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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Being an evangelist…

Last week, I was asked to write a post about evangelism.

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How to be one, can anyone be one, what’s involved, etc.

The book definition – it’s a way for a company to utilize customers or internal employees who believe strongly in a particular product or service to help spread the positive message on the company’s behalf.

Including these characteristics:

– Be able to build a connection with others to achieve objectives.

– Be able to persuade other people with clear communication.

– Willing to work with others.

– Having an outgoing communication style to attract others during conversations.

Guy Kawasaki was considered one of the 1st pioneers by being an Apple Evangelist in the early 80’s.

Initially it was employees, now it seems to be primarily customer driven.

But it can also be at the individual level.

How? In summary, with a little poem:

You don’t have to be asked or to be told.

But you have to step up, be courageous and bold.

To bring others together, and to teach them to see.

By being consistent with your offering and generosity.

Using a series of messages that you feel strongly about.

Slowly building a tribe who wants to follow your route.

To be an evangelist, there’s no secret sauce.

Just your ability to get your influence across.

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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: Your Salesforce Guide to Excellence

Do you have a list of the top best practices that you feel every company using Salesforce should be doing?

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If not, maybe now is the time to create one.

Call it : <Your Name> Guide to Salesforce Excellence (or a better name that you come up with).

Sure, this type of documentation already exists, but it’s not your own.

Pick and choose what you like most, or use your own experiences.

Use your creativity…your “brand”.

Then, have this available while you’re going through the interview process, maybe to even share or talk through during the interview.

After your interview with the hiring manager, send them an email thanking them, but more importantly, send this guide to them.

It won’t necessarily mean that you will get hired, but it will mean that you’ve created something you can call your own and have a willingness to help a potential employer to succeed with or without you.

Be a differentiator…

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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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SRTotD (Salesforce Random Thought of the Day): Will there be a point when some Salesforce certs lose their perceived value?

Is it when:

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– Memorization is forced versus actually understanding why things work the way they do?

– Exam dumps are available if someone wants to cheat bad enough?

– A X times certified job applicant cannot land a position with no project experience?

– An interview occurs, and the job applicant thinks “that question wasn’t on the exam”.

– Previously 1 cert got someone’s foot in the door, then it turned to 2, and then 3, and now…?

– A candidate reaches out to a recruiter and the first 5 words they say are: “I’m a X times certified…”

– The number of certifications being available increases each year causing dilution?

– An employer decides not to offer additional compensation or job responsibilities because someone added another cert to their tool-belt?

– A multi-million (or maybe billion) dollar industry focuses on creating and attaining more certifications?

– Someone on the job knows that Googling is how they achieve results, rather than what they answered on a previous exam?

Are we at a point to change and focus on what’s valuable in the job market (especially to newcomers)?

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The transparency cycle…

Are we transparent?

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Maybe too transparent?

Maybe not transparent enough?

How do we know?

Usually, we debate this in our head for longer than we care to.

Then we often 2nd guess ourselves, after we send the message across.

Did we say too much?

Could we have said more?

What will they think?

Then even worse, we realized we made a mistake (after we sent it), now what do we do?

Great, another cycle of internal questioning begins…

Will they notice it?

Will they question it?

Do we fix it? 

Do we leave it?

Do we wait until…?

Do we even care?

Do we have the courage to admit we made a mistake and face possible repercussions?

How often do we go through this series of transparency questioning in our own minds any given day?

Probably more than we’d like…

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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: The Fight Club and You

Rule #1 (and #2) of the movie/book, Fight Club: You do not talk about Fight Club

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Then guess what happened?

In short, 1 person decided to tell 1 other person, who then told 1 more person, and the word kept spreading.

And the Fight Club attendance took off.

People felt it was necessary to get the word out to others like them.

So, how can you have others get the word out about you?

I think one way is by indirectly publishing and showing your connections the Salesforce projects that you’ve completed.

Which are unique, unscripted and something you’re proud of.

With the intent that it’s something a potential employer sees as valuable.

And to do this over and over, until others take notice, and eventually determining that you’re the right person to reach out to potentially hire.

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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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The unfortunate reality of the Salesforce job market (and any other job market where experienced talent is lacking) .

The right side: legitimate, hard-working newcomers, fighting the good fight to get their 1st break, who wouldn’t ever think of having one iota of embellishment on their resume.

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The wrong side: fraudsters who have a completely made-up resume, filled with company’s they’ve never worked for, experiences they haven’t achieved, and skills they’ve never acquired.

There’s plenty of blame (responsibility) to go around (and it’s not just with the fraudster), and I’d like to think I understand most of the economical dynamics of why this occurs, as I’m caught in the cross-hairs.

Nonetheless, it can be pretty frustrating to deal with.

Maybe Andy Dufresne said it best:

“Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” – The Shawshank Redemption

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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: Hunches and Caveats.

Hunch: an impression that something might be the case; a feeling or guess based on intuition rather than known facts.

Caveat: a warning or proviso of specific stipulations, conditions, or limitations.

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We all have hunches, as we don’t always have everything we need to provide an answer with 100% certainty. Typically,  our hunches are followed with a caveat, to keep us off the hook.

Referrals or recommendations are often provided using a hunch/caveat combination.

“I have heard, but…”

“I have seen, although…”

“She/he might work, however…”

As you search for your next position, think about how to help influence your network’s hunch about you, while working to reduce the amount of caveat that needs to follow.

Being present, contributing, showing your work, engaging, helping others, etc. should get you going in the right direction.

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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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Salesforce Career Seekers: are you feeling crabby, cranky, gloomy, sulky, grouchy, or overall down and out?

How about writing an article or creating a post or two?

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I think a sense of community and engaging those that have similar interests, can help during those crusty moods.

While running yesterday, I thought about this…

Some examples:

If you’re a runner, and a fellow runner waves and smiles, maybe it can put an additional pep in your step.

If you’re a motorcycle rider (especially Harleys), and another rider waves, maybe it causes you to hit the throttle a little harder.

If you’re a walker, and a neighbor says hello, maybe you decide to walk another few blocks and enjoy the surroundings.

If you’re a surfer, and a fellow surfer, let’s you take the next wave, maybe it allows you to stay on the board a little longer.

On the virtual side, write and publish some content, tag some in your network to ask for their opinion, maybe it can change the day for you.

An extra dose of feel good endorphins…

“Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.” ~Steve Jobs, Stanford Commencement Speech, 2005

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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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SRTotD (Salesforce Random Thought of the Day): Triggers and Order of Execution

On behalf of the future Admin test takers:

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Can someone smarter than me, please write a script to go to every training and test prep site that still exists and update their order of execution to now include:

2. Executes flows that make before-save updates.

This may be the final answer that they need to pass.

Thank you,

The faux Salesforce test taking compliance team

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SRTotD (Salesforce Random Thought of the Day): Salesforce Community User Groups

I’ve seen 1st hand newcomers get hired from our local Houston user group.

