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Why won't my training certificates get me hired?

I have completed training in SAP SEM with SAP America and FI/CO AP/AR/GL, plus others with some other agencies on my own (quite expensive!) My background is in BSEET and MS Info Managment. I am ready to go, but unfortunately, I have been very unlucky with landing interviews. What training can I go for in the SAP technical arena that will get me hired? I currently own an IT company, but the market is not for small fish now. Can you advise? I am looking to get more training on the SAP technical side but where I can get it cheaper than SAP America? Also, how do I land my first opportunity?

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You ask an excellent question that I'm sure many SAP folks who shell out for expensive training have asked: "how come I'm not getting more interviews?" When you get SAP certification or training, your next step is to go out and try to land SAP-focused positions. Unfortunately, in a mature and competitive consulting market, sometimes having training is not enough to land an interview for an SAP-focused role. If you are unable to get an interview after numerous resume submittals, the first impulse may be to go out and get more (costly) training. I don't recommend that unless you have money to burn.

The issue is not with the amount of training you have but the fact that you only have training and no hands-on skills yet. So how do you break the cycle? The best approach is to take a step back. Remember that companies are looking to hire you for your overall skills. They want to know that you have the skills to make a contribution from day one. So, if you can't land your dream SAP job, step back and simply apply to positions working for companies that are running on SAP. Even if your first job at that company is not SAP-focused, you will have a much better chance of breaking into SAP gradually from the inside. As you prove yourself to that company, you may have the chance to get closer to the SAP project and move more and more into a full-time SAP role. I realize this is not a very efficient way to get into SAP, but since the consulting firms don't tend to hire entry-level SAP folks anymore, it's really the best way I've seen to get into SAP if the "go in the front door" approach doesn't work.

This was first published in September 2006

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