The Consultant’s Dilemma: Utilization Percentages

Target Annual Utilization = 85%

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On the bench 3 months, utilization is 0%.

On a project 9 months, working 60 hours but can only bill 40 (under-estimated, over-allocated), recorded utilization can only be 100%.

Year ends…

Actual utilization for the year = +115% -> blew utilization target out of the water

“Great, Utilization Bonus Time!”

Or

Recorded utilization for the year = ~77% -> didn’t meet target

“What the…, Low to No Utilization Bonus?”

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Really?

Synonyms: Absolutely, Actually, Certainly, Surely, Unquestionably

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When we receive interview feedback such as: “We really liked you, but we want to interview others”.

Do you really mean really then?

No one enjoys being 2nd when it comes to interviews…really.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: The Feedback Loop

We, as recruiters, often have a hard time telling our fellow job seekers the exact feedback we get from clients, particularly when the communication is vague and/or not very constructive.

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Clients may also tell us something that’s a little harsher than we feel is right, and they don’t necessarily want us to just repeat what was said back to the candidate.

They understand it’s our job (and not an easy one) to be able to figure out how to hold the relationship intact on both sides, while also trying to be polite, sincere and helpful.

If you feel you received some “fluff” from a recruiter when you didn’t land the next interview or position, it might be because we struggled on how to communicate the feedback effectively or we just didn’t get enough information to form a logical conclusion.

Talking through it together may help fill in the gaps or asking the recruiter if they can get some more information to help you understand what happened are both options to think about during the feedback loop.

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Salesforce Contractors (H1’s in the U.S.): Your LinkedIn Profile

Often, much of my work day consists of looking at LinkedIn profiles, searching for skilled contractors.

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Unfortunately, many profiles read the same way and I’m not able to find anything unique.

Same generic key words, same responsibilities repeated over and over.

One of the areas that I look at that helps show credibility and is a proven differentiator is your Recommendations section.

If there was one piece of advice I could give, please do everything you can to get recommendations from the managers that you have a relationship with at your current client before (or shortly after) you wrap up your project.

You may have to ask more than once, or a more favorable option is to give a recommendation, as there’s a good chance you’ll get one back in return.

We need your expertise, but unfortunately, you might be getting looked over by a recruiter or hiring manager as you’re not standing out to them.

Please keep getting recommendations top of mind as you transition off a project for better future visibility.

Thank you.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Soft Skills

We often correlate soft skills to verbal and written communications.

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But within that, the question is, how well do we speak or write about what specifically?

The below topics may not easily stand out in a job description (especially technical positions), but are often evaluated during an interview when considering our soft skills.

The ability to:

– Recognize patterns

– Act from intuition

– Understand and analyze options

– Spot opportunities

– Utilize instincts

– Be flexible based on the situation

– Sense a problem before it occurs

– React in a sensible manner

– Be curious and experimental 

– Improvise as needed

– Demonstrate leadership

If you’re looking for some additional skills to add to your resume, or stories to discuss your soft skills during an interview, some of the above might be helpful.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Value

The importance, worth, usefulness of something

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Or the difference in cost and perceived return.

Do you know how you can add value to an employer?

Many of us probably have some ideas but can’t articulate it well, or maybe haven’t thought about it much.

Employers are often evaluating the value that you brought to previous employers AND the potential value you can bring for them if you get hired.

Asking: 

“Will they be able to help us?” 

“How will they be able to help us?” 

“How much time will it take to get them up to speed?”,

“Are they resourceful, if so how do I know this?” 

“Will they fit in well with how we operate?”  

“What have they accomplished before to help prove their case?”

“What shows me that I’m making the right decision?”

The better you’re able to demonstrate this in a resume, in your work examples, in how others in your network perceive you, in your interviews, etc. I think the more opportunities you will have presented.

Don’t underestimate your value, but know what it is and how to communicate it effectively.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: A Resume Suggestion

I’m currently working on a position and the client put together a good job description.

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Which I think we can reverse and possibly make your resume more attractive using a similar approach.

They had 3 sections:

You’ll help us by:

You’ll be a great fit if you have:

You’ll be a good fit if you have:

How about changing those to be a small section of your resume with a few bullet points or phrases around:

I can help company X (specific to the company you’re applying to) by:

I’d be a great fit for position X (specific to the position you’re applying to) because I have:

I’d be a good fit for position X because I have:

You know what what you’re great and what you’re good at, unless of course you’re great at EVERYTHING.

Even better if you can take a job description and this approach to align your resume as close to the JD as possible.

No interview guarantees, but a way to differentiate yourself.

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Our internal debate…

Have you thought about looking for a new position and then decided to hold off?

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Maybe you’re going through this internal debate now.

Especially, when someone or something really ticks you off.

“I’ve had it, I’m updating my resume tonight, it’s time to go.”

Then tonight comes, you forget or have a change of heart, your emotions settle down.

Thinking, “was it really that bad, maybe I’m just over reacting? I’ll get over it, looking for a new position can be such a hassle, anyway.”

You know, updating your resume, the potential anxiety of interviewing, trying to come across as confident but not cocky, worrying about speaking too much or too little, always having to put your best foot forward.

Then getting offered a new position, and the internal debate happens again whether you should just stay in your current position.

The fear of the unknown.

The internal debate.

You’re not alone…

Let intuition prevail.

“Intuition is always right in at least two important ways: It is always in response to something. It always has your best interest at heart.” ~Gavin De Becker, Author

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Salesforce Career Seekers: The Model, The Path, The Template

While many, including myself, are often suggesting specific steps to take, to either help launch or to continue your Salesforce career.

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Please keep in mind, there is no one right way.

Certifications, Badges, User Groups, etc. are not THE answer.

I think if you ask 5 different people how they’ve been successful (or landed their 1st position), you’ll probably get 5 different answers.

And I doubt one will be, I got Salesforce certified, and the flood gates of opportunity opened. 

At least without some additional context.

There will likely be a few key patterns that are the same, but the rest will probably fall into:

– Situational/Circumstance

– Self-awareness/Intuition

– Consistency

– Relationships

– Luck

Trying to conform to what so and so did to find success, might lead to a dampening of your spirit.

Continue to focus on the path that feels right for you, while having the inner confidence that your time will eventually come.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Interfacing with Bots

How do you feel about chatting with a bot during the initial interview process?

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Going through topics of unemployment gaps, salary expectations, your qualifications/skill-set, and availability to interview.

Some Q&A seems pretty straightforward (I’m looking for a salary between X and Y and I’m available Monday-Wednesday from 9-11 AM), others probably warrant a more direct one on one conversation.

Have you experienced this interaction yet?  

Would you lose interest if the company started the interviewing process this way? 

Are they being innovative?

Or maybe just impersonal?

As automation and technology continues to evolve, will we lose what we often feel is needed most when it comes to our career search?

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Salesforce Professionals: Competition

Do you feel competition brings out the best or maybe the worse in you?

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Or are you able to ignore it all together and just worry about what you can control?

Some examples that come to mind:

Does it annoy you if you find out someone is making more  than you, but has less responsibilities?

Do you question why someone else was picked for the project, or to lead the team, or invited to that special event?

How about when a new org chart is put together and you’re not where you thought you should be?

Maybe the brown-noser in the office, who you can’t figure out what the boss actually sees in them. 

Or when going into your annual review, you were confident that you were going to be ranked higher than your peers, then to realize that management didn’t agree.

I think for most of us, at some point in our careers, have had similar feelings.

As we grow professionally, maybe we’re able to learn to look past these things.

A smart quote:

“Winning isn’t getting ahead of others, it is getting ahead of yourself.” ~Roger Staubach, Dallas Cowboys Quarterback, 1969-1979

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Salesforce Career Seekers: New Opportunities

Maybe it’s gut feel, but I’ve noticed many more new positions coming across my LinkedIn feed as of the last week or so.

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I try to “like” all that I come across.

A few ideas for you:

1. If you’re not catching these or are only occasionally on LinkedIn, you can go to my profile, click on the “All Activity”  and see those that I’ve come across. There will also be some other posts not job related mingled in, but I just did a quick check and 9 of the 10 “likes” were open positions.

2. If these open positions are not a good match, go to the company website (or company LinkedIn job page) and see what else they have open, there could be your golden ticket somewhere within.

3. And if you’re still not seeing much, then reach out to a few folks in the company, express overall interest, there may be something peculating behind the scenes that hasn’t been posted yet.  

Something like: “Hi Chris, I see that you’re actively hiring for X, and while I’m not the best match for that position, if you hear of a position that is more aligned to Y, please let me know”. 

And then keep in touch. 

Yes, you’ll get ignored by some, so what?

Ignorance is bliss.

Stick and move.

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Salesforce Professionals: Your ideal position

We often see job postings that say almost the same thing.

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Rather than hearing what companies are looking for, how about you?

What would your ideal job description look like if you could dream it up?

I’m not referring to: do little to none, but still make a ton.

It could be around a specific industry, type of culture, technologies you’re working on, what the work consists of, who it’s for, salary range, remote/in-office, travel/no travel, who you’re working with, how you’re working, meetings/no meetings, management style you’re under, autonomy, etc.

Or to ask another way, if your current situation is ideal, why? If not, what would make it better? Or if you’re not working, what would you request from the Salesforce job fairy?

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Both sides of the interview table.

Synopsis:

Both candidates and employers often dread interviews.

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Candidates often feel like they’re being checked out as if they’re a racehorse at an auction having a spotlight shone on their weaknesses.

Employers often challenged with posers, prima-donnas, and arrogant candidates to determine if they can overlook the personalities to handle the tasks they need help with.

2 errors an employer looks to avoid:

  1. Hiring the wrong candidate to later find out later they cannot do the job.
  2. Not hiring the right candidate, and instead have them go to a competitor.

2 important questions an employer is looking to have answered:

  1. Can they do the job?
  2. Can they get a long well with the other employees?

2 important areas a candidate is looking for:

  1. Can they accumulate additional offers before making a commitment?
  2. Can they use those to help in the negotiation?

The impasse:

  1. Employer to send out as few offers as possible
  2. Candidate to get as many offers as possible

Full article on this subject below

https://pjammer.livejournal.com/2978.html

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Salesforce Professionals: Are you on the right career track?

Do you often get so wrapped up in the work that you’re doing that you forget to:

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  • Eat
  • Drink
  • Sleep
  • Go pee
  • Bathe
  • Change clothes
  • Brush your teeth
  • “Do” your hair
  • Pay attention to who’s around you
  • Check phone and email alerts
  • Browse social media
  • Look at the time
  • Turn the lights on and work in the dark
  • Do something else you were “supposed” to do

I guess it’s the anticipated flow state.