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Not by showing up once, twice or thrice (I hate that word, BTW).

Rather, many, many times.

I’m curious to hear if there’s been any newcomers that have shown up consistently for more than say 12-18 months and have not landed a position (of any kind).

I don’t necessarily want this to be a piece of advise that I consistently offer, if it doesn’t hold true a majority of the time (i.e. thrice out of 4 times).

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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: The Drop-off, The Dip, The Plunk, The Dive

Or what Ryan Scalf so eloquently trademarked: The Plunge

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Meaning: the sudden reduction of user adoption either when you’re rolling out your CRM for the 1st time or even when a new process that you thought was going to take you the glory land fails user appeal miserably.

If you’re looking for ideas to prevent this from happening in the future, please join Ryan for his Salesforce Admin training every Tuesday and Thursday at 1 PM CST (Zoom invite in the comments).

We discuss much more than: what’s a permission, what’s a profile, what’s an OWD.

Speaking of plunge: maybe you’re looking for a new plunger, if so, check out:
simplehuman Toilet Plunger, Stainless Steel, Black, 1,048 ratings, 4 1/2 stars, 5 year warranty,

Most importantly: DRIP FREE DESIGN!

$29.95. Order now, get it before Easter…

Free Salesforce help AND home shopping deals, what more can one ask for in a LI post?!

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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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To our younger working generation…

“What’s this all about?”

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I’ve only been working, just a few years.

Everything has been great, filled with cheers.

Now a virus hit, and it has turned to all fears.

But they never mentioned this in school.

Could I have been a young, naive fool?

I’ve only seen the economy do really well.

Now all these businesses are starting to fail.

Close their doors, and lay people off.

Damn this virus, this pandemic, this cough.

My parents mentioned economic problems before.

But now this is effecting me, my friends and so many more.

Well the time is here, and I can’t control this situation.

I’ll pull through this, along with my generation.

As I know it’s leaders like us, that will build a greater nation.

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Salesforce Admins: Riddle Time

Probably one of the worse, ever:

Q: What rhymes with Tails Horse Purity?

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A: Salesforce Security

How’s your knowledge on Salesforce Security?

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

Did you inherit a disaster?

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

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

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

Link to the Zoom meet-up in the comments.

We’d love for you to join us.

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Salesforce Pros: Is now the time to set sail?

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

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Short story:

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

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

too risky to go

I’m comfortable so I’ll stay

why make a change

I’m not good enough

I’ll just wait a little longer

and whatever other justifications and rational thoughts came to mind.

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

So I thought, maybe now’s the time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Salesforce Pros & Newcomers: Opinion on the current job market

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Slowing down…

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

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

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

For Discovery, asking yourself:

1. What do I like to think about?

2. Where does my mind wander?

3. What do I really care about?

4. What matters most to me?

5. How do I enjoy spending time?

6. In contrast, what do I find unbearable?

Also some definitions on what you might be looking for:

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

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

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

Reference: Grit by Angela Duckworth

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

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

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

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

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

Below are some of the slides from his presentation.

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Salesforce Pros: How’s your Googling going?

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

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Salesforce Apex Callout OR “APIs” AND REST -SOAP

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

Check it out here:

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

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

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This gave me a chuckle but also got me thinking…

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

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

Long live the Save Icon!

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

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Salesforce Professionals – are you gritty?

Do you want to be grittier?

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What defines grit?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Need some pointers on the future of your technology career?

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

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Best part of it: It’s free!

https://lnkd.in/expUMRz

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Expecting versus Accepting

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

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

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

All areas out of your direct control.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Salesforce Professionals: It’s not fair!

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

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That can’t be right.

I don’t believe it.

How is that possible?

Let me confirm, reconfirm, and confirm again.

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

<more thoughts>

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Salesforce 1st Time Career Seekers: Impossible

Is landing your 1st Salesforce position considered impossible?

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Impossible is an intriguing word meaning incapable of being true.

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

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

But impossible?

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

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

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The risk/reward with paying less than market…

Especially for contractors.

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

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

BUT…

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

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

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

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Are you easy to work with?

How about your colleagues, are they?

How about your boss, is he/she?

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

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

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

It could make their day…

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Salesforce Professionals – Your work environment…

Is your current environment bringing out the best in you?

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

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

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

I’d suggest not to think:

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

or

“As soon as:

so and so leaves

we move offices

I can work remote more often

we have a new round of funding

new leadership comes on board”

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

Rather, why wait?

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

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

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Brown nosing in the office…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Clark Griswold: “Yes, sir”

<as the corporate executives walk out>

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

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The internal challenge of continuous picking…

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

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1. Your family

2. Your career

3. Your social life

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

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

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

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

“what’s next for me”?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But at some point, asking the questions:

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

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

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

Inherently, I feel your career will progress.

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Express yourself…

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

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

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

This past week I had:

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

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

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

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

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

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

In my best Madonna voice:

“Express yourself, You’ve got to make him

Express himself, Hey, hey, hey, hey”

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More and enough…

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

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

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

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

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

I can be made available, give me more…

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

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

Now reflecting back, what is enough?

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

I have time, what can I do with it?

Enough for one, might not be enough for another.

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

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

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

The congested Salesforce consulting space…

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

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

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

Maybe having a few 5 star ratings will help.

But, what if you don’t have any, yet?

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

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

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

Your pipeline is now dry as a bone.

Back to square 1…

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

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

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

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

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

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Here’s some ideas:

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

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

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

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

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

3. How significant is the payoff?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Salesforce Career Seekers: How do you receive constructive feedback?

Does it bruise your ego?

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Does it imply you were wrong and they were right?

Does it make you upset or distraught?

If so, maybe you can think about it differently…

It’s a GIFT.

To provide you better direction.

To give you more guidance.

To show you what’s needed to succeed.

To help you understand what’s important.

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

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

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

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Chris, where should I go next?

To a big or small consulting company.

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

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

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

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

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

Answer: Exposure.

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

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Salesforce Career Seekers: “If I had only”

How many times have we said or thought this?

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After the interview…

If I had only:

– Gotten up earlier

– Left on time

– Prepared better

– Wrote it down

– Understood how

– Researched more

– Shook hands firmly

– Answered more thoroughly

– Shown more confidence

– Showered

– Remembered their name(s)

– Not gotten so flustered

– Tripped over my words

– Sat up straighter

– Talked with my mouth full

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

– Ironed my suit

– Interrupted

– Looked them in the eye

– Spit out my gum

– Shown my work

– Asked more intelligent questions

– Thanked them

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

It’s over: 

– Reflect briefly

– Go for a walk 

– Eat a cheeseburger

– Watch a Seinfeld rerun

– Have “A” cocktail

– Talk to someone

– Write it down 

– Get it out 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Effective Communication…

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

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

Say what?!

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

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

Rather, how about something like:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Transferable Systems Skills

A good story on being smarter than the recruiting systems.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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If you want to be one, act like one.

