Make the Most of Your Network

July 2021

The Salesforce Community, the Ohana, the Ecosystem, is arguably the most inclusive and supportive network of professionals in Tech today. In our latest Salesforce virtual event, we sat down with some of the most successful and influential members of the Salesforce community. They shared their stories of overcoming obstacles, delivering creative solutions, and finding the confidence to position themselves as the experts they are. We offer our audience some of our own insights based on over 30 years in the staffing and recruitment industry to compliment those of the Salesforce experts. 

You can watch the previously live recording of the event, Optimizing Your Salesforce Career Path, here.

Get the Salary You Deserve

How did you leverage your network when you negotiated your salary?

Brigette Sjoboen describes using both direct and indirect networking (meaning her network and her network's network) to get the valuable information no one but they could provide. Letting her connections know when she's on the job market lets them keep an eye out for opportunities. She asks a few people in her network what an appropriate salary is, discarding the fear of letting them know her expectations. 

Is there any better way to prevent being undervalued?

Sheldon Simmons describes the first time he discussed salary with a peer and was stunned at the reaction. A lesson learned that day was worth its weight in gold, so to speak. You don't know what you don't know. Do not be afraid to ask for insight and information. Not to talk about salary, or at minimum salary ranges, protects employers more than talented professionals.

Whenever you draw on your resources within your network, remember that the process is a give-and-take. Return the favor by offering advice, insight, and mentorship to others at every available opportunity. Sharing knowledge is the best way to pay it forward and position yourself to receive help when you need it. 

There are others ways to educate yourself on your value: perform basic research. 

  • Search job postings for positions for which you are qualified and compare your salary;
  • Review salary benchmark reports;
  • Subscribe to authoritative resources in your industry;
  • Review sites such as glassdoor.com for average salaries in your region;

One thing not to do: communicate your living expenses as reasons for your asking salary, especially at the entry-level. The information is immaterial to a prospective employer, seems inappropriately personal, and is not linked to your skills and abilities as a performer. Instead, identify the market rate for your prospective role and determine the minimum you can accept so that you can stand firm on your needs.

Personal Branding as a Tech Expert

What is Your Advice For Building Your Online Presence in the Salesforce Ecosystem?

Whether you are actively working on building your brand or passively communicating in your ecosystem, your brand is being built with or without you.

Stephanie Herrera tells us how early in her career she would share whatever she found interesting with her network, and before she knew it had built a following of people who thought the content was interesting too, positioning her as someone who provides useful information in the community. Just be yourself in your online presence. Maintaining a façade is too much work for one person to maintain and will alienate your intended audience.

Like Stephanie, Jennifer Lee earned her reputation as a Salesforce authority by identifying the areas which interested her most (building automation and Flow in this case) and sharing information with her community. By focusing her energy on what she enjoyed, she stayed up to date on the most current data, trends, and abilities of the system. Working through the challenge and intimidation of learning difficult skills from the experts, she started a blog to share her findings with the greater community, not to capitalize on her knowledge but to share her own insights on the material. It turned out to be immeasurably helpful to thousands across the industry, and readers made their appreciation known. 

Whenever you are interacting with your colleagues, chatting in a webinar, attending a networking event, or any other activity that has to do with your career, keep your personal brand top of mind. Present yourself as a professional, be courteous and polite, and look for ways to add value to your network at every opportunity. The higher your career climbs, the more people will follow your example, the more doors will be opened for you.

Solve Problems with the Help of the Tech Community

How Can You Practice Problem Solving Skills in Salesforce?

A recurring message in our STEM series: reach out to your community and ask, you will find people who are willing and able to help you find a solution to a seemingly unsolvable problem. Salesforce Saturdays and the Trailblazer community are excellent places to start in the Salesforce ecosystem, and there are numerous resources and groups available to the wide world of tech, LinkedIn for instance.

Jennifer Lee shares with us that in the earlier days of her career she would scroll through pages and see how many questions she could answer. The interaction with the community and the accuracy of her contributions along with her initiative in helping others taught her to articulate better to her audience and increased the value of her position within the ecosystem. Any problems she came across that she could not solve, she researched, found the answer, and learned something new. Google is your friend!

However, do not bring a problem to your network or community before you have made an effort to solve the problem yourself. Asking questions that are answerable within the first three results gives the impression that you are not resourceful nor proactive. Members of the community can tell when you expect to be spoon-fed information and resent the use of these platforms in that way. There is no easier way to damage your reputation in the industry than to position yourself as lazy and helpless. Ask questions of the community that need to be answered and further the knowledge of the whole industry.

Community Involvement Adds To Your Tech Career

How Did Your Community Involvement Shape Your Success in Salesforce?

Training and Certifications can only take you so far in any profession, but this is especially true of Salesforce. In the Ohana, no one is an island. Jennifer Lee describes how in the early days of her career she soaked up as much information about Salesforce as she could, but it was activating that knowledge with hands-on work to learn how to apply the information. Jennifer recognized that the problems for which she was finding solutions were likely problems for others as well. 

Creating a blog allowed Jennifer to keep the information she obtained topical, timestamped, and findable by her peers. The blog led to being invited to give presentations, participate in community events, contribute to user groups, and recognition as an MVP. The notoriety escalated steadily, opening doors to interact with product managers and add even more value to her network, leading to more and more lucrative roles. 

Demonstrating knowledge of the latest features and updates in your scope is a sure way to impress the hiring manager during an interview process as it shows that you are on top of changes and will be able to implement them into a role with their company. 

Brigette describes how she found ways to support others and volunteer her time in the industry, but also how the experience helped her develop her skills and abilities in more than one context. Being herself in her communications, nurturing her network, and pushing the envelope in her niche led to several beneficial connections and relationships as others took notice of her excellence.

Networking is not singularly an art nor a science, just as Tech is both but neither. Your network is a living and breathing thing to be nurtured and grown. Serving your community with knowledge is the surest way to ensure that you have a competitive advantage in your career and will put you on the fast track to success.