Hopefully, you’re in it once in awhile.

If not, you might want to look for another track to hop on.

Work consumes too much of our lives to stay on a track of misery.

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SRTotD (Salesforce Random Thought of the Day): The Talent Merry Go Round

Salesforce customers lose talent to Salesforce.

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Salesforce loses talent to their customers.

Salesforce consulting partners lose talent to Salesforce.

Salesforce loses talent to their consulting partners.

Salesforce consulting partners lose talent to their own Salesforce clients.

Salesforce customers lose talent to their Salesforce consulting partners.

Salesforce consulting partners lose talent to other Salesforce consulting partners.

Salesforce customers lose talent to other Salesforce customers.

Animosity and friction often created, then eventually forgotten about.

Manager’s egos may take a hit, then they quickly adjust and move forward.

Position opens, position back-filled.

The loss is another’s gain.

Or maybe the loss is the gain for who’s next.

Individual career progression ensues.

Companies understand, wipe it off, and move on.

The Talent Merry Go Round.

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The Paradox of Choice

In psychologist Barry Schwartz’s book – The Paradox of Choice, having an abundance of choices often leads to feelings of anxiety, being overwhelmed, a lower sense of accomplishment or unrealistic expectations, usually causing us not to make any decision at all.

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Do you occasionally feel that way with your Salesforce career?

Examples:

Do I stay functional, or become more technical?

Do I stay an individual contributor or look to be a team lead/manager?

Should I look into working on different clouds or become an expert where I am currently?

Do I look for better opportunities or continue to prove myself here?

Do I need to acquire more certifications for my career to excel or let my experience do the talking?

Do I stay in a particular industry, if so, which industry is best over the long term? 

Do I try consulting? Do I leave consulting?

Should I be a full time employee, or try contracting?

While all these feelings are real and probably experienced within most of us, is there a “right” answer?

Rather than debating if the decision is right or wrong, if the thought continues to rise to the top of your mind, follow your instinct, make a decision, then check your course along the way and make adjustments.

The decision doesn’t have to be permanent.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: LinkedIn Recruiter

In this video, I walk through how I use LinkedIn Recruiter when searching for Salesforce Professionals.

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I thought it might be useful for you as a career seeker to see how a recruiter might find you.

Additionally, I provide an example of a good LinkedIn profile that will help increase your chances of being found.

Thank you to Chris Pearson, for sharing this idea and allowing me to use his profile as an example.

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Salesforce Career Seeker: Salaries and Timing

If you feel employers have the leverage right now due to economic and unemployment conditions with more Salesforce professionals being available, that could result in offers being made that are less than market or equivalent/less than what you currently make.

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Long term, that might have an unintended negative impact for you.

In Daniel Pink’s book, WHEN: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, he mentions that often when landing a 1st or subsequent position in an economic/employment downturn, it can be difficult to crawl back to being made “whole” again.

Therefore, if you do take a position that is less than where you feel the salary should be, you might want to ask about an incremental evaluation if/when things start to turn around.

In summary, make a conscious effort over time to not let the current conditions have a cascading effect to your salary progression.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Poker Face

Have you ever encountered the poker face while you’re interviewing?

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You know, trying to get a feel for how things are going?

And it’s probably worse when you thought you had a tact for “reading people”.

Do they like me, do they hate me, what are they thinking, do they even want to be here?

Maybe you told a few light humor jokes, to not even get a fake chuckle.

Maybe you expressed your enthusiasm in the opportunity, they didn’t care.

Maybe you complemented them on their designer shirt, and their response “thanks, next question…”.

Maybe you even cried (I don’t recommend), hoping to at least get a reaction, they walked out to never return.

But possibly, the interviewer is just having a bad day and has other things on their mind.

Rather than beating yourself up, just drop them a line afterwards thanking them and relaying back what you enjoyed hearing about.

It will probably help you (and maybe even them) feel better.

It could be just what was needed to move you forward in the process.

Don’t let the poker face bluff you, just keep holding your royal flush.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Confidence

Do you have it? If not, how can you get more of it?

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I think hiring managers (and recruiters) can pick up on your confidence pretty quickly during an interview.

Even if you’re not completely qualified, your exuberance and energy can go a long way, especially if you can articulate how you would solve a problem that you haven’t experienced before.

By continuing to practice solving various problems and learning the process to do so, your confidence will build.

Since we’re in the NBA playoffs in the U.S., a little blurb on confidence.

NBA legend Larry Bird shot 500 free throws every morning before school, and then during his NBA career, he made ~90% of those, and a stunning 93% in the 1989-1990 season.

When the game was on the line, Larry Legend, was often called upon.

Practice builds confidence…

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Uncomfortable Situations

Earlier this week, I went for a run, the temperature was 72F and about 80% humidity, I thought to myself this is a pretty easy run.

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Most likely because most of my runs this summer have been around 82F and 90%+ humidity and are miserable.

So I thought, how can this situation relate to your career search?

And are you able to put yourself in more uncomfortable situations to help prepare you better for what’s to come?

Especially, if you’re feeling additional stress or anxiety when it comes to interviewing, or a lack of motivation or self-worth when people aren’t getting back to you.

Are there short-term endeavors that you could be doing now (although you might not care to), that could help eliminate/lower those unwanted feelings, or to at least get your mind off them?

Some Ideas: speaking at a Salesforce user group session, creating instructional videos, making some cold calls to prospective hiring managers, building a few apps to showcase your work, writing an article or two, studying/testing for a new certification, hosting a Zoom call with others that are experiencing similar challenges, volunteering your time.

Whatever it is that makes you hesitant or even sweat a little, that’s probably the right path forward.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: How do you pose?

You know, your cat, cobra, camel, downward dog, cow face, pigeon, and tortoise poses.

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All real names of various stretches, by the way…

Like your job search, are you being flexible in hearing about new opportunities, although it may not be exactly what you’re looking for?

This past week, a success story was shared, where the Salesforce professional was looking for a full time position, but instead was presented an opportunity that was contract to hire.

Rather than saying, no thanks, he went through the interview process.

He did so well, the company decided not to risk losing him by bringing him as a contractor, and hire him full time on day 1 instead.

Sometimes a position stated as a contract to hire may turn into a straight hire, or a conversion within a short period of time.

You may want to ask about this at the 1st stage of the interview and to find out more about why it’s set up as a contract to hire.

It could turn into a much more promising situation than originally planned.

I suggest to stay flexible to hear it out.

OK, I’m off to practice my firefly…

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Standing out…

In this video, I created an approach that I think will definitely help set you apart from the competition.

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It consists of:

1. Locating a position on LI

2. Finding some of the contacts that are associated to the company that posted the position

3. Identifying the phone numbers and email addresses of those contacts

4. Using an app from the AppExchange called BombBomb (free for 14 days) to create a personal intro video

5. Setting up this app in a Salesforce Dev org, along with the account, contacts and opportunity

It’s 7 minutes long, but I tried to take you step by step through the entire process.

Hopefully, this brings some additional ideas to mind to help you stay creative in your career search.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Staying Buoyant

If you’re continuing to get knocked around, displaced and dunked occasionally, in the turbulent sea of your career search.

I think the definition of buoyancy is a great analogy to help keep you afloat.

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Thank you Janet Elliott and David Noe and all of those that attended the Sacramento Salesforce Saturday this week.

We had some great conversations, below are a few of the many topics.

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1. Recruiters that say “competitive” or “market” when a Salesforce professional asks about salary, doesn’t help.

2. Glassdoor now makes you register and upload your resume before you can see average salaries by title/location…that’s bunk.

3. A technical assessment can be beneficial to the job seeker if the assessment is designed to show a little more about what the company is working on. Generic tests are of little help.

4. How degrees often don’t hold as much weight as experience and if there is an advantage/disadvantage with an associate, bachelor, masters or a degree in a non-technical field.

5. The importance of keeping in touch with employers even if they don’t offer you the position, another position (or the position you interviewed for) may open up in the future.

6. The importance of networking, the Salesforce community is usually connected within a degree or two from someone else who could be a decision maker.

And many others…

I’d recommend catching a Salesforce Saturday occasionally, you’ll learn something new.

Wearing pajamas and having a mimosa in hand is acceptable…

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Résumés

I always wanted to write that word with the é in it.

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BTW, the French “é” is the first of the two vowel sounds that make up the English “ay” diphthong.

I also had to look up what the heck a diphthong is.

Diphthong: a sound formed by the combination of two vowels in a single syllable.

OK, enough on the grammar lesson, what really matters is having a good resume put together. In this video, I share an example of one.

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Salesforce Professionals: Bad Bosses

Have you had one in the past?

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Maybe you have one currently.

What made/makes them “bad”?

Whatever those things are, are you able to take those into account, if and when you’re the boss?

Over your career, you may learn as much, if not more, from a bad boss on what not to do, than from a good boss on what to do.

I know I have…

Allow a bad boss situation help you to become the good boss you aspire to be.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Feeling Overwhelmed?

Do you often feel there is just too much to grasp and learn to land your first/next Salesforce opportunity?

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How about trying to: Reduce it to the Ridiculous

Meaning to focus on the few areas that are the most impactful versus all the minutiae. 

I think you’ll find a majority of the job descriptions have the same 3-5 requirements.

Know those areas inside and out.

Use them to guide your resume, your projects, your conversations, etc.

Sure, you might get a curve ball thrown your way in an interview.

You can’t expect to know everything about everything.

But the big ticket items, that have the most value to an organization, are what’s being sought after.

Remove the doubt, build your confidence, reduce it to the ridiculous.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Isn’t it obvious?

Do you think that thing you’ve been debating about doing or sharing might have others say: “No kidding, isn’t that obvious?”

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Why? Because YOU think it’s obvious, so everyone else will also think it’s obvious?

In the end, it’s not for you to decide.

What’s obvious to you (and maybe a few others), could be exactly what someone else was looking for.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Problems

Do you just solve problems when they’re handed to you?

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And in your resume you have a key attribute identifying yourself as being a Problem Solver.

Would it be more meaningful that you’re also someone who finds problems and then solves them?

To have a greater impact to your reader, you might want to change your resume to:

Problem Seeker/Solver

or

Problem Finder/Fixer

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Salesforce Professionals: Career Choices

For some random reason, driving home from the gym yesterday, I thought about previous career choices.

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In my 20’s & early 30’s, I put my consulting career in front of most everything else, causing many late nights in the office, an unhealthy lifestyle, not enough exercise, and making poor (but all so good) dinner runs after 8 PM.

