Create Your Own Salesforce Experience with Gordon Lee

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By Salesforce, Gillian Bruce, and Mike Gerholdt. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

For today’s Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re joined by Gordon Lee, Salesforce MVP and co-leader of the San Francisco Nonprofit User Group. This conversation is great for new admins or people just getting out there looking for experience.

Join us as we talk about why Salesforce volunteering at a nonprofit can often do more harm than good, others ways you can show you’re qualified for a new position, and how to volunteer responsibly.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Gordon Lee.

Why volunteering for nonprofits can do more harm than good

A common piece of advice for newly-minted admins (which we’ve given on this very show) is to get experience by volunteering at a non-profit. Gordon, however, disagrees: “If you don’t know what you’re doing you have the potential to mess them up way more than you would at a for-profit that has resources and guardrails in place if things go completely wrong.”

At a nonprofit, you can walk away having left tech debt that they simply don’t have the resources to fix. There are a million reasons why volunteers stop being able to commit the time and energy to that work, and it’s different (and often more sudden) than an offboarding process at a for-profit organization would be. The potential to snowball tech problems is high.

“Most people who want to go volunteer at a nonprofit and gain experience have great intentions, but the problem is you don’t know what you don’t know,” Gordon says, “and if you end up messing things up you don’t even realize how bad of a job it is until you go back 2 years later.” And with a volunteer, the nonprofit has no recourse to ask someone back to fix the problems that have occurred.

How to bridge the trust gap

The Catch-22 in all of this is still the problem of getting your foot in the door. New admins with no experience are asked to prove they have experience before they can get that first job while more experienced admins are often not vetted much beyond what’s on their résumé. So how do you do that without volunteering?

The problem is that trust gap exists when you’re making a new hire: how can employers know that you know what they need you to know if a candidate doesn’t have work experience? “You need to show the employer that you can do what the job requires, which is very simple: find the business pain and use Salesforce to solve it,” Gordon says.

Ways to show your experience without volunteering

What Gordon suggests is creating a body of work in a dev org you’ve customized to solve problems. Think of some business problems you see out there in the world and do the work to solve them. Then, work on your presentation skills to tell those stories clearly and be able to talk about how they translate to the org you’re applying to work at.

“As a hiring manager myself, I would love to see that,” Gordon says, “if you are able to show me a portfolio and walk me through your use cases and your stories and tell a coherent story clearly and concisely, that will make you a much stronger candidate than someone who justs says they have 8 Super Badges and 2 years of work experience and 400 badges.”

Gordon and Mike talk through a lot more examples and ideas in the full episode, so be sure to check it out and don’t miss the blog post that started this whole conversation.

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