 5 out of 5).

How Now Brown Cow? 

Wow, That’s How!

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SRTotD (Salesforce Random Thought Of The Day): How To Help The Inexperienced Salesforce Career Seekers

Would it make sense for Salesforce as a company to financially incentivize their customers to hire the inexperienced?

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In other words, Salesforce would offer a license discount (or premier support or some other SKU) to customers if the customer chose to hire an inexperienced Salesforce Professional who met specific requirements that Salesforce would stamp their name to (certifications, badges, mentorship program, graduating from an affiliated training class, etc.).

Would companies feel that the savings is worth considering this option?

I don’t have the math ironed out where it’s fair for everyone, but my gut tells me the imbalance of available positions requiring X years of experience and the candidate pool available that has that experience isn’t closing any time soon and I’m not sure if any compelling events are/have taken place to address this.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Please Don’t Get Caught With Your Pants Down

This scenario, unfortunately, happens quite often when I receive interview feedback. 

The career seeker decides to add a few technology buzzwords or responsibilities, that they weren’t directly a part of, to their resume. 

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During the interview, the interviewer decides to drill into those areas as part of their questioning.

There’s about a 90% chance the interviewer knows about those areas or wouldn’t be asking.

Uh, oh. Your pants start slipping, you’ve lost your buttons, your belt, and your suspenders. 

You might have one more shot, the interviewer changes direction and asks another question. 

Ka-plop, your pants are completely down and you’re embarrassed (or should be embarrassed). 

Interview over, credibility lost, and you need new pants.

Please make sure your resume is buttoned up to avoid getting caught with your pants down during your interview.

On behalf of Calvin Klein, Victoria’s Secret, and Salesforce interviewers across the globe, we thank you.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Bring Your Work…ADRIAN!!!

The importance of bringing your work to an interview.

In learning a little more about Sylvester Stallone’s story of how he was able to get his “lucky” break in show business, it reminded me of how you could apply the same approach in landing your first/next Salesforce position.

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Before Sylvester became a big-time name, he was actively going to casting calls to audition for parts, and during this time, he also decided to write the screen play for Rocky, which he states took 3 days to write after being inspired by a Muhammad Ali fight that he watched previously.

After writing the screenplay and as he was auditioning, he decided to tell the producers about his story, which sparked their interest.  They asked to see it and one thing led to another, the movie was made, Sylvester took the lead (after a long negotiation process), and the movie ended up being the highest grossing film of 1976, along with having 10 Oscar nominations (winning 3) and further producing a series of Rocky films grossing over $1 billion.

In the case of your Salesforce career, you’re actively auditioning/interviewing and speaking to your experience. In addition to this, you might want to also by like Sly and bring some examples of your work.

It doesn’t have to be in perfect condition, only about 10% of Sly’s original screenplay made it to production as most of it was trivial.

But it’s a start and shows that you’ve been able to produce tangible results and allows you to have a meaningful conversation that a hiring manager can connect to and ask questions about.

Occasionally, I hear, “Chris, I might not have internet access during the interview to show my Dev org”. Please don’t let that stop you as there’s plenty of ways to demonstrate your work through screen mock-ups, wireframes or a process flow using editing tools.  

Check out: https://www.justinmind.com/ or https://www.avonnicreator.com/

Another idea, if you wanted to show a real-time demo is to ask ahead of time if there is a guest internet login in the office or even using your cell phone’s personal hotspot.

I also understand the hiring manager or interviewing panel might not have time to see your work during your interview, so another option is to ask if it’s OK to send it to them before the interview or inquire if there will be time allotted to be able to do a demo or to review what you’ve previously sent.

The point in this exercise is:

To demonstrate your work which allows further conversations to be had and additional opportunities to arise.

The Rocky series may have never produced the global fame it has today, if Sylvester Stallone didn’t ask to show his screenplay.

ADRIAN!!!

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A Farmer’s Approach To Landing Your 1st Salesforce Position

If you’re currently not seeing the success you would like with your Salesforce career search, an alternative option is to think like a farmer by taking a longer-term approach to the process and build meaningful relationships with individuals at companies that you’re interested in.

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Each day a successful farmer needs to go out and nurture their land to help produce the crop that they’ve planted. If we were to take this same concept and apply it to your Salesforce career search, it may lead to a better outcome.

Warning: it takes time, and just like a farmer, their results are not immediate.

Step 1: Find the soil where you want to plant.

Define your target audience: how are you searching for your 1st Salesforce position? Can you narrow down the top 5-10 companies that most interest you based on the products or services they provide, their culture, their location, the people that work there or whatever else that might be of interest to you?  I’m not referring to if they have a current Salesforce position open immediately, but rather knowing if they run Salesforce or provide Salesforce related services is the outcome that you’re looking for.

Step 2: Start digging your trenches.

Within these companies, are you able to use LinkedIn to locate the Salesforce personnel that you feel has some level of responsibility on the platform?

Once you identify those individuals, send them each a PERSONAL LinkedIn connection request. 

Example:

“Hi <Manager Michelle, Admin Annie, Developer Debra>, I came across your LinkedIn profile and noticed that you might be working on Salesforce. As I’m just starting my Salesforce career, I would like to connect for future collaboration and knowledge sharing. Thank you, Salesforce Sally”

Keep it short and direct as it’s the 1st time engaging and you’re just looking for the invite to be accepted. This acceptance may take a day, a week or even a month depending on how often they use LinkedIn, or it could be ignored all together, therefore you want to have enough contacts in your reach-out to get some connections early on. That doesn’t mean 100’s as it’s not the quantity that you’re looking for but rather the quality as too many will cause a lot of overhead in later steps.

After acceptance: DO NOT send your resume, or a long dialogue about how great you are, all the skills you have, the Trailhead badges and certification you’ve obtained, etc. Frankly speaking, they probably don’t care and if they did, they should be able to get that information from you LI profile.

Step 3: Plant your seeds (indirectly).

After those contacts accept, not immediately, but rather a few days later, reach back out to them and thank them for accepting, while also asking generously if they would have time for a short call or meet up as you’re looking to learn from them in regards to their career success, how they were able to get started in Salesforce, some of their day to day responsibilities, and the environment and company they work in.

Example:

“Hi <Admin Andrew>, thank you for accepting the connection request. I noticed that you’ve been working as a Salesforce Admin for over 3 years now and as I’m just starting my career, I wanted to ask if you had time for a short call or meet-up to hear more about your work and career. If this isn’t a good time, maybe sometime in the future. Again, thanks for connecting.”

This is NOT about you or your job search, at least not directly. It’s about you learning, having interest and genuinely caring about the other individual and what they have to say and building a meaningful relationship.

During that discussion, take notes and ask meaningful questions about what you’ve discussed, as you’ll want to use this for the future in step 4.

Step 4: Water, sunlight, nurture.