My top picks:

32 oz. Thai Tea (~100g of sugar), along with Chicken Pad Thai

4+ Red Lobster biscuits (640 calories), along with Lobster Scampi Linguine

Double cheeseburger meal from Wendy’s (1,130 calories), along with 4 pc Chicken Nuggets

Would I have done it this way again at that age if I had the choice? Probably so.

Eventually though, I realized I had to make some better decisions in my career and overall health.

No one told me to, but I knew.

Maybe, you too, are also at this point…

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Intrinsic Motivators

Is a high paying position the primary motivator for you?

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According to behavioral science, 3 intrinsic motivators help increase overall job satisfaction:

1. Autonomy – the desire to direct our own work

2. Mastery – the urge to get better and better at something that matters

3. Purpose – the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves

As you continue to have conversations with companies or recruiters, you might want to have these as topics/questions of discussion.

Or just ask these to yourself when evaluating an opportunity.

Will this position provide some level of: 1, 2, and 3?

A fat paycheck along with utilization bonuses may not be enough to keep you motivated/happy/satisfied long-term, especially if you have to work 70 hours a week and are miserable along the way.

Above reference on motivators are from the book: Drive by Daniel H. Pink

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Your Funnel

As you continue your career search, are you keeping your funnel full at the top?

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Regardless of where you are in the interviewing process, I’d suggest to continue to apply for other positions in parallel.

Since you cannot control the final outcome of landing the position that you think you might be a perfect fit for, you can help reduce the risk of being one and done and having to start all over, by continuing to have more “leads” in your funnel.

Funnel, Pipeline, Leads, Process – you’d think we’re referring to a CRM or something…

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Loading Test Data

Salesforce Career Seekers: if you’re looking to get some additional test data into your Dev org for showcasing your work. This video might be helpful.

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SRTotD (Salesforce Random Thought of the Day): Recession Proof Positions

Based on what we’ve experienced these past 5 months, do you feel there have been specific Salesforce positions, skills sets, and industries that have experienced less of a layoff impact than others?

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And do you feel these can apply to most economic downturns?

Some of our Salesforce Community up and comers might be thinking about how to build a career strategy for the future  and I thought this input might help.

From my small slice of the overall big pie: most technical (Devs, Technical Architects, etc.) and specialist positions (CPQ, SFMC/Pardot, Commerce Cloud, etc.)  seemed to have been more stable where as the functional/less technical: BA’s, QA’s, PM’s, Generalists, and Admins have taken the bigger layoff hit.

If you have an opinion, we’d (I’d) love to hear it.

Thank you.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: How about now?

While many companies might not be hiring right now, I think it’s an ideal time to start your relationship building and drip campaign with those companies and contacts that you’re most interested in.

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Once this mess we’re in blows over, and things start to normalize, how great would it be that once a position opens up at a company that you’ve kept in touch with, you were the one that was in constant communication, when everyone else chose not to.

Heck, you might hear about a position before everyone else.

I occasionally hear: “Chris, we’re starting budget discussions for a position of X”.

That’s what you’re looking for…

Every week or two, send something of interest, it could be info about their company, about their industry, about their competitors, about Salesforce. Maybe you asking a quality question or two or for their opinion on a topic.

Don’t look for a response back every time, you’ll be disappointed, that’s not what it’s about.

It’s about standing out, showing interest, and making the most out of the current situation.

Yes, I realize this approach doesn’t pay the bills you have today, but it should help give you a solid foundation for tomorrow.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Where are you?

Are you sitting in the stands, watching the fight?

or 

Are you in the boxing ring taking the jabs, crosses, uppercuts, and hooks?

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You didn’t train, suit up, and prance to the ring to sit and watch, did you? 

Receiving the bruises, bumps, scratches, and occasional ear bites, is how you know you’re in the fight.

If these set-backs aren’t happening in your career search, you might be enjoying the popcorn from afar, a little too much.

Stay in the ring, punches will be thrown, stick and move, wear ear muffs, and keep fighting.

“I got one eye and he not impaired, he’s got ears, if he takes one I’ve got another one I’m ready to fight.” ~Mike Tyson post interview on biting Evander Holyfield’s ear (1997)

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Toilet Paper and Your Resume

Is your resume smooth or rough to read?

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The majority would prefer to review a resume that’s more like Charmin Ultra Soft and less like Scott 1000.

Help ensure yours is: subtle, gentle, pleasant, tender, delightful, yet still effective.

You don’t want it to get flushed as soon as it’s opened.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: …and “it” might not work.

You know “it”, you’ve been thinking of doing “it”, but haven’t done “it” yet.

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You know “it” might get you one step closer to your next opportunity.

Well, in fact, “it” might not work.

But, how would you know? How would I know? How would anyone know?

Maybe you want to give “it” a shot today to find out.

If “it” doesn’t work, analyze “it” briefly, then scrap “it”.

I would imagine you learned something from doing “it”.

Even if what you learned is: 

“it” didn’t work.

Fortunately, you have the opportunity to start a new “it” tomorrow and try again.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Your salary offer…

If the salary you were offered is lower than you’re expecting, does that kill the opportunity for you?

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Research has shown the external factors (salary, benefits, bonuses, etc.) can only get us so far.

Non-monetary factors such as the opportunity to work autonomously (while still being held accountable), to be creative, to make an impact, and to be recognized and respected has a higher degree of job satisfaction.

That’s not to say to be taken advantage of with a low-ball offer, but it is suggesting to understand if the above can help make up the difference for you. 

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Canned response in your application?

In your hunt for landing your first (or next) Salesforce position, you take the time to complete your application, upload your resume, craft your personal message and may have even wrote a well thought out cover letter.

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Then you’re either ignored entirely or receiving a canned response from an applicant tracking system. 

Rather than letting this lack of reciprocation get you down, you might want to reach back out to those who did treat you like a human, provided real interaction and a friendly response (although it might not have been the answer you were looking for), and thank them for doing so.

In our world of job applicant automation, I think finding those little pockets of humanity and expressing your appreciation when it does happen will help keep you going and also keep the recipient motivated to provide the same level of service to others.

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Salesforce Professionals: Annual Reports and Paint

Some may rather watch paint dry than read an annual report.

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Based on the 2020 Salesforce Annual Report, below is the percent increase in subscription and support revenue from 2019 to 2020.

Sales Cloud = +14%

Service Cloud = +23%

Platform and Other* = +57%

Marketing and Commerce Cloud = +32%

*Integration and Analytics were included in Platform and Other

Not sure if the below stats influence where to focus your skills and training for the future, but thought it was worth sharing.

Annual Report URL:

http://www.annualreports.com/HostedData/AnnualReports/PDF/NYSE_CRM_2020.pdf

Painter’s Tip: Humidity causes paint to take longer to dry. Turn fans on or lower the A/C temperature for quicker dry time.

Or just read an annual report while you’re waiting…

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Salesforce Career Seekers: All this noise…

4,570,000,000 + people use the internet

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3,500,000,000 + Google searches each minute

700,000,000 + LinkedIn users

150,000 + customers use Salesforce

In a world that gets more connected and noisy each day.

How can you possibly cut through it all?

I think it’s by finding the right person (or people), at the right time, who need or want to hear your relevant messaging.

Keep cutting…

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Eat that frog…

You may have heard this expression before.

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It’s suggesting to first tackle the task that you’re dreading the most (or the one that will produce the most results), which should help set the tone and positive momentum you need for the rest of the day.

“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” Quote originally “toad” by Mark Twain.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: 26 letters

That’s all the letters we have in the English alphabet.

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“The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” – uses them all.

Of the 26,

171,476 words are available.

A select few are more impactful than others.

Those are the ones that help create feelings, understanding, insight, curiosity, and emotion.

Do you have those types in your resume?

Maybe you can swap a few out that aren’t as meaningful for something better.

Some examples: Accelerated, Capitalized, Amplified, Influenced, Revitalized, Enabled, United, Persuaded, Coached, Exceeded

https://www.themuse.com/advice/185-powerful-verbs-that-will-make-your-resume-awesome

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Awareness and Trust

If you ask a professional marketer what are their primary objectives, these 2 nouns will be at, or near the top.

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Marketing is offering someone something to solve a problem and the 1st steps in that journey is building awareness of who you (or your company) are, what’s being offered, how that offering is going to help them.

Isn’t that your goal in your career search as well?

1. To have a hiring manager be made aware of who you are (referrals are best).

2. To have them understand what you can bring to the table (often your work, not just your resume).

3. To be able to make an informed decision that you are going to get the job done (trusts you).

These objectives take time.

You, my friend, are a marketer…

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Salesforce Career Seekers: When to interview…

In Daniel Pink’s book: “When”, he discusses at what point during the day most of us are happiest and more warm to others.

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Based on his research, the mid mornings are when the “feel good” mood peaks and again right after lunch, troughs in the afternoon, then picks up again in the evening (assuming the work day is over).

If this has any indication on scheduling an interview and you have a choice, you might want to shoot for 9 AM, 10 AM or 1 PM.

Or again at 8 PM.

Keep the advantage on your side, when possible.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Speaking to others, specifically outbound sales reps.

If you’re feeling down and out, are you talking to others?

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Have you thought about reaching out to outbound Business Development Reps (BDRs)/Sales Development Reps (SDRs).

Their job is hard. They face rejection everyday. They strategize on better ways to communicate and ask relevant questions. They determine who the right prospect is by proper research. They organize their day the day before. They’re very knowledgeable on their product or service.

Most importantly, they push through being uncomfortable daily.

I realize you’re not necessarily looking to get into being an outbound sales rep.

But there’s a lot of similarities between their role and your pursuit in landing your 1st (next) position.

If you reach out to a handful of SDRs/BDRs, most will probably get back to you to discuss what keeps them going.

Or just find some that stay active posting about their day on LinkedIn and follow them.

I think you’ll learn something new.

It could be the extra motivation that you were looking for.

Below link describing the SDR position in more detail; many pointers can also apply to your job search.

https://www.activecampaign.com/blog/sales-development-representative

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Geometry

Short story.

Back in high school, when I had to walk 2 miles in 3 feet of snow, uphill (both ways).

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We had 2 options for Geometry class:

Proof and Non-proof

Guess which one was harder?

Guess which one was considered more valuable to get into college?

Guess which one most students didn’t really care to take?

In proof, we had to determine why the answer was the answer.

That’s annoying isn’t it? Having to prove something…

Are you a proof or a non-proof Salesforce career seeker?

Proof builds credibility and will give you an upper hand.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Taking A Bob The Builder Approach

How do you prepare and motivate yourself to help get your positive juices flowing?

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If you give yourself positive affirmations, research has shown there’s a better way.

