Thu, 20 May 2021
Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got Michele Corwin, Senior Salesforce Platform Administrator at Integrate. We learn how she transitioned from a career in banking and finance into the Salesforce ecosystem.
Join us as we talk about how Michele got her first Salesforce admin job through the community, how volunteering played an important role by giving her hands-on experience, and why you shouldn’t be afraid to apply for something even if you don’t have all of the qualifications.
You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Michele Corwin.
How Michele found Salesforce.
Michele is a Salesforce admin and a career transitioner, moving to her new role from her previous job in banking and finance. “A lot of clients were in IT,” she says, “if there was a sector that I completely did not understand, it was IT. So I would say if I can do it, anyone can do it.”
When Michele’s career stalled out, she started looking at other options. She knew she loved helping people and solving problems, so she decided to take that and look at job descriptions in any industry, regardless of title. “Everything that I kept finding that I loved what the core work was mentioned Salesforce,” she says, “and that’s how it all started for me.”
Getting started with changing your career.
Michele’s next step was to connect through a family friend to someone how worked as a Salesforce consultant, which led her to Trailhead. She immediately fell in love with every aspect of it, not just the platform but the community around it, which she connected to through a Women in Tech meetup in Indianapolis.
The next challenge was how Michele could get her foot in the door. “Everyone wants one to two year’s experience—how do I do that when I can’t get in?” She went to the community to offer her skills for free in exchange for some hands-on experience and got connected with Indy Lost Pet Alert, which had a free Salesforce instance and didn’t know what to do with it. “I got to build it myself with no other resources but myself and Trailhead,” she says.
Getting your first Salesforce position.
After six months of job applications, Michele landed her first full-time Salesforce position in November 2019, but she only got to spend three months in her physical office. “One thing that really helped me was that I didn’t not put in for things just because they wanted two or three years,” she says. While the job she landed wanted someone with more experience, she felt her other skills would make her a good fit.
In January 2021, however, Michele’s LinkedIn started blowing up. “You’re in an industry that is open to all sectors,” she says, “which is so powerful.” She ended up taking 19 interviews, and ended up with 3 offers that all met her requirements. Along the way, keeping her LinkedIn up-to-date was key in making sure she popped up on recruiters’ radars. “Don’t underestimate yourself, don’t be afraid to get out there and do it,” she says, “when I was in it, it felt like it took an eternity, but it’s only been two to three years since I heard the word Salesforce and asked, ‘What is it?’.”
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Full Show Transcript
Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk about product, community and careers to help you be an awesome admin. I'm your host, Gillian Bruce. And today we have a very inspiring story for you, whether you are thinking about switching your career, mid career or if you were thinking about trying to get your first admin job or help someone else get their first Salesforce admin job, this podcast is for you today.
Michelle Corwin: Thank you for having me.
Gillian Bruce: Well, it's not often we have a Salesforce superhero joining us on the pod. So, I'm very happy to have you here with us today. I would love to introduce you a little bit to our audience. Can you tell us what you do and then give us a brief intro to maybe some of your journey and then we'll talk a little bit more about that.
Michelle Corwin: Yeah. Perfect. So, I'm a Salesforce administrator and I am also a career transitioner. So, I transitioned from a career in banking and finance. So, the most recently, like private client banking and hit a spot in my life where it was like, what am I doing? Do I like this? Do I enjoy it? And it all went from there.
Gillian Bruce: Okay. So, you're a Salesforce administrator now. Congratulations. That is awesome.
Michelle Corwin: Thank you.
Gillian Bruce: I would love to know... Let's talk a little bit about your journey because one of the things I'd love to talk about today to help some of our listeners, maybe who might be mid career transitioners themselves. Talk to me a little bit more about your decision to make that move. Because I mean, banking to Salesforce admin, that is quite a difference. Can you tell me a little bit more about your motivation behind that?
