5 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Starting Your Salesforce Career

By Brandon Wang

When you first decide to launch your Salesforce career, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the sheer volume of information about Salesforce products and features. Feeling lost and confused is natural, but rest assured, this is totally normal! You might feel like you are making many mistakes along the way, but the good news is that making mistakes is the ultimate way to learn and improve.

This article will cover five common mistakes people make when they first launch their Salesforce careers. Hopefully, they can save you some time and get you on the right path!

Mistake 1: Tutorial Purgatory

We all love tutorials; it’s the easiest way to get started with something new for first-timers. However, many of us love tutorials too much! Before you realize it, you’re stuck in Tutorial Purgatory. Many newbies follow step-by-step guides and build many incredible things. However, they often don’t fully understand what they’ve built, and without a tutorial, they wouldn’t know where to start.

So, what’s missing here? You’re in a safe and comfortable zone where you have someone to think for you and tell you what to do. You miss the most crucial part of learning: thinking. If you’re not thinking for yourself, you’re learning much less than you realize.

Instead of following endless tutorials, I recommend creating some imaginary projects and building without a tutorial to guide you. If you encounter barriers, try Googling or using the Answers Community. There’s a real, invaluable skill in searching and finding answers for yourself!

Mistake 2: Too Much Strategy, Not Enough Study

Learning from someone who has been there is good but not ideal – it gives you a sense of what’s ahead for certification exam preparation, but it doesn’t help to read every exam strategy blog out there. Some are certainly better than others; find one that is comprehensive and from a trustworthy source, and stick with it instead of wasting your time searching and reading every guide available. Then get on with doing the actual study!

Mistake 3: Purposelessly Exploring Trailhead

There is a difference between gaining badges to improve your skills or pass an exam, and gaining badges with the specific aim of becoming a Trailhead Ranger. While reaching Ranger status it is a great acquirement (that you should share on LinkedIn and your resume!), consider why you want to be a Ranger? Is it because it looks cool and seems to be a so-called achievement, or because you think it’s a way to gain new knowledge and experience, as well as help you with some real-life projects?

If you’re learning on Trailhead or considering starting, think about which modules and badges are relevant to you, what problem you want to solve, and what level of skill you have. Do not waste your time on ones that are not serving an immediate purpose or aligned with your overall learning goals.

READ MORE: Complete Guide to Salesforce Trailhead

Mistake 4: Focusing On Everything But Nothing

The sheer volume and broadness of Salesforce products can make even the most capable person feel insecure or nervous. You can feel a need to explore and know everything, which can lead you to learn a little bit about a lot, but be a subject matter expert in nothing. There is also a risk that you will miss out on some of the basics by getting ahead of yourself and trying to learn about complex or advanced functionality too early.

I personally made the mistake of skipping the basics! Still relatively new to Salesforce and working with the Sales cloud, I saw many jobs that required CPQ knowledge and quickly began taking Trailhead modules around this topic. After a few failed interview attempts, I realized that in my haste to learn CPQ, I hadn’t even mastered the basics of Salesforce administration, like security settings and Workflow.

If you have just started your Salesforce career, stop trying to learn everything and focus on the core platforms and functionality. Once you can troubleshoot and implement 70% of the core solutions without Googling, you’re ready to move on and explore other cool things.

Mistake 5: Your Plan Is Not Actionable

Whether you’ve just started or are looking to make a career change, a well-structured plan can help you move further and faster in your career – however, it needs to be tangible and measurable, with actionable items.

When creating your plan, you should focus on defining milestones and adding actionable items in between. It can also be valuable to focus on a short-term, instead of a five-year plan, so it’s easier to chunk it into smaller, achievable pieces. By all means, have a high-level and long-term plan as well!

For example, if your long-term goal is to get a job offer within the next 12 months, you could chunk it into several smaller ones. A smaller plan might be to become certified as a Salesforce Administrator. Within the short-term plan, you could create weekly milestones such as “Finish Administrator Trailhead Mix” or “Complete the mock exam scoring 85% or over on Salesforce Ben”. These milestones are tangible and easy to measure for success.

Taking it one step further, you can start defining actionable items that will help you complete your milestones. For example, the number of modules to complete each day in order to finish the Administrator Trailhead Mix.


Whilst starting a career in Salesforce can initially seem overwhelming, I can reassure you that it’s worth it! It’s a fantastic industry to work in, with many great resources to support you.

Get your Salesforce career off on the right foot by avoiding the five common mistakes detailed in this post. Get learning, get thinking, and align your actions with your goals for measurable success.

The Author

Brandon Wang

Brandon is a Solution Architect with 30 Salesforce certifications. Passionate about technology and a dedicated dog lover, he also finds solace in the challenging world of CrossFit.


    Radhika Sh
    April 27, 2021 10:21 am
    Thanks man that helped
    July 20, 2021 2:27 am
    This was inspirational! Thank you for writing this.

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