I was asked by two of my fellow SAP Consultants how to set-up LinkedIn profile so that it gives a good impression of their qualifications. Since the tool is designed to facilitate different professions (and not only SAP), they were confused with ‘multiple’ approaches professionals use to describe their SAP experiences.
Having created, deleted & recreated my LinkedIn profile number of times, I came up with ‘another’ approach which by those colleagues was endorsed to serve the purpose (of demonstrating SAP Skills) better. Since the approach helped me and those colleagues, I decided to summarize it for those consultants who are struggling with maintaining the LinkedIn profile to display their ‘actual’ experience while also keeping their employment history visible to potential employers/recruiters, in a better way.
Here are my points.
Harmony in professional profile matters
Before exploring the other sections of LinkedIn, let us first see how the Experience, Organizations, and Projects could be used to demonstrate your SAP Projects & Support experience well. As in these sections, you could describe the work you have done for certain customers, employment history and the scope & volume of the projects you were engaged in.
If you are working with a SAP Customer directly, it’s relatively easy to specify your experience as your experience and employment history are built together. However, when you are employed by a SAP Partner but working for a SAP Customer, either on Project or Support roles, you may somehow find it difficult to narrate your experience. Another challenge you could face is to display your roles when the position you hold in the organizational hierarchy is different.
To align your profile without missing the actual experience you have on various projects for different organizations, you could use Experience, Organizations and Projects sections to
- Highlight your practical experience with the role & associated contributions you had on particular assignment,
- Describe your employment history to describe which organizations you actually worked for and on which position, and
- Mention the scope & volume of the undertaking i.e. project.
By following the above pattern you could mention
- The Project you (and your colleagues) worked on,
- The Organization you represented,
- The Experience you had.
- all of the colleagues mentioned in the project share the same project description (good to specify the scope & volume of the project),
- differentiates you from other colleagues through organization (as it’s possible there are different organizations working on the same project) and
- gives you an opportunity to describe your personal experience at the project (which necessarily would be different than others on the same project, after all, you were hired for specific assignment).
Reference are not available but alternates are!
As you may not be able to get ‘formal’ references from employers/customers (in most cases), having good recommendations and endorsements may help you in building your professional reputation. So you need to request the ‘willing’ colleagues to recommend you. Remember though, generally these are given on reciprocal basis (nothing is free anyways) i.e. you recommend your colleague and in return get recommended by them.
You are recommended by colleagues for your contributions at specific project/assignment where you have worked together. You are also endorsed for the skills you demonstrated. It’s worthwhile to use both sections wisely if you seek recommendation or you recommend some colleague.
Recommendations are descriptions of what your colleagues think of you & your competence and hence recommend you for the same. While you ask for a recommendation (or if you recommend your colleagues), it’s good to specify on what basis the recommendation is being written.
For instance, the below recommendation describes the relationship, the value colleague added and your ‘honest’ opinion of the skills he has with your recommendation for the specific role.
|“I worked with Mr. So & So on <<a certain>> project. He designed a dynamic solution with SAP <<module>> which has added much value to the business in getting <<work>> done. In my opinion, he possesses good skills in analyzing business requirements & designing solutions. I recommend him for Consulting roles”.|
Since your colleague thinks you are good at two specific skills “Requirements Analysis” and “Solution Design”, it’d be worthwhile to mention these and get endorsed by the same colleague who recommended you or by others.
How many recommendations would be good to be on your profile depends on the roles you had at a particular assignment. For instance, if you are part of a SAP Support Team and were assigned to 3 different projects on different roles, having at least one recommendation for each role may serve the purpose i.e. to ‘verify’ your contribution in respective project/assignment.
Another important section for a SAP Consultant is “Summary”
Anyone who visits your profile generally reads it in entirety ONLY IF it’s interesting to the needs of the reader. So when it comes to Summary which is the foremost section of your profile, you’ve to be extra careful. There are different approaches Consultants use to maintain this section. To me, it’s a place to write your career story, in a way that if someone doesn’t read your full profile should still understand what this profile is all about. So do invest some time and summarize your overall experience with breakup of individual experiences/qualifications. You may read mine (here), as an example, and could use it as a template to describe yours.
Adding other details
The sections I described above are necessary, in my opinion, with which you can describe your credentials in good-enough detail. However, if you provide additional details such as Education, Certifications, Courses and Languages, these would surely be a good addition to your profile. And if these are in harmony with your profile (which means you have related qualifications), it would certainly be an added advantage.
If you have publicized any of your contributions to any forum, it highlights you are also good at transforming unspoken thoughts to written words, which is a valuable asset for SAP Consultants and Customers alike. Do mention such details in Publications.