Rather than stating how well you’re going to do, how good you are, or other self-praises, instead ask yourself questions (along with positive and truthful answers).

For example:

How can I perform my best during a good interview?

How will I step out of my comfort zone in my job search?

What can I do differently today to get better results?

How can I differentiate myself from others?

Etc.

In the children’s cartoon series, Bob The Builder, Bob and his construction crew often find themselves in challenging situations and he uses this questioning approach to help motivate them to get the job done. 

“Can we fix it?”

“Yes, we can!”

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Practicing Empathy

When it comes to interviewing, do you think about practicing empathy?

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In other words, understanding their perspective, getting inside their head, what are their goals and interests, seeing the world through their eyes, what challenges they’re up against.

And then trying to adjust your messaging to better align with their point of view.

While we often speak to what we can do, how great we are, why we’re the right person for the position, try taking a small step back to see things from the other side of the table, as this could help in your approach and conversation.

And I know you’re looking for a new position and not a date, I think Notorious B.I.G. was onto something by his approach and practicing some level of empathy by asking about interests:

“Who they attractin’ with that line, “What’s your name, what’s your sign?”

Soon as he buy that wine I just creep up from behind

And ask what your interests are, who you be with

Things to make you smile, what numbers to dial

You gon’ be here for a while, I’m gon’ go call my crew

You go call your crew

We can rendezvous at the bar around two”

Big Poppa ~1994

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Salesforce Career Seekers: It’s often the thought that counts.

I’m sure you’ve heard this expression before.

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Can you apply this philosophy to your job search?

Specifically prior to your interview.

How about sending out a few pre-interview questions on things you’d like to know.

It could be a great way to keep the conversation moving during the interview.

As you know, an interview is not just the company interviewing you, but also you gaining a more in-depth understanding of what they have going on and where you can make the biggest impact.

Will the questions always get answered beforehand?

Not likely.

Will it be a thought that counts for something and sets you apart?

Yes.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: You have a stage

To:

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Perform, Give, Cultivate, Illustrate, Demonstrate, Validate, Deliver, Enlighten, Distinguish, Show, Prove, Educate, Entertain, Provide, Verify, Convince, Explain

Are you using it?

It’s free.

Sure, many potential employers may walk by and pay you no attention.

Don’t worry about them…

Your stage is for those that eventually stop and say: “I can use your talents, please come join us”.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: What’s your hook?

Hook: catch the ear of the listener.

Or possibly for you: catch the eye of the reader.

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Do you have a hook when you make an outreach to a potential hiring manager?

If you’re not having much success, as it starts with something like: “I’m looking for a new Salesforce opportunity, can you help?”

You might want to change it up.

Rather, what else can you find out about them, their interests, their alumni, their careers, where they currently live/work, where they used to live/work, mutual connections, etc.?

Is there anything you can relate to or bring up based on what you find?

Be creative, make it personal, it can be what distinguishes you from others.

Often if they’re not the right person to contact, they may respond with who is, as you had a good hook and they were impressed.

And if you like hip-hop, here’s a good tune to dance to while you’re creating your lead-in hook:

“Wat Da Hook Gon Be” Murphy Lee & Nelly ft. Jermaine Dupri

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Salesforce Career Seekers: OPW

Other People’s Worldviews…

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As much as we would like to have OPW to be the same as ours, often they’re not.

For example:

I’m working on a creative emailing campaign.

I often get completely opposing responses.

The good:

“Chris, I loved your email and wanted to acknowledge you…”

“Chris, solid prospecting…”

“Chris, I wanted to commend you on your persistence and research…”

The not so good:

“Chris, emails like this are the worst…”

“Chris, don’t email me again…”

“Chris, your approach is weak…”

We never know what type of day or point of view the recipient will have on your outgoing message.

You’ll probably get some good and you’ll probably get some not so good or no response at all.

But you have to get out there and try to have conversations with others to see what comes of it.

Along with understanding OPW is a part of the process.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: YMMV

Your Mileage May Vary…

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This term was originally created by the Environmental Protection Agency when they were estimating city and highway gas mileage estimates for new vehicles. 

This is because no test can exactly simulate all driving habits and conditions.

I think this is a great way to look at how your Salesforce career will either: 

A. start

or 

B. continue

You may hear of someone landing a new position in a day, a week, a month or a year but since there’s so many variables involved, your mileage may vary.

Just keep driving…

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Are you getting your hands dirty?

When we need to hire someone who’s a painter, construction worker, car mechanic, mason or some other occupation that includes using ones hands, we might ask ourselves:

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Are their hands dirty?

This question could help determine if they’re the ones doing the work, or instead, are they watching, supervising and managing others, possibly claiming it’s their own.

Who would you rather speak to when a specific hands-on job is needed or a detailed answer is required?

Someone with clean, soft, nicely manicured hands or dirty, grimy, calloused, hard-working hands?

So the question(s) for you:

How dirty are your hands?

Could they be dirtier?

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Ideas on standing out…

5 of us were invited to contribute to a Salesforce article about how to be
a differentiator in progressing your Salesforce career.

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Hopefully, some of these help and can be valuable suggestions for you to try.

Please continue to search and learn ways to get comfortable
at being slightly uncomfortable.

Speaking of uncomfortable:

“The vague feeling that you get when sitting on a seat which is still warm
from someone else.” ~Douglas Adams (English Author, Screenwriter, Humorist)

https://medium.com/trailhead/3-insider-tips-stand-out-salesforce-ecosystem-a4a87abd4e27

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Surfing

Have you tried surfing? Like most things, it’s more challenging than it looks.

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But the process reminds me of your Salesforce career search.

When you’re paddling out, looking for your perfect spot, it can be exhausting, you’re pushing through the small waves, the undertow might be taking you in directions you don’t care to go, there’s fellow swimmers that you’re navigating around, others (who aren’t that good themselves) are probably telling you what to do and how to do it.

Then you get established, and you’re waiting patiently for that 1st wave to catch. 

Within seconds of getting up, you get thrown off…face full of water.

Wow, this is hard…

What would you do next?

Call it a day, and paddle back to shore?

I hope not, it took energy and strategy to get out where you are.

So, you get re-positioned and start again.

Waiting, catching, falling, waiting, catching, falling…

Eventually, though, you find that perfect wave with your name on it, you’re in the right place at the right time, and you ride it all the way into the shore.

All the upfront work was worth the ride.

Enjoy the process, keep your balance, and your wave will eventually take you in.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Are you a Salesforce Cook

or are you a Salesforce Chef?

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Usually cooks follow a recipe word for word, they assemble pre-made dishes, they are instructed exactly what to do, and don’t deviate much.

A chef on the other hand, can work across an entire kitchen, have a greater understanding of techniques and flavors, do things from scratch, doesn’t typically have to rely on instructions and can make decisions on the fly based on feel or taste.

Cooks can be easy to replace, chefs on the other hand are special and harder to find.

Most company’s want (and presumably need) a Salesforce Chef.

Be the Wolfgang, Gordon, Emeril, Jamie, of your Salesforce career.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Worried about showing off your work?

Please don’t be…

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You don’t have to be 100% accurate in everything that you share.

It’s more about standing behind your ideas, your creativity, your ability to solve a problem.

There’s usually multiple ways to solve a requirement in Salesforce anyway.

The goal is getting comfortable with sharing what you can do, so others can see what you have to offer.

It might mean little to some, but others may find it valuable and can provide some feedback or express interest.

But you’ll never know unless you produce.

If every Salesforce professional needed to be perfect in what they delivered, nothing would get done.

William Goldman, 2X Oscar-winning screenplay writer, had a great quote for Hollywood writers:

“Nobody knows anything”

Meaning don’t let your thoughts that something isn’t good get in the way of your progress.

Many great screenplays (E.T., Home Alone, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Wars) were originally overlooked by the studios, as no one thought they were worth producing.

While we’re not writing box office hits, the point is that you need to keep constructing.

And, although, no one might think your work is great (at 1st), eventually it will find the right “studio”. 

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Salesforce Career Seekers: What do you know?

A little, a lot, somewhere in between?

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Asked a better way, what does a potential employer who has not met you yet, know about you?

A little, a lot, somewhere in between?

Asked maybe an even better way, how would they know?

“Duh, Chris, it’s obvious, it’s on my resume” (my 5 year old decided to resurrect the word “Duh” these last couple of weeks, so unfortunately, you have to get it too).

If you’re relying on your resume alone to show them what you know,

Duh, so is almost everyone else.

Many hiring managers and human resources want to go beyond the resume.

Showcase your work, help them find what they’re looking for…

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Salesforce Career Seekers: You’re already…

If you started yesterday,

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You’re already one day ahead of those who decide to start today.

If you start today,

you’re already one day ahead of those who decide to start tomorrow.

If you start tomorrow,

you’re already one day ahead of those who decide to start the day after tomorrow.

You get to choose when, but,

You’re already “all ready”, you just need to start, and not let too many tomorrows come and go.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Are you hungry?

What does being hungry look and sound like when it comes to being interviewed?

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Maybe expressing high enthusiasm during an interview is not in your personality. 

Should that automatically rule you out?

Internally, you are indeed excited about this opportunity.

You just don’t feel the need to go in with pom poms, and a megaphone, cheering “rah, rah”.

Are there other ways that you can express heightened interest? 

Often hiring managers are looking for something to help you stand out from the others.

This might be considered “hunger”.

Maybe for you, subtle words is all that’s needed.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: How’s your detective skills?

Prior to an interview, are you spending any time researching?

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Not just the company, but how about the hiring manager?

Hopefully, you know who you’re interviewing with, a few days prior to the interview.

What can you find out to give you an “edge”?

Can you reach out to those individuals who work for the hiring manager to find out more?

Ask, why do they think they were hired? What helped to set them apart?

Can you find out what initiatives the team might have slated for the next 6 to 12 months?

Have the hiring manager think or say: “Wow, you’ve really done your homework”.

Put on your detective hat and raincoat, light up that cigar if that helps (don’t inhale), ask some questions over LinkedIn, one clue or person can lead to another and then to another.

Formulate a story…

Become your inner Columbo.

“Just one more thing…”

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Salesforce Career Seekers (specifically Admins): Why Apex experience?

We often have a healthy debate on why Apex experience is listed on most Admin job descriptions.

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Aren’t we supposed to be focused on clicks not code?

I think Salesforce consultant and instructor Ryan Scalf, laid it out well in yesterday’s Admin/App builder training session.

Think about it this way:

Many customers who have had Salesforce over time probably have some level of Apex already running in their org.

The declarative tools that are available today have evolved and the functionality that was previously built used Apex to meet the requirement.