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

Acting as if…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Previous Salesforce Career Seekers: Did you decide to quit?

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

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

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

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

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

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

There are alternatives and I think perspective can help.

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

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

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

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“Why are you looking to make a change?”

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

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

She delightfully answered and didn’t say the above.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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“Jacked-Up”

The customer’s Salesforce org that is…

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Their words, not mine.

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

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

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

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

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

“I already know dat, DADA!”

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

But he doesn’t take action.

Then what happens?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Salesforce Professionals: Mo Money, Mo Problems.

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

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Do you believe this is true?

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

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

And does one amount over another lead to more happiness?

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

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

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

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Salesforce Professionals: Do you read?

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

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Real, physical books.

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

Or e-books if that’s your thing.

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

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

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

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

Go off course occasionally, see what comes to mind.

I know, if you only had time…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They made the reader think.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Salesforce Professionals: Be Difficult!

To Replace…

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

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

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

Are you easy to replace in your current position?

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

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

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

How do you become more difficult?

I think by:

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

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

Rather, be difficult to replace.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Salary Negotiations

Maybe there’s a middle…

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Or rather an intermediate in this context.

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

One of the topics we discussed was salary negotiations.

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

But maybe there’s a middle…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Do you feel like it’s cheating?

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

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

Does it create anxiety, stress or guilt?

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

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

These are all natural tendencies we have.

There are reasons why you decided to start your search.

Use those reasons to help propel you forward.

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

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

It’s your career and your future.

Sitting still won’t get you any closer.

You’re not a cheater…

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Salesforce Career Seekers: The Candidate/Employer Tension

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

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You may be experiencing the same thing.

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

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

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

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

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

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Getting Help

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

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

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

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

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

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

I think this happened for a few reasons:

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

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

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

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

It will often lead to the generosity of others.

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Nostalgia – the positive kind.

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

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The “good ole days” one may call it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Salesforce Career Seekers: You control one thing.

Your effort.

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You don’t control:

if you get passed over.

if the recruiter ghosts you.

if the company cancels on you.

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

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

if the company drags their feed in making a decision.

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

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

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

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

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Acres of Diamonds (Salesforce Style)

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

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

A diamond mine of knowledge to be discovered that is…

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

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

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

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

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

Create your own mini-project.

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

Your Salesforce Acres of Diamonds awaits you.

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Thinking of going the independent contractor route?

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

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

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

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

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

But the biggest intangible is RISK.

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

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

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

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

Hope this helps a little.

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

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Thinking of going the independent contractor route?

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

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

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

2 good conversations I had with independents this past week:

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

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

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

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

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

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Why This Path?

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

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

Once you land something, will you be satisfied?

Or asked a different way:

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

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

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

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

You’ll continue:

to struggle to keep your head above water with information overload

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

to be pushed (often by an annoying manager)

to deal with stakeholders and users with unrealistic expectations

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

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

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

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

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Trailhead Badges – Collecting or Connecting

Which are you doing?

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Which do you think is more valuable?

Questions that you might want to ask yourself:

Am I gaining real knowledge or is this considered trivia?

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

Am I retaining or just doing?

Is it actionable immediately?

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

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

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

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

That’s why most don’t/won’t do it.

It’s not that most can’t.

More importantly: you’re not most.

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

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

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

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

No response.

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

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

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

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

Go San Francisco Chiefs!

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Your January

How did you do?

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

Maybe not.

Maybe you hit some unexpected obstacles.

Maybe you let some distractions tilt you off course.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guess what you have the chance to do?

Begin your February!

How exciting! Another month to move forward.

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

Reflect briefly, then get back at it.

You have the fantastic opportunity to go another round.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: The Blockbuster Model

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

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

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

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

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

Maybe this same approach can work for you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Create your hit!

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Salesforce Career Seekers: The Significance of Patterns

Patterns are used to solve problems.

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They help in reusability, maintainability, and performance.

Not just Apex, Integration or Error Handling.

How about the interview patterns you face?

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

Functional, Situational, Technical, Personal, etc.

Continue to get comfortable with those.

Use those patterns to your advantage.

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

The significance of patterns…

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

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

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

For only about a day or two.

Then he’s by himself, again.

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

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

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

It doesn’t get much simpler than that.

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

Keep it simple…

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

Having Salesforce authors present their books.

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

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

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

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

– What inspired them to write it

– Walking us through the writing process

– Who the book is for and how can it help

– Q&A

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

Thank you for your support.

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Lack of communication often leads to bigger problems.

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

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

Not communicating leads to surprises and management hates surprises.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Don’t stay in neutral

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

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

Start shifting those gears…

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

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

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

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Strengths or Weaknesses

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

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

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

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

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

Keep moving forward, with or without swim floaties…

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

I hate that answer…

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Don’t you?!

I was told that yesterday.

What does that even mean? I have no idea.

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

Let’s do this instead:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can go in a different direction too!

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

No problem…

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

Go eat a chocolate cupcake!

Better direction awaits…

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Be Quick To The Point

Or rather, be the 1st to respond.

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To have a better shot at a new opportunity.

Recruiters often stick and move all day long.

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

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

Control what you can control, which is your promptness.

Maybe some Vanilla Ice lyrics will help:

“Quick to the point to the point no faking

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

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

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

Why am I getting it?

Am I choosing or is it being forced?

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

Is it about curiosity and passion or just accreditation?

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

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

Does it make me more valuable?

Will it open more doors?

Does it translate well into career advancement?

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

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

What is my end goal with another certification?

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

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

Rather, the connectivity of people.

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

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

The good, the bad, and the ugly.

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

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

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

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

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Salesforce Career Seekers: The “right” connections and conversations

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

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A few thoughts:

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

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

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

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

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Experienced Salesforce Professionals: New Year, New Possibilities?

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

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Maybe it’s just that time of the year…

The question is: is there anything holding you back?

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

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

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

Huh?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Any and every pitch that’s thrown your way.

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

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Inspiring and Motivational Quotes to Share

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

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

Movement/Activity/Labor:  🏃‍♀️🏃‍♂️

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

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

Basics/Fundamentals: 🧮

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

Career/Marketplace: 💻

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

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

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

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

Communication: 💬

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

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

Desire/Motivation: 🙌

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

Education/Learning: 📚

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

Sharing Your Work:  ✌️

·      Nothing teaches character better than generosity

Goal Setting: 🥅

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

Happiness: 😊

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

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

Health: 🧑‍⚕️

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

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

Influence/Association:  🤼

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

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

Journals: 📒

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

Leadership/Management: 👑

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

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

·      Lead the way by personal example.

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

Personal Development: 📖

·      How long should you try? Until.

·      What you become directly influences what you get.

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

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

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

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

Problem Solving: ➕➗➖

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

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

Time Management: ⌛

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

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

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

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

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

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Blinking Yellow Stoplight = Slowing Down

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

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

Egg Timer = Focusing On The Task At Hand

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

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

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

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

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

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Salesforce Career Seekers: You Control How You Show Up

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

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

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

Were you as prepared as you could have been?

