Publish Your Solution and Tell Your Story
After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:
- Publish your solution online.
- Request an opportunity to present your demo.
- Demonstrate your skills and knowledge to a potential employer.
Publish Your Solution Online
You did it! You learned the skills, analyzed available projects to expand into a business case, created supporting documents, built your solution, and created a demo. Now, how do you get this in front of potential employers? There’s a Trailhead module for that!
Check out the Build Your Personal Portfolio on Salesforce project. This project walks you step-by-step through creating a website on the Salesforce platform to showcase your projects. Create a page for your solution and include your business case, user stories, and demo presentation. On your resume, add links to your personal portfolio, your Trailhead profile, and to your LinkedIn (or other) professional profile.
Overcoming the Experience Gap
Now it’s time to offer your demo and presentation to potential employers. No, we’re not suggesting that you buy a billboard or hire a skywriter. We’re talking about the exciting world of cover letters.
Wait, don’t run away! Cover letters don’t have to be onerous or painful. Think of your cover letter as a marketing document. It’s the side-kick to your resume, and it’s your chance to persuade the reader that the skills and experience you have are relevant to the position that you’re applying for. Here’s the difference.
|Lists your jobs and education
||Explains how your experience makes you a good fit for the job that you’re applying for
|Contains just the facts
||Tells the reader why you’re interested in this role at this company
|Presented in sections with bullets
||Formatted as a business letter (or email) with three to four paragraphs
|Updated periodically, and adapted to each job role
||Unique for each position and tailored to the job description, company, and industry of each position you apply for
Your cover letter should talk about your project and what you learned. Offer to show the hiring manager what you’ve done. Tie your work back to the requirements in the job posting. If you blogged about your application or posted the source code on a code sharing site, include details; it demonstrates your expertise to prospective employers at the first point of contact. Remember that your online portfolio supports your resume, it doesn’t replace it.
Consider this cover letter. It bridges the experience gap that college graduates often enter the workforce with. Notice how it calls out the achievements from other experiences, and highlights how extra-curricular activities have allowed the applicant to hone important business skills.
Adapt this Salesforce-specific example cover letter to suit your needs.
Demonstrating Business Knowledge, Problem-Solving, and Critical Thinking
Suppose you’re applying for a job as a business analyst specializing in Salesforce. The job description asks for experience in designing reports. In your cover letter, talk about the reports and dashboards you created for your project and how they help answer context-specific questions. Touch on how these could help their staff carry out daily tasks and encourage them to invite you in to find out more.
If the job description lists critical thinking as a required skill, show how you turned a business problem into a solution, where you struggled along the way, and how you approached challenges. A good manager is looking for someone who has overcome a struggle, not someone who always has the right answers. When explaining how you solved a problem consider the IDEAL model, defined by John D. Bransford and Barry S. Stein in their book, The Ideal Problem Solver: A Guide to Improving Thinking, Learning, and Creativity.
- I—Identify the root cause of the problem.
- D—Define exactly what the problem is, in a single sentence.
- E—Explore possible solutions, capturing the pros and cons of each option.
- A—Act on your preferred solution. Implement it.
- L—Look critically at the completed solution. How can you improve it? Is there anything you’d do differently the next time?
Explain your preferred solution in terms that apply to the company’s customers and business environment. Emphasizing how it will help them go up against their competitors or the dominant products in their market shows that you understand the challenges they face.
Think about questions you might be asked in an interview and prepare answers that reinforce the expertise presented in your cover letter. Remember, the cover letter is a marketing document and every marketing document needs a call to action. In this case, your call to action is for the employer to contact you to schedule an interview. Be sure to recommend the best way to do that.