At this point, it’s your responsibility to nurture the relationship by staying in touch and keeping the lines of communication open. Therefore, every 2 or 3 weeks, provide something of meaning and value. This could be anything from an article that you just read about in their industry, their company, a Salesforce blog you stumbled upon, a local Salesforce event, something about the release notes that they might be interested in, or even asking their opinion on something that you’ve come across. 

The key is, it needs to be relevant.

Example:

“Hey <Debbie Developer>, I remember that you mentioned you were using Service Cloud, I came across this recent article and thought you might find it relevant. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.”

Sure, they may not respond, or they might not find the time to check out the article, or just have other pressing priorities. That’s fine, we wait a few more weeks and do it again with another piece of relevant information.

We’re nurturing over time…

Step 5: Your crop will eventually sprout.

As you continue to build trust, rapport, interest, value to others, you’re also positioning yourself to be top of mind, so when an opportunity either opens up at this contact’s company where you might be a good fit or if they go somewhere else or if they hear about a potential position through their connections, they’ll think of you and the little seeds of value and relevance you have provided over time.

Lastly, keep in mind, as a farmer plants seeds, not every seed will turn into a successful harvest. You may experience droughts, floods, freezes, insects, or just other poor conditions that are out of your control. But, if you plant the right seeds and continuously nurture them, eventually your crop will sprout.

Locate, dig, plant, nurture, sprout.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: How Are You “Wow-ing” Your Interviewers?

I mean other than your stunning good looks, charming personality, pearly white smile, Old Spice/White Shoulders fragrance, and fly business suit.

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How about by bringing unexpected value to the table?

Things that make the interviewer(s) say, “wow, this candidate is really something”…in a positive way.

Differentiate yourself.

Here’s some ideas:

– Ask great, powerful questions.

– Share ideas and tips that allowed you to be successful that also might be useful for the interviewers current challenges.

– Communicate news, insights or recent events that are part of their industry.

– Show that you are the most prepared based on the research that you’ve done compared to any other candidate.

Maybe, just maybe, if your experience and skills aren’t exactly where they need to be, your “wow” factor can make up the difference.

So, before the interview, ask yourself: how can I bring unexpected value to the interview and show them my:

“WOW”!

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On The Subject Of Salary

Let’s talk about a subject that’s near and dear to most: your salary (or hourly).

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My opinion:

1. No salary survey, website, recruiter, colleague, family member, psychic, etc. is going to be 100% right and the range can vary as much as 30-40%.

2. COLA (cost of living adjustments) are way out of whack. Just doing a quick calculation, the COLA for Houston to San Francisco is 113% higher.  I don’t believe you will ever be offered a position paying you over 100% more than what you’re currently making between those 2 cities. Example – I make $80K as a Salesforce Admin in Houston, I should be making $170K in San Francisco.  Sorry, not happening.

3. You, as a candidate, should have a range in mind that’s going to work for you, and I don’t really care (meaning it’s not for me to judge) if your range is too high, unless you ask or if I think you’re extremely underpaid, then I want to let you know that.

4. Every situation is unique. Some companies have a fixed dollar amount, some have a range, some don’t even know what their range should be and then ask me to “shop” the market for them.  Many, many factors come into play. Just because company X is paying Y, that doesn’t mean every company that looks, feels and smells like company X is also going to pay Y.

Hope that helps some…

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How To Work In A Country When You Don’t Live There

I’m often asked about how to work in a country such as the U.S., Canada, Australia, or Europe if you don’t currently live there. While I don’t have THE answer, I always have opinions.

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There’s 2 options that come to mind.

Option 1 – Relying on others to get “accepted”:

– Work for X, who has offices in the U.S., Europe, Canada, wherever, and maybe you’ll get lucky at some point

– Apply to get your Masters in the U.S. which then provides you eligibility

– Continue to monitor job openings where sponsorship is available (which I think is usually for those already in the hosted country) 

Option 2 – Relying on yourself to be a differentiator:

– Build a portfolio of work product that is so remarkable to possibly gain global recognition.  Remarkable to others that is, not remarkable to you. You’re not sponsoring yourself…

I’m referring to the intangibles where trust, creativity, initiative, rapport, good judgement, relationships and human connections are needed for success to happen.

Or

– Build a skill set that is so niche, is in extreme demand, and requires day to day, in-person interaction with others where your name gets sought out?  Be “that” expert.

Option #2 is the hard path, Option #1 is the lucky path. Do things that are hard, they lead to greater satisfaction.

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Just As Soon As…

I often hear: “Chris, I’ll be looking for a change in X number of months, just as soon as …”

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Just as soon as I hear about my raise. 

Just as soon as this project is over.

Just as soon as I can cross-train my replacement.

Just as soon as I get my new manager. 

Just as soon as this M&A takes place. 

I’m all for “Just as soon as” if there is a defined date set. 

Please don’t let that just as soon as roll from one to another to another and 4 years down the road you’re still unhappy. 

There is never the perfect time.

My suggestion: commit to yourself when your: “just as soon as” will become “I am now” and try not to let any new events impede that.

More career success awaits you…

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A Dinner Idea

A dinner idea to share based on a candidate conversation today:

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As ridiculous as this might sound, our job is to help you land your next opportunity and to put you in the best light possible.

Therefore, we should be providing you suggestions on your resume if we think it will be beneficial to you, based on what we know about the role and company. 

BUT, it’s up to you to decide if it makes sense to you and is applicable.

It is also OK to ask a recruiter for their opinion and to provide any suggestions.

We’re not cheap to an employer, therefore, please hold us accountable, make us earn our keep, AND it’s a free service to you as a candidate.

Opportunity, You, Recruiter –  Better than any 3 meat lasagna!

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Salesforce Career Seekers – Getting Over The Nerves

Salesforce Career Seekers – occasionally, I get feedback like I did this week that the candidate was very nervous during the interview, which I think may throw things “off” for you, unless you’re able to quickly recover. 

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I still recall my 1st public speech in college, I got severely tongue tied in the 1st 20 seconds and was never able to recover for the next 20 minutes.  It was pretty horrible and embarrassing, especially since I remember it almost 20 years later…pretty crazy how the above “20’s” all came together. 

I think one of the best ways to overcome this is by getting your reps in. 

“How many reps are you lifting in that set, bro?!”

If you have a mentor or someone you trust to do a mock interview, please ask them. 

Or, if you want to do one with me, I’d be happy to with some advanced notice, NOT: “Chris, I have an interview in 30 minutes, let’s rep it out…bro”.

Get your interview reps in for greater success.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: A Good Question To Ask

Salesforce Career Seekers: a good question for you to ask prior to being called in for an interview, that might help save you some time and anguish, but…

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It takes guts…

Guts because it’s you being assertive and often being assertive might cause 2 parties to feel a little uncomfortable. 

