Something special is happening!
In our lifetimes, some of us will be lucky enough to stumble on one, maybe two great opportunities. Opportunities that give us the power to support our families, not worry about having a job, and also, the privilege to work on compelling things.
If you’re reading this post and you’re not yet in the Salesforce industry, this is your great opportunity.
I spoke about this phenomenon during Pluralsight LIVE. Here are the slides and key points:
My recommend learning path can be found in the final slides at the end.
I hope you find success and I wish you the best in your life journey!
I watched Mulan for the first time in 20 years and there was one scene that hit me right in the feels.
It struck me that many people in the Salesforce world, including me, went through similar struggles as Mulan did. I thought I’d share this scene with you to remind you that sometimes you need to struggle before you can succeed.
Let’s get down to business…
Mulan didn’t belong in her world
Unbeknownst to her ailing father, Mulan disguises herself as a man to go to war in her father’s place.
Like many others, I never belonged in the Salesforce world. I had a marketing degree from a non-prestigious college, I was a professional email spammer working at a no name company, and I had never even heard of CRM.
And coding? Forget about it! I didn’t know how to write a single line of it!
Mulan hit rock bottom
Mulan is sent home from the war for failing to keep up physically. She brings dishonor to her family.
One day after sending a massive email spam to tens of thousands of customers and accidentally using their incorrect names, I received a reply back with seven pages of the word “F@#$ YOU!!”
I remember printing that email out and keeping it by my desk. When I was growing up, I used to dream that I would have a great career that could support my family. At this point, I couldn’t have been further from that dream.
At night I’d stay awake and wonder how I messed up my career so badly.
Mulan doesn’t give up. She works while everyone else is sleeping
Unwilling to go home, Mulan decides to prove herself by taking on the impossible task: climbing to the top of the pole while wearing the heavily weighted straps.
In my heart I knew that learning to code was the way to turn around my career.
I knew I’d be far behind everyone else since I didn’t know any code and they had formally learned it in college, but, I hoped that if I worked harder than them that over time I would catch up and maybe even surpass them.
It would be painfully hard work, but not as painful as if I continued my career as an email spammer.
Mulan takes her weaknesses and turns them into her strengths
Mulan takes the weighted straps, wraps them together, and uses them to help her climb the pole.
My job application was just rejected by Google for the 10th time in a row. On try number 11, I decided to do things differently.
Borrowing on my previous knowledge from the email spamming world, I decided to purchase the contact information of Salesforce professionals at Google and email spam them my credentials until they brought me in for an interview.
One success changes Mulan’s trajectory forever
Mulan reaches the top of the pole and earns the respect of her comrades. She goes from being the worst member of her unit to one of its best.
This is the story of the first piece of code I ever deployed to a production org.
While in my email spamming job and learning to code on the side, I was sitting in a meeting with the company’s executives (it was a small company). They needed to automate a key accounting calculation in Salesforce and were discussing their options. There seemed to be no path forward other than hiring a Salesforce consultant and spending tens of thousands of dollars in the process.
This was my moment. My heart was beating and my hands were shaking. I put my hands on the table, stood up, and told the executives that I could do it myself. I had no idea how to code it, but I knew I’d work nights and weekends until it was done.
I told them to give me a month, and if I failed, it would cost them nothing and they could move forward with hiring a Salesforce consultant.
I ended up successfully building the accounting code. As a reward, the company transferred me to the engineering team and paid for my coding courses. The rest is history.
I hope you enjoyed this post!
Check out the full Mulan – I’ll Make a Man Out of You music video to see the full scene!
David’s note: Atul – I have the utmost respect for those who achieve success from the humblest backgrounds!! Your journey was far tougher than mine and I am in awe at your perseverance! If I’m Superman then you gotta be Batman! =)
I was thinking to share my story from many days and today finally I dare to do that.
I belong to such an area where “Internet” is a big thing and there is not such word called “Internet” that you can actually hear. When I completed my schooling I didn’t even know “How to start a Computer” and even how to refresh things on it. Sounds funny! Right?
After that I decided to pursue my graduation in Information Technology. For that I shifted to big city Delhi and on a serious note that city was going very fast to me.
I completed my grad but didn’t get how to code. If somebody used to talk about coding in front of me, I used to think “How do these guys do coding?” So, I started memorizing theory of Java and started giving interviews. I gave around 30-40 interviews but eventually failed.
At that point of time, one of my friends suggested to start fresh and
talked about Salesforce. It sounded interesting to me and I searched the same on the internet. Guess what I found at top: SFDC99.com.
I went through that site and for the very first time in my life I understood little bit of code and that made me interested in code. Then after I started learning from Apex Academy. I watched all the videos many a times and practiced a lot.
Doing this made my life great, I got selected in one Salesforce firm as a Developer and I was consistently following your advice and cracked 2 Salesforce certifications and recently I was awarded as a “Star Performer”.
