There are many ways to get started (and grow!) as a Salesforce professional. People from all walks of life start a career in Salesforce, whether it’s their first career move or they’re transitioning from completely different fields or industries. After training many professionals, we’ve noticed there are a few things that these soon-to-be Salesforce experts haven’t been told about their new career path.
There are things about success in Salesforce that are in every training. But by using real on-the-job training, newbies have the opportunity to see what it really takes. We sat down with Mo Jassat, Senior Director for Salesforce EMEA Partner Development at Cognizant and a coach at Clicked.
1. Applied Learning Is Essential
Theory is great, and practice is better; however, clicking around in a Salesforce environment doesn’t compare to working with a goal in mind. Think of how many college graduates confess to feeling unprepared for the real world — they read the books and got the grades but missed out on hands-on experience.
This experience’s advantages are threefold. One, you get to literally see what it’s like and decide firsthand whether this path is the right fit for you. Not nearly enough people get to ‘try on’ a career before committing to it, and this is a great way to evaluate your own interest and investment. But also, you learn unique insights that will help you position yourself in interviews. Anyone can talk about hypotheticals, but talking about specific examples will set you apart from the competition.
Finally, boots-on-the-ground experiences mean you have a deeper empathy for the role. In a work environment, just like anywhere else, people seek to feel seen and understood. This is a great method to develop your ability to build rapport with interviewers and potential colleagues.
“Applied learning is an essential component for entry-level Salesforce professionals to experience hands-on how Salesforce solutions are designed and implemented in companies.”– Mo Jassat
While there are many incredible free resources to learn Salesforce skills and terminology, like Trailhead, applied learning experiences completed in conjunction with educational material prepare a career transitioner completely to make the jump into their first entry-level Salesforce role.
Applied experience matters because it places context around the content, which many of our learners lack without hands-on experience. If you don’t understand the ‘why,’ the ‘how’ doesn’t matter, and understanding the ‘why’ is step one to understanding the ‘how’.
2. It Depends…
The single most frustrating answer to possibly any question is “It depends”. It feels like a cop-out — a way of answering without really answering.
But there is so much with Salesforce that requires critical thinking and creativity to understand specific circumstances and the unique problems companies are trying to solve. There is no one-size-fits-all Salesforce hack, which is what makes it such an exciting field.
Salesforce careers are often considered technical; however, any professional looking to pivot into this industry should lean into their soft skill strengths. Working well with stakeholders, asking the right questions to diagnose business problems, and explaining solutions to non-technical audiences are a handful of many scenarios Salesforce professionals must master as they begin their careers.
“Soft skills are very attractive to potential Salesforce employers. Almost all Salesforce roles – from Business Analysts to Technical Architects – require a repertoire of soft skills to work effectively with project teams and client stakeholders in increasingly matrixed customer organizations.”– Mo Jassat
This comfort with ambiguity is a challenge for many people, and those who get comfortable with it, immerse themselves in it, and swim in it, will ultimately be far more successful than those who don’t.
With the emergence of generative AI, strength in the areas that computers can’t outperform in (like teamwork, communication, collaboration, critical thinking, etc.) is even more important than the hard skills of knowing specific technology features. Recruiters want to know you can work in a team and collaborate.
3. Teamwork Is Table Stakes
In the modern workforce, which is now often remote, it’s easy to believe individuals operate as lone wolves in their respective areas. However, teamwork is more critical than ever, particularly in Salesforce roles.
“As a hiring manager and managing large teams on complex Salesforce implementations, the skill to work as part of a team is absolutely essential for implementation partners. Salesforce projects are generally fast paced, complex, cross departmental and clients want to see value delivered fast. This requires skills from consultants that can demonstrate effective teamwork, collaboration and the ability to work with changing and evolving teams throughout the project lifecycle.”– Mo Jassat
In most cases, there’s more than one stakeholder in any Salesforce implementation, and sometimes dozens of people you’ll need to seek information from. And from sales to marketing to leadership to ops, you need to be able to communicate clearly, assess needs, and determine the best option for moving forward — even and especially when there is disagreement.
The success of these endeavors hinges on effective teamwork. For those entering new careers within the Salesforce ecosystem, the ability to reflect on and articulate both the triumphs and setbacks experienced in a team setting has proven to be a significant catalyst in enhancing their employability.
In a world where the ability to work as a team is not only encouraged but expected, it is much more critical for new Salesforce professionals to feel confident and experienced with working in a group environment. Companies win and lose as one — individuals should expect to as well.
4. Transferable Skills Are Great, If You Can Put Them Into Context
So many new Salesforce learners are apprehensive — it’s easy to focus on all the things you don’t know. But the good news is, there is plenty you do (even if you don’t know it yet).
“Candidates that present themselves not only with a combination of Salesforce certifications but also transferable skills and experience from any career sector are highly sought after by hiring managers. It adds an extra edge beyond having completed a bootcamp or certification.”– Mo Jassat
Whether you’re a former events manager with a keen sense of organization or a service industry veteran who’s used to handling different and difficult personalities, being able to position these skills as an advantage is a skill set learned through practice.
The Salesforce ecosystem needs a ton of new talent to keep up with the growing demand, and understanding how to talk about those transferable skills has been a big piece of our learning design, and those who have been able to communicate this to recruiters have been able to succeed in landing roles.
While any career transition can feel scary, launching a Salesforce career is a great way to pivot into tech while still being able to apply your previous experience from other roles and industries.
5. Learning From Established Professionals Is More Than Networking
Internships are great, but we all know that they’re not always a realistic option. There are far fewer opportunities than there are people seeking to explore a new career, and almost all of them are geared toward recent graduates with education in a related field. What about the thousands, if not millions, of people who are mid-career changers or recent grads who want to try a career path before making a commitment?
If you’re lucky enough to have a connection who can act as a mentor, you’re one of the lucky few. For everyone else, there needs to be a functional, experiential opportunity to learn, flex your skills, and ask questions from someone who knows the ropes.
Mo is just one of many who helps out at Clicked. In his role as a coach, he embraces learning and growth — for him and for his learners.
“Clicked coaches get to create an environment to accelerate learning through feedback loops, sharing personal tips from their years of knowledge and challenges they’ve acquired. Coaches’ feedback and knowledge sharing is priceless for learners.”– Mo Jassat
By observing and learning in these non-perfect-world scenarios (instead of textbook situations where you solve a single problem with a single variable), you can learn how to understand the underlying complexity of problem-solving in the real world — which will ultimately better equip you for the practical problems a real job may present.
As we continue to work with entry-level Salesforce professionals at Clicked, we look forward to understanding better how these professionals are entering the Salesforce ecosystem and how they can best be supported on their journey.
For early career seekers, know that patience, perseverance, and continuing to improve and bolster your skills and experiences will help you stand out from the crowd.
To dive into this further, register for a LinkedIn Live with Salesforce Talent Alliance.