I guess, like me, you have noticed more and more of your connections reaching out on LinkedIn with posts about losing their job due to recent cutbacks and restrictions. Times are certainly hard and the SAP industry is by no means immune to that, given its broad reach through a cross-section of industries.
So how can you use your LinkedIn profile and your LinkedIn activities to grab the attention of SAP hiring managers and recruiters? As an SAP professional who regularly interviews SAP candidates, here are some top tips for LinkedIn to make you stand out from the crowd. Many of these tips can be applied to your CV as well and it is worth checking out Eursap’s guide to writing a good SAP CV.
Firstly, and most importantly, do not underestimate the power of LinkedIn for SAP roles – prospective employers will almost always check your LinkedIn profile at some point during the recruitment process and good recruitment agents will do the same thing. Many recruitment agents will search for prospective candidates via LinkedIn key words. You should treat your LinkedIn profile as a free extension to your CV. The first rule here then, is to put yourself in the recruiter’s shoes. Imagine this is the scenario:
You are a stressed out SAP functional manager; you have lost a key member of your team and you need to replace them quickly. The work does not stop coming in – you’re in the middle of a complex SAP implementation and deadlines are flying by like only deadlines do. You need somehow to find time in this busy schedule to review applications for a replacement. A pile of CVs land in your inbox and you glance through them (make note of the word “glance” here – not much time is spent here). For those who have made the first cut, you begin looking at their LinkedIn profiles. You can’t spend too much time on them – you just don’t have the time. Which profiles stand out and jump out at you?
Let’s analyse this. The one thing which is clear here is that the recruiter is short on time. They need as much help as possible to show them that YOU are the right candidate for the job. You won’t be just doing yourself a favour – you will be doing them one too as they will be able to shortcut to you! So, with this in mind, you need to tailor your LinkedIn profile so that it screams “pick me”. Remember that there will be other candidates who are using LinkedIn effectively, but not many! Wouldn’t you rather be in the two or three candidates who jump out at the recruiter rather than be discarded amongst the 50 other also-rans?
And to do that, there are some rules which will stand you in good stead.
1. Profile picture and background picture.
You would dress sharply and look professional for an interview wouldn’t you? Treat your profile picture in a similar way. With regards to your background picture, you can be a bit more creative here but keep in mind the message you want to convey – you are an SAP professional and therefore this is your opportunity to showcase your SAP knowledge. Is there a flowchart or diagram which fits in well with your skills? Perhaps some SAP screenshots of your specialist area? Give some thought to what a prospective SAP employer would want to see.
If you ignore this, LinkedIn will simply fill it in with your current job title and this is a missed opportunity, as your job title is a separate field on your profile. Your headline is your one line sales soundbite and hence should be crammed with your SAP credentials. Take these examples:
• “ABAP developer”
• “ABAP expert, S/4HANA and UI5, with multi industry experience and cross functional knowledge, cloud and on-premise”
Which one sounds better? There are a few nuggets in there which leap out at the recruiter:
“expert”, “S/4HANA”, “UI5”, “multi-industry”, “cross functional”, “cloud”, “on premise”.
All that packed into one line! Recruitment agents will search for these kind of things and your name will come up as a result. What skills do you want to be found for?
And one “ask” please: don’t use your headline to tell people that you are unemployed. Your headline is to tell employers what you are good at – nobody will search for the words “looking for next opportunity” or anything like that. If you need to show you are open to work, you can use the relatively new “Open to work” banner against your profile picture.
3. “About” section.
Here is where you need to get smart. And by “smart”, I mean “specific”, “measurable”, “attainable”, “results based”, “time oriented”. Your “about” section should be all of those things if at all possible. Have you been involved in SAP implementations around the world? If so, list the countries – these details can be important to recruiters who are looking for experience in specific countries. Which SAP modules have you had exposure to? List them. SAP employers like to see solid things here – just saying you are “hard working” or “motivated” won’t really cut it. Mention your SAP experience, your modular knowledge and how you can help. I like to use the “so what?” rule: read your “about” section and say to yourself “So what?” If you can answer that one, you’re on the way to a good “about” section! Here’s two examples to compare again:
• An experienced and hardworking SAP finance analyst with a willingness to learn. I’ve been involved in many SAP implementations over the years and can bring a real “can-do” attitude to the role. I’m always looking to find a new solution and enjoy working in teams.
• A veteran certified SAP finance analyst with over ten end-to-end life cycle implementations under my belt in the automotive and oil and gas sectors in the US, UK, France and Germany; covering both ECC6.0 and S/4HANA. I’ve always been willing to learn and have expanded my functional knowledge to include the Purchase to Pay and Order to Cash modules. Additionally I have a good working knowledge in ABAP programming and Fiori.
The first one shows some soft skills but is wordy without any real experience you can put your finger on. I’ve highlighted in both the key words which will jump out to a recruiter.
As you can see, the second description is packed with information – gives real updates on where you have been involved with implementations, what you did, how many times and precisely what your skills are.
4. “Featured” section.
This section is little used but can be a goldmine. If you have some whizzy SAP articles or blog postings you might have worked on, here is where you can showcase them. Or, if you have been featured in a LinkedIn post (perhaps you have been thanked for some great work), this is the place to put it. You can also feature external content – videos, documents etc. – anything which showcases your talents! This is a free sales pitch and the section is pretty prominent in your profile so I would recommend using it.
5. Skills and Endorsements and Recommendations. These sections are reasonably useful although employers will be swayed by what you actually did based upon your SMART “about” section, rather than what others say about you. However, it is worthwhile asking for key network contacts to recommend you or at least endorse you for the skills you feel you need.
Use this section for adding any courses, major projects, publications, language skills etc to your profile.
And a final word on content. LinkedIn is a platform for content and good content will always attract engagement and wider network. Add content which showcases your skills and sparks conversations, and don’t forget to add it to your Featured section if it goes down well.
Also remember that many jobs these days are not even advertised. Employers tend to have good relationships with recruitment agents and will often contact them to find a candidate. Also, imagine an employer stumbling across some content you have created on LinkedIn and then clicking on your profile and being blown away – potentially a job opening which you never knew existed. In these instances, LinkedIn is often the only view of you that the recruiter might have.
Feel free to check out my Linkedin profile for (hopefully) some of the above content put into action!
Author: Jon Simmonds, Senior IT Architect
Stay tuned for more insights on Eursap’s Blog…