That’s ok, being assertive is what employers “should” want.

However you want to wordsmith the below:

“Hiring Manager/HR/Talent Acquisition – thank you for calling me in for an interview, while I’m confident I have the ability to make a positive impact, I noticed that the job description is looking for <x, y, z, or # of years experience, or whatever else>, and I do not meet those qualifications, are you able to provide more insight regarding why I was asked to have an interview?”

In doing so, it should help you prepare better for the interview by guiding your conversation on those reasons.

My point is, I’m trying to avoid you receiving the weak ass excuse of you lacking specific experience when clearly they knew that up front but still decided to have you interview.  That is what you want to zone in on by asking why upfront.

Guts, assertiveness, possibilities, opportunities, career success, chocolate ice cream with sprinkles.  The finer things in life.

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A Thought On Communication (Beastie Boys Style)

Please don’t have Ill Communication as it could Sabotage your current interview/work situation. 

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Occasionally, I have hiring managers call me asking why someone didn’t show up at work or couldn’t be reached for a scheduled interview. 

With having our phones beside us the majority of the time, please keep decision makers informed on what’s going on to allow them to plan accordingly.  

I realize we often get caught up in other priorities, and our work is not always top of mind, but if you can occasionally send an update, I believe it can go a long way, regardless of the message being sent. 

“Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success.” – Paul J. Meyer (Author and no affiliation to Mike D, Ad-Rock, or MCA).

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One Of The Biggest Cardinal Sins To Interviewing: Being Late

Although, one that probably tops it: Being Smelly

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Short story:

When I was in my early 30’s, I was called in to interview with a strategy management consulting company in Atlanta.  I’m talking about big balla status, Ivy-league MBA, top tier management consulting, ~$400/HR type…way out of my league.

Maybe I had a slight chance, but then guess what?

I was late, I mean not just a few minutes, over 15…that’s an eternity when it comes to interviewing.

I didn’t account for the horrific Atlanta traffic on a Friday afternoon…how dumb, the lame traffic excuse.

Did I get offered the position…heeeeck NO! 

I’m lucky they even let me in the building to talk to me at that point.

I was stressed, I didn’t present well, I was gushing sweat out of every last pore and I didn’t have anything witty to say to dig myself out (“He must have had on some really nice pants” ~Chris Gardner, The Pursuit of Happyness).

Don’t be late, expect the unexpected.

Added bonus: don’t smell…

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Salesforce Career Seekers: How Are You Cutting Through The Noise?

The noise I’m referring to is what a potential hiring manager or internal HR personnel gets hit with every day when they post a new position online.

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If you’re doing what everyone else is doing, and blindly sending out your resume, you are adding to the noise, not cutting through it.

I’m suggesting to sharpen your knife and cut, as I believe it can lead to better results.

A more effective cut includes being personable, relevant, trust-worthy and creative.

Bring out your Swiss Army knife and start making some better cuts.

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SRTotD (Salesforce Random Thought Of The Day): Salesforce Certifications, An Impediment

This week, I had lunch with a senior level architect/consultant and he seems to occasionally get questioned about his lack of certifications prior to joining a project, which annoys him.

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For him, certifications are not his focus, but rather these concepts:

– when sh%* hits the fan, they call him to fix it and he drops what he’s doing to take action

– they ask him for his valued opinion and validation 

– he provides honesty and integrity every step along the way

– clients can throw most anything his way as they know he’ll have an idea as to what to do next

– he has passion, works from his heart and builds working relationships

– he thinks logically about the downstream impacts that a decision will have

– he counsels and assists others around him for the sake of the team success 

With this, he continuously stays employed as a high billing consultant. 

This is not to downplay those highly credentialed Salesforce professionals, but it is to up-play those senior level practitioners who have been in the trenches for years, with a track record of success and have felt friction with the certification phenomenon getting in their way.

Great job! Keep leading the field!

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Salesforce Career Seekers: USP – Unique Selling Proposition

I often try to relate Sales and Marketing to your job search and I think you should to.

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As you think about your resume, ask yourself, is this unique? 

And I’m not talking about a whacky font selection or a selfie of you with Britney Spears in the corner, I’m referring to the content.

Keywords like dependable, trustworthy, hardworking, etc. are not unique on their own and really should be expected, but rather maybe a few short sentences that imply why those are true and a reader can have an emotional connection with them.

Plus, anything else that helps show why you’re different, unique and a “good catch”.

The purpose of a USP is about positioning and connection, to attract a prospective employer and for them decide to choose to call you back versus someone else.

USP – the difference between you and me.

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Salesforce Career Seekers – Let’s Play, Cliché

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” ~Wayne Gretzky (Hall of Fame, Hockey Player)

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If you decide to use LinkedIn as one of your avenues to apply for positions, please don’t let the # of applicants discourage you from also applying.

I can tell you from 1st hand experience, the majority (I would guess over 85%) of the resumes that come in aren’t even close to being qualified.

I’m talking about things like: Kids Face Painting Artists applying for Salesforce Technical Architect positions.  

I guess the applicant took the word “draw” in the below job description way too literal. 

The Salesforce Technical Architect possesses broad knowledge across multiple development platforms and “draws” on their skills…

This example is made up to prove a point, but I’ve seen some just as ridiculous. 

In summary, take a shot or two, as you’re probably closer than many others, and you never know, if a different position becomes available where you’re a better fit, you could get called in for that.

Shoot, score, win, drink champagne…

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Getting Called To The Next Round

As a recruiter, I’ll take a candidate dis-qualifier of lack of experience in a specific hard skill any day of the week, as that’s a tangible factor that’s understandable.

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But what is disheartening, is receiving the below reasons on 2 separate occasions last week, which weren’t the only reasons but definitely did not help the candidate’s overall positioning. 

“Chris, the candidate did not know anything about our company or what we do.”

And 

“Chris, the candidate was unenthusiastic and appeared as if we were wasting their time.”

I realize being unenthusiastic may be a matter of opinion or the individual could be having a bad day. 

In summary, there are many factors being evaluated during an interview, and for those that are what I consider “easier”, please allow them to be. 

It could make all the difference in being called for the next round. 

Thank you. Have a great week ahead.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Are You Tapping Into Your Past Relationships To Help You Land Your 1st/Next Position?

With the almost hard to believe statistic that states approximately 80% of positions filled are through word of mouth, please take this into consideration during your job search.

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You might want to jot down 15 or 20 people you have either previously worked with, went to school with, been a part of an association with, or somehow have known each other through past interaction and check them out on LinkedIn.

Maybe, just maybe, they can get you one step closer to the front door depending on where they’re working, the type of work they’re doing and who they might be connected with that is tied to Salesforce. 

The best time to leverage your network during your job search was yesterday, the 2nd best time is TODAY.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: The Annoyances Of “Too’s”

After multiple interviews, we didn’t get the offer and we’re not really sure why.

