5 steps to a Successful Salesforce Career
If getting your first Salesforce job or improving your career prospects is important to you then read along as I share my 5 steps to a successful Salesforce career.
Step 1 – Learn
Objective: Get Skilled
The first step is to learn the Salesforce product you want to become skilled at. You can do that on your own using free resources like Trailhead but you will need more than just Trailhead to succeed with the Salesforce certification exams. Trailhead will get you 40-50% of the way but the pass mark is 66% so you have to do more. Make sure you complete any of the recommended Super Badges for the certification you are aiming for.
You can also do the free Certification Days events that Salesforce often runs, which will help consolidate your understanding (still probably not enough to be certification-ready but they do help).
If you (or your employer) have deep pockets, you can sign up for the Expert-Led Courses at the Trailhead Academy and select either virtual or in-person training courses. Expect to pay USD$3,000-$4,000 for a 5-day course.
The other (more affordable) alternatives include:
- On the job learning
Step 2 – Practice
Objective: Get Experience
Getting experience if you don’t have a job in the Salesforce ecosystem is tough. Without a job you can’t get the experience – it can be a catch-22 situation but there are ways you can get that critical experience:
Do as many of the projects as you can at Trailhead. These are tougher than the normal badges and will stretch your skills and help validate your training – plus they give you experience in building something useful.
Every course we offer at CertifyCRM.com includes a project, usually near the end of the course to help put your new skills into practice. Our newer courses like Sales Cloud Consultant and the Learning Salesforce Flow courses are one big project, broken up into bite-sized pieces.
Build your own app in Salesforce. Some of the creative uses I have seen include a job tracking app, a craft beer review app and healthy diet and exercise apps.
One other way to get experience is to join the Trailblazer Community and read the issues that other members are having and see if you can solve them yourself. If you are lucky someone else may provide an answer and you can test your skills by implementing the recommended solution.
Any one of these suggestions can provide valuable experiences that you can use to demonstrate your experience – discuss how you implemented one of these solutions at your next job interview.
Step 3 – Certify
Objective: Validate Skills
Certification is NOT the holy grail that will guarantee you a job. You need the certification plus experience plus the right attitude (and a bit of luck) to be successful in breaking into the Salesforce job market.
One thing that certification does help with is getting past the first stage of the selection process. If there are many applicants, it is highly likely that those with certifications will be ranked higher than those without. Why is this so? Often, the first stage of the selection process is done by the HR staff. They don’t know how to judge your experience, know what questions to ask for or what to look for in your resume so they will often rely on certifications to indicate that you know your trade.
For you, another benefit of certification is that it will take you out of your comfort zone and force you to look at other parts of the Salesforce product you are studying for certification. If you are preparing for the Sales Cloud Consultant exam, make sure you are up to speed with forecasting, products and price books, quotes and contracts.
Get all the details about your chosen exam including pre-requisites and study guides here.
When it is time to schedule your exam you have two choices. You can sit for the exam at a test centre or you can do the exam online. Exam bookings (for both methods) can be made at the Kryterion website.
Step 4 – Communicate
Objective: Promote yourself and your Skills
If you have completed steps 1-3 above, it’s now time to spread the word about your new skills, experience and certification. If nobody knows about your progress, you will not get noticed!
Post your success to LinkedIn. Don’t forget that LinkedIn is your defacto digital resume so make sure it is kept up to date with your certifications, projects and any other key milestones you have achieved.
Join the Trailblazer Community and read other members’ questions and answers. See if you can help to answer some of them too. Being part of a community involves giving back and participating. Don’t just be a consumer, providing help to others is an important part of the learning process and can be very satisfying. There’s no better way of getting noticed than being able to help others who are not as far ahead in their learning journey.
Step 5 – Network
Objective: Meet Likeminded Professionals
The Salesforce community (‘Ohana’ – a Hawaiian word for family) is one of the most helpful tech communities around. It’s not unusual for a complete stranger to build a sample solution to a problem you are having or to provide step-by-step instructions on how to solve a complex problem. You will never know if you don’t ask. But there are some helpful tips that will help you get this assistance from the community.
- Start with a business-like description of the problem you are trying to solve.
- If you got an error trying to do something – provide a screenshot that shows the complete error message.
- Remember that the solution you are trying to implement may not be the best option so keep your options open to other possibilities.
Follow Salesforce influencers on Social Media. Start with this list from Salesforce Ben.
Join Twitter – there is a very active presence on Twitter from the Salesforce community. If you use Twitter for nothing else – join for the Salesforce content.
Join Slack – Since Salesforce acquired Slack, there are more and more groups and content on various Slack Channels.
Join a Local Trailblazer Community Group – there are hundreds of these groups worldwide and they have in-person meetings and events where you can meet face-to-face with like-minded professionals (and potential employers). They usually run special events too. Check the list here to find your local group.
Signup for Webinars, even if they are not in your timezone, they are often recorded and registered participants will be able to access the recording at the conclusion of the event. Here are some from Salesforce but be on the lookout on Social Media for many others.
Attend Salesforce Events: While the ultimate destination for every Salesforce professional is the annual Dreamforce conference, held in San Francisco each year, there are many other events like World Tours and the TrailblazerDX Developer conference.
Attend Community Dreamin’ Conferences: There are a lot of community conferences held each year, organised by local community groups. These include:
- London’s Calling
- Down Under Dreamin’ (Australia)
- Texas Dreamin’
- YeurDreamin’ (Amsterdam)
- Japan Dreamin’
- Czech Dreamin’
- Nonprofit Dreamin’
A complete list of the upcoming (and past events) is published here.
I hope these 5 steps will help you in your successful Salesforce career, I know they have certainly helped me. Best of luck and start tomorrow with at least one of these suggestions!
About the Author:
Daryl Moon is a qualified teacher with over 30 years of experience in the IT industry. His experience covers a diverse range of projects in the government and education sectors. With five Salesforce (5) certifications, two (2) accreditations and over 900 Trailhead badges, he knows what it takes to master the skills required to pass the official exams.
Daryl is a Salesforce Consultant in Brisbane, Australia; author of all our courses at CertifyCRM.com; facilitator for Salesforce Administration courses with the University of Canberra; guest blogger at Salesforce Ben; blogger at CertifyCRM.com and KeyNode Solutions and is a judge at the FlowFest competitions.