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How to build an SAP functional resume: SAP consulting advice from Jon Reed

SAP consultants who lack key skills, or who will not embrace some kinds of SAP jobs, could struggle to find good work, argues SearchSAP expert contributor Jon Reed.

The demand for SAP technology and functional consultants is near an all-time high, but that may not mean much for your particular SAP career path unless you build your SAP functional resume accordingly. We recently spoke with SearchSAP expert contributor Jon Reed, president of Northampton, Mass.-based JonERP, to determine why aspiring and practicing SAP consultants may be having a difficult time in the current market. Reed -- whose position as head of JonERP brings him into daily contact with dozens of active and prospective SAP consultants -- provided a reality check, emphasizing that success in the SAP job market can be elusive even at the best of times. Reed's advice and focus on the importance of business processes can help SAP professionals create strong SAP functional resumes.

You're in the trenches of the SAP hiring wars. How is the SAP skills shortage affecting SAP jobs on the ground?

Jon Reed: There's this general sense that there's an SAP skills shortage, but I regularly hear from recruiters who can't place talented senior resources -- people who are trained and certified.

Why is that?

Reed: For example, lots of companies say they have SAP needs, but they may only want to hire permanent people for certain openings.

What are consultants themselves doing wrong, in terms of positioning themselves for SAP work?

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Reed: Lack of industry focus. Clients aren't just expecting functional SAP consultants to go in and configure tables. Companies are expecting more. They want consultants to have some knowledge of their industry and a better grounding in best practices and business processes. The top 20% of SAP consultants have always taken that seriously, but now it's becoming a factor for everyone else. Then there's the fact that many consultants don't have full lifecycle experience on ERP 6.0 or ERP 5.0. Lots of companies are upgrading, or are in post-upgrade mode, and they're looking for people who have that background.

How can consultants acquire the industry focus that many SAP clients want, and otherwise improve their chances of employment?

The SAP BPX community has become a central focus to identify the business process skill set of the future: soft skills, industry know-how and new modeling tools. The BPX community is probably on the verge of announcing some new certifications around this stuff. In terms of growing your skill set, you should identify your skills gap and add one or two things every year. This year, SAP Solution Manager and business intelligence (BI) are hot, so all consultants will need some exposure in these areas.

Are there any red-hot SAP consulting areas right now?

If you're a Crystal Reports expert who is skilled at identifying how to integrate Crystal Reports with the SAP environment and helping a client scope out the potential of Business Objects, you won't be cutting your rates!

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