Therefore, now the customer needs someone to understand what to do with it.

Not necessarily to write more custom code, but rather determining if they can move it into a declarative offering.

Conclusion: If you’re looking to stand out to a potential employer, maybe you want to take a deeper dive and add to your tool-belt a Custom -> Declarative Cheat Sheet that you can break down and speak to during interviews.

A skillet that I think most employers will value.

Regarding Apex skills being needed for Admins for new customer orgs, that warrants another post 🙂

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Salesforce Career Seekers: The Salary Crunch

Below is a scenario that you might be challenged with based on the current economic conditions.

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In the simplest terms:

An employer is offering salary X for a position.

X is a lower than market, but since there’s more talent available they’ll get some interested candidates.

You previously made more than X at your last position…let’s say it’s X + 15%.

Therefore, you’d like to be at or above that for your next position…rightfully so.

But, since you’re currently unemployed, you’re willing to consider this position to get working again.

The kicker…

If you tell the employer (or recruiter) that you’re looking for (X + 15%) although it’s more than what’s being offered (X), but you’d still like to be considered, the company might feel you would be an “at risk” hire.

If you’d rather not disclose the salary that you’re looking, this might help prevent you from being rejected, although it’s often going to be asked because of the above situation.

Please keep this scenario in mind as you discuss your salary requirements.

Options: Find the employer that’s going to pay where you want to be on day 1; or ask if the salary can be adjusted after 90, 180 days, etc. to make you whole again.

Continue to look out for #1 (that’s YOU!).

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Salesforce Professionals: Looking through your rear-view…

What’s the #1 skill (or quality) that might have been helpful if you would have obtained it sooner in your career?

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If you say more badges and/or certs, we’re no longer friends…

An up and comer Salesforce newcomer asked this great question yesterday.

Personally, I could have been more assertive and voluntarily stepped into more fires.

In other words, leading, showing initiative, don’t ask (or wait) for the next task at hand, find problems, attempt to solve them, offer yourself up for projects even if you’re unsure, ask others how you can help, and help others when they seem to be struggling.

“In the business world, the rear-view is always clearer than the windshield.” ~Warren Buffett

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Salesforce Career Seekers: How’s your Salesforce project work?

If you’re solely relying on a Trailhead multiple choice system to get points and badges, that doesn’t represent your work, that’s Salesforce’s work.

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I’m talking about your work…

The hard stuff, that’s not scripted.

Where is it?

Is it a hit, or is it a dud?

How do you know one way or the other?

Have you shown any of it off to encourage feedback and opinion?

Or keeping it all to yourself?

How else are you going to get better?

Studying alone doesn’t make better.

Doing your work, re-doing your work, and doing your work again, makes better.

“Action is the foundational key to all success.” ~Pablo Picasso

Picasso produced 147,800 pieces of work, not all made history, but he started somewhere.

You should too…

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Salesforce Career Seekers: You learned something new.

Prior to the 1st interview with HR, you did the necessary high level company research and had some great questions to ask.

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You learned something new.

It was time well spent…

Prior to the 2nd interview with the hiring manager, you reviewed your resume and knew you would be able to answer almost any question thrown your way.

You learned something new.

It was time well spent…

Prior to the 3rd interview with the hiring manager’s boss, you wrote down some very strategic questions and you showed genuine interest in the company’s success.

You learned something new.

It was time well spent…

After 3 rounds of interviews, you were notified you didn’t land the position.

That wasn’t the outcome you had envisioned.

Briefly, reflect on what you learned during the entire process.

Keeping in mind, it was time well spent…

“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” –Harry S Truman (33rd U.S. President)

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Salesforce Career Seekers: One board, one nail, one day at a time…

There’s a new apartment complex going up next to my house and like clock work, 7:30 AM – 5:30 PM, I hear boards shuffling and nails being pounded.

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Routine, everyday, most of it mundane, and probably seems endless.

Board by board, nail by nail, hour by hour, 6 days a week.

And while I don’t see noticeable progress each day, I’m fairly confident they’re not just nailing random boards together and goofing off.

Eventually the apartment complex will be complete and the construction workers will be pleased with the outcome.

It reminded me of your Salesforce career journey and how you have to build at it day by day.

And you might not see much progress at the individual day level, but as each board is laid, each nail is driven, you’ll have the Salesforce foundation necessary to see your career start to take shape.

As the great Salesforce instructor, Ryan Scalf, states: “Chop Wood, Carry Water”, focus on the work that matters.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Doing a brain dump.

Of the Salesforce work that you’re doing or have recently done.

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Especially, if you’ve been impacted by a COVID furlough.

Now is the time to get it down on paper (or electronically) and out of your head.

Notes, diagrams, business cases, project plans, status reports, requirements, solutions, test cases, implications, gotchas, snafus, lessons learned, etc.

Maybe even better by rebuilding and simulating some of the solutions in your Dev org.

It could help you in your resume revisions to bring up some additional details that you might not have thought of before.

As well as the ability to review and to be top of mind for future conversations and interviews, when the question of:

“What were some of the things that you were responsible for at your last company?”.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Which route are you taking?

If you’ve being impacted by the current employment downturn.

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The route many are headed down includes primarily gaining more certifications and accumulating Trailhead badges.

And while that might be one route to take to stay productive, how about you make a detour?

Steer slightly to the right to see what lies ahead.

Understand that this route will have a few more bumps, limited directions, inaccurate maps, a few bad storms, and will probably cause you to get lost and frustrated at times.

But on this route, you’re able to be creative, apply critical thinking, use and improve the skills that you’ve already obtained, and build your own unique project portfolio.

The route you decide to take now, could make all the difference when more destinations come available.

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Salesforce Professionals: Do you have someone?

To grow your career with?

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Someone who shares similar viewpoints, philosophies and ways of continuing to achieve greater success together.

I don’t think a mentor would necessarily be the right title, as they might be too far removed.

Not someone you just check in with every 3-6 months.

And this person doesn’t have to be right all the time, rather someone you can bounce ideas off of and they can do the same with you…having healthy debates.

It doesn’t have to be something you ask for, rather it typically comes naturally.

Usually, within the 1st few times of meeting someone, you can probably feel this out based on how conversations flow.

It starts very small and organically expands.

I believe this is one of your biggest multipliers for your career growth.

I recommend someone local to your area, as often these conversations and interactions are more valuable in person.

Occasionally, working together on your own respective projects in a single location.

Ideas will pop up, lessons can be shared and learned from one another.

I don’t think there’s too many other activities during your career that can beat it.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Your work is not for them…

The work that you’ve done, the professional goals you’ve obtained, the projects that you’ve shared, the Salesforce knowledge that you’ve acquired.

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It’s for the others.

But, not for “them”…

And that’s OK.

It doesn’t have to be for just everyone and anyone, but the select few that can have an appreciation for what you can bring to the table.

The others are out there somewhere, either you’ll find them, or they’ll find you.

But you have to keep moving, creating, sharing, expressing, collaborating, connecting, and showing up.

In order to find or to be found…

Keep this stat in mind:

940 people gave J.K. Rowling a 1 star review on Amazon for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Guess what? The book wasn’t for them.

I really doubt it phased her.

She found the others and the others found her (work).

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Writing To Help Extend Your Reach

2 questions to ask:

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What are 5 blog topics you think others would find surprising, insightful, provocative, educational, or useful?

What are 5 blog topics you are tired of reading about?

If everyone is writing about Apples.

Write about Oranges.

Don’t worry about Impostor Syndrome.

Wing it.

We all do, but when you show up, good stuff occasionally follows.

You have ideas to share.

People to teach.

Connections to be made.

Open positions exist that need to be filled by your creativity, experience, intelligence, and generosity.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Persist until success

In the classic book, The Greatest Salesman in the World, by Og Mandino, there’s a chapter/theme called:

“I will persist until I succeed”

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Within this, a couple of passages stick out, that may be relevant to you.

“It is not given to me to know how many steps are necessary to reach my goal. Failure, I may encounter at the 

thousandth step, yet success hides behind the next bend in the road. Never will I know how close it lies unless

I turn the corner”.

and

“I will consider each day’s effort as but one blow of my blade against a mighty oak. The first blow may cause not

a tremor in the wood, nor the second, nor the third. Each blow of itself, may be trifling, and seem of no consequence.

Yet, from childish swipes the oak will eventually tumble.”

Maybe this helps keep you going…

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Salesforce Career Seekers: What industry are you in?

The Salesforce industry?

The tech industry?

The retail, CPG, energy, financial services industry?

The sales, service, marketing, or other cloud product industry?

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Possibly, one of those, but I think that’s secondary.

As a career seeker, your primary industry is:

The Trust Industry

This is the industry where the hiring managers work, where they look and where they believe they’ll find the right individual to do the job.

And unfortunately, I don’t think this industry is always based on resumes alone.

They may have been burnt one too many times just on a resume, resulting in a bad hire.

To help prevent this, they’re looking for recommendations from others, or for an individual to showcase their work, or for their social profile to be well built and to hear what others are saying, or how has that individual provided value to others.

It’s what they can see, latch onto, and investigate further, if they so choose.

Continue to figure out how to effectively work, market and sell yourself in this industry.

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Salesforce Professionals: How’s your written communication skills?

To help influence, inform, relate, understand, think, educate, maybe entertain.

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While I was working on a marketing slide, I realize how hard this actually is, where someone else (not me) actually thinks it’s good.

With the goal of: Communicating an effective message, to a targeted audience, to make as much impact as possible, with as few words necessary.

Along with the dilemma of: Too many images, not enough images, too many words, not enough words, too busy, too subtle, good font type, bad font type, too self-promotional, not enough self promotion, too generic, too specific.

The list is endless.

Revision 1, 2, 24, 49, 308…

But, at the heart of it all, you want to: 

Get your audience one step closer to make a decision that you’re seeking.

So when composing, think through the mind of the recipient, when they’re asking themselves: why him/her, why this, why now?

Resumes, your project pitch, your grocery list for your spouse.

Continue to refine this one skill will pay in spades over your career.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Our biggest challenge?

I think: Obscurity

Whether it’s you as a job seeker looking for a position or me as a recruiter looking for a new customer.

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Are the people that need to find you, finding you?

Check out the below numbers using LinkedIn Recruiter.

Salesforce Admin – 13,756

Salesforce Consultant – 11,665

Salesforce Developer – 6,354

Salesforce Architect – 895

These numbers represent the number of Salesforce professionals looking for new opportunities (globally).

If you hold any of these titles, then you’re somewhere in this count.

Maybe you’re in the top third, middle third, or bottom third.

