Dig your well, before you’re thirsty…
No matter how smart you are, no matter how talented, you can’t do it alone.
Recently, I had a soon to be college graduate, ask me about the best way to land a position as a Salesforce technologist before he finishes school. I thought this was a great question given he has 4 months of runway between now and the time he graduates, barring he does not get expelled for ordering a pizza in the middle of class between now and then.
The suggestion I had was an easy one to make: “start building your network of connections in the Salesforce ecosystem immediately”.
As the world changes, one thing will remain constant: the relationships you develop over a lifetime.
I think many of us wait until we are very close to graduating to make networking a priority, but to give yourself a competitive advantage against your other graduating classmates, start building the necessary bridges (aka connections) to help in forming meaningful relationships with those in the Salesforce community.
If you’re in an area that has Salesforce community meetups, please start attending and expressing your interest. I’ve been going to these for years, and very rarely do we have college students attend and I live in Houston where we have over 40 colleges and universities with over 300,000 students. You would stand out among your peers and have the opportunity to network with those already working in Salesforce.
You can register for the various community groups here: https://success.salesforce.com/
Additionally, many universities have their own dedicated Salesforce Community Groups that are dedicated just to students. And if you don’t have one available, you could always start one.
If an in-person option is not possible, start showing up to the Salesforce virtual sessions such as the MVP Office Hours where the Salesforce community collaborates and aids those that are needing help and looking for real time feedback. Although, you might not be actively participating or don’t have questions, you should be listening and understanding the challenges existing Salesforce professionals are having, and then even start to build your network with those that are part of the group, by having conversations outside of this group setting.
Another great option is utilizing your alumni network. Search for alumni on LinkedIn that have a Salesforce title and connect with them to start conversations about their career, how they landed their 1st position and any suggestions that they might have if they were in your shoes. More importantly, KEEP IN TOUCH after making that initial outreach. Most alumni are always open to helping a fellow student from their Alma Mater and if you’re genuine in asking for help and have humility in your conversations with them, I think most will oblige.
There’s a good acronym when it comes to networking and since we’re talking about school, what better way to tie this subject together:
Reciprocity – understanding that it’s a two-way street when building a network; you give, you get, you no give, you no get
Interdependency – our success does not come in isolation; we need to rely on each other for help
Sharing – hopefully we’ve all learned that sharing is caring; this is especially true in building your network
Keeping at it – sure, you may get the occasional brush off and that’s OK; if a door is closed, that just means another one somewhere else is waiting to be opened
The networking mistakes people make in their lives come from the risks they never take.
Article was inspired by the book: Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty (The Only Networking Book You’ll Ever Need) By: Harvey Mackay, 1997