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SAP Career Classics from JonERP.com

In years past, Jon Reed wrote a number of classic articles on how to navigate your SAP career - everything from how to write a good SAP resume to how to ace an SAP interview, from how to break into the field to how to succeed as an independent SAP consultant.

Many of these articles have vanished from the Internet, but at JonERP.com, we're bringing the best ones back! Each one will have a new introduction from Jon, and eventually, we'll bring the most popular ones completely up to date. We hope you enjoy these reclaimed "SAP Career Classics" - only available at JonERP.com.

How to Write an Effective SAP Resume Print E-mail
Article Index
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14. Degrees that have not been completed or awarded can go on the resume, but you must not allow any ambiguity. Nothing casts more doubt on an resume than a vaguely worded "Bachelor of Arts Program" at the bottom of the resume that does not clarify whether the degree has been awarded or not. The degree itself is not always that important, but the honesty factor ALWAYS is. The thinking seems to be: if you're vague on that part of the resume, might you also be vague in other parts of the resume as well? If you're 15 credits shy of a degree, you may want to indicate this amount on the resume. In person, you may even express your willingness to complete the degree if it is a requirement for joining the new company.

As an aside, very few folks are immune from the "I wish I'd finished my Bachelor's Degree" job search blues. It might not get you this time, but it has a weird way of catching up with you eventually. We have seen job searches go awry at very high levels over issues like these. The crazy thing is that it doesn't matter if the degree was in Medieval Poetry- it only matters that you did the work and got the degree.

15. Training and certifications belong at the end of the resume, but you can sneak your SAP certification into the top of the resume as well. Although SAP certification doesn't make a huge difference in your job search, it can be a differentiator when you are up against an equally experienced consultant, so it's fine to put "Certified FI/CO consultant" at the top of the resume. At the end of the resume, you can include the date of the certification and any other details. Lists of SAP courses are also useful at the end.

The ONE EXCEPTION to this "training goes last" principle is for those who do not yet have SAP project experience but do have the training. In this case, some detail on the training can lead off the resume, but make clear that while this was "hands-on" experience, it was still training. Many consultants seem to think that if they worked on a prototype at their firm they can simply consider that their first project. Employers do not consider this the equivalent of a "real time," pressurized project situation and neither do we. Just because you can do it in a lab doesn't mean you can do it in the field. Supposedly Shaquille O'Neal can hit most of his free throws in practice, but in crunch time, he struggles. This is one principle of SAP hiring we completely agree with. If you haven't been there, you should not pretend or think that you have. Just be honest, and let the rest of your quality background plus your training speak for itself. It's not the same as project experience, but for the right company at the right salary it could be enough.

16. Do not indicate your reasons for leaving a position on a resume. In an SAP career, where you might switch positions quite frequently, this may be tempting. In some cases, this can go on a cover letter, but reasons for leaving are best addressed personally. It is always hard to make the reason for leaving look positive on paper.

17. Be creative about your describe your bench time. At certain points in the SAP career, you may have found yourself on the bench. This time must be accounted for. After all, in most cases, being on the bench was not your fault. But what you did with your time, and how you describe it on the resume, is your responsibility. It is impressive to see the most creative examples of this "down time." One consultant described how they managed to set up a new messaging and knowledge-sharing system for consultants during an extended bench period. Another went out and got some Business Warehouse training on their own initiative.

18. Knowledge transfer and training abilities matter. The best consultants are the ones who leave stronger, more knowledgeable employees behind them. Seize every opportunity to bring out this side of your expertise on each project you work on where it applies.

19. If your recruiter has advice for you on how to change your resume, be flexible. They may know what pushes their client's hot buttons- take advantage of that knowledge. Keep your resume with you whenever you can so that you can "customize on the fly."

The rest of these principles are general resume principles, not specific to SAP, so we'll just go through them quickly as reminders:

20. Consistency is more important than action verbs. Some resume guides insist that the most positive way to express your skills is by using inspiring action verbs. We believe that the key is consistency. Try to keep the way you describe each job consistent in tense and style. Make the reader forget about the style and focused on the specific detail. For this reason, we are not fans of the "third person" resume. "Mr. Sullivan" did this, "Mr. Sullivan" did that. It is an unusual style that calls attention to itself and creates too much formality.

21. Personal interests and hobbies are not generally appropriate on a resume. It seems to come off as too informal, or perhaps as a potential time conflict with project commitments. Occasionally, "good citizen" interests like "Red Cross volunteer" look nice, but generally this is a category to avoid. The example of the "paint gun expert" still looms large. No one wants to worry about someone's hunter-gatherer side coming out on a project, or someone leaving early on "go live" day because the Beanie Babies collector set is on sale at the mall. It's sad, but employers are more interested in your competence than your personality on paper. In person, it's a different matter.

22. The "Objective" still has its place on some resumes, but it can also eliminate you needlessly. Use the objective for very focused versions of your resume during very specific kinds of job searches. In some cases, the wise use of an objective can save you and your potential hiring agents a lot of time. For example, if you seeking contract positions in New York City only, and you don't want to get any calls about great salaried jobs, then why not list this as your objective? It won't save you all the junk calls, but it will keep them to a minimum.

23. The cover letter can still be useful. You can still address some things quite nicely in a well-worded, one page cover letter. For example, the frequent SAP job hopper could talk about how they are shifting gears from a "project-based" focus to a long-term commitment track. The cover letter can be a good time to mention your flexibility on travel and location, or perhaps make a passing reference to a couple of your best SAP contacts. Remember to use the cover letter in your "job hunting tool kit" as necessary.

24. The ideal font size is somewhere no higher than 12 and no lower than 10. Choosing one or two fonts for the whole resume is important for consistency, and of course, AVOID THE EXCESSIVE USE OF CAPITALIZATION. Fancy resume formatting is still a thing of the future. In many cases, your resume may be sent as a text file, so evaluate how it looks with or without formatting.

25. Choose a professional looking email address for your job search. We never ceased to be amazed by the strange looking email addresses we get from job seekers. Some of the SAP variations, such as sapman(at)company.com, are kind of cute, but many of the personalized email addresses do not send the right message. Wolfman(at)aolhell.com is not going to cut it.

For that matter, if you are pointing people to your web site, make sure that the web site is focused on a professional presentation. Sometimes the web site can be too personal an introduction to your lifestyle than you want an employer to have. We once clinked on a web site listed on a resume, and right off the main menu we ended up scrolling through pictures of this consultant on a yacht, cavorting with young women with names like "Brittany" and "Candy." One more related tip: take off that zany home answering message you recorded as a tribute to your fraternity until the job search is over.

26. Finally, if you are an international SAP consultant looking for work in the states, remember to leave out the picture. Pictures are not the norm in U.S. resumes, so using a picture is just like putting up a sign saying "I have limited knowledge of the U.S. employment market." Yes, pictures are fun, but until they are commonly used, leave them off.

We hope this comprehensive guide to creating SAP resumes is useful to you. Hopefully you can work within these principles but still find a format that works for you and expresses your unique strengths. Good luck on the job search! - Jon Reed

 



 

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