Many of the folks who post in SCN’s Career Center are students or recent graduates. Most of those have spent the last 20ish years pursuing education and are up against the age old problem: Can’t get a job without experience and can’t get experience without a job. This is especially true for functional folks who want to do SAP configuration. I’ve talked about this elsewhere (Advice for Students Interested in a Career in SAP and Advice for Recent College Graduates (aka “Freshers”) in particular, but other blogs from myself and other can be found at SAP Career Blog Links). The short version of those blogs is that for functional folks, you shouldn’t necessarily expect your first SAP job to involve SAP configuration. (See How did you get your start in SAP? for real stories of how folks got their start in SAP).
- Find out what companies have headquarters in your area
- Google “Companies with Headquarters in your-local-area“
- Check Wikipedia for the same
- Check city/state/regional economic development group (Often called “Chamber of Commerce” in the US)
- Check local newspaper and classified ads
Find out which companies run SAP
- Search their career boards
- Search national job search sites (Monster or Dice.com in the US, for example)
- Search SAP User Group web sites
- Cross reference the lists from 1) and 2).
- Once you have a list of target companies, narrow it down by whatever criteria you prefer (geographic location, company reputation, places where you have contacts, whatever).
- Check the corporate website for a careers section. Pay special attention to intern, recent college graduate, and or entry level sections of their corporate website.
- You can also apply through the major job boards (monster.com, dice.com, etc in the United States). I personally prefer to apply directly through the corporate site, but if you spot an opening that is available through the job board and not through the corporate site for some reason, then be sure to apply appropriately!
- If you are using a recruiter, do NOT duplicate your application by going through the corporate job site as well as this can cause conflicts between the recruiter and the company most easily solved by not considering your resume. Thanks to Susan Keohan for pointing this out!
- Apply, apply, then apply some more!
- Create a tailored resume for EACH opening. Don’t just blast a generic resume.
- Include a cover letter that mentions something you like about their company that you’ve learned from your research. You want to communicate that you are interested in specifically working for THEIR company and that you’ve done your homework. This will distinguish you from MANY other applicants.
- Utilize any network you have, friends, family, friends of friends, whatever to find folks who already work at the company. Arrange a meeting with someone who works at the company. Have lunch, find out everything you can even if the person you are meeting has no hiring authority, they may be able to provide you with insight into what this company is like and may also be able to provide you with contacts who do have hiring authority. Often internal employees will be aware of openings before they’ve been opened up to the general public. The best time to apply is when you are the only applicant!
- When you get an interview, be prepared!
- Dress for success! You don’t have to overdo it necessarily, but you should dress as if you already have the job or maybe a little better. If general daily business attire is business casual. In the US, men should wear a button-down shirt and tie (at least) and women should wear a nice business dress or suit to an interview. Oddly, wearing a formal suit to a company that is on the casual end is not a doog thing. Dresshing in just a shirt and tie to a company that dresses in full, formal suits every day is very bad. Know the workplace attire before you show up!
- Do your homework! You should know what the company does and where they fit in the marketplace. Have questions ready that are relevant to the company and to the opening.
- Do NOT focus on benefits and/or salary in the interview. You can ask those questions after you get an offer. Be ready with a number if they ask you what you’re expecting, but don’t initiate any conversations along this line.
Hopefully this is enough to get you started. I wish you all the best on your job search!
The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer, ECS.