Season 2 Episode 93: Test Driving Your New Career as a Volunteer with David Nava

After spending 20 years as a US Navy Flight Officer, David Nava was ready for a new challenge. He started preparing for his transition four years in advance with a goal of landing a role in project management. After earning his MBA, PMP, Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and Scrum Master certification, David realized he did not want to be a project manager. A mentor introduced Salesforce (SF) to him, and he immediately began utilizing their free resources. After gaining hands-on experience through volunteering and using the DoD SkillBridge program, he landed an internship which led to a full-time role as a Solutions Architect. Even if you have no interest in the tech industry, keep listening. Dave shares his wisdom on how to define your military skills, translate them to an employer and find career fulfillment.

Dave discusses how volunteering not only helped him test-drive different roles within Salesforce but also gave him work experience to leverage with his soft skills, education and training. While informational interviews hold immeasurable value, volunteering is a way to determine what role best fits your goals and personality. Just three months into a year-long free Salesforce program for transitioning service members, veterans and military spouses, Dave volunteered for FourBlock using his skills as a Salesforce Systems Administrator. Wanting to learn faster, he also reached out to Merivis and began volunteering for them as a Salesforce Consultant.

The Saleforce Military program provides free certification, courses and training vouchers to the military community. To get started a person signs up for a free profile and chooses one of 18 learning paths. After completing the guided learning path through Trailhead, a course voucher and eventually a certification voucher are issued. To date, Dave has earned 14 Salesforce certifications and has paid $0. He believes his certifications were more than enough to establish him in the SF ecosystem and be successful in his roles. Providing not only certifications, SF has also built a community of 40,000 like-minded individuals from the military that form a powerful support network.

The Salesforce Hiring Alliance is a partnership between Salesforce and Salesforce Military. Over 300 companies guarantee a first-round interview for military trailblazers that have earned at least 1 certification. This opportunity is a great way to get your foot in the door and provides instant relationships.

When David was preparing to leave the military and the field of aviation, he knew he would need to leverage his soft skills while he was learning new hard skills. He believes the military community can be successful in any environment given their ability to learn quickly, adapt to various situations and pivot when necessary. He challenges people to not overlook their work ethic, flexibility and critical thinking skills when writing their resume and during the interview process.

Each week, David offers Trailblazer office hours for the military community. Current Salesforce employees, in a variety of roles, are interviewed by David with a goal of providing collaborative mentoring to a large audience. It’s a great place to start researching Salesforce and the positions available. Plus, the office hours are recorded and housed on David’s YouTube channel.

Head over to the Lessons Learned for Vets YouTube channel at to hear a bonus clip on personal branding.

You can connect with Dave at

Explore Salesforce military certification programs at

Follow Dave on his YouTube channel at

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