Were you on-time or even early?

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

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

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

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

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

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Providing A Reason to Listen

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

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

Questions to think about from this quote:

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

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

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

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

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

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Why Write?

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

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

To summarize a stoic philosophical conversation:

A philosopher was asked:

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

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

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

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Experiencing Cold, Gloomy Winters In Your Salesforce Career Search?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Winter Season In Your Salesforce Career Search

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Salesforce Career Seekers: For 2020…

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

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

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

Some suggestions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The list goes on…

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

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Creating Momentum: Amelia Earhart Style

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

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

Maybe this story will help put things in perspective:

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

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

Then one day she received a call… 

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

Guess what? She said “Yes!”.

After the flight she was interviewed and said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keep moving forward.

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

Amelia Earhart – Los Angeles – 1926

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Write It Down

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Perfect, rehearse and refine your story…Morning Glory.

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Salesforce Career Seekers – Not Hearing Back After The Interview?

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

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

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

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

It may not be an immediate priority at the moment.

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

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Your Credibility

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

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

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

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

Then execute.

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

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

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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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Interview Setback? How Edison Dealt With Adversity

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

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

How did Edison respond?

He told his son:

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

What?!

When his son, Charles, objected, Edison said: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Edison and the fire that destroyed everything!

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Interview Setback? How Edison Dealt With Adversity

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

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

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How did Edison respond?

He told his son:

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

What?!

When his son, Charles, objected, Edison said: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Striking Out

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are you talented?

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

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

What’s holding you back?

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

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

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

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

Maybe 2020 is your year.

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

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

You can too…

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Dust Mites Love Resumes

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

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Another idea: allowing your work to speak for itself. 

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

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

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

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

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Airplane Runways

How long will it take to launch your Salesforce career?

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

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

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

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

Give yourself enough runway to get airborne.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reset your station.  Better melodies await you…

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

Did you interview and not get offered the position?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You’re not in this alone.

Unity Over Self…

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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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Salesforce Jobs: Numbers That Matter (A Rant)

Salesforce Economic Impact – 4.2 Million New Jobs 2019-2024

For every positive message about the economic boom that Salesforce is creating, there should probably be at least one naysayer or at least someone to challenge the positivity.

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I’ll be the first to step up, based on this latest report.

Salesforce sponsoring this report for what purpose?

Are we creating or filling jobs?

I think anyone who’s been following Salesforce for any period of time knows the growth curve continues to go up exponentially.

Salesforce has done the necessary marketing to speak to it’s revenue targets, large acquisitions, increased customer market share and positive, inspirational initiatives it has taken on.

But, within this report, I don’t think we’re targeting what needs to be addressed. Sure, numbers like the below shows there’s opportunity to be had for future career seekers, but that only tells one side of the story.

From 2019 to 2024:

  • 4.2 Million new jobs worldwide
  • 1.2 Trillion of new business revenue to their local economies
  • For ever $1 Salesforce will make, the ecosystem will make up to $5.80

For Trailhead:

  • 17.5 million badges earned since 2014 on Trailhead

Benioff signing the Pledge to America’s Workers to train 500,000 workers, and then making a real-time decision to increase it to 1,000,000 to make it a nice, round number.

Does it matter if it’s 500,000 or 1,000,000 or 10,000,000?

New job creation and training is one thing, job fulfillment I think is what should really matter and be reported on.

Here’s the numbers I would like to see and questions to have answered from any future report:

  • Exactly, what are those 4.2 million new jobs by type? What are the specific required skills and experience needed to fill them? How many are entry level?
  • Of those 4.2 million new jobs, how many are actually getting filled? Per year?
  • What is the experience level, backgrounds and demographics of those that are getting filled? Broken down by programs like: PepUp Tech, Pathfinder, Vetforce, Merivis Foundation, JVS, etc.
  • What percentage of those that have no prior hands-on experience but are certified or have badges are getting employed? And how long is it taking? And by what employers and industries?

Yes, we see the occasional Trailblazer story of those that “made it” that gives encouragement to others, but wouldn’t real numbers that back that up demonstrate a much better story?

If we can make a prediction of what’s to come with Salesforce job creation and revenue growth, couldn’t we use a similar analysis of what’s already occurred and use that to help encourage (or discourage) those in making a determination if this path is worth their time, energy and resources?

Speaking to only the positives can create a false sense of what’s really happening in the Salesforce job economy.

Hopefully, you’ll agree that numbers matter, but the right questions need to be asked to produce the numbers necessary to make an informed decision for our future Salesforce career seekers.

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Being Defeated Is OK (A Different Perspective For Aspiring Salesforce Career Seekers)

In speaking with aspiring Salesforce career seekers that have yet to get their break in landing their 1st PAID Salesforce position after months or even over a year of disappointment, I often think, maybe there’s a better path forward for them which has nothing to do with Salesforce.

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Daily, we are getting hit upside the head with the future of Salesforce opportunities, thousands of jobs to be had, the projected growth of the platform, the ease of training oneself on Trailhead, the vast support system that’s available, the big money to be made, the local and national events, the list goes on and on, BUT…

This career path may NOT be the right one for you.

Sure, obstacles, challenges and the ability to push through the anguish to land that 1st Salesforce position might be what you have your heart and mind set out to do, but maybe another way to think about it, is: 

A Salesforce career or something better than where I am today

With this mindset, it gives you the opportunity to explore other career options that exist that can also give you the sense of accomplishment and career satisfaction, and only you can decide what better might be by being open to hear, explore, think and try those options.

Better for you is FOR YOU, not what anyone else necessarily encourages you to do. Your own personal perspective weighs heavily into what “better” might be, and having context around what you enjoy, and excites and motivates you to move forward.

Therefore, if you feel extreme anxiety, or the burden upon you every day as you chase this Salesforce career path, re-evaluating your situation with a deeper perspective should be the next, best course of action.

Giving up is also a sign of maturity and internal wisdom to realize something is not working and a change needs to be made.

Additionally, we often don’t speak to or highlight the challenges that a Salesforce professional experiences as part of their day to day activities, but they should be accounted for.

Some examples:

  1. Additional stress of managing unrealistic expectations by company stakeholders
  2. Dealing with end users who really don’t care about using the platform
  3. Working with other members of the team that end up breaking what you’ve built
  4. Spending hours during your personal time on the weekends or evenings to meet specific deadlines
  5. Carrying dead weight of other members of the team that make you miserable working with
  6. Layoffs will/do happen even for a Salesforce professional

I think if you have a candid conversation with most Salesforce professionals, they will tell you that their Salesforce career has its associated challenges.

For some, Salesforce fell into their laps, for others, the challenge to break in wasn’t extremely difficult, for others it was, but in summary:

It’s OK if you determine that this path is not meant for you, it doesn’t have to be, as there are endless possibilities to finding a career that brings you joy, satisfaction and success, and it’s up to you to find it.

