A Job Search, Decision-Making Guide: Checking Off All The Boxes

job search

It doesn’t matter if you’re a Salesforce Admin, Architect, Developer, or End User. I’m sure there have been times in your life and career where you created a list for some reason. A shopping list; a to-do list; a list of step-by-step instructions; or even a pros vs. cons list. Lists help us keep organized. Lists help us teach others. Lists help us to not forget something. And lists even help us make life-altering decisions like how to evaluate the results of a job search.

A Job Search – Now I Have Your Attention!

Yes, that’s right. You guessed it. I’ve searched for a new job and am making a job change. For those of you who are really observant, you may have noticed some subtle changes to my social profiles over the past few weeks. I’m moving the bulk of my work energies away from ITequality, the fantastically diverse Registered Salesforce Consulting partner that I’ve called home for the past 10 months. It’s been a fun ride there, and I’ve accomplished what I set out to do there – primarily kicking off marketing efforts and helping set the organization up for growth and more success. And me moving on also gives the company the opportunity to help bring more new talent into the ecosystem.

C’mon Eric, Tell Us Where You Are Going!

Not so fast! First let me explain the job search process I went through. I bet some of you are thinking, “Please don’t talk about that, everyone knows how to go to Indeed.com and search for Salesforce Administrator, or whatever job title you are looking for.” And while that’s one way to search for a job, it’s not the one I used.

And now some of you are probably thinking, “so you went to Salesforce.com/careers, or direct to any number of company websites.” Once again, that is one job search tactic, and once again, it’s not the one I used.

Quit Teasing Us! Tell Us Where You Are Going!

Patience, my friends! I’m not done explaining exactly how I searched for my next role. Many of you probably know me as the “Kevin Bacon of the Salesforce Ecosystem”. Or perhaps you know me as the Founder of Midwest Dreamin’, a Salesforce Community-led Conference started in 2011 to bring people together to network and learn Salesforce. Or maybe you have seen me present at any number of events (Community-led conferences, Community Group meetings, Dreamforce, etc.) where my catch phrase has always been “For me, the greatest strength of the Salesforce ecosystem is it’s people, and the connections that are shared.”

That’s where I started my search – with my connections.

A Select Few – The Targeted Email Campaign

I started my job search by doing what some might call a rather unconventional approach. I thought about the hundreds of companies & thousands of people I know. I chose a very select few, those I felt that I trusted and know extremely well. I sent them a very simple email:

Hello <person name>, I don’t know if <company name> has any open roles that match what I’m looking for. I didn’t even check your website before sending this message. I simply wanted you to know I’m on the market for a new role, and wondered if we should have a conversation.

Surprising Results

The preliminary results of that campaign were very surprising. Most people not only read my email, but they responded. And they overwhelmingly responded with “Let’s talk.”

Over the next two weeks I had many wonderful conversations – I suppose I could have called them job interviews, especially since two of those conversations resulted in job offers. But because of the relationship I already had with the organizations and their people, these events felt more like casual conversations than stressful job interviews.

Was it a random thing, or was it destiny?

Then on a Friday afternoon, about a week into this job search process, I received a seemingly random LinkedIn message from the former Sr. Vice President of a company I had spent nearly 4 years at, working with this SVP for the first two of those years.

That message was very succinct: Hi Eric! I’m working at <Company “X”> now. We are expanding the marketing team as we scale up for growth. I’m wondering if you know of anyone with your stature in the Salesforce ecosystem who might be interested in a role very similar to the one you had when you were first hired at <former employer name>? Hope you and your family are well. Signed <Company “X” CMO>

My response to that was simple: Your timing is impeccable, as I’m looking for a new role. Let’s talk on Monday.

Did that just give it away?

Those of you who know me well, or those with a curious mind and the ability to do some searching have probably figured out part of the mystery. It shouldn’t take much sleuthing to figure out where I was hired close to 5 years ago. And with just a little more digging, you might even be able to figure out who the mystery person is that hired me back then (and did it again just a couple weeks ago.)

