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Taking the Leap: 3 Tips for Changing Your Career with Salesforce

Trailblazer Karmel James in iconic Trailblazer hoodie. She is representing Trailblazers who career switch.
Freedom to Discover.

Trailblazer Karmel James shares hers tips learned from her transition from chemistry undergrad and nonprofit fundraiser into a trailblazing certified Salesforce Admin.

Embarking on a career change is not just a professional decision; it’s a deeply personal and emotional journey that involves leaving behind the familiar and stepping into the unknown. While all change comes with its fair share of doubts and uncertainties, stepping into a role within the Salesforce ecosystem is a career switch I wholeheartedly recommend.

Career paths are not linear

If you need a walking, talking example of how careers are not linear, look no further. As a self-proclaimed science nerd with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a passion for sewing my own dresses, I don’t come from a traditional tech background. My Salesforce journey didn’t start until later in my career—and happened by pure chance.

My career switch

While working at a small nonprofit, I was introduced to Salesforce and quickly took on an admin role. I had just built a financial management system on Google Sheets when we secured our first Salesforce instance. Salesforce technology revolutionized the way we input, stored, and analyzed our company data. My single Salesforce license was all it took to change my career trajectory and bring me to where I am today. 

And I’m not alone. There are countless other stories of career changers in the Salesforce ecosystem of customers and partners: think 20-year Navy veterans, mothers rejoining the paid workforce after raising their families, and former Olympic gold medalists becoming Salesforce consultants—just to name a few. 

While everyone’s experience is different, I’ve learned a few things which anyone can benefit from. Here are my top three tips for preparing to change your career with Salesforce.

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Four Trailblazers Zachary Banks, Sima Samara, Karmel James, and Tony Nguyen all in Trailblazer hoodies.

1. Remain open to a career switch

Earlier in my career, I always followed the guidance from bosses and mentors about what they thought I should try and what they believed I would be good at. At the time, I felt indifferent about the directions in which I was being pulled. But in hindsight, each one of these minor moves was instrumental in finding my path with Salesforce.

By embracing new projects and roles as they presented themselves, I unknowingly gained exposure to different experiences that shaped my interests. We have to be open to turning points in our life and emerging opportunities. We must be ready to make a career switch that takes us in a totally new direction. There are so many different Salesforce Career Paths available, and there really is something for everyone, wherever your strengths or interests lie. 

2. Build upon your transferable skills

While new experiences are crucial to your growth, it doesn’t mean that you wasted your time in whatever you were doing beforehand. Your current or prior role, however different, was and still is important because your skills may be more transferable than you realize. Whether you have experience in project management, problem-solving, communication, or leadership, these skills can be valuable in various roles within the Salesforce ecosystem.

For the skills you still feel you’re lacking, there’s always Trailhead, Salesforce’s free online learning platform. For me, taking trails was my initial foot in the door to gaining experience working with Salesforce. It’s a great way to get started, not to mention a great way to prove your applicable skills and knowledge to future employers.

3. Don’t let fear of failure hold you back

And as I always say, “Failure is just a record type of success when you’re learning to become a Salesforce Admin.” While that is a Salesforce joke, the truth is that you can’t succeed if you don’t know how to fail. Everyone experiences failure to some degree, so you are never truly alone. 

Leaning on the Trailblazer Community for support is hugely important, especially when times are tough. The community will help you continue on your path. We can help you remember that failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of it! Whether it’s getting rejected from a job, being nervous about your career switch, or failing your certification exam, someone in the community has also shared that experience. You don’t have to go at it alone.

Failure is just a record type of success when you’re learning to become a Salesforce Admin.

Karmel James
Senior Salesforce Administrator,

Freedom to discover

The reality of life is that things change, careers pivot, new interests emerge, and the desire to pursue an entirely new path can happen at any time. Salesforce gives you the freedom to discover your new passions. There are plenty of additional resources available to help you as you start to explore your options for building a career with Salesforce.

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Discover expert insights to help you develop your career, connect with Trailblazers, learn Salesforce, and earn certifications. Explore practical how-to guidance, authentic peer perspectives, and inspiring Trailblazer stories.

Astro waving you into a laptop to continue your learning journey with Trailhead.
Karmel James
Karmel James Senior Salesforce Administrator,

When she’s not analyzing her clients’ processes to increase staff happiness, Karmel is focused on learning new coding tricks to increase her toolkit. Outside her home office desk, Karmel can be found dancing to music while planning her next sewing project.

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