As you continue your pursuit, rather than having the mindset of: 

Salesforce only

Think about:

Salesforce or something better than where I am today

Hopefully you would agree, that’s what really matters in your career…

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Buying A Book VS Interviewing You (An Analogy)

Why does someone buy a book when they don’t really know exactly what’s inside?

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It could be a little risky, right?

But risk is reduced because:

– It was recommended to them from someone else (your referrals)

– They read the front or back covers and it intrigued them (your resume or LI profile)

– They recognized the author from past bodies of work (your content, your blogs, the apps you’ve built and demonstrated)

– The buyer showed up at the same event as the author and they had similar interests (Salesforce networking events)

Book buyers tell themselves stories about why to buy a book which helps reduce their purchase risk. 

Hiring managers tell themselves stories about why to interview you which helps reduce their hiring risk. 

Have your book chosen…

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Interviewing Nervousness…

Do you have: nerves of steel, or nerves of play-doh?

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I’m in my 40’s now, have been through my fair share of nerve-racking experiences and I still get a little nervous when speaking to C-Level Execs.

Some of the things I tell myself that might be helpful for others when interviewing:

– They were once where you are today.

– Be yourself (which hopefully includes): likable, relatable, enthusiastic and personable.

– Talk less and listen more.

– Show genuine interest.

– Think: How can I help?

– Be nice.

– They need someone, that someone could (and should) be you.

We all have our respective issues, worries, feelings, egos, lifestyles, ideas, experiences, thoughts and desires and at the core, I would venture to guess they’re not that far apart from one another.

“Success has a simple formula: do your best and people may like it” ~Sam Ewing (Former American Baseball Player)

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Throwback Tuesday: Interview Flops

Stage: 1999, last semester of college, Hewlett-Packard was hosting a career day in Atlanta

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Me: New suit and shoes, resumes printed (on resume paper, mind you), black portfolio in hand; So Fresh, So Clean (for you OutKast fans)

Short intro with the interviewer (a techie), he didn’t care about my resume (why would he? I’m 21 after all)…

1st Question: 

Interviewer: What is the purpose of using a ping command?

Me: A what?

Interviewer: A ping command 

Me: I’m not sure (yes, I did have a networking class in college, but probably day dreaming about being a rapper during that day’s lesson)

Interviewer: Thanks for coming by…NEXT CANDIDATE!

End to end, maybe a 55 second interview.

I’d like to think I have had a reasonably successful career in tech after that embarrassing mishap. 

Don’t let 1 poor turnout define your career. 

Or better said:

“Make a business for yourself, set some goals. Make a fat diamond out of dusty coals” ~OutKast

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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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SRTotD (Salesforce Random Thought Of The Day): How To Help The Inexperienced Salesforce Career Seekers

Would it make sense for Salesforce as a company to financially incentivize their customers to hire the inexperienced?

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In other words, Salesforce would offer a license discount (or premier support or some other SKU) to customers if the customer chose to hire an inexperienced Salesforce Professional who met specific requirements that Salesforce would stamp their name to (certifications, badges, mentorship program, graduating from an affiliated training class, etc.).

Would companies feel that the savings is worth considering this option?

I don’t have the math ironed out where it’s fair for everyone, but my gut tells me the imbalance of available positions requiring X years of experience and the candidate pool available that has that experience isn’t closing any time soon and I’m not sure if any compelling events are/have taken place to address this.

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On The Subject Of Salary

Let’s talk about a subject that’s near and dear to most: your salary (or hourly).

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My opinion:

1. No salary survey, website, recruiter, colleague, family member, psychic, etc. is going to be 100% right and the range can vary as much as 30-40%.

2. COLA (cost of living adjustments) are way out of whack. Just doing a quick calculation, the COLA for Houston to San Francisco is 113% higher.  I don’t believe you will ever be offered a position paying you over 100% more than what you’re currently making between those 2 cities. Example – I make $80K as a Salesforce Admin in Houston, I should be making $170K in San Francisco.  Sorry, not happening.

3. You, as a candidate, should have a range in mind that’s going to work for you, and I don’t really care (meaning it’s not for me to judge) if your range is too high, unless you ask or if I think you’re extremely underpaid, then I want to let you know that.

4. Every situation is unique. Some companies have a fixed dollar amount, some have a range, some don’t even know what their range should be and then ask me to “shop” the market for them.  Many, many factors come into play. Just because company X is paying Y, that doesn’t mean every company that looks, feels and smells like company X is also going to pay Y.

Hope that helps some…

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Just As Soon As…

I often hear: “Chris, I’ll be looking for a change in X number of months, just as soon as …”

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Just as soon as I hear about my raise. 

Just as soon as this project is over.

Just as soon as I can cross-train my replacement.

Just as soon as I get my new manager. 

Just as soon as this M&A takes place. 

I’m all for “Just as soon as” if there is a defined date set. 

Please don’t let that just as soon as roll from one to another to another and 4 years down the road you’re still unhappy. 

There is never the perfect time.

My suggestion: commit to yourself when your: “just as soon as” will become “I am now” and try not to let any new events impede that.

More career success awaits you…

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A Thought On Communication (Beastie Boys Style)

Please don’t have Ill Communication as it could Sabotage your current interview/work situation. 

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Occasionally, I have hiring managers call me asking why someone didn’t show up at work or couldn’t be reached for a scheduled interview. 

With having our phones beside us the majority of the time, please keep decision makers informed on what’s going on to allow them to plan accordingly.  

I realize we often get caught up in other priorities, and our work is not always top of mind, but if you can occasionally send an update, I believe it can go a long way, regardless of the message being sent. 

“Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success.” – Paul J. Meyer (Author and no affiliation to Mike D, Ad-Rock, or MCA).

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Salesforce Career Seekers: How Are You Cutting Through The Noise?

The noise I’m referring to is what a potential hiring manager or internal HR personnel gets hit with every day when they post a new position online.

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If you’re doing what everyone else is doing, and blindly sending out your resume, you are adding to the noise, not cutting through it.

I’m suggesting to sharpen your knife and cut, as I believe it can lead to better results.

A more effective cut includes being personable, relevant, trust-worthy and creative.

Bring out your Swiss Army knife and start making some better cuts.

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SRTotD (Salesforce Random Thought Of The Day): Salesforce Certifications, An Impediment

This week, I had lunch with a senior level architect/consultant and he seems to occasionally get questioned about his lack of certifications prior to joining a project, which annoys him.

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For him, certifications are not his focus, but rather these concepts:

– when sh%* hits the fan, they call him to fix it and he drops what he’s doing to take action

– they ask him for his valued opinion and validation 

– he provides honesty and integrity every step along the way

– clients can throw most anything his way as they know he’ll have an idea as to what to do next

– he has passion, works from his heart and builds working relationships

– he thinks logically about the downstream impacts that a decision will have

– he counsels and assists others around him for the sake of the team success 

With this, he continuously stays employed as a high billing consultant. 