It doesn’t really matter…

The bigger question is, how can YOU be found?

Do you have a strategy in place?

Waiting to get picked out is probably not the best option (or very sustainable).

Fortunately for YOU, that’s what most are doing.

So the question is, what can you do differently?

Hint: It’s probably going to make you uncomfortable, feel a little awkward, uncertain, cause a fear of failure, getting rejected, or get you worried what others might say.

Suggestion: Do that…again, again, and again.

Maybe, I’m wrong, but I don’t think there’s much of an alternative…

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SRTotD (Salesforce Random Thought of the Day): The tug…

Between what you want to do in your career and what the job market might be asking you to become.

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Specifically, I’m referring to knowing how to code.

You tried it, you did a few Trailheads, you wrote a “Hello World” program, and 

You hated it…

It just wasn’t you, and you have no desire to continue down that track.

Why bother?

But, maybe, you “grind” through it, and even get certified.

Because the job market has tugged at your shoestrings long enough.

You’ll show “them”…

Then, you land a position that involves writing code.

But weren’t you originally miserable learning it anyway?

Now, are you content, satisfied, fulfilled?

Learning new skills can be rewarding, but learning new skills can also make you miserable if you’re not enjoying the work you’re doing.

The dynamics of…

The tug.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Where are you standing?

In the midst, in the noise, in the chaos, in the stack, in the masses, in the commotion?

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If you’re right in the middle of any of those in your job search, I don’t think that’s where you’re going to find the most success.

It’s way too crowded in there.

So, where is “there” you ask?

Well, to me, there is: Trailhead badges, a certification (or two), sending 5 generic resumes to random positions, and all the other generalities associated.

Let others stand there, but not you.

Your “there” should be where you’re: creating, sharing, building, voicing, connecting, engaging, BEING UNIQUE.

If where you’re currently standing isn’t getting results, guess what you can do?

Stand somewhere else

And if that doesn’t work…

Well, move, and stand, yet, somewhere else.

Continue to look for and find your place to stand.

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Salesforce Professionals: Could you use just 1 more blog?

Great, I came across a list of the Top 35 for 2020.

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https://academy.whatfix.com/salesforce-blogs/

Thanks to Gokul Suresh of Whatfix for putting together.

Now, how about a little Weird Al lyrics (parody of Blurred Lines):

“Okay, now here’s the deal

I’ll try to educate ya

Gonna familiarize

You with the nomenclature

You’ll learn the definitions

Of nouns and prepositions

Don’t be a moron

You’d better slow down

And use the right pronoun

Show the world you’re no clown

Okay, now here’s some notes

Syntax you’re always mangling

No “x” in “espresso”

Your participle’s danglin'”

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Salesforce Devs: What’s the hardest part of your job?

According to one Quora discussion thread, it’s:

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Naming Things (functions, variables, etc.) at 49%.

The right names which should be clear and concise is often difficult to be descriptive enough and capture meaning in just a few words.

Others that were named in the survey:

Explaining what I do/don’t do (16%)

Estimating (10%)

Dealing with other people (8%)

Working with someone else’s code (8%)

Speaking of names, how about some rap lyrics:

“From the depths of the sea, back to the block

Snoop Doggy Dogg, funky as the, the, The DOC

Went solo on that a*$, but it’s still the same

Long Beach is the spot where I served my cane

Then I step through the fog and I creep through the smog

Cause I’m Snoop Doggy (who?) Doggy (what?) Doggy (Dogg)”

~Who Am I (What’s My Name)? – Snoop Dogg

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Salesforce Pros (hands on keyboard types): The interesting paradigm between freedom and control.

There’s a production issue, all hands on deck…

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You probably have the freedom to do whatever it takes to correct the problem, most likely skimping on following version control best practices, intense regression testing, deep dive into root-cause analysis, etc.

Great, issue, resolved. Freedom to take action without the normal hindrances, red tape and overhead.

Until…

Another production problem is discovered…

Then the questions are a flying and the control handcuffs are slapped back:

“why did you?”

“how could you?”

“under no circumstance, can we do that again”

“4 sign-offs are needed, no matter what”

“Hey Milton, put down your red stapler, you’re now in charge of version control and CI/CD”.

If you’ve been around development long enough, you may have ran into similar situations.

If you’re looking for a better way to manage this process, and put Milton back in the basement, you might want to check out: Mastering Salesforce DevOps by Andrew Davis where he discusses ideas and concepts to achieve both control and deployment freedom.

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Salesforce Pros: Are you familiar with Hammer?

No, not:

“My-my-my-my music makes me so hard,
Makes me say oh my Lord
Thank you for blessing me
With a mind to rhyme and two hype feet

You can’t touch this (oh-oh oh oh-oh-oh)
You can’t touch this (oh-oh oh oh-oh-oh)
Break it down
(Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh oh-oh)
(Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh oh-oh)
Stop Hammer time”

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I’m referring to the Salesforce Hammer.

The process where Salesforce runs A/B testing on customers production custom Apex to ensure their seasonal releases don’t break your code.

Running 186M Apex tests, TWICE. Once in Production on the current version, then again with the new version.

The video discussing it in more detail and other supported docs are in the comments below.

Thanks to @Andrew Davis for mentioning this in your book, Mastering Salesforce DevOps, which caused my additional research.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F71TtwrfOYU

Blog: https://developer.salesforce.com/blogs/engineering/2013/05/here-comes-the-hammer.html

Salesforce Help Doc: https://dreamevent.secure.force.com/articleView?id=apex_hammer_execution_status.htm&type=0

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Salesforce Admins – how’s your current user set up?

Do you know it’s wrong and not sure where to start to make corrections?

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Could you use some help or want to bounce some ideas off of someone?

Or maybe you’ve struggled to pass the Admin exam and need a refresher.

If any of those are true, please check out Ryan Scalf’s training sessions on his youtube channel or join us live every Tuesday and Thursday at 1 PM CST, as we discuss various aspects of the exam, and take a deep dive into security.

“https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCE_VF-XjjLwIawwTTfpwvWA”

Join Zoom Meeting
https://zoom.us/j/399421739

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SRTotD (Salesforce Random Thought of the Day): Cloud Computing and Pink Floyd

As a whole, have we decided that since we’re no longer responsible for hosting our infrastructure, we don’t really care as much about the quality of code and configuration that we produce?

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Be honest…why would we?

Since Salesforce is “easy” to build allowing for free range to do what we want, how we want (in general), where we want and when we want, has that led to the increased lack of following best practices?

It still works doesn’t it?

Refactoring existing/dead code? nah, that can wait…

Updating prod directly? sure, why not, it’s just a small change, right…

Creating a new profile for every user? OK, if that allows them to do their job…

Hard coding ID’s? yes, for now, we’ll fix that later…

Proper test coverage? yep, Salesforce said it met their limits, we’re all set…DEPLOY!!!

And lastly, lyrics from Another Brick in the Wall (you’ll need to nod your head to the beat):

“We don’t need no education…

We don’t need no thought control…

No dark sarcasm in the classroom

Teachers leave them kids alone

Hey, teachers, leave them kids alone”

“If you don’t eat yer meat, you can’t have any pudding

How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat yer meat?”

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Salesforce Career Seekers: In times like this, often we, external recruiters, get whacked.

Fortunately, not as severe as being in the mafia.

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Goodfellas…
Benny: We had a problem…
Jimmy: What do you mean?
Benny: You know what I mean.
Henry: Hey Jimmy, what happened?
Jimmy: They whacked him…

When many companies are unsure of what the future holds and are putting significant cost saving structures in place, often using external recruiting services is an expense that faces increased scrutiny.

As you go about searching for your next position, external recruiters may not be your best path forward for direct placement, rather utilize them for other services (resume reviews, their take on the market, bridging a connection to a company, building a relationship for the future, etc.).

This is a generalization to help make sure you’re spending your time wisely.

One other gangsta tip: Never rat on your friends…

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Is the hiring manager that you’re interviewing with, a Salesforce Geek?

Geek in a positive, technology driven, enthusiastic way, not necessarily someone who just snorts when they laugh.

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If you’re not sure, you may want to try and do a little research to find out, as more times than not, if they are, they may be asking you some non-traditional questions during the interview.

1. What Salesforce influencers/bloggers/tweeters do you follow and why?

2. What Salesforce acquisitions do you think have been the most strategic?

3. What changes in this past seasonal release do you think will have the most impact to customers?

4. Are you involved in the Salesforce community either online or in person?

5. Are you familiar with the 1-1-1 model?

6. How has Salesforce as a company made an impact on businesses, culture, society, etc.?

7. What do you think of Dreamforce?

8. What’s something that you don’t care for within CRM?

9. Do you use Trailhead, if so, what are some of the paths that spark your interest?

10. Where do you see the future is headed with Salesforce technologies?

I’m sure there’s more, but having some answers rehearsed around these could be beneficial.

Lastly, only snort, if they snort 1st.

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Salesforce Developers: How’s your behavior?

Your trigger behavior that is…

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Could you use a comprehensive trigger template to handle events and delegate them to a handler class instead of writing all your logic within the trigger itself?

If so, please check out Andrew Davis’s template on Github in the comments below.

Now, stop talking back to your elders or you’re going back in timeout.

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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 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 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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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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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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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 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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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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“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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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.

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.

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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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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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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: 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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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: 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: 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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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: 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: 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: 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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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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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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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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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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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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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 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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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: 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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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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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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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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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): 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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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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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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Book Review On: Developing Data Migrations And Integrations With Salesforce – Patterns And Best Practices By: David Masri

Quality of data being in the right place, for the right person, at the right time so it’s actionable is critical to the success of a CRM project.

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While a nice user interface, fancy reports and workflow automation are also important elements in a CRM, these would significantly lose their value if the underlying data that supports these areas are problematic. 

Within this book, we are provided a comprehensive plan on how to turn the most critical and riskiest area of a project involving data migration and integration into a streamlined, low maintenance and high performing process.

As we continue down the journey of digitization and the importance of how data drives so many decisions, the below quote continues to hold true:

The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data. ~Economist Magazine

Before jumping into the complexities of data migrations, the author takes the reader through reviewing relational databases, data modeling and querying concepts, while also providing the nuances and operational differences between a traditional database and how Salesforce operates to help set the initial foundation.

Salesforce is an API first company, therefore all external interactions with Salesforce must go through it’s API’s. 

Next, David provides the 6 critical attributes that help guarantee the success of a data migration initiative:

  1. Well planned: asking the critical questions (examples are provided)    
  2. Automated: getting the process to be as close to “one click” as possible
  3. Controlled: having a centralized “brain center” to determine the data flow
  4. Reversible: ability to undo full or partial migrations
  5. Repairable: understanding where the original data resides and how it was transformed
  6. Testable: ensuring requirements and business needs are met

Strive to be better with each of your data migrations: better planning, more automation and increased trace-ability. 