After a few conversations with this company’s team, I had a third offer sitting on the table – and had a monumental, life-changing decision to make.

We make tough choices all the time…

Life is full of tough choices – that’s something my Dad used to tell me a lot when I was growing up. And that was usually followed by, “Sometimes you just have to do things, whether you want to or not, because it’s your job.” Back then, he was referring to taking out the trash, mowing the lawn, cleaning my room, etc. All the typical things parents fuss at teenagers about.

As I got older and became a parent myself, I realized that my Dad was really teaching me how to make an important decision. And that’s exactly where I sat now – on the precipice of having to make a very important decision. So how do I do that? With a check list complete with boxes to put the “x” in. You do remember that the title of this blog said something about checking off all the boxes, right?

What’s in the box(es)?

Here’s where things get personal – your boxes may vary, because what’s important to me, may not be important to you. (And remember, just like most things in life, things change all the time. So what was important to you 5 years ago, may or may not be as important today.)

Show us your boxes already!

Ok, OK! Here’s my box(es)!

Ok, ok! Here’s my boxes – and I attempted to put them in priority order.

  1. What’s the company’s mission and is it something I would stand up for?
  2. Does the company value diversity, not only in it’s leadership team, but throughout everything they do? (Bonus points for having someone in a role with “Diversity” as part of their title, and even more bonus points for having ERGs [Employee Resource Groups] dedicated to diverse groups of people.)
  3. Who is on the team I would be a part of, do our personalities line up well, and who is my direct-line manager & what’s their management style?
  4. What’s my specific role within the organization, and how much authority will I have to do what I feel is right (without having to jump through a lot of hoops or approval chains first?) In other words – if I have an idea for something I think will work, can I simply make it happen, knowing that regardless of the outcome, my management team will be there for me?
  5. What if I want to learn new things, or attend conferences, once they start up as in-person events again? Will the company support those initiatives with either financial or time-off measures?
  6. Health Insurance & Benefits – I’ve got a family, and good medical/dental/vision coverage (that’s affordable) is important to me – as is NOT having to change providers because we like where we get our care from today.
  7. Compensation – what’s the salary? You know, the cash-in-my-pocket on pay day. And even beyond that, what about longer-term security for me and my family? Is there a 401(k), and how generous is the company match, if one exists?

Finally the announcement you’ve all be waiting for!

In the final analysis, I sent an email to the company whose offer I was turning down that said this:

Let me tell you that this has been by far, one of the most gut wrenching decision I’ve ever had to make in my life. Possibly only second to having to make the call to cancel Midwest Dreamin’ for 2020.

The conclusion I’ve come to, is that the other offer checks off all the boxes with a slightly heavier check mark than <Company “Y”>. So I am accepting the other offer.

And as you probably would have guessed, for me – it’s not all about the money either. As I discussed in our last call, there were a ton of factors weighing in on this choice, but please know, in the over-all analysis, there were no red-flags, not negatives about <Company “Y”>.

I really appreciate the time and effort you all put forth into this process. I think I’ve learned a few things from this too, and one of those is that, I really don’t like having to make a decision when it feels like I’m choosing between two friends.

I do hope you find someone to fill the role who will take <Company “Y”> to the next level…and you can bet I’ll be sharing the job posting out in my networks to see if anyone I know has an interest.

And the Winner is…<Company “X”>

Maria Pergolino! Uh, I mean ActiveCampaign! (Well, ok, it’s both, really.) Maria took a chance on me and hired me into the Marketing team as Advocacy Manager at Apttus in January, 2016. And now, whether it was a truly random chain of events, or a very calculated progression of her thoughts, Maria has hired me once again into a Marketing team that she is leading. This time into the role of Product Marketing Manager at ActiveCampaign. And I couldn’t be more excited to be going back home to work with Maria.