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Skilled consultants often times are passive network-er/ job seeker.

The main expectation of an SAP professional is to deliver results (in respective skill area- Developer, Basis, Functional etc). Being a PASSIVE network-er SHOULD NOT hurt your career. But it often does.

A good analogy is a professional athlete.
An athlete should spend time honing his athletic skills. Ways he can make a win.
He should not HAVE to bother about the best deals and contracts: Which league, team or endorsement is going to get him maximum financial benefits? Those benefits should come naturally for someone has the skills and invests time and effort to pursue his passion.

But SAP Consultants do not have sports agents. We DO PAY consulting companies every single hour. But unfortunately, these consulting companies do not work for us. Their loyalties are to their relationship to the client and/or preferred vendors who give THEM business.

So we make do with what we got.

– We update resume with reluctance. (Related: Automatically enhance your SAP resume)
– Hate haggling about hourly rates.  Want to get the hourly rates discussion over with soon.
– Get irritated when we see poorly written job requirement that demand a world of unrelated skills.

But that is the current nature of consulting market. Lets see what we should & should not be doing.

You are a passive consultant if:
You have not taken up an interview (in last 3 months). It is good to know trends in client expectation (and of course the common questions). Only a small percentage of recruiter calls get translated into interviews. It is a good idea to prepare COMPLETE answers for a given question. You do not want to wing it.

You have not updated resume (in last 60 days). Job boards push your profile down in search results, if you have not recently updated your resume. Showing up in 15th page is same as ‘not posting’ in the job board. Why would I want to be on a job board? I’m not even seeking a job right now. It does not matter. You have to take up recruiter calls to know the trends and expectations from the market on a regular basis. IT job, in general, is not a 30 year gig (like it used to be). Your position and relevance to an organization is constantly questioned.

You have not spoken to a recruiter in 2 weeks. Recruiters are the first line of contact to your next gig. Be in touch with them on a regular basis. It will pay off over the long run. Be proactive to lend favors: Pass on opportunities to your contacts in other skill areas. It also helps to keep your networks warm. You are also in good books with recruiters.

You only hear about opportunities from immediate friends. While this is a good sign, it also means your resume is not getting you opportunities. A good resume is built organically over time. A resume built within a week does not get much results. Too many items would be missed.

– You have not spoken to an ex-client in over 4 months. Clients you already have worked with and who know your ability to deliver, make great prospects to create opportunities.

The biggest risk of being a passive job seeker is bad economy. When market gets tough, passivity reduces the probability of an opportunity.
Being an active job seeker is about “Being in the right place, at the right time”. It is about spreading the news that you are available to take up offers and asking people to initiate action.

Being active job seeker has little to do with being a natural extrovert. Simple gestures go a long way:
– Forward interesting articles to peers. Do not let networks go cold.
– Network with people outside your immediate skill area. Cross domain contacts often get you opportunities.
– Have at least five recruiters that you constantly correspond with. Forward their emails to people with relevant skills. Copy the recruiter in these forward emails.
– Take up interviews and learn about opportunities and requirements. The latest requirements in the market (in your skill area) may have shifted. A specific combination of skills may be more sought after.
– Communicate with Ex-Clients. Clients often like to rely on consultants who they know and who delivers. Minimizes their risk.

Have a good handle on the pulse of the market. Besides getting to a job with minimal downtime, this would help you make decisions like…”Is this a good time to take a vacation?” “Should I accept this permanent offer?”, “Should I prolong the benefits discussion and risk loosing the offer?” “Should I take up this consulting engagement?” “Should I wait for the local offer to come through?”

Good luck!

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2 Comments

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  1. Jill Benet

    This is a great topic to address. Consulting is really like two jobs: core SAP skill + sales skills. Few months back, I started adding weekly status text to my resume. I see a good increase in calls recruiter. I write the status text anyways to mail to customer and consulting manager.

    I’m moer aware of the job market for my skill area. Feel better prepared for a bad market or end of the year slowness.

    Thnx…keep them coming.

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