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Therefore, we usually try to rationalize all the too’s…

Were we: too short, too tall, too experienced, too inexperienced, too young, too old, too bald, too hairy, too ugly, too pretty, too intimidating, too bashful, too fat, too skinny, too fast, too slow, too much, too little, too loud, too soft-spoken, too aggressive, too passive, too late, too early, too fashionable, too old-school.

The list goes on…

And most times, we’ll never really know the real reason.

Suggestion: Reflect, but don’t dwell. Modify what you can.

Your unique too’s make up your yous.

And the right employer will come along and appreciate the too’s in you.

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SRTotD (Salesforce Random Thought Of The Day): Do Salesforce Contractors Make More And Work Less?

This was a thought that often ran through my head when I was an employee for various SI’s and independent contractors would come in and help augment the project.

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Here I was working 60+ hours a week, in a high stress environment, with curve balls being thrown at me every which way, daily.

And many of the contractors would come in, do their job, leave on time and if called upon after hours, usually get paid for that extra time.

While this appears to be the most financially rewarding and stress-free route to take, there’s a lot more to it:

Typically:

– Contractors only get paid when they work; employees get paid regardless

– Contractors are responsible for lining up their own projects; employees don’t have to worry about this

– Contractors have to figure out things on their own; employees can often tap into their internal employee network

– Contractors have all the overhead of benefits, accounting/taxes, paid training, 401k, etc.; employees have this covered

– Contractors may hit a bill rate plateau over time; employees tend to have an upward ladder of career and salary progression

I’m sure there’s others…

Depending on your situation, the grass may not always be greener.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: BIBO (Be Intrigued By Others)

I think one of the best ways to help keep you going in your job search is speaking to others who have found success.

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Often when I’m speaking to someone and see or hear that their background had nothing to do with technology or Salesforce and now they have a successful career in Salesforce,

I’m intrigued…

So I ask them to share their story while asking questions along the way.

I suggest for you to do the same.

Why?

New ideas may arise in that conversation to help lead you a little closer to your goal.

Learn and be intrigued by others.

Success leaves clues.

BIBO!

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Suggestion, Transcribe Your Career Search Experiences

If you were to ask me 3 years ago about writing, I would have thought it was a complete waste of time.

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Now that I’ve been doing it for awhile, I find it very therapeutic due to the emotional roller coaster tied to recruiting and would suggest for you to give it a try as you go along your journey of landing your Salesforce position.

It doesn’t matter if you publish it on a blog or keep it to yourself, as you’re doing it for yourself. 

Below are some of the benefits:

– Equips us with overall communication and thinking skills

– Expresses who we are as an individual

– Allows us to explain and refine our ideas

– Allows us to analyze and understand a situation better

– Allows us to have some peace of mind moving it from thoughts to written form

– Provides lessons learned along the way to reflect on

Above all, it provides us comfort to wash away negative experiences and to start again. 

“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.” -Anne Frank (Author, The Diary of a Young Girl)

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Understanding A Hiring Manager’s Wants Versus Needs

I think most job descriptions are primarily speaking to an employer’s (hiring manager’s) needs.

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This is the practical and objective criteria to justify an initial conversation.

What the hiring manager cares more about is how a candidate is going to address their wants (the intangibles).

Which are often subjective, maybe even personable, and things that I would consider the “unspoken truth”.

Such as:

-Reducing their overhead

-Being relatable and likable

-Fitting into company culture

-Articulate/Understandable 

-Passionate

-Professional

-Reliable

-Easy going/flexible

Addressing these “wants” help remove the risk of the hiring manager making a bad hiring decision (assuming the baseline needs are also met).

As you interview, think about stories/scenarios to help illustrate these areas and I think you’ll have a better outcome.

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Being Defeated Is OK (A Different Perspective For Aspiring Salesforce Career Seekers)

In speaking with aspiring Salesforce career seekers that have yet to get their break in landing their 1st PAID Salesforce position after months or even over a year of disappointment, I often think, maybe there’s a better path forward for them which has nothing to do with Salesforce.

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Daily, we are getting hit upside the head with the future of Salesforce opportunities, thousands of jobs to be had, the projected growth of the platform, the ease of training oneself on Trailhead, the vast support system that’s available, the big money to be made, the local and national events, the list goes on and on, BUT…

This career path may NOT be the right one for you.

Sure, obstacles, challenges and the ability to push through the anguish to land that 1st Salesforce position might be what you have your heart and mind set out to do, but maybe another way to think about it, is: 

A Salesforce career or something better than where I am today

With this mindset, it gives you the opportunity to explore other career options that exist that can also give you the sense of accomplishment and career satisfaction, and only you can decide what better might be by being open to hear, explore, think and try those options.

Better for you is FOR YOU, not what anyone else necessarily encourages you to do. Your own personal perspective weighs heavily into what “better” might be, and having context around what you enjoy, and excites and motivates you to move forward.

Therefore, if you feel extreme anxiety, or the burden upon you every day as you chase this Salesforce career path, re-evaluating your situation with a deeper perspective should be the next, best course of action.

Giving up is also a sign of maturity and internal wisdom to realize something is not working and a change needs to be made.

Additionally, we often don’t speak to or highlight the challenges that a Salesforce professional experiences as part of their day to day activities, but they should be accounted for.

Some examples:

1.      Additional stress of managing unrealistic expectations by company stakeholders

2.      Dealing with end users who really don’t care about using the platform

3.      Working with other members of the team that end up breaking what you’ve built

4.      Spending hours during your personal time on the weekends or evenings to meet specific deadlines

5.      Carrying dead weight of other members of the team that make you miserable working with

6.      Layoffs will/do happen even for a Salesforce professional

I think if you have a candid conversation with most Salesforce professionals, they will tell you that their Salesforce career has its associated challenges.

For some, Salesforce fell into their laps, for others, the challenge to break in wasn’t extremely difficult, for others it was, but in summary:

It’s OK if you determine that this path is not meant for you, it doesn’t have to be, as there are endless possibilities to finding a career that brings you joy, satisfaction and success, and it’s up to you to find it.

As you continue your pursuit, rather than having the mindset of: 

Salesforce only

Think about:

Salesforce or something better than where I am today

Hopefully you would agree, that’s what really matters in your career…

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Digging Your Well (A Short Guide For College Grads Thinking About A Career In Salesforce)

Dig your well, before you’re thirsty…

No matter how smart you are, no matter how talented, you can’t do it alone.

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Recently, I had a soon to be college graduate, ask me about the best way to land a position as a Salesforce technologist before he finishes school. I thought this was a great question given he has 4 months of runway between now and the time he graduates, barring he does not get expelled for ordering a pizza in the middle of class between now and then.

The suggestion I had was an easy one to make: “start building your network of connections in the Salesforce ecosystem immediately”.