This is not to downplay those highly credentialed Salesforce professionals, but it is to up-play those senior level practitioners who have been in the trenches for years, with a track record of success and have felt friction with the certification phenomenon getting in their way.

Great job! Keep leading the field!

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Salesforce Career Seekers: USP – Unique Selling Proposition

I often try to relate Sales and Marketing to your job search and I think you should to.

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As you think about your resume, ask yourself, is this unique? 

And I’m not talking about a whacky font selection or a selfie of you with Britney Spears in the corner, I’m referring to the content.

Keywords like dependable, trustworthy, hardworking, etc. are not unique on their own and really should be expected, but rather maybe a few short sentences that imply why those are true and a reader can have an emotional connection with them.

Plus, anything else that helps show why you’re different, unique and a “good catch”.

The purpose of a USP is about positioning and connection, to attract a prospective employer and for them decide to choose to call you back versus someone else.

USP – the difference between you and me.

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Salesforce Career Seekers – Let’s Play, Cliché

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” ~Wayne Gretzky (Hall of Fame, Hockey Player)

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If you decide to use LinkedIn as one of your avenues to apply for positions, please don’t let the # of applicants discourage you from also applying.

I can tell you from 1st hand experience, the majority (I would guess over 85%) of the resumes that come in aren’t even close to being qualified.

I’m talking about things like: Kids Face Painting Artists applying for Salesforce Technical Architect positions.  

I guess the applicant took the word “draw” in the below job description way too literal. 

The Salesforce Technical Architect possesses broad knowledge across multiple development platforms and “draws” on their skills…

This example is made up to prove a point, but I’ve seen some just as ridiculous. 

In summary, take a shot or two, as you’re probably closer than many others, and you never know, if a different position becomes available where you’re a better fit, you could get called in for that.

Shoot, score, win, drink champagne…

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Salesforce Career Seekers: The Annoyances Of “Too’s”

After multiple interviews, we didn’t get the offer and we’re not really sure why.

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Therefore, we usually try to rationalize all the too’s…

Were we: too short, too tall, too experienced, too inexperienced, too young, too old, too bald, too hairy, too ugly, too pretty, too intimidating, too bashful, too fat, too skinny, too fast, too slow, too much, too little, too loud, too soft-spoken, too aggressive, too passive, too late, too early, too fashionable, too old-school.

The list goes on…

And most times, we’ll never really know the real reason.

Suggestion: Reflect, but don’t dwell. Modify what you can.

Your unique too’s make up your yous.

And the right employer will come along and appreciate the too’s in you.

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SRTotD (Salesforce Random Thought Of The Day): Do Salesforce Contractors Make More And Work Less?

This was a thought that often ran through my head when I was an employee for various SI’s and independent contractors would come in and help augment the project.

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Here I was working 60+ hours a week, in a high stress environment, with curve balls being thrown at me every which way, daily.

And many of the contractors would come in, do their job, leave on time and if called upon after hours, usually get paid for that extra time.

While this appears to be the most financially rewarding and stress-free route to take, there’s a lot more to it:

Typically:

– Contractors only get paid when they work; employees get paid regardless

– Contractors are responsible for lining up their own projects; employees don’t have to worry about this

– Contractors have to figure out things on their own; employees can often tap into their internal employee network

– Contractors have all the overhead of benefits, accounting/taxes, paid training, 401k, etc.; employees have this covered

– Contractors may hit a bill rate plateau over time; employees tend to have an upward ladder of career and salary progression

I’m sure there’s others…

Depending on your situation, the grass may not always be greener.

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Salesforce Career Seekers: BIBO (Be Intrigued By Others)

I think one of the best ways to help keep you going in your job search is speaking to others who have found success.

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Often when I’m speaking to someone and see or hear that their background had nothing to do with technology or Salesforce and now they have a successful career in Salesforce,

I’m intrigued…

So I ask them to share their story while asking questions along the way.

I suggest for you to do the same.

Why?

New ideas may arise in that conversation to help lead you a little closer to your goal.

Learn and be intrigued by others.

Success leaves clues.

BIBO!

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Salesforce Career Seekers: Understanding A Hiring Manager’s Wants Versus Needs

I think most job descriptions are primarily speaking to an employer’s (hiring manager’s) needs.

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This is the practical and objective criteria to justify an initial conversation.

What the hiring manager cares more about is how a candidate is going to address their wants (the intangibles).

Which are often subjective, maybe even personable, and things that I would consider the “unspoken truth”.

Such as:

-Reducing their overhead

-Being relatable and likable

-Fitting into company culture

-Articulate/Understandable 

-Passionate

-Professional

-Reliable

-Easy going/flexible

Addressing these “wants” help remove the risk of the hiring manager making a bad hiring decision (assuming the baseline needs are also met).

As you interview, think about stories/scenarios to help illustrate these areas and I think you’ll have a better outcome.

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Being Defeated Is OK (A Different Perspective For Aspiring Salesforce Career Seekers)

In speaking with aspiring Salesforce career seekers that have yet to get their break in landing their 1st PAID Salesforce position after months or even over a year of disappointment, I often think, maybe there’s a better path forward for them which has nothing to do with Salesforce.

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Daily, we are getting hit upside the head with the future of Salesforce opportunities, thousands of jobs to be had, the projected growth of the platform, the ease of training oneself on Trailhead, the vast support system that’s available, the big money to be made, the local and national events, the list goes on and on, BUT…

This career path may NOT be the right one for you.

Sure, obstacles, challenges and the ability to push through the anguish to land that 1st Salesforce position might be what you have your heart and mind set out to do, but maybe another way to think about it, is: 

A Salesforce career or something better than where I am today

With this mindset, it gives you the opportunity to explore other career options that exist that can also give you the sense of accomplishment and career satisfaction, and only you can decide what better might be by being open to hear, explore, think and try those options.

Better for you is FOR YOU, not what anyone else necessarily encourages you to do. Your own personal perspective weighs heavily into what “better” might be, and having context around what you enjoy, and excites and motivates you to move forward.

Therefore, if you feel extreme anxiety, or the burden upon you every day as you chase this Salesforce career path, re-evaluating your situation with a deeper perspective should be the next, best course of action.

Giving up is also a sign of maturity and internal wisdom to realize something is not working and a change needs to be made.

Additionally, we often don’t speak to or highlight the challenges that a Salesforce professional experiences as part of their day to day activities, but they should be accounted for.

Some examples:

1.      Additional stress of managing unrealistic expectations by company stakeholders

2.      Dealing with end users who really don’t care about using the platform

3.      Working with other members of the team that end up breaking what you’ve built

4.      Spending hours during your personal time on the weekends or evenings to meet specific deadlines

5.      Carrying dead weight of other members of the team that make you miserable working with

6.      Layoffs will/do happen even for a Salesforce professional

I think if you have a candid conversation with most Salesforce professionals, they will tell you that their Salesforce career has its associated challenges.

