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jonerpdemojam.jpg Jon has been tackling key SAP issues (like SAP certification and HANA) since 1995. Get the latest from his blogs, YouTube channel, and iTunes feed.

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Podcast: The ERP Lounge #5: SAP Consulting Career Paths (and the problem with job boards) Print E-mail

podcastlogo_jonerp.gif"5th Edition - The Career Path of the SAP Consultant, and Why Job Boards are Not the Best Place for SAP Career Advancement"
Podcast Interview Date: January 20, 2010
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Welcome to the fifth edition of The ERP Lounge: Misadventures and Opportunities in SAP Consulting, the new podcast series from! The ERP Lounge is the new "long form" podcast series that features uncensored, in-depth discussions on the hard truths and real opportunities in the SAP skills marketplace. All ERP Lounge podcasts kick off with reader questions from listeners like yourself!

Join Jon Reed and special guest co-host Quinn Brennan of, for this 70 minute fifth edition as they tackle reader questions on the relevance of SAP job boards, and then move into an in-depth discussion of how SAP consultants should approach their career paths - with detail on job offer negotiation, resume effectiveness, and the kinds of skills that are getting job offers in a tough market.

Translink is one of the leading providers of SAP consulting talent to key "Tier One" players like IBM and Accenture, which gives Quinn an inside view on the skills that are most compelling in today's market. During the podcast, Jon and Quinn also define SAP recruiter lingo such as "jumpers," "passive job seekers," "bird dogging," and "mercenaries."

Note: to comment on this podcast series, or send in a question for us to answer in the next one, be sure to join our ERP Lounge Group on Linkedin and let us know what you want us to cover. If you want to subscribe to the series, get the RSS feed for The JonERP Master Blog and Podcast Feed. You can also pose questions live to Jon on his real-time @jonerp Twitter feed. The ERP Lounge podcasts are also included in the JonERP iTunes podcast feed which is updated no later than 24 hours after the podcast posts here.

podcast takeaways: "no shortcuts in SAP careers anymore" - "the convergence of technical and business skills in SAP" - "from contractor to consultant/advisor" - "find mentors" - "bringing more to the table than the ability to configure tables."

Podcast notes: two times during the podcast, Quinn makes a reference to "Benulux countries". You can skip to the part you want to hear based on the timestamps below.

Podcast Highlights

I. (0:00) Opening Banter   

Jon and Quinn talk about the history of SAP consulting - Quinn shares the story of how he broke into SAP recruitment during the high flying early '90s, prior to Deloitte acquiring ICS. True to the theme of the ERP Lounge, the big SAP deals were going down off hours in steak houses, and Quinn found himself in the middle of the action.

II. (13:25) Ice Breaker - Reader Questions and Comments

The main reader questions came from the Twitter flap Jon started on his JonERP Twitter feed about whether or not job boards are dead for SAP professionals.

SAP Mentor Michael Koch asks: "Why are job boards dead? And what will replace them?"

Andy Klee wants to know: "Jon, is advertising for Denver based SAP consultants on Dice or Monster a total waste of time and $? Networking/social media better?"

A job board expert tells Jon: "With all due respect, job boards are not dead."

Jon and Quinn kick these questions around, and define some terms such as "passive job seeker."

There is also discussion on the pros and cons of social networking and online reputation, and how online participation can impact your job search. Does SAP community participation reflect well to Quinn's clients, or are there concerns about how those activities can take away from billable work?

III. (24:00) Into the Lounge, Feature Topic: The Career Path of the SAP Consultant

Up to this point, the prior four ERP Lounge podcasts have focused on the independent consultant. Because Quinn primarily recruits for "permanent" consulting positions, this podcast is a great chance to get a view into the career path of the SAP consultant, and what skills companies are looking for in "salaried consultants."

In the ERP Lounge feature segment, Jon and Quinn talk about: 

- Social networking and how Quinn uses these to evaluate applicants - including an anecdote about the problems of "venting" online and how it can impact reputation. What lines in the sand should be drawn with online behavior?

- SAP resume evaluation and presentation.

- the SAP job interview process and how it's changed over the years to include hands-on case studies.

- the best way to approach rate and salary negotiation.

- making sure that you have a successful path once you take the job, instead of becoming a "nameless plebe, toiling mindlessly on projects that make no sense" - a classic quote from an unhappy SAP job seeker that Jon published in his book Resumes from Hell. The key: find mentors, go where the action is, and do what it takes to build loyalty - "perform your deliverables."

IV. (59:05) SAP Skills "Hot and Not" 

Quinn's hot SAP skills for his clients: SAP skills needs change based on the projects his clients are staffing. Always hot: CRM. Other current hot skills: APO, FI/CO (entire suite - must have new General Ledger), IS-Utilities, BW/BI/BO.

Not as hot: straight FI folks without CO, SD/MM/PP slower - manufacturing-based functionality that has been impacted by the economic slowdown. Supply chain has been slow also for the same reason. HCM has also been sluggish, it's supposed to be rolling soon but no big action yet. 

Jon's additions: CRM is a broad suite, in particular CRM Mobile and NetWeaver Mobile seems active. Also definite interest in NetWeaver and Business Suite Enhancement Packs - those who understand how these post-upgrade enhancements can be utilized. Also: GRC/Security/Identity Management - either in broader roles or as part of a "Basis" skill set.

Jon also reads some sneak previews on skills trends from his major upcoming white paper series on SAP career strategies for the SAP Career Center on SCN. Convergence of technical and business skills, "SAP Solution Manager" skill set.

Quinn: more industry experience is needed for funcational folks - "beyond table configuration."

VI Parting Shots (1:06)  (a.k.a. "Last Call") 

Jon: podcast takeaways: "no shortcuts in SAP careers anymore" - "the convergence of technical and business skills in SAP" - "from contractor to consultant/advisor" - "find mentors" - "bringing more to the table than the ability to configure tables." 

Quinn: no "bird dogging" - final piece of lingo - don't go around/"backdoor" around recruiters or client contacts. Quinn explains, and the guys wrap up.




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