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Is it a bad idea to fake experience to land an interview?

Learn from SAP career and certification expert Jon Reed the best practices for interviewing and submitting resumes. Here he advises a user who wants to fake experience on a resume.

Why do firms look at resumes rather than skill levels? I underwent training in SAP QM a long way back and I'm still waiting for a break. I am a mechanical engineer with total of 12 years of engineering consultancy experience, and more than six years as a QA (ISO) implementation expert in my firm, a public sector undertaking.

I have submitted my resume with above experience and qualifications and attended few client interviews. All are through HR, raising the question about PSU-implementing SAP, etc.

I was advised by my friends to put some other experience and submit my resume with this fake experience. Is this the right practice?

Thank you for sending in such an honest question. The idea of changing the experience on your resume is a common one. It's a very bad idea because SAP is a small world, and this kind of thing eventually catches up to you more often than not. I don't believe it is worth the risk.

Remember also that all the resume can do is get you in the door -- then you have to ace the interview. And many SAP users are pretty sophisticated technically. There is no worse feeling in a job search than being caught in an interview and not being able to justify the experience on your resume. So, I would urge you to avoid that situation.

Your other question, about why clients look at resumes over skills, is a tougher one. What you are really asking is: Why do companies place such a high value on SAP implementation experience and a much lower value on your overall industry background? I've answered that question in detail before, but the bottom line is that hiring managers want people who can hit the ground running, so they are only willing to hire people to do the EXACT same thing they have already done before. It's frustrating, and I happen to think it's short-sighted and unfair, but those are the rules of the game. They aren't going to change soon, so you need to figure how to succeed despite them. Maybe it's a matter of getting hired as an employee on one of these projects in a non-SAP role. I've said it many times, but you're always better off working your way into SAP from the inside.

Try to apply to jobs that really draw on your current strengths, and see if you can work your way into SAP more gradually. It's hard to break the "no experience" cycle, but there are no recommended shortcuts. Remember that SAP is not the only way forward for someone like you. Take pride in your skills, commit to learning the best practices in your industry, and you should land with your feet on the ground. Good luck.

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