Michelle Corwin: Sure. And it's actually ironic too because with a lot of my clients, a lot of them were in IT and I was always like, "I don't understand what you do." If there was a sector that I completely did not understand, it was IT. So, I would say, if I can do it, anyone can do it. I have no IT background at all. I loved what I did and I loved helping people and I loved problem solving. And if someone came in and was a problem to solve, that was the highlight of my day, right?
Gillian Bruce: You say you reverse engineered finding a Salesforce career path. That is incredible to me. So, I mean, were you just putting the search terms that you mentioned of the things that you like like problem solving, helping people?
Michelle Corwin: Mm-hmm (affirmative). So, instead of focusing on title, I tried to really think of what do I like doing in my day? What is the part about my day in my job that I like? To try to find those skills that I could bring into something else, right? Because I was open to, well, maybe it's not in banking, maybe it's not in finance, maybe it's somewhere else but what's that core value that I can bring.
Gillian Bruce: That's amazing. It is truly, truly awesome. Okay. So, then you discovered the Salesforce thing and you start getting dialed into resources that are online, you start connecting to folks, I'm assuming via probably like a LinkedIn or something like that?
Michelle Corwin: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Gillian Bruce: How did you bridge that from learning and connecting with folks to actually looking for a job and getting trained up? Tell me a little bit about that journey.
Michelle Corwin: Sure. So, in the next step of, it was where those things when you start going down the right path, things start falling in place, right? I had a family friend that actually had a business relationship in a whole other city with someone who was a Salesforce consultant. And she had mentioned me to her and was like, "Oh my gosh, she would be amazing at this. I would love to talk to her." And that was Vivian roles in what I spoke with her, she was like, "Hey, have you heard of Trailhead?" I was like, "Nope."
Gillian Bruce: Okay. So, you're making actual in-person connections with the community in Indianapolis, which I know is a very vibrant Salesforce community.
Michelle Corwin: Yes. They're great.
Gillian Bruce: I mean, we even have a Salesforce hub out there. So, I know there's tons of Salesforce people in that neck of the woods. Tell me a little bit about how... I mean, at this point and you're still working as in private banking, correct? You still have your regular job.
Michelle Corwin: Yes. Yes. So, this whole time, I was still working. I had moved from Texas to Indianapolis actually during this transition time. So, I started looking when I was in Texas. I moved from Texas to Indianapolis, kept looking where I was here, joined a bank here while I was still trying to learn everything that I could and get plugged in. I went to my first Salesforce meeting was the Indy women in tech meeting. And Liz Hellinger was doing a meeting on negotiation, right?
Gillian Bruce: So, they had the shiny new toy and they didn't know how to use it. And you're like, "Cool." So, I love your mission and I want to use Salesforce. So, this is a fantastic meeting of everyone's desires at one point. That's amazing.
Michelle Corwin: Yeah. It was perfect. It was a win-win. And then I got to build it from scratch with no other resource but myself and Trailhead. So, it was a wonderful first experience, right? I know so much more now but just being able to learn how to create an app, learn how to work in service cloud, learn how to work in nonprofit cloud. I got exposure that way. So, then, I did that while trying to find the first role.
Gillian Bruce: So, one thing I'd love to talk a little bit about there. Let's just pause for a second in your story is having that gap of a lot of people who are transitioning into being a Salesforce admin encountered the same problem of everybody wants a few years of experience in order to just get that first job. And it's puts you in a tough spot because you're like, "Well, no, I'm trying to get that first job. I don't have that experience yet because I am trying to get it. And I promise that I will learn," so.
Michelle Corwin: Yeah. So, I initially had helped them get everything set up and then it was all also around a project of a new website launch and all this other things that were going into it. And then COVID hit, right? So, we launched the new website, everything happened, COVID hit, things come down a little bit. And then during that time, they were also transitioning where Indy humane society was going to be absorbing the Indy Los pet because it had grown so big that volunteers that we had access to, we couldn't keep it running anymore.
Gillian Bruce: I think it's a very important point to hit on. You then trained and enabled somebody else to continue the work because oftentimes, we have people who dip in for, "Hey, let's do a quick project for a non-profit because they want experience," and then later, "Bye. Have fun."