All credit goes to you David. I’m huge fan of yours and my colleagues called me “Indian David Liu”. =)
And one of my greatest moment was when you came to India for the India Dreamin event and I personally met you. You were the simplest person that I ever met, you are amazing David..
Last but not the least “You are SUPERMAN to me!!”
Inspired by this story?
Read more success stories from other SFDC99 students!
Want to tell the world your story too?
Email it to email@example.com and your story could be heard around the world!
Forcelandia was incredible this year =)
I might like these community events more than Dreamforce! There’s something about the smaller crowds that makes every interaction mean more. There’s something to learn from everyone.
This year, I left inspired as if I had just attended the Dreamforce keynote. All thanks to the KILLER lineup of speakers that included Irena Miziolek, one of the first and greatest certified Technical Architects, and Steven Herod, a personal all-time hero of mine.
Go to your local community event. I promise you it’s worth it =)
Here are the slides to the two talks I did this year at Forcelandia:
…Should you code?
…Can you code?
…How do you code?
Learn how to make the most career important decision of your life: which path to take long term!
To the kind people of Portland and Seattle – it was an honor meeting you and thank you for hosting me in your wonderful city! I miss Portland already =)
How lucky are we to have a community that organizes these types of events for us!
I love going to Salesforce events because I need to know all the latest trends so I can (hopefully) build a long and successful career. Learning and getting inspired by others much stronger than me in many things is the key to improving.
I hope you feel the same way about your progression and I hope to see ya there if you’re in the area!
I’ll be sharing my knowledge on two of my favorite topics:
Preface: this post is part of The Definitive Salesforce Careers Guide series.
Your Salesforce resume is only living up to 10% of its potential!
Try this: save a copy of your current resume. Then, remake the exact same resume using every tip in this post. It won’t be easy. When you’re done, compare the resumes side by side. Night and day!
I know this will work because I’ve read literally thousands of Salesforce resumes and less than 5% of people really get it right. But don’t be too hard on yourself – my resume sucked too until I was put into a position to hire Salesforce professionals. Once you’re on the other side your eyes are opened!
Rule #1: Have at least three Salesforce certifications
In the current era of Salesforce, there are no excuses for having less than three certifications.
There are over 20 different Salesforce certifications and on average I see at least three certifications per resume these days. Ideally, you’d have at least five.
If you need help getting certified or you’re not sure which ones to get, read my Certifications Guide.
P.S. if you have more than 50 Trailhead badges, put that on your resume too.
Rule #2: Specifically add Lightning as a skill
Even though most orgs are still on Salesforce Classic, almost all are planning to migrate to Lightning.
That means you either already know Lightning, or the company will have to train you. Your Lightning experience now has a huge premium and it’s something you must specifically call out.
Rule #3: Put your best material on the top of your resume
Fact: Hiring managers will judge your resume in less than 10 seconds.
It’s unfair but it’s true. The only part of your resume that’s guaranteed to be read is the first sentence.
Have a ton of certifications? Put the certification section first. Went to a great school? Put that up top. Won some interesting awards or worked for a nice brand name company? Straight to the top!
This applies to each subsection too. The very first bullet point for each job should be its best.
Rule #4: For each org you’ve worked on, include the number of users
There are few objective measures in this industry that’ll give recruiters insight on your Salesforce knowledge. Your user count is one of them.
Generally, having experience in Salesforce orgs with more users is a good thing. You get exposed to more Salesforce features and challenges that smaller orgs never see.
You can still stand out if you don’t have experience in a small org. For example, you can highlight that you’re a solo admin and thus have experience as the decision maker in an org.
Regardless, different companies are looking for people with different backgrounds. Include your user counts to let them know where you stand.
Rule #5: For each org you’ve worked on, tell one interesting fact about it
Companies want to hire people who have solved interesting problems. It’s boring seeing resume after resume where candidates just say they implemented Process Builders for Sales Cloud.
Tell me a story. Make me believe you were part of something special. Was your org featured at Dreamforce? Does it have an abnormally large amount of integrations? Does the CEO log in every day? Did you max out your storage limits?!
These are the tidbits recruiters love to share with their colleagues as they hype up your interview!
Rule #6: Include specific AppExchange app experience
Every org uses AppExchange apps. And if a company sees you have experience with an app they use, it’s a strong indicator of a fit. Plus, it’s one less thing they’d have to train.
Including the names of apps you’ve worked with is an easy way to get free resume brownie points!
Rule #7: Tweak your resume to match the job description
Your resume should be different for each job you’re applying for.
Find the keywords that are used in the job description and make sure to include the exact same keywords in your resume.
Does the job description mention “reports” often? Splatter the word across your resume!
This gives recruiters confidence that you’re a match, and, it especially helps if they’re using technology to bubble up candidates.
Rule #8: Use a lot of numbers to show impact
At least half of your bullet points should have some number in it.
Many resumes say something like this: Improved efficiency by building XYZ
Improve that same bullet by saying this: Improved efficiency by 25% by building XYZ
If you don’t have any metrics around your contributions… are you sure you really improved things?
