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Dreamforce 2023 - "I'm just a regular guy who decided to teach his family Salesforce." How Kaelen Moss changed his career with Trailhead

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed September 12, 2023
Summary:
The inspiring story of Kaelan Moss and the surprising key to his first Salesforce job.

Kaelan Moss and family studying Salesforce on Trailhead
(Kaelan Moss and family in a Trailhead session)

As Dreamforce gets underway and the Salesforce Ohana gathers, my thoughts turn to community - why it matters, and how to prove it. Let's get real: as an advocate for enterprise communities, I need proof points.

Why? You can extol the virtues of community all you want, but to claim a protected place for community in today's hotly-contested budgets, you need more.

Via Trailhead, Salesforce has some of the most eye-watering stats on how community impacts today's Informed B2B Buyers. Prior to Salesforce Connections in Chicago, I got my hands on updated numbers:

  • To date, more than 5M learners have skilled up on Trailhead, earning over 70M badges in Salesforce, business, partner and soft skills.
  • One in three Trailhead learners found a new job with the skills they learned on Trailhead. Half of learners said Trailhead helped them get a promotion or a raise at their current company. (Valoir Research)
  • Three in five say Trailblazer Community helped them get a new job or a promotion. (Valoir Research)
  • After COVID-19 hit, Trailhead saw a nearly 40% increase in sign-ups and more than 50% increase in learner engagement (measured by badges earned).
  • Trailhead and the Trailblazer Community are building a pipeline of qualified candidates for the 9.3 million new jobs that the global Salesforce Economy is expected to add by 2026. (IDC Research)

The stats on how Trailhead leads to career breakthroughs caught my attention. But what really brought the point home was the story of Kaelan Moss, a Salesforce Marketing Cloud consultant who made a memorable appearance earlier this year as part of the Salesforce Connections 2023 keynote (here's a short video of Moss' story). Now, I know what readers are thinking: so what, another young person pulled off a transition to Salesforce consulting?

But that's not the half of it.

How about a consultant who got himself into Salesforce, and his sister - and his mother - and did that during the pandemic? Read on!

How he did it

As Moss tells it:

I'm just like everybody else. I'm just a regular guy who decided to teach his family Salesforce and ended up turning it into something that is affecting people all around the world.

Moss grew up with a single Mom; as you'd expect, she paid her dues to keep the rent paid. Growing up, Moss was close to his Uncle Johnny, who inspired him to get into long jumping. Moss eventually made it onto Team USA, but then his Uncle died. Moss recalls:

Life took a downward spiral. I started partying a lot was hanging around the wrong people. After that, on the road to recovering from this life situation that happened, someone asked me if I knew about Salesforce. I kind of looked at that, like, 'That's my gold medal. I've gotta go after that.' I started my career as a Salesforce admin.

From the get-go, Moss wanted to pass that opportunity along:

As I was learning, I remember thinking to myself, 'I have to show other people how to do this.'

And he did. His thoughts turned to his mother. She picks up the story:

Kaelan saw how I was working really long nights. You're just like, 'Mom, you just can't do this forever. Let me teach you Salesforce.'

But you're in the pandemic economy - what to do? How about: move in with your family, and teach them Salesforce? Moss' Mom continues:

During COVID, we all moved in together. Kaelan did a very good job at explaining what it is, what it's used for, and how to pick it up really easily.

It didn't take long. Kaelan Moss explains:

They actually taught me a lot about myself and my communication with them on how to teach the subject and break it down into simple steps, so that even the most basic beginner could learn it. And it only took a few weeks.

Everything snowballed from there. On social media, Moss now hears Salesforce success stories from around the world:

I started realizing, 'Wait, I'm affecting lives right now. I've pretty much gotten between 500 and 1000 different messages from people saying, 'I've either certified,' or 'I am now in the Salesforce ecosystem with a full time job.''

Learn by creating - and find your tribe

When I sat down with Moss at Salesforce Connections Chicago, he told me how it all began:

Trailhead is definitely the first place you ever hear about in the Salesforce ecosystem...  I had no idea what a Trailmix was. I was just following along on a path that someone else had laid out for me., so I appreciate the person who created that Trailmix.

From there, I started to see the power of the entire community. You have a team at Trailhead University creating all this content for us. That was really the the only place I was at for the longest time, probably for the first three months of my Salesforce career. From there, you start to see the different paths you can take.

Moss made a crucial point other aspiring professionals should run with: you don't have to wait until you're an expert to start sharing content, and start giving back:

One of the coolest things about Trailhead is you can learn on there. But if you also utilize what you've learned, and take that and give back to say, a LinkedIn audience, that audience can learn from you.

That's actually how I got my first job... I actually learned a Peter Drucker School of Management Trail, and learned the rules of business and the rules of management, and just wrote articles about that on LinkedIn. Someone reached out to me and was like, 'Hey, I see you understand what Salesforce is, and we would love to have you come in the office and interview with us.' The stuff that I learned on Trailhead actually got me my first real world job, just because I kind of translated what I learned.

The story doesn't end there. Recently, Moss shared a blog post with more tips, How To Get A Marketing Cloud Job (Step-by-Step Guide). With Dreamforce on deck once again, Tip 4 jumps out: Find Your Marketing Cloud Tribe.

Your tribe will also help you land jobs waaaaaay faster.

You have to find people who are on the same path as you.

If you find your tribe, you'll have the following:

  • Study partners
  • Accountability partners
  • And a network of people on the same mission as you.

Moss built his own Marketing Cloud community - but you can also find him at Dreamforce this year. I asked him what he's most looking forward to at Dreamforce. Yep, you guessed it - community! He tells me:

  1. Meeting other like-minded people in the Salesforce ecosystem. And getting to see them face to face.
  2. Meeting up with other Golden Hoodie winners (to form a strong bond within that community).
  3. Going to all the amazing network events and chatting with people in an informal setting.

We might think our career success is individually forged. Every day, my diginomica colleagues are a vivid personal reminder that it's not. Dreamforce may be the next pit stop, but the ultimate destination is clear: find your tribe.

 

For all the highlights from Dreamforce 2023, check out our dedicated events hub here.

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