As with any major endeavor comes a series of best practices, David provides 40 that should cover every situation you would typically run into. Below are the top 5 which I found to have the greatest impact.

  1. Understand and analyze the source data, while asking comprehensive and challenging questions about the intent
  2. Document, maintain and enforce stakeholder buy-in on the transformation
  3. Do not ignore data problems, they rarely get addressed after the deployment and can cause significant impacts
  4. Partner with a BA to help validate assumptions and your findings
  5. Don’t patch things together during testing, start the process end to end to ensure accuracy, run-times and deployment procedures stay in tact

Scope, budget and quality are 3 factors in any project, when it comes to data, quality should never be compromised.

As with any book, theory only gets us so far, therefore David also provides a real-world use case of a migration project, where the reader will understand how to load and transform 10+ objects. Within this exercise, we’re taught how to use a central control file, cross reference tables, sequencing, dissecting, and explaining the SQL and associate functions, performance tuning, bulkifying and roll-backs.

Migrations are difficult, most have issues and the details are critical. To get better: practice, execute, review, repeat.

Although, the major piece of work is the 1st data migration, the ability to perform data synchronization can be equally as important long term. Synchronization types such as: unidirectional, bi-directional, and 2 way synchronization along with patterns such as: incremental and differential are covered. A few examples of these include: upsert-no delete, incremental date based, full load.

       Understanding how to handle data conflicts when synchronization comes into play is crucial to the success of a project.

While most of this book discusses batch type integrations, David has a few chapters on real-time integrations and UI automation describing options such as, Salesforce API’s, Salesforce Connect, Streaming API’s, APEX Web Services, Platform Events, Embedded iFrame, FAT Client integration and a few others. Within these chapters, we get an understanding of when to use each based on the types of requirements involved.

As any good developer will know, having a solid code library of reusable functionality can be an extreme time saver. Especially when it comes to data transformation as more time than not, customers follow certain data idiosyncrasies that need to be accounted for. David provides examples of the most common. My personal favorites provided includes accounting for CamelCase, Phone number formatting, identifying a good email address, parsing out names, and stripping out spaces, numeric and alphanumeric characters.

Having your tool belt full of the critical tools needed for the job saves time and money while identifies you as a data migration specialist.

The final chapters of this book covers: FAQ’s, an algorithm and associated SQL for detecting duplicates using natural keys, as well as references cards recapping best practices, synchronization and integration patterns as well as suggested reading references.

In conclusion, whether your experience doing Salesforce migrations has been days, months or years, this book should be in your reference collection as I’m confident you’ll either learn or rediscover concepts that can help you become more proficient in your craft.

“The more you read, the more things you will know, the more you learn, the more places you will go.” ~Dr. Seuss.

You can find David’s great book for purchase here:

https://www.apress.com/us/book/9781484242087

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Salesforce Admins – Stay Ahead Of The Curve

Occasionally, I speak with Salesforce Admins and they feel they’re not growing in their current position based on the mundane tasks they’re having to do. Therefore,  I wanted to share a few thoughts to help ensure you’re staying ahead of the talent curve.

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I believe history often repeats itself when it comes to technology and associated skill-sets, so when the job market balances out, so will the pay scale.

  • Being a Salesforce Admin when the role is scarce is exactly where you want to be, but when scarcity goes away, you’re going to need to bring something more to employers to be one step ahead of the supply curve. Being distinct, unique, and having a point of view with the analytical ability to provide valuable insight to solve interesting problems before they occur using Salesforce as the platform will be what employers will always seek out.
  • As more new Salesforce Admins come into the job market since it’s considered one of the initial entry points to start, company’s may begin to turn to Admins that are at a lower salary point to do the job that you’re currently doing. Particularly, if the work being done is not industry specific, is simplistic in nature, and the training timeline to get someone up to speed is relatively short.
  • The access you have to Trailheads and certifications are the same access other Admins have, so pick ones that scare you the most, are considered leading edge, might be the hardest to learn, or can potentially help you become more of an industry niche. If your current employer is not interested in innovation, work on this in your off time while thinking about a transition plan.
  • As you progress in your career, begin (or continue) to build an external reputation where your expertise will be known and company’s are willing to pay “extra” for the additional skills you bring. Salesforce events, blogging and social media gives you plenty of opportunities to increase your brand awareness and to be relevant in the ecosystem.
  • Each day think about: am I learning anything new, increasing my skills, or what is something genius I can bring to the table.  Thoughts like this is the value add that only you can offer, NOT just asking “what are my simplistic tasks for the day” and crossing them off one by one and calling it a day’s work.
  • If you’re currently not getting the opportunities to advance, improve, learn, and skill-up, I believe you’re doing yourself a disservice for career growth, which may eventually lead to being replaced or your salary to stagnate. If your current employer is just looking for someone who is dependable and to get simple things done, that’s not all you have to offer.

Stay ahead of the curve…

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SRTotD (Salesforce Random Thought Of The Day): Customers Losing Their Strongest In-House Technical Talent To Salesforce Themselves

Just spoke to a customer today who had this happen.

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My prediction: they’ll need at least 4-6 months (if not longer) to replace them.

Not good…

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SRTotD (Salesforce Random Thought Of The Day): Salesforce Certs And Internal Career Progression

Have you ever been passed over for a raise or a promotion for not having a specific Salesforce certification?

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Have you ever been denied an internal assignment or project from management for not having a specific Salesforce certification?

Have you ever been shunned by your internal peers for not having a specific Salesforce certification but they needed your help desperately?

If you’re in consulting, has the external client or the internal client facing lead decided to not staff you on the project if you didn’t have a specific Salesforce certification, BUT you had the relevant on the job experience?

I’m working on an article to provide some additional options where I believe your time could be more valuable than the emphasis on certifications (especially when they’re random and don’t drive towards an end goal), but maybe I’m completely off the mark, if all of the above are happening.

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Navigating Through Corporate Politics, Biases, Misalignment, Stubbornness And Ego

Navigating through corporate politics, biases, misalignment, stubbornness and ego is by far one of the biggest challenges we face when it comes to implementing successful CRM projects.

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I had a call with a Salesforce platform owner this past week where he recently joined a new company and his primary objective is to revitalize their Salesforce instance, increase user adoption, bring in best practices, enhance the functionality to better align with business processes and essentially bring a breadth of fresh air to the sales organization.

Now he’s a few months in, and is having thoughts to bail, which I personally hate to see as I think there’s a great opportunity for achievement to be had.

BUT

He continues to hit roadblocks by the company owner who seems to know EVERYTHING that happens within the organization, while wanting to keep such a tight grip on his CRM baby that little progress can be made.

We discussed a few different strategies on how to progress over, under, between, alongside and thru this situation and there’s still some candid conversations that need to be had to further understand what’s driving this behavior.

I’d be interested to hear how others have successfully navigated situations like this before.

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Navigating Through Corporate Politics, Biases, Misalignment, Stubbornness And Ego

Navigating through corporate politics, biases, misalignment, stubbornness and ego is by far one of the biggest challenges we face when it comes to implementing successful CRM projects.

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I had a call with a Salesforce platform owner this past week where he recently joined a new company and his primary objective is to revitalize their Salesforce instance, increase user adoption, bring in best practices, enhance the functionality to better align with business processes and essentially bring a breadth of fresh air to the sales organization.

Now he’s a few months in, and is having thoughts to bail, which I personally hate to see as I think there’s a great opportunity for achievement to be had.

BUT

He continues to hit roadblocks by the company owner who seems to know EVERYTHING that happens within the organization, while wanting to keep such a tight grip on his CRM baby that little progress can be made.

We discussed a few different strategies on how to progress over, under, between, alongside and thru this situation and there’s still some candid conversations that need to be had to further understand what’s driving this behavior.

I’d be interested to hear how others have successfully navigated situations like this before.

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Salesforce Certifications, Your Career And Your Time

As the number of available Salesforce certifications isn’t slowing down anytime soon and new ones seem to show up every year, I wanted to provide some alternative suggestions to continue to grow your Salesforce career as it relates to your time.

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Before I get thrown to the lions by the certification emperors, I understand these points:

  • Personal development and continuous learning is extremely important – Certifications (and Trailhead) are a way to grow and demonstrate your dedication to the Salesforce platform
  • Salesforce partners have specific certification quotas to meet to remain in good standing
  • It MAY lead to an internal promotion or a possible job opportunity WHEN comparing you to another individual that doesn’t have a specific certification
  • You’re starting a Salesforce career for the 1st time and a stepping stone is needed
  • You are looking to be a highly specialized consultant/expert in a specific technology (CPQ, SFMC, FSL, etc.)
  • You’re pursuing your CTA and the preliminary certifications are necessary to receive that accolade
  • You’re unemployed or in between projects and want to continue to level up to help occupy your time

Alternatively, these situations are also true:

  • Customers experience problems within their org created by Salesforce certified consultants
  • Certified candidates fail interviews due to lack of hands-on knowledge and understanding
  • The marketing that goes on stating certifications lead to job opportunities is significantly overstated
  • The ability to retain what you’ve learned/passed on your certifications exams drops considerably (as much as 80% after just a few days), unless you’re consistently revisiting the curriculum

Therefore, let’s explore alternatives that I believe have a significant positive impact on your Salesforce career progression, especially if you’re burned out on certification studies or not considered a great test taker, but still want to advance professionally:

  • Focusing on leadership by reading, studying, learning and taking continuous action on becoming a better leader.

“There are 5 nonnegotiable characteristics that every effective leader must have: A sense of calling, an ability to communicate, creativity in problem solving, generosity and consistency”. ~John Maxwell (Leadership Expert)

  • Maybe you don’t consider yourself (and don’t care to be) a leader and rather enjoy making a greater impact by individual contribution. Therefore, write more to share your experiences and knowledge with others. This can have a profound impact to be a better analytical thinker by transposing your thoughts to written communication as well as allowing others to see, hear and learn from you.
  • Mentor junior level talent by providing suggestions and opportunities to help them grow. Throw new ideas their way to improve, this will also help you work on your emotional labor by: connecting, interacting, helping, and caring.
  • Think of ideas and insights to help your customer (whether internal or external) do their jobs more effectively/efficiently. Write these ideas down daily, weekly, monthly and present them to the stakeholders and management team to get buy in. There’s always room for improvement within an organization and you can stand out by bringing these ideas up rather than waiting for customers to make all the suggestions.
  • Volunteer to lead up a new group internally. Maybe a monthly Lunch N Learn or happy hour, form a committee to create a quarterly newsletter, be a part of external college recruiting events, start up a monthly volunteer program. This shows a sense of internal pride in helping to unite employees together.

