I’m joined on this bumper post by Senior Salesforce Specialist Will Powell. You might remember Will from the popular post, Salesforce Job Trends a couple of months ago. Will and I have met a couple of times to discuss the Salesforce market, we’ve decided to collaborate on this post to give hungry Salesforce professionals an idea when it comes to furthering their career. Let’s dive straight into what Will knows best, the Salesforce job market.
Contrary to popular belief, (and contrary to my profession), one of the best ways to further your career in Salesforce should be to stay within your current role.
Development in your current role can be achieved in many ways; the simplest being by changing fields and gaining exposure to more favoured areas of your job, or by moving into something that has always interested you but you haven’t yet explored. Admitting your lack of love for your current job isn’t an easy task, but in my opinion, this is the ideal conversation to have with your line manager at your monthly/quarterly/yearly review. A performance review is an opportune time to ask about the scope of your role and where it can lead and it is the best forum to discuss the other options open to you for your development. This conversation could open up all sorts of opportunities to develop your skillset and/or to gain more exposure in areas that previously meant little to you.
From a practical point of view, developing within your current role and displaying continued progression within Salesforce looks great on your CV. Demonstrating you are able to move fields in this way not only shows you have some fluidity and staying power, it also proves in black and white that you are just too damn good to be left to stagnate and wilt away! Not to mention it saves you the added pressure of looking for a new role, which can be as time consuming as a full time job!
However, be prepared that this conversation may not be all roses and sunshine. Your manager may say you aren’t ready for a move or the business may not have the scope to develop you. If this happens, you could consider it a time to engage with your network or your trusted Recruitment Consultant to help find a new role which better suits your growth and development plans.
Move to a Consultancy
Another option which is appealing both practically and financially is a move into a Consultancy.
If you aren’t concerned about staying away from home every week, moving to a consultancy is the best way to maximise your career potential. This is mostly due to the diverse nature of the projects you will be exposed to. It is more likely for you be involved with the most up to date and technological advancements whether it be Lightning, Marketing Automation or IoT. It is very unlikely that you will get this exposure at an end user as they just wouldn’t be able to keep up and won’t have the budget to make changes to their CRM every year or so.
The biggest perk is the career development that it provides though. Most consultancies have very clear promotion objectives. Even if a move to consultancy has yielded little in the salary department you will certainly see where you need to upskill to get to your desired level. This also allows you to work out how much time you will need to get to close to your 3-5 year plan which as a result it becomes more tangible.
Move to an End-user
Or a move to an end user…. If you are currently working for an end user which has little scope for progression an obvious move is to another end user. With this move you are able to relieve the frustrations in your current role.
A move from consultancy to end user is also a route worth considering. Moving into a CRM Manager role from a Senior Consultant for example would give you excellent exposure to things that you would have not had any experience to in consultancy for example, managing budgets and designing the businesses roadmap to grow Salesforce or to cover other areas such as Marketing Cloud.
This is also a great move to make for those of you are keen to spend more time at home with your family and get a much better work life balance.
Move to Contracting
For someone who works purely with permanent candidates and permanent opportunities, this next point pains me to say, however, going into contracting is certainly a way to grow practical skillsets. This is because you will continue to deliver in a particular niche which makes your skillset desirable. A good example of this is Data Migration – there are Salesforce specialists in this area who join a business for a short term to deliver this part of the project only – this is a contract heavy area as they maximise their desirability due to supply and demand.
In my experience, being brought on as a contractor can mean you are unlikely to progress within the role. If for example you are taken on in a contractor capacity as a Senior Consultant, this is what you will do. Contracting, whilst it offers diversity of projects it is unlikely your role will lead to promotion and job security. But let’s be honest, the pay isn’t bad!
One of the best bits of advice I’ve received in regards to my career is that people don’t hire skills, they hire people they like. Or in other words..
“You don’t hire for skills, you hire for attitude. You can always teach skills.” – Simon Sinek
I don’t think this could be any more relevant in the Salesforce ecosystem, and one of the best ways to get your name out there and to meet people is network, network and network. This may be a bit daunting for the introverts among us, but networking can come in many forms..
For starters Salesforce has done half of the leg work for us by facilitating the various yearly events such as Dreamforce, World Tours and of course the 200+ user groups across the globe. In addition to this, there are usually many niche events across the year in a particular field or vertical. But networking doesn’t just have to be in the form of events and conferences anymore, now we have the internet to simplify our interactions. Sending a message to someone you look up to asking for advice or about potential job openings is a great first step in getting to know the right people. To get some more information about the Salesforce community, check out The Power Of The Success Community by Adam Olshansky.
Of course the core pillar of any Salesforce professionals proof of skill, is certifications. Certifications are definitely not the be all and end all to progressing your career. Just because you have 10 certifications, does not guarantee you a job, but it probably will guarantee you an interview! They are a great way to prove to a prospective or current employer your level of skill and areas of expertise. This can help you when trying to get a promotion, taking on additional responsibilities at your existing company and when applying to new jobs.
When applying to jobs at Salesforce consultancies, remember that certifications are a core KPI that Salesforce judges them on to determine their Partner category (Silver, Gold, Platinum). This is something you can use to your advantage when negotiating your position and salary.
Other than Salesforce certifications, you may want to consider branching out to get certified in other fields. These come in various shapes and forms and as well as industry recognised App certifications, you can look into project management and other platform certifications. It’s definitely best to judge whether these will be advantageous to your skill arsenal depending on your field of work and vertical. For example, if you work in a Salesforce consultancy and wish to move higher up the ladder, a project management certification such as PRINCE2 or SCRUM is almost guaranteed to help you. In addition to this, large ISV partners such as Apttus & Docusign offer training courses which result in a certification, definitely one to look over if you work heavily with these products. A few more useful certifications are listed below..