Transitioning and Transferring to a Salesforce Career
Transitioning and Transferring to a Salesforce Career

Transitioning and Transferring to a Salesforce Career

08/26/2020 by Yrel Macahilas
Insight in moving from one industry to a career in the Salesforce ecosystem and the approach to thrive.

For many people, the past few months have not been easy, as millions have lost work suddenly. While the job front may have appeared bleak, we also know it is possible to pick ourselves up after we fall. Our human resilience can make it possible to take a step back and view the current situation as an opportunity to transition from one industry to another. 

An IDC study published last year claimed that by 2024, Salesforce and the ecosystem would have enabled the creation of nearly 4.2 million jobs worldwide. The job forecast may be a bit less clear from here but it still looks like cloud computing technology and SaaS will be a major part of the path forward. We’ve written a number of posts on how to get into the Salesforce ecosystem after college graduation. How do you approach transitioning into a Salesforce career if you’ve been employed elsewhere for a while and have no prior experience?

Learning Technical Skills

There are a number of posts about Trailhead on the Arkus blog. A quick search at the top of the page will bring these up. You can learn more about the online learning platform in any of these if you are new to it. Almost anyone you speak with about getting started in the ecosystem will point you here. 

Salesforce has made it quite a fun experience to learn how to use their system through Trailhead. The gamified way of earning badges with modules and trails can keep you interested in the topic selected for the skill you’re learning in Salesforce. Now the new issue is that if everyone can access the same resources for millions of other people, what makes you different? How do you stand out or prove yourself? 

The trick is to balance the soft skills with the technical ones. Having strong technical skills is critical, but it isn’t the only important place to put your focus. If you have just been exposed to Salesforce, check out Kathryn Puzzanghera’s blog: Learning Salesforce Basics: Tips for New Admins for some tips on improving those technical skills. How about the other ones?

Identifying Transferable Skills

Several years ago, I was considering a leap into the Salesforce world. As a customer service cashier at the time, I was faced with this dilemma of how to stand apart. I graduated from college with a degree and began work as an intern right out of the gate only to find myself returning to retail to support myself once those internships ended. It was clear retail wouldn’t work for me long-term, but it was difficult to make the move away. 

While investigating how to make the successful leap into a different industry, I stumbled upon a program called Climb Hire. They prepare individuals with the knowledge and skills to become Salesforce Administrators, regardless of their prior experience. Immediately, I signed up and dove in. 

In addition to technical knowledge, Climbers, as we're called, are taught the soft skills necessary for the jobs we are seeking. It was from working with Climb Hire that I learned the importance of not just the technical skills I’ve gained, but also the life lessons I learned from my experiences.

When looking for opportunities, it can be discouraging to face positions you feel you lack the needed experience and skills for. I found it required a great deal of stouthearted optimism to continue in the face of this discouragement and remind myself to consider the glass as not half empty but half full. Transitioning from one industry to another may not be easy. To thrive in a whole new environment can take a great deal of self-reflection and outside-the-box thinking. 

The question to ask yourself is, “What are some of the transferable skills from my past jobs and experiences?” It can be a difficult question to answer and it’s understandable if you don’t know where to begin. One place to start can be to simply list all your responsibilities and roles in detail from three to four previous jobs or internships. 

Crew at Dreamforce

A picture of me at my first Dreamforce

For example, evidence of project management or other management, communication, creativity, or productivity skills will make strong technical skills even more desirable. Iva Mandic’s recent post for new grads on Tips & Tricks to Land a Job in the Salesforce Ecosystem also has helpful info that can help anyone at any stage of the game get started. 

Every job or work experience will have some form of transferable skill that you can apply when transitioning into a new job or industry. Communication, creative thinking, organization, management, leadership, human relation, research, and planning, etc., are only some of the skills that you can transfer into new opportunities. Understanding the possibilities of what you have to offer from your experiences is only the beginning.

Have the Mindset

During Dreamforce 19, I shared my story and current goals with fellow members in the Salesforce ecosystem. I explained how I wanted to utilize my experience in retail and customer service in combination with my newfound Salesforce skills.

In response, many Salesforce professionals, and even one of the founders here at Arkus, Justin Edelstein, shared with me that even though I didn’t have much background in Salesforce, what was invaluable and could not be taught via an online learning platform was the set of interpersonal skills I had developed during my time as a customer service cashier.

Taking a picture of my community at Dreamforce

To progress in any environment, an individual must have a willingness to continue learning and building their skill set. Initially, I wanted to utilize my educational background in code development and set my sights on being a Salesforce Developer. I underestimated the role and responsibility of a Salesforce Administrator, but one Salesforce MVP told me that to be a developer, I had to understand the capabilities of what is possible as an administrator because in his words, “All developers were great admins first.” In the Salesforce ecosystem, you have the opportunity to continuously grow as Salesforce itself is updated three times a year with modifications or new features. 

Coming into any job, opportunity, or even interview, there will be challenges. There may be moments that you feel as though you’ve failed but maintaining enthusiasm and passion to try again will eventually lead you to success as long as you learn from your mistakes. Understand that your desired outcome may not immediately come to fruition and patience is key when branching out to new opportunities. 

Preparation can lessen nervousness and anxiety but the most important thing to remember is to have faith in yourself. Trust and believe in the hard work you’ve done because eventually, the results will show. Now just take the initiative and take that first step.

I consider myself an introvert and, as an introvert, you may feel nervous or even hesitant to step outside of your comfort zone. Hayley Tuller at Arkus wrote a great post about How to Rock Dreamforce as an Introvert. Hayley is also a veteran who made the move into the ecosystem and you can hear more about her journey in this post. There are many different roles in this ecosystem, from admin at an organization to a consultant at a company such as Arkus. 

How did you come into the Salesforce ecosystem? What other skills are important in transferring from one opportunity to another? If you want to share your thoughts and stories, feel free to comment on the Salesforce Success Community, tweet directly at me on Twitter @MacahilasYrel.