As a Salesforce admin at some point in your career, there is always a small nudge in you to think about a career change, shift in your mindset, or frustration with your current job where you are not able to learn more, move up the chain or even earn more money. The immediate action of this is to look for jobs outside and as you look at the job portals, you end up looking at consulting companies looking for a consultant role. You get lured into the job description which talks about challenging jobs, new things to learn, attractive pay and you suddenly apply for the job. You might feel that as an admin you have done all the things consulting companies ask for, implement salesforce products, handle requirements from users, train the users and even take leadership where you also talk to developers in your company as well. But the discussion with the recruiter who comes back to you that you have all the skills required except lack of experience in consulting makes you feel dejected and wonder what is wrong with you?? What is so unique about consulting career, how do I make myself fit the role are questions on your mind as you navigate this new year!! Now I have always been a consultant for 20 years and I might be biased on this as consulting is the best job you can have. So the questions in your mind are as follows. 1. What do consulting companies look for in a candidate as they select a consultant? 2. What are the gaps in my current role/experience which make me not suitable for consulting? What are some practical things I can do this year to make myself fit a consulting role and add to my resume? Read on.
1. What do consulting companies look for in a candidate as they select a consultant?
Most of the admins think that their job is very similar to a consulting role like talking to clients, identifying the needs, and building a solution in salesforce. You are right to think in that way!! But there is a catch that makes it unique in consulting? So here is what consulting companies look for in a consultant.
- Attends client meetings, ask the right questions and captures them as stories, usecases and requirements.
- Create business process flows identifying current state, future state with changes.
- Create a solution deck that outlines pros, cons, risks, tradeoff with options on executing the requirement.
- Create an estimate with hours, tasks, identify complex tasks, identify risks on complex tasks and requirements that will delay the project or take too much time.
- Create a project plan on identify tasks, hours, resources needed like developers, Subject matter experts for other cloud products if involved.
- Create a test plan in testing the requirements and execute the test plan during deployment
- Be a project manager and execute the project and deliver it to the client.
So if you look at the above tasks, it is very clear on what consulting companies look for in your resume and needs.
a. Ability to demonstrate business analyst skills that include written requirements, process flows, stories, use cases, etc
b. Create estimates with hours, identify risks, complexities, and solutions
c. Create solution documents outlining pros, cons, risks, trade-offs,s, and options
d. project management skills showing project plans, tasks, working with teams, and executing projects
e. experience in creating test plans and executing them.
2. What are the gaps in my current role/experience which make me not suitable for consulting?
As you can see from the above skills, even though it is somewhat clear as an admin you do all the above tasks, there seem to be gaps in your skills that you may not realize. You might think ” Is this what I do all day with my users? “. What are you missing then?
- Your resume does not highlight all the above skills. As a solo admin or admin , you would just put all salesforce features, skills like process builders, flows, configuration. But if your resume does not talk about business analysis, solutions, project managemnet and testing, your resume is out the window.
- As a solo admin, you might have done all the things like talking to users, explaining solutions and even getting them delivered to them quick , helping the user to test your solution as well. Now all of this is verbal and nothing written down leading to a gap. Really!! In a consulting engagement, you are part of a team and so it is important that you write everything down so that another team member can execute it or make sense out of it. So if you are not able to demonstrate an example of a written requirement , solution, project plan or test plan, it is a clear gap.
- Sometimes you might be part of a small team where you are just working all by yourself, doing all the work and you might have outsourced some part of the work to a consulting company or developer. You still need to manage their work and ensure all the pieces fit together for the final solution. Now is that not proect management? Yes it is but there is nothing written down right and so there is no plan other than in your head!!
- As an admin, training the users is a core part of the job. Now as part of the training you create a training plan, documentation on how users can use the feature you built. It is very similar to a test plan but it is more of a manual than testing. So it is a gap there too!!
3. What are some practical things I can do this year to make myself fit a consulting role and add to my resume?
So now you kind of identified all the gaps, do not lose hope or feel overwhelmed on it. I can sense it from your tone if you are here right!! So here are some simple things you can do this year to move to a consulting career.
- If you are working with a consultant or consulting company, ask them for written requirements, test plans and project plans. Use them as a template for the project you are working on and get used to it.
- As an admin, i am sure you have some way of capturing your user needs. It might be a case in salesforce, task management tool or a spreadsheet. Use that tool to create requirements or start writing them for your next project.
- If you do not use any tool at the moment, use a tool like Asana, google spreadsheet and get experienced in sharing requirements, tasks , test plans on the projects.
- Ask a consultant to look at your resume and have him or her suggest things you should change in your resume to fit the consulting lingo. here are some simple pointers.
- Have bullet points on capturing requirements, user stories and process flows
- Instead of more emphasis on salesforce tasks like create workflows, process builders, have atleast 1 or 2 tasks on project management if you had dealt with third party companies or consultants.
- Talks about testing, deployment and working with teams.
- Volunteer with a non profit and execute a project for them. You would get good experience with running a project with a bunch of volunteers, assigning tasks and executing them. A shameless plug here!! I have a program where I help non profits get work done for free , earn money on donations and provide job opportunities for folks looking to start a salesforce career. So reach out to me on it.
As you can see, you are very close to becoming a consultant and it just needs refinement. So here are 3 things you can do this year to kickstart a consulting career.
- Identify the gaps or skills which you do not have currently which i have listed above
- Put a plan to execute the skills like writing requirements, creating tasks, creating solution decks , project plans and test plans as a goal for one of your project.
- Network with a consultant and review his resume and look for ways to improve your resume.
As always you are welcome to reach out to me with questions. Let us make 2022 a goal for you to kickstart a change and onwards to consulting!!! Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions or feel free to comment below.