Open up one of the free SAP CV templates from your ISAP profile or a new a blank Word Document. We’re going to start from scratch, but can use some of the content from your existing CV.
We’re following the incredibly practical guidance from the CV Whisperer® here, with insights gained over 18 years in SAP recruitment, resource management and delivery, across 1000’s of SAP CVs, which helped countless SAP consultants land career-building steps across the full spectrum of roles from graduates to CEO’s.
Here we go:
- Start with the prep
- What role are you actually going for? Find it on job boards and social media, check other people’s titles: remember you already have the skills, here you are looking for the lingo. Specifically, the language that your target employer would use to find you.
- Terminology can trip you up: you may identify as a “Business Consultant”, but one employer might call your exact role an “ERP Analyst”, while another might call the same thing an “SAP Systems Specialist”. Literally, play around with all the combinations. Look at the titles of people already at your target company and in your target role, to find out what they call themselves in different companies.
- When it comes to the content, you will be including your actual current role title, but ALSO these other terms as ‘capabilities’. This way, you are reporting your true positions, but also being picked up by variations on the titles.
- Pay close attention to what’s going into Job Descriptions these days; eg, there is more emphasis on specific experience like Agile, Jira or Atlassian products. If you have these, they will need to be explicitly stated at every applicable project in your experience or you’ll be skipped.
- First page is first impression
- It’s been said recruiters spend less than 10 seconds reading a CV – make sure all the key things they are looking for aren’t lost to scrolling time, by putting core information on the first page: years’ experience, titles/capabilities, education, certification, industry experience, software skills, project types, security clearance, etc. A great CV is when the first page can be used as a full standalone 1-pg summary and still give the full picture.
- The first human person to read your CV is not usually the one making the hiring decision. They are more likely from HR or procurement, and will be looking for key terms, care and aesthetics, to decide if to put you through to the actual Manager who does speak your language.
- Use formatting to best utilise the space, but avoid excessive tables and fancy font as they can confuse ATS software.
- The Digital Gatekeeper will not be your friend if you embed documents.
- Photo – Yes, photo. There is the concept that photo’s can cause bias, but an employer is going straight to your LinkedIn profile from your CV anyway. If you have a clean, well lit, professional-looking shot, then include it and hyperlink it to your LinkedIn profile. If you don’t have one, organise one…..We’re likely far closer than you think to video business-cards, and in the post-covid world of online everything, your smile is your digital handshake (…or elbow bump).
- The Digital Gatekeeper
- You’ve heard recruiters spend less than 10 seconds, but that’s IF you get that far – remember you’re writing for the Digital Gatekeeper of the ATS software first, and they want keywords.
- Think SEO for resumes: if you are an ‘SAP Project Manager’ that term needs to appear multiple times in your CV to come up with a decent ranking in any ATS software.
- Remember, a recruiter will be entering a Boolean string type search; eg,
“SAP + HANA + Finance + government + Baseline clearance + citizen”
“SAP + Project Manager + utilities + Activate + Agile + onshore”
- What is the combination of terms in your target role? Make sure these are stated with frequency throughout the CV and LinkedIn profile.
- The Human Reader
- Avoid the “Wall of Words”, which are big blocks of text. You are writing a summary profile, not a history essay. Never risk a reader glazing over or moving onto an easier-to-read CV.
- Be kind to the human reader: use simple standard font, 11-12pt in size, bold headings, line and margin spacing, plenty of white space, state the facts, avoid the babble
- Consistency: keep with 3rd person prose the whole way through, being careful not to switch. The practice in SAP is to use 3rd person prose for CV’s, saving 1st person for Cover Letters and LinkedIn profiles. One reason for this is that consultancies and agencies will be submitting your CV to win work under their own brands, so your CV’s job shifts from landing a role for you, to showing capability of a company more generally.
- Length: Four pages maximum for early career, five pages maximum for experienced consultants.
- Proportions: Most content for the most recent and relevant projects, diminishing in content size the further back you go, even to summarise really early roles as simple bullet points.
Good practice is a “Master Version” of your CV, from which you can create a copy for specific tailoring to positions emphasising specific skills.
Register/login, to access free, specially crafted SAP CV templates and checklists by the CV Whisperer®, exclusively for members.
Insights from this article:
- Prepare for writing your CV by researching your target role, company and people doing the job you want – you need to learn and use their language to rank well in their assessment
- Craft a compelling first page with all the summary information, contact details, photo etc. The litmus test is whether this could be used as a 1-pg standalone summary.
- The Digital Gatekeeper is only looking for key terms, ranking them on frequency and usage – think SEO for CVs. The litmus test here is if your CV would come up in a Boolean string search with the combination of terms which define your target role.
- Be kind to the human reader through neat formatting, easy-to-find information, clear descriptions, concise lengths and relevant content proportions.