As the world changes, one thing will remain constant: the relationships you develop over a lifetime.

I think many of us wait until we are very close to graduating to make networking a priority, but to give yourself a competitive advantage against your other graduating classmates, start building the necessary bridges (aka connections) to help in forming meaningful relationships with those in the Salesforce community.

If you’re in an area that has Salesforce community meetups, please start attending and expressing your interest. I’ve been going to these for years, and very rarely do we have college students attend and I live in Houston where we have over 40 colleges and universities with over 300,000 students. You would stand out among your peers and have the opportunity to network with those already working in Salesforce. 

You can register for the various community groups here: https://success.salesforce.com/

Additionally, many universities have their own dedicated Salesforce Community Groups that are dedicated just to students. And if you don’t have one available, you could always start one.

If an in-person option is not possible, start showing up to the Salesforce virtual sessions such as the MVP Office Hours where the Salesforce community collaborates and aids those that are needing help and looking for real time feedback. Although, you might not be actively participating or don’t have questions, you should be listening and understanding the challenges existing Salesforce professionals are having, and then even start to build your network with those that are part of the group, by having conversations outside of this group setting.

Another great option is utilizing your alumni network. Search for alumni on LinkedIn that have a Salesforce title and connect with them to start conversations about their career, how they landed their 1st position and any suggestions that they might have if they were in your shoes. More importantly, KEEP IN TOUCH after making that initial outreach.  Most alumni are always open to helping a fellow student from their Alma Mater and if you’re genuine in asking for help and have humility in your conversations with them, I think most will oblige.

There’s a good acronym when it comes to networking and since we’re talking about school, what better way to tie this subject together:

R.I.S.K. 

Reciprocity – understanding that it’s a two-way street when building a network; you give, you get, you no give, you no get

Interdependency – our success does not come in isolation; we need to rely on each other for help

Sharing – hopefully we’ve all learned that sharing is caring; this is especially true in building your network

Keeping at it – sure, you may get the occasional brush off and that’s OK; if a door is closed, that just means another one somewhere else is waiting to be opened

The networking mistakes people make in their lives come from the risks they never take. 

Article was inspired by the book: Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty (The Only Networking Book You’ll Ever Need) By: Harvey Mackay, 1997

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Salesforce Career Seekers – You Are An Artist

Salesforce Career Seekers – if you’re currently not seeing the results that you would like in landing your 1st Salesforce position, I encourage you to take on an artist mindset and start to work on your craft.

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You have all the tools you need to start (Trailhead, Developer Org, Support System, User Groups, Books, Blogs, YouTube Videos, the list goes on). The next step is to start using those tools and applying your individual thoughts to build on what you’ve learned.

Any employer can turn Salesforce “on” and start using the out of the box Salesforce functionality, but your goal is to build, customize and create a series of apps that are unique to you, your personality and the ideas that you come up with that a potential employer can have interest in and potentially start a conversation with you.

This process shows and proves that you can take an idea from a concept to a tangible, working product.

Someone (an employer for example) can always buy a stock photo that was produced for the masses, but if they want something truly unique, they’ll buy individual art.

Art has personality, it has emotion behind it, and it has the labor of love that was required to build it and then the opportunity for you to show the world, “I made this, it’s for you”. The “you” in this context is the employer who has a need for what you can do. Although, it won’t be every employer and if initially you do not get any interest, then you try again, and again and again, one paint stroke at a time.

You’ll learn, you’ll revise, you’ll get feedback and you’ll become better. 

Bob Ross, American Painter, Art Instructor and Television Host has painted over 30,000 paintings in his lifetime, and 91% of those contained the same elements (clouds, mountains, lakes). He then added his own personality to each and every painting based on how he was feeling that day. Translate this to Salesforce, it can be accounts, opportunities, cases, contacts, workflow automation, data validation rules, or even custom objects which you create. After reading or thinking about a concept, figure out ways to apply that to your work in progress application and keep building upon it.

A few quotes by Bob that might help you in your journey:

“The secret to doing anything is believing that you can do it. Anything that you believe you can do strong enough, you can do. Anything. As long as you believe.”

“I think there’s an artist hidden at the bottom of every single one of us.” 

“We don’t make mistakes. We just have happy accidents.”

“Anytime you learn, you gain.”

“Talent is a pursued interest. Anything that you’re willing to practice, you can do.”

Now it’s your turn to be an artist and show the world what you can do.

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A Good Salesforce Success Story

A good Salesforce success story to share from a Salesforce connection who landed his 1st Admin position.

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Over the course of a year or so, he used Trailhead and Udemy to study for and pass the Administrator and App Builder certifications

He then built a custom app for his current company to try to convince them to adopt Salesforce, and let him transition to an Admin role. This didn’t go anywhere with his company, but the process of trying to find solutions to real problems helped him to connect many of the trails and projects he had been learning on Trailhead.

Applied to every position he could find.

Continued to refine his resume and asked for feedback from other Salesforce professionals.

Accepted lots of rejection.

Reached out to acquaintance/friend who’s company was looking for a developer. He encouraged him to apply, even though he knew nothing about the development.  He received an email a week later saying they just happen to also be looking for an Admin, and wanted to set up an interview. 

He was offered a job a week later. 

Having a connection somewhere can help you stand out when a hiring manager has a massive stack of resumes.

Networking can be all you need to get your foot in the door and in this story the path to success is not a straightforward one.

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Salesforce Newcomers: What Are You Doing To Become “Known”?

I strongly believe that is the #1 question to ask yourself daily.

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You should have a list of simple, realistic and easy to obtain goals to help you become more known.

Think about how a marketing drip campaign works.

Drip, drip, drip…

That’s the mindset you should have.

Building awareness, dropping value, making connections, meeting others, writing, engaging, showcasing your work.

Daily, weekly, monthly, whatever cadence you want; the more the better as long as it’s valuable and not:

Posting 1 certification and saying: “here I am, come and get it”.

My brother from another mother, Ben Duncombe, just hit me up and we’ll be working on a podcast around “branding”, but in the meantime, please start thinking through and listing some ideas and goals to help you achieve better awareness of who you are, what you can do, and why you have EARNED the right to be a contender in this ultra competitive Salesforce newcomer job market.

And if you’re hesitant, remember this:

“Be who you are and say/do what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” ~Dr. Seuss

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Momentum

Salesforce career newcomers – as you know, landing your 1st Salesforce related position is always the hardest in your journey.

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But think about the word: momentum

Finding and applying to that 1st position, connecting to that 1st hiring manager, getting called in for that 1st interview, getting accepted to do some pro-bono work, having informative conversations with existing Salesforce professionals, passing your 1st cert, etc. 

Whatever little successes you’re seeing build upon each other, use that as positive momentum to keep going.

You might not always realize it, and some may be extremely small, but it is forward motion. 

