From Artist to Admin: Samantha Stubbs
By Samantha Stubbs
Before I was a Salesforce Admin I was a owner of a small jewelry company based on etsy. This allowed me to access my creative side so I was never bored designing, creating, marketing, the tasks never ended.
While working on my art career I met a friend who happened to be a Salesforce Dev. Having a huge fascination for computers and what jobs you could get with them, I followed their journey. I watched them job hunt, argue over contracts and finally land a remote job doing what they loved. The whole process had me intrigued, and after a while they directed me to Trailhead, where I was introduced to Salesforce. Because at heart I am a very organized person and love to customize things, the Admin work was a instant connection. I enjoyed learning how to create new things in this environment and as the modules grew more and more complex I realized this is something I can see myself doing for a long time.
Before I could consider finding a job I made sure to achieve Ranger status on trailhead. I have heard it called a “flirtation” when you start completing a few badges, but after 100+ it is considered respectable and no longer just a flirt. Superbadges are also a great way to prove that you are capable, even if you have no background experience.
LinkedIn is a beautiful place to start connecting with people and learning from others. Don’t be afraid to connect to people, you see the label “recruiter”, add them! Remember recruiters will want to get you a job just as much as you do. Find other people doing the same job as you, if you are a admin, connect to other admins, one day you might need to ask them a question. In the beginning I learned so much from just from talking to a handful of people. Even if they have no jobs for you just talking to recruiters is useful.
Answering questions about a background without on the job experience can feel challenging, but there are many ways to hightlight your strengths by talking about trailhead accomplishments, describing what you have learned on Udemy or any other platforms, and talking about where you want to go in the career. Beside providing valuable education to prepare for a job, Udemy is a great place to prepare for certifications, even offering practice tests/questions. Udemy has sales almost every week, so wait till they are on sale to purchase them ($10-$12/course).
Another place to get advice is local meet-ups, or Ohana meet-ups, as I like to call them. These meetups are when a bunch of Salesforce people meet up somewhere casual, usually coffee shops and just connect. When I went to my first Ohana meeting I was given advice on interviewing tips, tips on when I take my cert, and you never know, someone might even be looking to recruit!
A lot of Salesforce jobs are remote. Working remotely can take self discipline and you have to be capable of keeping yourself organized. Being a business owner, I was lucky to already of been using those skills. When you first get hired there's a chance you might get overrun with meetings and being introduced and you're put on projects who need to meet once a day….etc. Just breathe, don't worry about how you look on camera, focus on listening, and don’t be afraid to speak up if you are being overwhelmed, it does not mean you aren't good or cut out for the job, you just need to find a system that works for you! Also, taking notes is a crucial way to make sure you remember what went on in that meeting that happened 3 days ago.
Starting my new job as a Admin I enjoyed the most working with my team. I loved the thrill of deadlines and the fact that without my full effort the project wouldn't succeed. As a beginner admin, there is usually a gradual increase of responsibilities and deadlines so that it is not too overwhelming. This allows you to treat the work you are given as even more important, completing smaller tasks quickly and efficiently. Then, next time you will be trusted with more.
The biggest surprises I experienced as a new Salesforce admin where not with my role specifically, but with working for large companies in general. Before, I had never worked in a job where to get hired you need a contract. The best advice I can give is to research any questions you have and not feel pressured into making a decision you do not understand or do not feel good about! You have a question? Ask. Especially when committing to a contract, you do not need to settle on a contract you don’t understand just because you know you're new. This is where those LinkedIn contacts can come in handy too, everyone in the same field as you had to sign a contract, if you have concerning question about a clause or confusing wording used in your contract, ask them before you sign it. Also, do research on what the average junior salary is in your area, and make sure the offer is comparable to your skill set. This can be tricky when applying for a remote position because salaries vary by geography, and employers will tend to evaluate salary ranges based on their geography and not yours.
Because I was hired into my first role as an admin without a Salesforce certification, my main goal for my first year is to become a certified administrator. Certifications are a great way to prove yourself and earn respect (not to mention a nice pay bump). I recommend looking at what certs are offered in your area of interest (for Admins there are 4) and going for them all! Consultants and admins usually work closely together, so to add further value to your company I recommend pursuing the consultant certifications also. You really can't have too many. Another goal for my first year that I would recommend to anyone starting a Salesforce career is to go to Dreamforce. There are networking opportunities with other admins, developers, recruiters, vendors, and business leaders. We are all here because we love Salesforce, and at Dreamforce, you will learn about all of the new releases or anything else fun going on.
Trailhead Profile: https://trailhead.salesforce.com/en/me/samanthastubbs