For some, Salesforce fell into their laps, for others, the challenge to break in wasn’t extremely difficult, for others it was, but in summary:

It’s OK if you determine that this path is not meant for you, it doesn’t have to be, as there are endless possibilities to finding a career that brings you joy, satisfaction and success, and it’s up to you to find it.

As you continue your pursuit, rather than having the mindset of: 

Salesforce only

Think about:

Salesforce or something better than where I am today

Hopefully you would agree, that’s what really matters in your career…

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Momentum

Salesforce career newcomers – as you know, landing your 1st Salesforce related position is always the hardest in your journey.

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But think about the word: momentum

Finding and applying to that 1st position, connecting to that 1st hiring manager, getting called in for that 1st interview, getting accepted to do some pro-bono work, having informative conversations with existing Salesforce professionals, passing your 1st cert, etc. 

Whatever little successes you’re seeing build upon each other, use that as positive momentum to keep going.

You might not always realize it, and some may be extremely small, but it is forward motion. 

A manual water pump doesn’t produce water on the 1st pump, a merry-go-round doesn’t spin itself without some manual up front pushing, and a locomotive takes force and energy to start going. 

Your career should be viewed the same way, as momentum builds on itself with time, effort and consistency.

Mo…Mome…Moment…Momentum!

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In The Spirit Of College Football

Salesforce Career Seekers – in the spirit of college football kicking off in the U.S. this week, a short career success story from my network.

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An experienced Java developer recently relocated to a completely new area where she wasn’t known and in parallel decided to change career paths to Salesforce. 

As we might expect, she continued to run into roadblocks due to lack of relevant specific Salesforce experience.

Being proactive, she started to build her LI connections in the area.  One of those connections decided to pass her resume over to HR. 

Although the company wasn’t hiring, she persuaded HR to interview her anyhow for the future. 

Low and behold, eventually a position opened up and she was the 1st candidate they called and eventually landed the position. 

Key points:

1. She focused on, learned and applied scenario based problem solving skills more than strictly certs. 

2. She stayed confident in her abilities.

3. She was proactive. 

B!

B!

B PROACTIVE!

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Corporate Policies, Procedures, And The Challenges They Bring

I think one of the biggest challenges/constraints good software developers (primarily contractors) have when starting a new project is the amount of corporate policies, procedures and traditional ways of working that negatively affect their performance and morale which prevents them from hitting the ground running to produce results.

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Today, I had a developer approach me, looking for an out, although he just started a project about a month ago.

I asked, why so soon?

He can’t get anything done.

Crappy, locked down, laptop that he was given that he doesn’t care to use; firewalls up the wazoo preventing him from getting to various tools he needs; paperwork that he must continuously fill out and get approval on.

I understand corporate standards, security and regulations to prevent a developer going “rogue”, but unfortunately, good developers will also bail as they get tired of knocking their head against their desk everyday.

If you’re a contract developer, I guess the only way to understand what’s ahead for you, is to try and get as much clarification on what you’re up against before accepting (which I understand is not always possible).

Keep doing what you love, less frustrating opportunities await you…

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SRTotD (Salesforce Random Thought Of The Day): Employee Loyalty To The Platform

Probably once a week or once every couple of weeks, I speak to an established Salesforce Professional regarding why they’re looking to make a career move.

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The #1 reason I hear: “my current employer is moving off of Salesforce and I’m not interested in that.”

While this can be analyzed in multiple ways: 

– Salesforce is losing a customer. 

– The company is losing a good employee.

– Above all, the employee knows what they want to continue to focus on within their career progression.

I’m probably biased, but I don’t think there’s many other technologies that have that type of impact.

Tongue in Cheek example: Network Admin – “Oh, we’re moving from Cisco to Juniper, I’m outta here!”

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Tom Siebel And The Transformative Culture Of Innovation

In reading Tom Siebel’s latest book on Digital Transformation where he discusses where we’ve been, where we are and where we’re going with AI, IoT, Elastic Cloud Computing and Big Data, he also discusses creating a transformative culture of innovation.

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Some key points:

* Companies that are able to innovate effectively sharing these characteristics, win: high tolerance for risk, agile project management, empowered and trained employees, collaborative cultures, lack of silos and an effective decision making structure.

* At his company, C3.ai, they have a Self-Learning Hall of Fame for skill development, which includes a letter of recognition signed by the CEO and a bonus check for each certification of completion.

* The above program is not managed by HR but rather at the C-suite level to take ownership, participate, lead by example, recognize participation and to make it an integral part of company culture.

C3.ai is extremely competitive with hiring, last year alone they had over 100 open data scientist/software engineer positions and received 26,000 applicants, interviewed 1,700 (6%) and hired 120 (.4%).

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SRTotD (Salesforce Random Thought of the Day): The Many Industry Niches Of Salesforce

As I speak with smaller consulting companies, it is fascinating to me how many small pockets of industry focus that are available to define a target market.

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If you’re thinking of starting your own consulting practice, or maybe just being a 1 man/woman band as an independent, a suggestion is to find your little niche to excel at. 

Marketers often say, the smaller the market segment, the better, as over time your name will become known within that space and prospective customers will find you.  

Not over night, over time.

Also, don’t try to become all things to all people, but rather a specialist in your specific field of expertise.

Since every business needs customers and sales and need to have a digital platform to survive, think about an area that you have a passion about.

Just a few that come to mind (and these are still very broad):

– Artistry

– Home Decor

– Outdoor Leisure Activities

– Specific Non-Profits

– Music

– Cooking

Whatever you enjoying doing, maybe as a hobby or from a previous industry that you worked in and feel that you have an internal desire to be best in class, then use that layered with Salesforce.

I see plenty of opportunity there.  

Hopefully, you do too…

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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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Attitude Makes All The Difference

As I get older, hopefully I’m becoming a little wiser and healthier, a lot less uglier, and much more appreciative. 

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I find tremendous satisfaction in hearing about the success of others.

This past week I had a Salesforce “newbie” provide me the great news that they landed their 1st paid Salesforce position. 

We connected back in August of 2018 as they read one of my articles and wanted to discuss their Salesforce career aspirations. 

9 months later after keeping their head down and focusing on their goals, they succeeded. 

While I don’t have a huge sample set to reference, those that come to mind took between 9-12 months as to when they decided to “go for it” and getting that 1st Salesforce opportunity. 

Obviously, there’s many variables at play and your results will vary, but I did want to share a short success story if it helps to keep you going. 

Regardless of this example or any others, in my opinion, your ATTITUDE over the long run is what will make the difference.

Have a great weekend, I’m off to cut cucumbers for my eyes.

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Get Creative

This was such an exciting story, I had to wake up extra early just to write it…

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Meet Jeanne Moeller – she’s looking to continue her Salesforce career, particularly in Higher Ed, she’s considered a “Data Geek” and understands the value of good, clean data in a CRM.