A manual water pump doesn’t produce water on the 1st pump, a merry-go-round doesn’t spin itself without some manual up front pushing, and a locomotive takes force and energy to start going. 

Your career should be viewed the same way, as momentum builds on itself with time, effort and consistency.

Mo…Mome…Moment…Momentum!

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Two Things An Employer Is Evaluating

Salesforce Career Seekers – as you continue to put your sales hat on to help sell yourself into your 1st position, there are 2 major things that come to mind that an employer is most likely evaluating. 

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How do they:

Reduce the risk of the hiring decision. 

Trust that the individual selected is the right choice. 

And how do you go about meeting/exceeding these objectives?

It’s not just by what you say, but rather by what you can show.

There are countless ways to show and share your ideas, your work, your passion, your skills, your ability to connect and collaborate.

And this is all FREE!

It just takes time.

Doing so, builds awareness, allows connections, reduces risk and increases trust.

Help make the hiring manager’s decision an easy one.

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Keeping A Pulse On Market Conditions

Salesforce Professionals – if money (aka your salary) is your major motivational factor, are you keeping a pulse on if your salary is in line with market conditions?

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Sometimes, I think we get so caught up in the day to day we may lose sight of what I call “opportunity cost”.

The loss of potential gain when one choice is taken versus another. 

In other words, if I’m being paid $10 today and the market conditions are saying that I should be paid $12, I’m leaving $2 in lost opportunity dollars per day for someone else (your employer to keep, your colleague to have, another company who is willing to pay it, etc.).  All other things remaining equal.

Days compound to weeks, weeks compound to months, and before you know it, a years worth of opportunity cost dollars really add up.

I’m not suggesting greed, I’m suggesting fair. 

And I realize there’s much more that goes into your career than money and other ways to weigh your job satisfaction. 

In summary, it is your responsibility to reduce your opportunity cost as much as you can and to take an occasional evaluation.

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Sexism In The Sales Tech Industry

As you know, I’ve posted some bullsh*# that happens to me with the fraudulent behavior in technical recruiting, but what I experienced yesterday with the amount of sexism in the sales tech industry tops the cake, BY FAR!

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In hanging out with an attractive female consultant that is also responsible for generating new business and the types of text messages she received after the meet and greet event occurred was extremely disturbing. 

Ridiculous sh*# like:

Paraphrased – 

“You’re the most attractive female I met tonight, I’m staying at hotel XYZ, do you want to hang out for a drink tonight”

“What are you up to, can I come by to meet you later”

“How long will you be out, maybe we can get together”

No sh*#, these are the types of texts she showed me.

I honestly didn’t know what to say, except to advise her to ignore every one of these.  

I’m not in her shoes and I never will be, nor was I there in the initial introductory conversation, so my opinion can only go so far, but what she shared with me really opened my eyes to a whole other side of what an attractive sales female is up against, which correlate to statistics that state over 90% of females have witnessed sexist behavior at the office or at industry events. 

This sucks and I couldn’t provide any sound advice to help.

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In The Spirit Of College Football

Salesforce Career Seekers – in the spirit of college football kicking off in the U.S. this week, a short career success story from my network.

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An experienced Java developer recently relocated to a completely new area where she wasn’t known and in parallel decided to change career paths to Salesforce. 

As we might expect, she continued to run into roadblocks due to lack of relevant specific Salesforce experience.

Being proactive, she started to build her LI connections in the area.  One of those connections decided to pass her resume over to HR. 

Although the company wasn’t hiring, she persuaded HR to interview her anyhow for the future. 

Low and behold, eventually a position opened up and she was the 1st candidate they called and eventually landed the position. 

Key points:

1. She focused on, learned and applied scenario based problem solving skills more than strictly certs. 

2. She stayed confident in her abilities.

3. She was proactive. 

B!

B!

B PROACTIVE!

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Interview Tips

This week, I was asked to conduct a mock interview for an up and coming Salesforce professional, as part of the Salesforce mentorship program.

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Some key takeaways from that interview that I thought might be helpful:

– Have an answer regarding why you chose Salesforce as your profession (suggestion: probably best to leave $ out of the answer).

– Be sure you’re in a quiet location for the call, even subtle background noises can be a distraction (wind blowing, traffic, cows mooing).

– If you’re unsure that you answered the question being asked, ask the interviewer: “did that address your question or should I elaborate further?”

– Have a good answer to: why you chose to apply for this position and/or this company.

– Have a few answers to: how you solved a challenging problem, why it was a challenge and what you learned.

– Follow up with a brief email (again: brief), reiterating what you heard and why you think you would be a good fit; be specific.

Short tribute and relevant lyrics:

“If at first you don’t succeed (first you don’t succeed),

Dust yourself off, and try again

You can dust it off and try again, try again” 

“Try Again” ~ Aaliyah, 08/25/2001

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SRTotD (Salesforce Random Thought Of The Day): Hiring Managers: The Joys Of Salesforce Interviewing

This one brought a tear to my eye and I thought it was worth sharing.

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In speaking to a Salesforce hiring manager today who interviewed a Salesforce Developer who looked like an absolute all-star on paper. 

Hiring Manager: “So, where do you do most of your actual development work: Sandbox, Production, or Other?” 

Candidate: “On my computer…” 

I guess technically the candidate was right… Needless to say, the interview didn’t last too much longer. Have a great weekend!

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Being An Independent Salesforce Consultant

Over the weekend, I read a few great articles on being an independent Salesforce consultant.

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One aspect I wanted to point out, based on my experience, that you might want to take into consideration, if this is the route you aspire to take, is your bill rate.

I believe eventually you hit a ceiling, regardless of how many additional years of experience you have, additional certifications you obtain, high profile clients you’ve served, etc. 

There are exceptions to produce greater income, such as, building an actual company with employees, moonlighting and serving more than one client, or finding clients that will only pay what you want to charge and you’re willing to turn down projects until then.

My bill rate eventually flatlined based on what the market was willing to pay and I have those in my network that have seen the same. 

I also have had discussions with those who decide to go back to being a corporate employee because of this (along with the need to have a steady paycheck).

Your mileage may vary, but please keep in mind that your bill rate curve does not go to infinity as an independent consultant.

Have a great week ahead.

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Salesforce Career Seekers – Your Work, Your Ideas, And Your Name Can Spread…

Like butter. But you gotta start.

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And I’m not talking about spamming everyone you know telling them that you’re looking for a Salesforce position – that’s easy, not too effective, and probably a little annoying to the recipient. 

I’m referring to the hard stuff: moving your ideas to tangible outcomes, sharing what you’ve built, presenting your ideas to others, soliciting feedback, asking for help.

That shows vulnerability, humility and personality.

That’s what helps to get your name, your work, your candidacy and your butter to spread. 

Will the 1st attempt be buttery smooth?