Michelle Corwin: Oh yeah. No. I was so far deep. I mean, I was so passionate about it. I think that really matters too, right? Don't pick something to help with something you don't care about because you're not going to give it your all. I was very passionate about that in their mission and what they did. And I mean, I put so much into it, because I wanted to make it amazing for them.
Gillian Bruce: That's awesome. That's fantastic. Okay. So, you're working with this non-profit, you're actually getting that hands-on experience with Salesforce, you are transitioning to the new structure that that nonprofit has. And you also described when COVID hits. So, tell me a little bit then what happens with your admin job search?
Michelle Corwin: Yeah. So, I kind of right before I actually got my first full-time role at PSI services in November of 2019. And so, of course, March 20 is when everything really hit the fan, right? So, I was in my physical new job office for three, four months. But before that time throughout, I would say it was probably maybe six months before that time I was at the bank working the non-profit and then I was just putting job applications everywhere, right? I mean, at first, I was looking around here. There wasn't really anything I could find that I was qualified for the entry level, right? Entry levels, it was hard to find.
Gillian Bruce: That's fantastic. So, let's talk about that a little bit too. What are some things that helped you get that? First of all, because as you said, you maybe didn't meet all of the technical requirements that they had. What were some of the things that you think that you conveyed that helped convince them that you're the right person to hire?
Michelle Corwin: Yes. Great question. And it's really a great point that I think one thing that really helped me was I didn't not put in for things just because the fact that they put two, three years. So, the job that I ended up getting, they were looking for someone that was two to three years, had some different things, maybe they were looking for Apex and they were looking for this and looking for that, that wasn't the job description. I still put in for it.
Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I mean, you have so much experience from I'll be at a different industry but a lot of experience already to bring that and wasn't necessarily Salesforce. So, I think that's important to highlight like, "Hey, don't throw that all away. That's still very evil."
Michelle Corwin: Yeah. And you really never know what it is. So, the funny thing about that interview, I was nervous because I had already done stuff for the nonprofit and I was proud of that. And I talked about what I had done but obviously, some of my terminology around Salesforce was you can tell I'm new to it. But some things that I brought was I am great at talking with executive leadership. I am great at diving. I've been doing financial planning. So, if I can get people to trust me with their money, they pretty much trust me with anything, right?
Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Well, I mean, you talked about some what we "traditionally" talk about as soft skills, right? Executive communication ability to work partner with executive leadership, being a security-minded person. I mean, hey, unplugging the fax machine machine may not have any direct correlation to Salesforce but it shows that you think about security very core important to you and how you do your work. And I think that that's so important to any admin.
Michelle Corwin: Oh gosh. No.
Gillian Bruce: Now. But hey, now is a great time to get a job as an admin. Can you talk about that a little bit more and recap that a little bit and share with the listeners?
Michelle Corwin: Yeah. So, I knew like, "Hey, I'm starting to feel like there's more that I want to learn, want to have more experience with an org that has more. I was already in a complex org but I knew in the next maybe year or so, I would probably look for more to keep that learning path, right? But I didn't have my mindset on that. And in January, probably about mid-January, there was just one day I don't know what switch flip happened. And my LinkedIn just started getting blown up. I mean, more messages, calls, emails. I had to get a Google number because I couldn't keep up with all the recruiters spam that was trying to come at me.
Gillian Bruce: What a wild ride, I mean?
Michelle Corwin: Yeah. This is in my first year and a half in Salesforce. Yeah.
Gillian Bruce: All the extremes.
Michelle Corwin: Yeah. Yeah. I can withstand anything but I was thinking about it today. I'm like, "You know what though? I have zero doubt in my mind that no matter what happens today, I'm in an industry that I can get a job tomorrow." That brings such a peace of mind to me and my family to know that the skillset I have, I do not have to worry if something happens with my company I'm at or whatever it may be because you're in an industry that is open to all sectors, which is so powerful.
