From British Royal Military Police to Golden Hoodie recipient: Discover how Trailblazer Jonathan Fox landed his dream job in tech and helped other veterans and military spouses realize their potential within the Trailblazer Community.
Blazing your trail can be hard. Understanding the next step on the path or even finding the right direction can be daunting. I went from being a Corporal in the Royal Military Police, with a very structured and planned path, to becoming very lost with no direction very quickly. But with the right plan and a lot of hard work, I successfully landed my ideal role in the Salesforce ecosystem.
Here are five key ways you can highlight your amazing skills, veteran/military spouse oriented or from any other walk of life, to show your worth to the rest of the world and land that dream job!
1. Find the right mindset
Leaving the British Army was a decision I made to ensure I had more time with my family, but if I hadn’t adopted the right mindset, the time would have still been lost.
What is that mindset? Understanding my transferable skills to blaze an incredible trail into the Salesforce ecosystem. When I realized that I didn’t have to start entirely from scratch and could show how my skill set transferred to a role in tech, I got to work on turning this insight into a solid plan.
2. List your skills
Listing your skills might sound pretty straightforward. It might actually sound pretty obvious! However, it’s an incredibly important first step.
Listing your skills gives you a foundation to create your personal brand and show others how your skills are desirable to them, to their company, and the wider ecosystem… because you are valuable!
How do you create a list of skills? That might sound like a very simple question, but try it. It’s difficult to do!
Start simple. Take the skills you’ve achieved from your current employment. For me, this was the fitness, the discipline, and the smart personal image I was taught when I first joined the British Army. Something as simple as taking the care to properly iron your uniform and polish your boots. I learned to take pride in who I am and what I was there to do.
Write these skills down. Literally, list them. Now take those skills and refine them.
A typical army skill taught at the beginning of your career is discipline. Refine that skill and show a bit more substance behind a single word: ‘A focused individual with commitment to a cause, drive, and determination to complete a task effectively.’ Skill no.1, noted!
Work through the rest of your skills, refining each one until you have a comprehensive list.
3. Map your skills
Map your skills. You may feel like you just did that when you were refining them. Let’s think a little bit deeper past the refining stage.
A great example of mapping your skills is the military spouse. A military spouse follows their partner around the world whenever their partner is deployed. The military spouse moves their family, their children, and their home to a new location every time. They change the bills, update the banks with their address, enroll the children at a new school, find the local community groups, etc.
What skill are we mapping here, though?
If you went into an interview and talked about this as your day-to-day experience, it isn’t clear what skill this would translate to in a professional capacity. However, this example could be the foundation for one of the most experienced project managers you may find.
The skills described above show probably the most difficult project somebody has to deal with, and not just on a single occasion. There’s a wealth of recurring experiences there. This is a great example of matching your experience and skills to a professional skill related to the job you’re applying for.
4. Promote your personal brand
What does it mean to have a personal brand? How do you promote your brand? Let’s take a look and explore this step, as it ties nicely into utilizing your skills and displaying them for the world to see.
Your personal brand is an image of you that you want others to see. It’s potentially an online presence but can also be an in-person presence. It’s a version of yourself intentionally crafted to show and display your skills and assets to everyone around you. It’s a way of displaying what makes you unique and stand out from the crowd.
Creating a strong, positive personal brand is key to succeeding and blazing your own trail. People I see doing this well from around the globe include:
- Eliot Harper and Claire Davies in Australia
- David Nava in the U.S.
- Om Prakash in India
- Francis Pindar in the U.K.
- Oleh Mykytyn in Ukraine
We’ve already covered some vital and key steps in creating a personal brand, such as identifying and translating your skills. Next, you want to show something you’re passionate about, something you’re good at doing. Note: You don’t have to be an expert! It’s all about sharing to help others either learn or be inspired.
Take my personal brand, for example. I display my journey through blog posts, webinars, and mentorship, as this gives me the chance to guide and help others identify their transferrable skills and blaze their unique trails.
Accompanying this is my personality and background as a British Army veteran. My personal brand shows me as the soldier who transformed his career into a Salesforce Architect. My brand has evolved from making simple blog posts and tutorials on how to configure the Salesforce Platform to engaging in fireside chats and coaching others.
Most importantly, your brand should be genuine and do nothing but help others in selfless commitment rather than be purely for self-gain.”
I’m known for my Salesforce expertise and my connections within the Salesforce ecosystem (which leads nicely into my last tip!). So, how do you create your personal brand?
Identify your skills, look at where your skills are relatable to others, and see how others can look at your skills and your journey to find inspiration. Find a medium to promote yourself and host your personal brand, be that at in-person events or online through blogs and videos.
5. Network and connect
The last piece in this puzzle? Networking and connecting with others.
To show these transferable skills to your future employers or other Trailblazers, you need to connect with others and showcase your skills in a positive light. This will also inspire others to follow your path and blaze their own trails.
How do we connect with others and network in general? You can use simple tools such as social media to connect, talk, and get to know other people, professionals, and companies within the ecosystem.
Why not create your own events by making a webinar, podcast, or blog series? This way, you can not only show off your skills but also gain followers that you can then reach out to and connect with.
No matter how these discussions, connections, and chats take place, these networking opportunities and chances to connect with new people are vital to sharing your story and showing others your capabilities.
Speaking on behalf of the Trailblazer Community and the wider Salesforce ecosystem, people rarely decline the invitation to connect and get to know each other. In fact, it’s often the best part of people’s day to take a break, connect with somebody new, and learn about them and their story.
Perhaps randomly reaching out to people isn’t your forte. Instead, you could engage in a group discussion on the Trailblazer Community by asking or answering questions, which often leads to other discussions and finding common ground.
We all have transferable skills
Sharing your story and telling people about your transferable skills allows more people to see how others from diverse backgrounds can also translate their skills into a different and new professional career.
It helps hiring managers and companies see the value in hiring and including diverse backgrounds, creating a more equal ecosystem.
But it’s not just about the companies and the hiring managers. You’re also inspiring others like yourself to take a step toward their dream job in the Salesforce ecosystem, giving them the motivation to take their skills and innovate within the community.
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