I started out at Salesforce Premier Support without any Salesforce experience. That's certainly not the norm. In fact, I hadn't even heard of Salesforce before I applied. I had a good friend of mine from my college fraternity who was working for Salesforce at the time. He referred me and the rest is history. But you have to ask yourself, why did he refer me? Why me over someone else? The reason... Simply put, he knew me.
My fraternity is just one part of my network. In this instance, it happen to pay dividends. I'm no longer with Salesforce and now with a Salesforce Partner. How did I get this new role? My Network! People want to help other People but the reality is that they like helping people they know.
There are several ways that someone just starting out in the Salesforce World can grow their network.
I make it a point to attend my area's User Group and the Non-Profit User Group every month. There's always something interesting to learn at the session and there's time to network with other Salesforce Professionals. But just don't attend - Participate! Offer to give a session on a topic you know. Offer to coordinate a partner to come and give a talk. Being seen as a leader in your group, even if you aren't the user group leader, gets you recognized.
Salesforce does an excellent job of collaborating people together. Join all of the major chatter groups and the job groups. Be a good community member and the good karma will come your way.
Meetups are even better for networking, in my opinion, because they tend to be smaller than a User Group Meeting.
- Be Active on Social Media
LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc. We all have them but are you using them to their full affect. But using your Social Media accounts for something other than wasting hours of your life scrolling down can help you jump-start your career. I recommend joining and being active in the LinkedIn Salesforce Groups and following Salesforce community leaders, MVP's, and Salesforce evangelists on Twitter (http://www.runconsultants.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Top-50-Salesforce-Influencers-on-Twitter_Run-Consultants1.pdf).
- Start Blogging or write what you know in a guest blog
Blogging is easy and essentially cost free unless you count the time you put into it. However, I've found that whatever time I put into blogging I get equal benefits in learning and networking. If you don't want to commit to a full blog then reach out to the blogs that you follow and offer to make a guest post.
- Leverage your Non-Salesforce Networks
Just because a network is not Salesforce related doesn't mean its not useful. Make time to attend and participate the networking events, speaking's, and other learning events for these networking groups. As I mentioned, it was a non-Salesforce related group that connected me to the person that recommended me at Salesforce. It works!