In conclusion, when it comes to allocating your time, remember certifications can be gained by most and it’s an individual accomplishment, but it’s your ability to lead, teach, help, provide ideas and solve interesting problems that will help set you apart. By thinking of how you can provide consistent value to others, your career will continue to take strides, along with a feeling of greater internal satisfaction.

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The Significant Imbalance Of The Salesforce Job Market

As I continue to read about the future of Salesforce job growth and the recent headlines on training more Americans to earn Salesforce credentials, I’m having difficulty understanding how this is going to work out.

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I’ll be the first to admit to drinking the Salesforce Kool-aid on the future economical impact that will be made long term, and I’ll continue to think of ways to encourage others to go after their Salesforce career aspirations, but would also like to analyze where we are and where we’re going.

Let’s recap some of the numbers:

  • According to the IDC*, Salesforce and its ecosystem or partners will generate 3.3. million new jobs by 2022
  • More than 300,000 job postings ask directly for Salesforce skills*
  • Salesforce pledges to give 500,000 Americans (or I think it’s now 1,000,000) the skills they need to earn Salesforce credentials and get top jobs in the Salesforce ecosystem**
  • 1.4 Million learners around the world are transforming their careers and lives through Trailhead**
  • Salesforce offers training and re-skilling opportunities through programs like: Futureforce, Vetforce, Pathfinder**

In all these headlines, where are ENTRY-LEVEL positions being discussed?

Entry-level are the majority of the types of applicants that are enrolling in these programs that have no prior CRM, Database, Programming or Business Analyst backgrounds (Veterans, Career Changers, Under-employed, Non-IT College Graduates, etc.).

In doing some additional research:

  • On the Salesforce website (https://salesforce.wd1.myworkdayjobs.com/External_Career_Site) they have 1954 open positions, 18 show internships, about 22 came up with my search of entry level (of those 22, many didn’t really seem like tech positions).
  • On the Vetforce website (https://veterans.force.com/VetforceEmployerPartners) they have a list of employer partners, so I took a sample set:

Searched by “Entry Level and Salesforce”

  • Accenture: 149 total, 6 entry level
  • Dell: 188 total, 42 entry level (all Sales related, not Admins or Devs)
  • Deloitte: 122 total , 3 jobs titled Intern or Student
  • PWC: 9 total, 0 entry level
  • Simplus: 4 total, they have a Bootcamper program in Salt Lake City, not sure how many can enroll or if it guarantees a job afterwards
  • Slalom: 125 total, all look to be at least 2 years experience needed

I then searched some of the biggest company’s on the Fortune 500:

  • Walmart: 12 total, 0 entry level
  • Exxon: 0 total
  • Apple: 7, 0 entry level
  • Amazon: 451, most seem experienced only
  • Facebook: 37, 0 seem to be entry level

Switching directions to a generic search on LinkedIn for Salesforce jobs, it’s hard to get a read on the number, as most employers are classifying their positions as entry level, but all the random sampling I did shows at least 2 years prior experience.

Let’s just say there are 50-100 entry level Salesforce positions floating around somewhere and I’m not looking in the right places or my sample set is completely off the mark, my understanding there are many more coming out of these training programs (or taking their own direction to switch careers) to find Salesforce work,

Where are they all expected to go?

Something seems out of balance, or maybe I just need to work on my journalism skills.

References:

* IDC White Paper sponsored by Salesforce, written October 2017

** Investor.Salesforce.com Press Release, May 16, 2019

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Your Salesforce Career: Ride The Wave

For the aspiring Salesforce Developers in the U.S., I wanted to share a real-world scenario of the current market conditions with the intent to cut through marketing hype and often unrealistic salary surveys, but to also provide examples to set yourself apart.

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Also, it was a pleasure to represent them along their way as they evaluated new opportunities.

Reason for exploring new opportunities (short version):

The current company was involved in an acquisition causing it to lose some of it’s original culture.

Their experience (needless to say, a near complete package at their level, IMO):

  1. ~ 3 years of Salesforce development and lead experience for a industry leading consulting company
  2. 5 certifications
  3. Leadership experience – mentoring junior developers on best practices in development and consulting
  4. Speaker at conferences
  5. Internal host of bi-weekly Q&A sessions 
  6. Participated in pre-sales activities/solutioning prototypes
  7. Lives in the Midwest
  8. Computer Science degree
  9. Top notch in personality, communication, professionalism

Their outcome:

  1. Interviewed with 5 companies
  2. Interviews ranged from technical assessments to informal conversations (fortunately, they were already known in the industry)
  3. Received 5 offers
  4. Salary (high 5 digits/low 6 digits)

Their decision:

Not the highest salary but rather the culture of the new company that was a close representation of where they came from when they 1st started their Salesforce career.

Note: they gave me permission to post this with the intent to help others, and I wanted to keep some confidentiality.

Other experiences may vary.

Summary: If you have the desire to do more, be more, and have more and your current company/situation is not allowing that to happen, please don’t just watch the tide go in and out each day, as you deserve to be riding the waves.

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You’re Not A Salesforce Commodity!

Commodity: In economics, where the market treats the good or service as equivalent or to be perceived with no differentiation.

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Examples –

Goods: Cotton, cattle, wheat

Services (which I realize services may not be really considered a commodity): Gas station, dry-cleaners, car wash

In reading a recent article involving a senior level Salesforce professional, he mentioned he felt that the role of a Salesforce Administrator may eventually become a commodity.

Therefore, I wanted to do a little analysis on how the market is doing using LinkedIn as the primary source of data.

In searching for the title of Salesforce Administrator in the U.S. there are 2,305 jobs currently posted over the last 30 days, with each one having on average of 40 applicants, some many more, some many less based on company, city, job description, etc. 

Then I wanted to see how many Salesforce Administrators are in the total candidate pool (irrespective of looking for new opportunities), that number tallies 47,523 with ~10% of those looking for new opportunities (4,724).

Therefore, approximately 2 candidates are available for every 1 job that’s currently posted (very high-level analysis, all things being equal).

Doing a similar analysis for Salesforce Developer openings, there’s 5,453 available positions, with 8,806 total developers in the candidate pool and 10% of those looking for new opportunities (899), so for every developer looking, they have about 6 possible jobs available to them.

Obviously, there’s some variables to this analysis regarding US Citizens, H1-B contractors, experience levels, permanent vs contract, overlap with multiple staffing companies posting the same position, etc. but even with a +- 10% variance, hopefully the numbers are telling. 

But, this article is not about comparing Devs to Admins but rather it’s about differentiating yourself in the Admin space to avoid a “commodity” type situation where you don’t want to be.

Therefore, as your Salesforce career continues to evolve, please start (or continue) asking yourself these types of questions:

  1. Can the work I’m currently doing be either outsourced or given to someone at a lower salary and experience level or even combined into another existing position? Or asked a different way, will the company I’m working for severely feel the impact of losing me?
  2. Am I doing more than just basic administrative tasks day to day and instead building innovative solutions that take significant time, thought and industry/product knowledge to complete?
  3. Do I know if my stakeholders are getting the value that Salesforce offers and if not, what can I do to help influence that?
  4. Am I challenging what is being asked of me in a professional manner while offering creative suggestions or ideas to make things better for the company and end users?
  5. Can I be more proactive and engaging with our end users to find out what they need and want rather than waiting for them to come to me?
  6. Am I willing to tip my toe in uncharted territory to expand my experience level by taking on new projects, leadership opportunities, or possibly getting more involved with custom coding and integration?
  7. Do I stay up to date with the seasonal release notes and/or 3rd party applications by working on prototyping ideas to help my company’s business operations in driving better ways of working?
  8. Do I engage with others by teaching, sharing ideas, collaborating and paying it forward to those less experienced then me?
  9. Am I thought of as the 1st person to turn to across various lines of business as they know that I can get the job done by meeting or exceeding their expectations while not having to ask multiple times for an update by keeping them informed of my progress along the way?
  10. Am I in tune with the strategic direction and road-map of where the company and my department is going and can I lead the way to help contribute to that success?

If you have doubts around any of these, maybe it’s best to ask those in your organization what they think or even have them provide suggestions that they would like to see you take initiative on. 

I realize there might be risk in hearing what you might not want to hear, but the intent is to drive your career forward and continue to find out strategic opportunities to do so.

Maybe these types of questions are already on your annual/quarterly reviews and goals you strive for every day.

The key is for you and the value you have to offer to continue to stay in short supply and high demand to prevent you from falling into a commodity driven Salesforce talent market.

Hopefully, these ideas help you in doing so.

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I Can’t See The Career Forest For All These Certification Trees.

Most of us have probably heard the idiom of not being able to see the forest for the trees, which means getting so caught up in the details to not understand the situation as a whole.

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I often feel this is what’s happening when it comes to certifications, career progression and if the focus is on what’s important.

I’m often asked, Chris, what should my next certification be?

I don’t really know the best answer, nor do I think there is one, but I usually then ask, where have you been, where are you today, and where do you want to go?  

If you can’t answer the latter with a clear definition, then I don’t see how getting another random certification will help you.

But if you can answer that with a clear goal in mind, then you probably don’t need me (or anyone) to answer it for you anyway.

Or to address this million-dollar question on the significance of certifications a different way:

Let’s look at examples of what most Salesforce job descriptions state (if you want to use that as a barometer):

  • Strong communication, presentation and interpersonal skills with ability to present complex ideas in a clear, concise fashion to technical and non-technical audiences
  • Strong business and technical aptitude with an attitude to solve complex problems
  • Team player and able to work well with diverse groups such as Business Users, IT Business Solutions, and other Developers.
  • Ability to support business users during testing and resolve bugs/issues in a timely manner
  • Effective communication skills (written, verbal, and listening)
  • Excellent problem-solving skills with the ability to handle a fast-paced, dynamic environment

I purposely left out the technical requirements, but even so, I haven’t come across any that say: need a 3X, 6X, 22X, 56X certified Salesforce professional.

Maybe at a minimum a Certified Admin or Developer, to get your career started or show a potential employer that you’re willing to put in the effort to learn, test, retool, etc.

Or if you’re becoming a specialist in a specific area (CPQ, Marketing Cloud, Field Services, Architecture, etc.). And then many times, even these specialist certs are often a nice to have and not must haves.

Additionally, let’s also look at the top 10 skills for 2020 by the World Economic Fo