September 19

Salesforce Success Story – Aaron McGriff

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I had the chance to catch up with Aaron McGriff to get the latest on his career trajectory. He’s just celebrated his 2 year anniversary of signing up for Trailhead and discovering what Salesforce is. Here’s a clip from our interview last night:

Aaron is one of the Keynote Speakers at the Trailhead Keynote at Dreamforce next week. I will be there and look forward to meeting Aaron and other students while I am there. If you are going to be at Dreamforce, leave a comment below so we can try and coordinate meeting.

— End of update – here’s my original email interview with Aaron!

I happened to see this tweet from one of my students, Aaron McGriff.

I reached out to Aaron to ask him more about his Salesforce Success Story and journey. Thanks, Aaron, for sharing your amazing and inspiring story.

“After being laid off from my job and being unemployed for the first time since I started working in 2004 is when I first learned about Salesforce.

My cousin is actually a Tech Evangelist and introduced me to it. It wasn’t until maybe 6 months after that introduction that I really took it seriously and started on Trailhead.

When I started out I thought all you had to do was get badges and that would give me what I needed to be able to be employable. It wasn’t until I went to Midwest Dreamin’ that I caught wind about the many certifications.

I knew that I wanted to go down the Admin path and that’s what I was focusing on in Trailhead so I knew that was the first certification I was going to go for. After meeting and talking to some people at Midwest Dreamin’ I got some tips and pointers on how to prepare for the exam and I was told about courses on Udemy and other sites.

I went for the free resources first and after reading through them I thought that I was ready for the exam and took it for the first time. I failed.

I then went on Udemy and did a search and stumbled across your course. I looked at the reviews on Udemy as well as did Google searches for you and looked at your LinkedIn profile and all I saw was positive things so I went for it and purchased your course.

Before I took your course I purchased some practice exams and of the 8 that came in the pack, I couldn’t pass any of them. I started and finished your course in about a weeks time and one day sitting in a quiet library in Southfield Michigan I passed a practice exam for the very first time and stood up and LOUDLY said “YES!!”

After some awkward looks and a warning from a librarian I went through the other exams and got better and better results; that was the first time I felt ready to tackle the exam again and a few days later I was proudly a Certified Salesforce Administrator.

After getting certified of course the next step was getting a job so I updated my resume and LinkedIn profiles and started posting in the Salesforce Success Community. I got connected with a guy at the University of Michigan that knew of an admin role opening up that he felt like I would be a great fit for and a short while later I was signing my offer letter with them.

Getting to Ranger status was definitely important to me. It helped me to see what I was truly capable of in an industry where I literally no prior experience. Getting that many badges is no easy feat that can be accomplished in a weekend so to me getting to the 100+ mark showed how dedicated I was this new direction I was taking with my career.

There was a definite uptick in the number of calls and emails for Salesforce opportunities after I shared my certification news and updated my profile. Twitter has also been an AMAZING resource for me and is how I have made a ton of great connections in the Salesforce Community.

Prior to Salesforce, I worked in Retail Management and Loss Prevention for 12 years and Operational Management for about a year and a half. Pivoting into my Salesforce career was somewhat easy because the prior three positions I was in before were eliminated so I wasn’t working.

One door closed and a bright shining door named Salesforce opened. I am very optimistic about my future in the cloud.

Thanks, Aaron”

You can follow this Trailblazer on Twitter or LinkedIn and watch him soar.


Aaron McGriff

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  • Ranger Aaron,

    Great story; the part about the library was funny,too. You are a role model for us all. I hope you have landed someplace really great, and will continue to learn and grow.

  • Great story. I have been working in Healthcare IT and it looks like the field is getting crowded. Salaries are dropping and layoffs are becoming common place. My husband is a data scientist and said if he were to start a new career, he would go for Salesforce. I listened and am doing my research now. This story is uplifting. Thank you again.

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