I believe every fanatic Salesforce professional made at least one attempt to recruit a close and, often rather defiant, family member or friend into the world of Salesforce.
I am no different. Since I learned about Salesforce around 6 years ago, it has become a significant part of my life and a huge passion. Not surprisingly, the first person I tried to recruit was my husband, Kevin.
Kevin spent a large portion of his life in the forces. He joined military training at the age of 17. Whilst serving, he had a wide range of jobs including being a linguist, a data analyst and, more significantly, an IT Systems Manager and Trainer. You are probably already aware that soldiers travel a lot and not always to the safest places. After his last deployment, the only thing I could think about was how to convince him to leave the military.
I honestly don’t know how other army wives do it. But I couldn’t live with a constant fear that something bad could happen to him. No matter how proud Kevin was to serve our country, his job was risky and kept him away from me. We eventually discussed the options (after a LOT of moaning from my side, I should confess). And Kevin agreed that he was going to consider a new career.
However, we soon found out that it was much easier to speak of a new career than to actually start it. Although Kevin had an abundance of internal qualifications and skills, it seemed that businesses and recruiters were hesitant to vouch for him. They didn’t seem to recognise his unique and vast skill set.
This theme appears to be a very common problem for UK soldiers. And it makes the transition into the civilian world very difficult. Many companies seem to close ranks as soon as they see that an applicant is coming from a military background.
After realising that there was a lack of desire from recruiters and companies, Kevin decided to do a few different courses before restarting his job hunt. The aim was to get some civilian recognised ‘transferable’ skills. It was at this point that I first tried to interest him in Salesforce. Maybe I wasn’t very convincing or, maybe the time wasn’t perfect, but my attempts were unsuccessful. He simply didn’t understand my enthusiasm for Salesforce. At this point in time, Kevin worked as a linguist and was starting to enter the IT world as a researcher/data analyst.
A few years later, a position for an IT Systems Manager and Trainer became available internally. Kevin was very keen to get it. After a tough selection process, he was successful with his application. For the next 3 years he worked as an IT Systems Manager and Trainer. Despite the success of his new role, I kept trying to recruit Kevin into Salesforce (I don’t give up easy). And, to give him his dues, he did start skimming the surface of Salesforce.
In August 2016, I brought him to a community event called Surf Force, which was organised by Shaun Holmes in Aberavon, Wales. The event was dedicated to showing people how Salesforce can change their lives, no matter what background they come from. I was actually one of the speakers sharing a success story. Funnily enough, it wasn’t my speech that convinced Kevin to give Salesforce another go. It was the speech of another presenter, namely, Anna Bastek, CEO of Voicebox. I’m paraphrasing, but Anna said that there will always be things pulling you back and preventing you from achieving your dreams. However, she said that if you want to achieve something, you need to pursue it despite any obstacles or hindrances on your path.
When we got home, Kevin instantly resigned from his job and started looking into learning Salesforce again. He was going through online resources, blazing Trailhead and ordered many books from Amazon.
I couldn’t believe it was finally happening.
One day Salesforce sent me a Trailblazer hoody. It was one of those nice black hoodies that you can see when reading about Trailblazers: https://trailhead.salesforce.com/en/trailblazers. However, they didn’t have my size (XS) and sent me a size L. Guess who became the owner instead? I actually believe that hoody had some magic in it as it turned my husband into a Trailhead addict. He kept completing modules and getting badges. In fact, this is exactly what he is doing now, while I am writing this blog post.
After months and months of extensive daily evening study sessions which lasted in excess of four hours, he got his very first Salesforce certification (Salesforce Certified Administrator). A few months after this, he got his second one (Salesforce Platform App Builder).
I won’t lie and say that it suddenly became easy to enter the Salesforce job market after he got certified. However, it certainly helped and complemented the numerous other skills and qualifications he had already obtained. In fact, the certifications helped Kevin get his first Salesforce admin role with a charity in London. And, as a matter of fact, he still volunteers for them to this day.
Despite the perceived bias against ex-military, there are organisations that are prepared to employ people who are relatively new to the Salesforce ecosystem.
Today, many months and years after deciding to leave a life in uniform, my Trailhead Recruit is working for a consultancy and, is on the way to becoming a Salesforce developer. Maybe one day he agrees to write an article with his tips on certification and how to approach the job market…
P.S.: The phrases ‘fanatic Salesforce Professional’ and ‘ ‘a LOT of moaning’ have been added by Kevin.