From Trombonist to Salesforce Consultant: #AwesomeAdmin John Garvens Transforms His Career


Taking your Admin career to the next level can be tricky, but there are some tried and true techniques that can make things easier. We sat down with John Garvens, career transformation extraordinaire, to learn his tried and true tricks to taking the next step on your professional journey. In just 6 years, John went from playing the trombone and managing a gym to becoming the President at Emelar Consulting Group, a Silver Salesforce Partner. He’s learned quite a bit along the way, and below he shares his best tips and tricks for navigating your career and standing out from the crowd.

John Garvens


John recommends that Salesforce Admins (and aspiring Salesforce Admins) learn both business skills and Salesforce-specific skills, because “the reason Salesforce exists is to advance an organization—and if you’re business savvy, you are better able to understand the big picture and how your role adds value to the company.” He suggests that Admins spend time learning about data and security, an often overlooked area, quipping that ”automation is sexy, but that doesn’t matter if your data and security are a mess.” One of his favorite resources is the Who Sees What video series, which he recommends watching over and over until you practically have it memorized. He also offers some great advice for landing your dream job: “Getting that dream job takes sustained effort. Be open to starting in roles that will give you exposure to Salesforce and the business, like those in sales operations, for example.”


Whether you’re looking for your first job as a Salesforce Admin or to transition into a new or more senior-level Salesforce Admin role, John has three key tips to help get your resume to the top of the pile.

    1. Signal on your resume that you have business skills as well as Salesforce skills. For example, if you have project management or business analysis skills, add these to your resume.
    2. Look at the job descriptions for 10 different Salesforce roles you’re interested in and find the most common keywords and phrases. If you have these skills, be sure to include them in your resume. Having a list of common role requirements is also helpful as you prepare for an interview; for each requirement, prepare an answer as to when/how/where you have shown each of these skills.
    3. Quantify everything on your resume. As a general rule, try to get at least one number per bullet. For example, “I worked really hard” doesn’t go as far as “I improved response time by X%.” Be careful with things that are too subjective, like saying you have “strong communication skills.” Unless you can tie it to an outcome, it might be better to leave it off.


To stand out from the crowd during your job interview, a pro-tip that John offers is to proactively show the hiring manager the connection between your past experience and the role for which you are applying. John recommends following the ABCD rule: Always Be Connecting Dots. The hiring manager doesn’t have the context of your experience so you have to connect the dots, making it easy for them to understand the relevance. For example, let’s say you worked in retail for many years. That’s not Salesforce experience, but it does show experience in managing difficult clients and handling challenging situations under pressure, etc.


John is very passionate about personal branding and urges Salesforce Admins to never underestimate the power of personal branding, asking the rhetorical question, “If you do great work and nobody knows about it, how does this help you?” This essentially means that you have to strategically let people know about all the great things you’re doing. This can feel unnatural to many, but the key is to find a way to do this that feels authentic to you and your personality. For example, let people know how you can help them achieve their goals, using your past experiences, successes, and expertise. According to John, “You want people to know about the great work you’re doing—don’t be afraid to share that when it’s appropriate—but you should always lead with kindness and warmth.”

Being a Salesforce Administrator is a great career choice that offers a myriad of career opportunities for those with a strong willingness to succeed. Not only are there a number of opportunities to rise to more senior Admin positions, but also endless opportunities within the Salesforce ecosystem to advance your career and become a strong leader—both within your company and the Salesforce community.

For more inspiration on how you can tap into all the resources at your fingertips and advance your own Salesforce Admin career, check out the resources below and be sure to share your wins and career transformation moments with us on Twitter using hashtag #AwesomeAdmin.


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