Gillian Bruce: I think that is a very, very important point. And just to close your career story or bring us up to where we are now. So, after your 19 interviews, did you get a new job?
Michelle Corwin: Yes. So, I took all the interviews. I took my own advice, right? I talked to everyone and through that process, I would say the most important advice I could give was I was a hundred percent true to me, a hundred percent true to what I value and a hundred percent true to what I needed for that next chapter for me, whether it was work, whether it was the compensation package, whatever it was. And I actually during that process was like, "Oh, I have this role. I'm obviously at a different level now. I have people telling me this is the pay ranges for these positions."
Gillian Bruce: That's what you're supposed to do. I think that's our like we're all supposed to do that, whether we knew it already or not. You learn that lesson at some point.
Michelle Corwin: So, I asked for a little bit over not crazy amount over but asked for a little bit over and crazily the way the timing worked out, I ended up with three offers over the same weekend and all of them were willing to give me what I wanted. So, it was a matter of picking which one I felt lined up with what I needed professionally and personally. And so, I went with Integrate, which is who I'm with now.
Gillian Bruce: That's awesome. Well, congratulations Michelle.
Michelle Corwin: Thank you.
Gillian Bruce: That is very cool. So, I mean, some of the things that I think were were important to highlight from what you just shared was, I mean, you've mentioned all of a sudden something clicked and you got a ton of attention and you mentioned some of the elements that I think are totally completely understandable, right? People realize, "Hey, this new normal is not new anymore. This is the normal." And if we haven't already gone through some digital transformation, now is the time because this is the way the business is going to get done.
Michelle Corwin: Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely.
Gillian Bruce: So, I think it's really interesting perspective. And I think as even though we're part way through the year here, I mean, are you seeing a similar energy around Salesforce admin jobs from your perspective?
Michelle Corwin: Yes. So, I still get hit up, not to the magnitude that happened January, February because I think that was literally first quarter budgeting court planning, right? And everybody went like, "Ooh, we got to figure this out. We can't put it on hold anymore." But I definitely am still seeing a lot of emails, a lot of calls, a lot of LinkedIn messages, a lot of opportunity that's out there. And I think if I could say the things that I did that helped put me in a position for when that happened January, February, was I never stopped keeping my LinkedIn up-to-date.
Gillian Bruce: I think that's great, great advice, Michelle. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us. I think that this is incredibly helpful for anyone who's thinking about maybe looking for that next job or trying to get their first admin job. So, I really want to thank you so much for sharing all of your lessons and your advice with us. Is there any one last or a couple of last things you'd love to leave the listeners with?
Michelle Corwin: Yeah. I mean, I would say, don't underestimate yourself. Don't be afraid to get out there and do it. And I'm a perfectionist. So, I, in the beginning I got very discouraged, right? I'm never going to get this. It's never going to happen. I can't find that entry role I'm getting told, no, just keep going, focus on building the blocks. We've already talked about what some of those things are, keep working on that, keep working towards it. Be true to yourself. Be honest and it'll all start building on each other and you'll find one day you'll look back.
Gillian Bruce: Wow. That's awesome. That's awesome.
Michelle Corwin: So, sky's the limit.
Gillian Bruce: Michelle, amazing way to wrap up this conversation. I am so excited also to see what you do next because clearly, you are on a very propelled trajectory. So, congratulations on your success so far and thank you so much for sharing and helping others with their journeys as well.
Michelle Corwin: Thank you. Thank you so much for having me.
Gillian Bruce: Huge thanks to Michelle for taking the time to chat with me. I'm inspired. I hope you're inspired as well. I mean, she shared so many great messages, especially about finding, not only finding but getting recruited to be a Salesforce admin within the last very tough year and a half at this point. I mean, what an incredible thing to reverse engineer your way into finding Salesforce career path and then getting recruited in the age of COVID. I mean, what an incredible very positive story for us all to listen to.
Direct download: Your_Guide_to_Getting_a_Salesforce_Admin_Job_in_Today_s_Market_with_Michele_Corwin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:42am PST