When I first heard/read the “fresher” term in the blogosphere of SAP (SCN, LinkedIn, etc), I didn’t quite understand what it meant. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one, but over the last year it has become the unofficial SAP term for any professional who is completely new to the shores of the SAP professional world. If you are an SAP “fresher”, this blog entry is for you.
So, you are new to SAP, maybe you’ve recently changed careers form whatever you were doing before, or just graduated college or finished your masters and are giving SAP a try, as you’re told that this is an exciting (and profitable) career path. Maybe you’ve just finished your introductory training in SAP. Either way, here you are, with everybody else in the SAP Job Market in the US.
If you’ve been looking for longer than just a few weeks, you must’ve noticed that getting a start isn’t easy. It’s unusual for Companies to look specifically for true beginners. So, you’re now competing for the most junior-level SAP jobs out there along with all those SAP pros that have up to 3 years of SAP experience under their belt. How do you compete with this group of people? If you can afford it, you can certainly wait blissfully for that “one-of-a-kind” SAP opportunity that is looking for true SAP “freshers” with no experience. But if you’re like most people, there are three very basic things you should do to help yourself:
1) If you can afford it, get SAP Training in a specific module/area: Particularly if you have NO hands-on experience with SAP. it is almost unacceptable for you to apply to a beginner’s/junior-level SAP job if you don’t even know the “theory” of the SAP module you’re supposed to be working with. Training is not cheap, but then again, if you’ve made a decision to begin an SAP career I’m assuming you’re thinking in a long-term relationship, not a one-night stand, right?
2) Apply only to SAP jobs where your professional/educational background is an asset: So, you have no SAP experience and maybe you don’t even have SAP training. Make sure to apply to jobs that at the very least require an SAP “module” (FICO, MM, SD, QM, CFM, PS, etc) or “area” (ABAP, Netweaver, etc) where your professional background or education is/are an asset. If you come from a financial background, focus on financial modules in SAP, if you come form a manufacturing background focus on MM, PS or QM, if you are a software developer or come from IT in general focus on ABAP, Netweaver, XI/PI, BASIS, etc.
3) Your Resume – Make it stand out, but in a positive way: This is the most important piece of advice you may get. It’s very simple and obvious, but for those exact same reasons it’s overlooked and pushed aside by most SAP “freshers”. The only way to make your resume stand-out in the mind of an SAP Hiring Manager or an SAP Recruiter, especially when you’ll be compared to junior-level SAP candidates for the same jobs, is making your resume unique, 100% truthful and an honest picture of the very best of you as a Professional and Candidate for ANY company. What does that mean? First, don’t let the so called “format” and “expected sections” of a resume limit what you articulate about yourself. There are no rules or laws that say that a resume has to be this cold and boring one/two-page document that lists in bullet-points the things you’ve done professionally in the past. A resume is the first impression you make. It is what gets you in the door. Make the most of it. Why wouldn’t you? What do you have to lose in putting yourself out there? Plus, you must agree with me that you are more than just the specific actions you’ve taken at prior jobs, or the degree you hold. You are more. Let the reader know what that “more” is:
- Whatever resume you currently have, put it aside, and open a brand new document with nothing in it.
- Now try for a moment to place yourself in the Hiring Manager’s shoes. He/she is looking for someone who can take on a junior-level job and execute it successfully. Now imagine yourself getting the job. You don’t have SAP experience with this module, you may not even have SAP training on the module that you’ll be working with. Answer these two questions:
a) What would you draw upon from your personal and professional skills, talents, strengths to do the job? Write those down in your blank document.
b) What evidence/past results/outcomes/examples in past job experiences or personal experiences, can you think of that showcase your ability to take on a job you haven’t done before and still be succesful? Write those down in your blank document as well.
- Now, build your resume AROUND these skills/talents/ strengths and examples of specific outcomes/situations, that showcase your confidence in knowing that you can not only “do” the job, but be the best candidate for the position. Now THAT is a resume!
If you give this a try, you’ll notice that your resume will actually transcend the piece of paper it is written on, and will become a “person” to the reader, and THAT my friend is what will make you not only stand out, but maybe get you your first SAP job. Give it a try!
SAP Recruiter/ SAP FICO Project Manager