Probably not. 

Then what?

Do it again, again, and again.

You’ll get better and the spreading will happen one dollop at a time. 

In general, people enjoy helping other people and want to spread the word to others about your capabilities.

But they’re much more open to this, when they see you putting in the work, the effort and the ability to persist through the tough times.

Spread your butter as:

“With enough butter, anything is good.” ~Julia Childs (American Chef)

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The Value Of Asking – Example Provided

When you’re looking to make a career move, there’s a reason (or many) why you’re looking elsewhere. And you want to help make sure that you’re not going to run into the same predicament in your next opportunity.

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One idea is to ask for further understanding around those particular areas prior to the interview.

This not only allows you to determine if the company, role, work, road-map ahead, culture, etc. are a good fit for you, but it also shows the hiring manager that you’re intellectually curious and have a genuine interest to ensure you’re doing the proper due diligence which translates to being analytical, which is what employers are looking for.

Now some companies may not want to address those questions up front in writing, but rather during the interview itself, just make sure they get addressed.

Real world scenario that happened this week:

A Salesforce Sr. Admin was looking to make a career move and one of the primary reasons was that they were looking to solve more complex business problems.

What did they do:

Ask me to ask the hiring manager if they could review some written examples of the process flows of their current business operations.

The intent was not to try and “steal” any proprietary information, but rather to understand if it’s a good fit for them to improve their skills by being faced with more complex and interesting challenges.

This is not only for your benefit, but it also shows the hiring manager that you’re intellectually curious and puts you in a good light even before the interview.

The hiring manager didn’t feel comfortable providing this up front, but rather we expedited the interview process and we all went in together for an informal discussion of the business operations, the problems being faced, and the road-map ahead.

At the end of the discussion, the candidate had a lot of the input that they were looking for to help base their decision on.

Remember, you’ll never get what you don’t ask for, and there’s typically much more of a beneficial outcome when you decide to ask for what you want and need, to help ensure your next career move is right one. As long as you can put some reasons behind why you’re asking, most will oblige which will lead to a better outcome.

The value of asking…

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Salesforce Career Seekers (Specifically Aspiring Developers):

A conversation of “buts” that might be in your head:

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Aspiring SF Developer: Chris, I keep trying, but I can’t get a break.

Chris: Please be patient, your time will come, hers did.

Aspiring SF Developer: But, maybe I’m past my prime?

Chris: No, you’re not, it wasn’t past hers.

Aspiring SF Developer: But, I live in a small town.

Chris: Doesn’t matter, she did too.

Aspiring SF Developer: But, I’ve never had a job in tech.

Chris: Neither did she.

Aspiring SF Developer: But, I don’t have a 4 year computer science degree from a major university.

Chris: She had a 2 year programming degree at a local community college.

Aspiring SF Developer: But, I took some years out to be a mother.

Chris: Oh yea, how about 15 years that she took.

Aspiring SF Developer: But, I don’t know what to do now.

Chris: Neither did she, BUT, what she did have was goals and aspirations to become a Salesforce developer and now has been doing it professionally for 3+ years.

Post inspired by a phone conversation I had with a Salesforce developer this week where all the above was true.

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Corporate Policies, Procedures, And The Challenges They Bring

I think one of the biggest challenges/constraints good software developers (primarily contractors) have when starting a new project is the amount of corporate policies, procedures and traditional ways of working that negatively affect their performance and morale which prevents them from hitting the ground running to produce results.

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Today, I had a developer approach me, looking for an out, although he just started a project about a month ago.

I asked, why so soon?

He can’t get anything done.

Crappy, locked down, laptop that he was given that he doesn’t care to use; firewalls up the wazoo preventing him from getting to various tools he needs; paperwork that he must continuously fill out and get approval on.

I understand corporate standards, security and regulations to prevent a developer going “rogue”, but unfortunately, good developers will also bail as they get tired of knocking their head against their desk everyday.

If you’re a contract developer, I guess the only way to understand what’s ahead for you, is to try and get as much clarification on what you’re up against before accepting (which I understand is not always possible).

Keep doing what you love, less frustrating opportunities await you…

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SRTotD (Salesforce Random Thought Of The Day): Employee Loyalty To The Platform

Probably once a week or once every couple of weeks, I speak to an established Salesforce Professional regarding why they’re looking to make a career move.

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The #1 reason I hear: “my current employer is moving off of Salesforce and I’m not interested in that.”

While this can be analyzed in multiple ways: 

– Salesforce is losing a customer. 

– The company is losing a good employee.

– Above all, the employee knows what they want to continue to focus on within their career progression.

I’m probably biased, but I don’t think there’s many other technologies that have that type of impact.

Tongue in Cheek example: Network Admin – “Oh, we’re moving from Cisco to Juniper, I’m outta here!”

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SRTotD (Salesforce Random Thought of the Day): Company’s Reimbursing Employees For Failed Certification Exams

In conversing with a highly accredited Salesforce Professional this week, we discussed the CTA Review Board exam and he mentioned his company would only reimburse him if he passes (and this is a global billion dollar consulting company).

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With the anxiety that often accompanies taking this exam (or any certification exam), the financial impact to the employee should probably be off the table.

I think a good incentive for company’s to have in order to bring in and retain highly sought after talent is an annual continuous learning bucket that allows one to utilize at their discretion with no pass/fail stipulations.

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Salesforce Career Seekers – An Idea To Take Into Account When Interviewing

Treat it like an investigation with answering these types of questions:

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1. What are the problems with the company that you’re interviewing with trying to solve?

2. What are the anticipated outcomes of these problems and what is the timeframe to achieve those?

3. How would you approach solving these given your experience (or if not experienced, your approach to solving any problem in the past).  And I’m referring to a systematic, thought provoking process, not just “Googling” for an answer.

The more you can find out about #1 and #2 before the interview, the better. Then further flush these out during the interview. Then write a short follow up afterwards summarizing what you heard and your approach. 

Will it guarantee a new position? Of course not. 

Will it help you stand out and be remembered? Without a doubt.

Will it help you be better prepared for your next interview? 100%

In Summary: Investigate, Anticipate, Demonstrate, Correlate, Collaborate, Differentiate, Be Great!

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Tom Siebel And The Transformative Culture Of Innovation

In reading Tom Siebel’s latest book on Digital Transformation where he discusses where we’ve been, where we are and where we’re going with AI, IoT, Elastic Cloud Computing and Big Data, he also discusses creating a transformative culture of innovation.

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Some key points:

* Companies that are able to innovate effectively sharing these characteristics, win: high tolerance for risk, agile project management, empowered and trained employees, collaborative cultures, lack of silos and an effective decision making structure.

* At his company, C3.ai, they have a Self-Learning Hall of Fame for skill development, which includes a letter of recognition signed by the CEO and a bonus check for each certification of completion.