Regardless, start tracking metrics in all your projects from now on. If you really don’t have any metrics for a past project, estimate it.
Rule #9: Only use @gmail.com email addresses
I’m not biased, this is just how things are. People will assume you’re not up to date with technology.
Rule #10: Keep your resume under one page long
Fact: people will read more words in your resume if it’s less than a page long.
Brains instantly shut off when they see a lot of text. Heck, I’d be surprised if you’ve even read this far.
If you’re applying for a job in the USA and you don’t manage more than 40 people, you absolutely should have a one page resume. Mine certainly is.
Some tips for keeping your resume under one page:
Whew! That’s a lot to take in!
We’re going to analyze some real Salesforce resumes to make sure this all sinks in.
Hope you enjoyed!
Next post: Salesforce resume analysis #1: Mid Career Professional!
A big THANK YOU to everyone who joined!
We’ll have to do it again, there were so many questions we ran out of time!
One more round of applause for Toni V. Martin, who put this talk together and was a wonderful host and contributor!
Until next time,
Thank you to Toni V. Martin, multi-Dreamforce speaker and “Consultant Chick” extraordinaire for coming up with this webinar idea!!
How to attend:
Toni, our wonderful host, and I are gonna tackle all the toughest career questions, LIVE, such as:
Then we’ll have a Q&A section where you can ask us your questions… LIVE!
Promise I’ll hold nothing back and give you the straight scoop on how to succeed!
Register now and talk to ya next week!
P.S. and what great timing alongside the Definitive Salesforce Careers Guide!! =P
Preface: this post is part of The Definitive Salesforce Careers Guide series.
Let me start by saying I’m not making any money off my opinion here – it’s unbiased!
That said, I believe 90% of job seekers in this industry will benefit from working with a recruiter. I’m talking about a recruiting agency, not an internal recruiter at the company you’re applying to!
Most people do not work with recruiters. It’s natural to think that if a recruiter gets a commission from placing you (say 20% of your salary), that means they’re theoretically eating budget that could be used towards your salary instead! While this is true to a certain extent, it’s mostly our egos talking.
Reasons why you should work with a recruiter
Recruiters have inside information you’ll never get on your own
A recruiter works very closely with a company, sometimes over many years, to fill job positions.
During this time they’ll learn things such as:
Your recruiter is your wingman in these situations. Good luck finding out all that stuff on your own!
You might make more money when working with a recruiter
This is counter-intuitive, but true. Here’s why:
Perssonally, I absolutely despise salary negotiations and I’d rather leave that to the professionals =)
Recruiters help you scale
A recruiter is not your primary method for applying to jobs.
That’s where a recruiter comes in. They’ll help you find the jobs you didn’t know you wanted.
You have nothing to lose
Got second thoughts about working with a recruiter? Walk away!
There’s really no commitment required. I’m totally afraid of commitment (ask my wife) so I love this!
Reasons why you should NOT work with a recruiter
You have a weak resume
Take the time to build a marketable resume before working with a recruiter.
This is especially true if you’re new to the industry or you’re looking for entry level jobs. No recruiter wants to spend time to do this for you when you potentially generate minimal commissions.
Having a strong resume doesn’t mean having a ton of experience. There are a ton of things you can do to improve your resume immediately without changing anything about your work experience.
You know every company you’d ever want to work for
If there’s only a handful of select companies you want to apply to, there’s no need to have a recruiter help you scale. You don’t need to scale!
This is mostly true for people who are already very happy with their jobs, and would only leave for a dream gig. For example, if the only way you’d leave your current job is if you got an offer from Google, ditch the recruiter and apply to Google yourself!
Don’t forget that recruiters can help you find remote jobs too – so don’t count them out if you live in a smaller area!
My personal experience with recruiters
I really wouldn’t be at Google if I didn’t work with a recruiter at some point in my career.
It was a recruiter that helped me find my first real job in the Salesforce industry. It was a job I didn’t deserve, but she did a heck of a job hyping me up as my wingman.
She ended up getting me a salary way beyond what I deserved, and then, somehow she was able to increase it by another $20k. No way would I have been able to negotiate that on my own!
When I applied to Google I did not use a recruiter. It was my dream job and the only job I was applying to at the time, so I didn’t bother using a recruiter. Even though I got the job, I ended up taking a massive pay cut. Maybe I should have used a recruiter!
P.S. I really don’t want to endorse certain recruiters over others, but if you’re curious which recruiter I worked with in this example, it was Hire On-Demand. No they did not pay me to say this!
Hope you enjoyed this post and got some fresh ideas on how to land your next job!
Next post: How to get companies to recruit you!
If you’re ever confused about which tool is right for the job in Salesforce, this course is for you!
Apex code, Process Builder, Workflow Rules, and Flow… each has their pros and cons. These tools are optimized for specific situations – join Don Robins and I to learn when’s the best time to use them!
This course will be free only until June 11th 2018, so check it out while you can!
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