Here’s what she did:

Made a tweet asking for help.  

It only received 3 retweets and 25 likes.

The quantity didn’t matter, as it fell in the right hands, at the right time, sparked a hiring manager’s interest and she got an interview.

The next thing she did was STELLAR!

She went to the company’s website and filled out an online form inquiring about their products and services.

Sure enough the VP of Sales (or equivalent) contacted her…ABC – Always Be Closing, right? 🙂

She responded with (paraphrased): “I actually wouldn’t be an ideal prospect, but I’m currently interviewing with your company, do you have 20 minutes to discuss why you enjoy working there?”

Dang, that was genius on so many levels!

That conversation occurred and she’s continuing the interviewing process.

That’s how you stand out, that’s how you get creative, that’s how you get a potential shot.

Figure out your inner genius, we all have it!

Ok, it’s 4:30 AM, I have cows to milk and chickens to feed…

Have a great Tuesday!

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SRTotD (Salesforce Random Thought Of The Day): Blurred Lines (Salesforce Job Titles)

Administrators/Developers – both of these build “things”

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Solution Architects/Technical Architects – both of these architect “things”

Too much overlap nowadays with job descriptions and associated titles

I have us covered: I’ll ask Robin Thicke, Pharrell and T.I. to perform a remix at Dreamforce this year so we’re all clear

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Holy Moly Batman!

Holy Moly Batman! Some things that worried me this week in Gotham City:

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1. I post a contract position on a job board and someone I just placed on a contract applies – SHAZAM! 

2. A Marketing Lead is unemployed as their previous employer went out of business for lack of customers – KAPOW!

3. A Salesforce Admin who has over 10 years of real experience gets disqualified for not having an Admin cert – BONK!

And it was only a 4 day work week in the U.S. – ZOK! 

On to next week’s adventure.

Same bat-time, same bat-channel…

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It’s Only A Matter Of Time – And Yours Will Come

Over the last 10 days or so, I’ve had 4 Salesforce Professionals get back to me with exciting news that they’ve landed a new Salesforce position, which was great to see.

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If you’re still in your pursuit, it’s only a matter of time.   

And your time will come.

If you have an interview queued up this week, are you prepared?

Some things to think about:

The interviewer is expecting intelligent and engaging questions. 

They’re looking for what you know and understand about their business…in other words, did you do any research?

They’re looking for an idea or two that you can present to differentiate you from the next candidate.

Don’t do all the talking, the more you talk, the less you learn.  Learn about their specific challenges during the conversation, then follow up with what you learned while thanking them for the time. 

Your ideas, your preparedness, your positive personality, your confidence, your follow up is what can differentiate you from others, especially when you don’t meet all the other qualifications. 

An employer is giving you a chance to show your intangibles.  You’re in control of those. Show them!

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The Format Versus The Content

In reviewing and providing suggestions on a handful of resumes this week, I think we often get too concerned on the format versus the content. 

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Here’s some questions that I came up with to ask yourself that might be helpful:

1. Have I accurately detailed out what value I added, goals achieved, company and personal success I obtained?

2. Have I put in enough detail to help explain what specific processes and functionality I created/improved so a future employer understands my expertise?

3. Do I show what creative solutions I came up with and why it was helpful and valuable to the organization?

I think resumes are personal, and in the end you have to be comfortable with it. 

You can ask 5 different people and get 5 different opinions.

Maybe this verse is enough:

“show you’re wise, tell no lies, be easy on the eyes, and your career will rise”. -Shakespeare Hopper

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Non-competes

Salesforce Career Seekers – let’s talk about “non-competes”, which also can be called NDA’s, CDA’s, PIA’s, SA’s, or some other legal document that employers may have you sign that protects their “trade secrets”.

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In speaking with a Salesforce consultant this past week, he/she was recently employed by a system integrator.  

AFTER STARTING, he/she was then handed a non-compete to sign that stated he/she could not work for a competitor for a year after ending their employment with this new employer.

So let’s recap (if this was me): 

1. I’m a Salesforce consultant

2. There’s thousands of Salesforce integrators (aka competitors)

3. I’m handed a legal document to sign after I’ve already started basically saying, I’ll need to take a year off after leaving or face potential legal ramifications

Quite a frustrating story and maybe there’s more to it on the legal side, but I don’t see how this is in your best interest.

To conclude, that was their last day (after having their lawyer review).

Please don’t get backed into a corner like this, thoroughly review every document you are asked to sign, if something seems “off”, ask someone.  

A new, better opportunity awaits you…

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“Hopefully,”​ (A Sonnet To The Salesforce/Tableau Acquisition)

And now Salesforce has made another acquisition

To put itself in a better market position

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It has lofty goals to stay on top

Hopefully, all these purchases don’t cause a flop

Now it has the ability to visualize data

Hopefully, to get Analytics Cloud out of beta

Will it allow CRM to continue to be best

Hopefully, not turn into Oracle, where apps go to rest

Whether it’s pronounced Tablue or Tablow

Combining data & CRM, should allow companies to grow

Additional SKU’s added to the purchase order mix

Hopefully, a Tableau dashboard will be the fix

Hopefully, Microsoft employees don’t feel sour

Unless of course, Salesforce builds another tower

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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 Forum:

1.      Complex Problem Solving

2.      Critical Thinking

3.      Creativity

4.      People Management

5.      Coordinating with Others

6.      Emotional Intelligence

7.      Judgement and Decision Making

8.      Service Orientation

9.      Negotiation

10.   Cognitive Flexibility

Do you think certifications get you any closer to these top 10?

In my opinion, maybe a few, but what about the rest?

Doesn’t the job description mentioned above tie to most of these?

Wouldn’t you want to spend most of your time figuring out how to excel in these other areas such as dealing with people, emotions, stress, awareness, coordination, failure? 

I think the primary way to do that is on the job, taking on projects, throwing yourself to the wolves, getting bit a time or two, learning from it and trying again.  Even if it’s not in a Salesforce role but being in a position where you gain experience in these areas and then to be able to articulate, refine and correlate these concepts in a conversation or interview.

When most are thinking of tangible certifications as the way ahead, you need to stand out with your personal experiences, challenges and shortcomings that make you unique and only apply to you.

Don’t let the certification trees impede your vision of seeing the career forest in front of you.

Disclaimer: I am 0X Certified (as I’ve failed the Admin and Dev exams), although daily I do some variation of:  write, receive, review Salesforce job descriptions, as well as speak to hiring managers, internal talent acquisition personnel and Salesforce professionals of all backgrounds. Prior to that in the trenches as a technical CRM hiring manager, delivery manager, solution architect and an Accenture career counselor. 

While I don’t believe I have all the answers, I enjoy sharing ideas to help challenge the status quo and marketing hype. Hopefully, this article allows for a slightly different viewpoint on what I (and hopefully many others) think matters when it comes to career growth.

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