* The above program is not managed by HR but rather at the C-suite level to take ownership, participate, lead by example, recognize participation and to make it an integral part of company culture.

C3.ai is extremely competitive with hiring, last year alone they had over 100 open data scientist/software engineer positions and received 26,000 applicants, interviewed 1,700 (6%) and hired 120 (.4%).

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You’re In The Driver’s Seat

Salesforce Professionals – please remember, you’re in the driver’s seat when it comes to making a career move and you have an offer that you’re considering.

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Not the hiring company and DEFINITELY not the external recruiter.

It really bothers me when I hear stories about being pressured to “hurry, hurry, rush, rush” when it comes to making such an important decision for your future. 

There’s often enough anxiety already at hand, feeling the added pressure from an outsider doesn’t help.

Now, I’m not saying to drag your feet either, as a decision has to be made, but rather come up with a date and time to finalize that decision and if you’re transparent in the process about why you need that time, it “should” get people off your back. 

On average, I think 3-5 days should be adequate time, unless there’s some unusual circumstances that’s involved.

It’s your career and your decision…

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When We’re Not A Fit

Salesforce Career Seekers – there are times when we decide we’re not a fit for a particular position that we’ve interviewed for. 

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One way to help keep the relationship in tact for the long term and to turn the disappointing news with the interviewing company into a positive one, is by referring someone else from your network that you know is actively looking and could be a better match based on what you’ve learned about the position and company (assuming it was a positive experience).

Turning down career opportunities can be a hard decision and can stir up some additional emotions, but providing an alternative candidate to the hiring manager or HR can also help show that you have an interest in helping them succeed.

A good way to build a stronger bond in both directions, as it’s often those small gestures that can have a much larger impact on your career somewhere in the unforeseeable future.

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SRTotD (Salesforce Random Thought of the Day): The Many Industry Niches Of Salesforce

As I speak with smaller consulting companies, it is fascinating to me how many small pockets of industry focus that are available to define a target market.

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If you’re thinking of starting your own consulting practice, or maybe just being a 1 man/woman band as an independent, a suggestion is to find your little niche to excel at. 

Marketers often say, the smaller the market segment, the better, as over time your name will become known within that space and prospective customers will find you.  

Not over night, over time.

Also, don’t try to become all things to all people, but rather a specialist in your specific field of expertise.

Since every business needs customers and sales and need to have a digital platform to survive, think about an area that you have a passion about.

Just a few that come to mind (and these are still very broad):

– Artistry

– Home Decor

– Outdoor Leisure Activities

– Specific Non-Profits

– Music

– Cooking

Whatever you enjoying doing, maybe as a hobby or from a previous industry that you worked in and feel that you have an internal desire to be best in class, then use that layered with Salesforce.

I see plenty of opportunity there.  

Hopefully, you do too…

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Salesforce Career Seekers: A Few Ideas Or Questions To Think About For Your Next Interview

Issue, Impact, Importance

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Issue: what are the top problem(s) the organization is trying to overcome as it relates to Salesforce?

Impact: in not solving this issue, how is it effecting (fill in the blank)? 

Importance: how long has this been a problem and why is there such urgency now?

Bonus: what did you like about my resume, experience, digital footprint, referral, etc. that helped in determining I might be a good match for this role?

Understanding the what (the issue), the why (the impact), and the importance, can help lead the conversation into the “how”, which should be where you bring in your expertise (especially when you asked – what they liked about your background).

I realize interviews aren’t this straightforward, but the above could just be mental notes to take with you.

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Navigating Your Career – Questions & Thoughts To Occasionally Ask Yourself

I believe as we move forward in our careers, we continuously ask ourselves, are we still striving to hit our full potential? Do we need to make some changes? Do we need to focus on our strengths or our weaknesses or both? Do we recognize the environment we’re currently working in and is it providing the opportunity for us to do our best work? Can we identify how to work with others effectively?

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Along this journey, inevitably we’re probably going to make some wrong turns and might even have wished to do things differently, but it’s the realization and evaluation of these that can help realign ourselves to move forward in a better way.

Within Peter F. Drucker’s article on Managing Oneself published by the Harvard Business Review, these topics are discussed to help us get a better understanding on how to achieve greater career success while realizing approximately 40-50 years of our lives are spent working.

In developing ourselves, we’re able to make the greatest impact and by knowing when and how to change the work we do, is critical.

Do you know your strengths?

Many of us have taken the Gallup Strength Finder to assess where our greatest assets lie within ourselves, but according to Drucker, most do not evaluate how we perform within those identified strengths. More importantly, we do not place ourselves in the best environment that allows us to continuously improve on those strengths, but rather in situations where many obstacles exist that we struggle with that we inevitably push through. In doing so, time might not be best utilized as much as it could be as we’re trying to improve those skills from weak to mediocre, versus strictly focusing on going from good to excellent in our identifiable strengths.

Our ability to perform with our own strengths is unique, as it’s a matter of personality.

Drucker believes that people achieve the best results when working in an environment that allows them to draw out their personality and by continuously doing things they are good at. Within his assessment, there are types of questions that should be asked on how to improve:

Am I a reader, writer, or listener? People are rarely all 3, but rather there is 1 in which you retain and learn information the most effectively.  Of course, “doing” will trump all 3, but before doing, understanding how it needs to be done first is needed.

Additional self-evaluation questions include:

  • Do I work well with people, or am I considered a loner?
  • Do I produce results as a decision maker or best perform when being told what to do? 
  • Do I do my best work in a structured, well-organized environment, of do I enjoy being in a chaotic (and often high stress) culture that allows me to bring out the best in me? 
  • Do I work well in large organizations or enjoy a smaller company?

There are no right or wrong answers and we should have a “gut feel” on what works best for us as individuals.

Do not try to change yourself, rather change the environment you’re in to perform your best work.

What are your values? Not your ethical values, but rather your organizational values. 

For example, do you agree with organizations that try to promote and develop within or those that always look to hire externally to bring in new ideas and challenge the norm?

Do you believe in an environment whose mission is to make small, incremental changes or one where major change occurs to help drive company success?

To be the most effective in an organization, your values should be closely aligned to that of the company as this allows you to focus on continuously improving rather than wasting time on organizational operations that are out of your control.

Successful careers are not planned, rather they develop when you’re prepared for opportunities because you know your strengths, your best methods to perform, and have identified your values.

Lastly, managing yourself, requires taking responsibility for the relationships that surround you.  Just as you, others have strengths, ways of working, values, etc. and your ability of knowing, understanding and working within those parameters will allow you and your career to succeed.

A working relationship is based on the people more than it is on the work itself.

In conclusion, your ability to understand, refine and continuously ask yourself: “This is what I’m good at, this is how I perform my best, these are my organizational values, and this is how I make a difference” will allow the proper assessment to take place along with achieving higher career success.

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