How to do well in 2009

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With the country seemingly hurtling towards economic melt down, we would be forgiven in thinking that 2009 is all about cost cutting, redundancies and survival. In fact, the average IT worker will tell you that ironing 5 shirts on a Sunday night is
about as optimistic as it gets.

Not so if you work in SAP- ask any recruiter what the single most sought-after IT skill is at the moment, and the universal response is a three-letter word: SAP (ComputerWorld Jan 09).

Whilst it is clearly not the buoyant market that we have enjoyed over the last 5 years or so (SAP themselves announced worldwide redundancies of up to 3000 in January), our User Survey at the last SUG Conference in November endorses the sentiment that life with SAP is more rosy than life without it. 67% of participating delegates predicted that SAP headcount within their own organisations will either remain the same or increase throughout 2009.

So the message to SAP Users is do not panic, you are in a better place than most but you can take deliberate steps to minimise your risk of being out of work by 1) making yourself indispensible at work and 2) by knowing where to look for new opportunities:

Make yourself indispensible at work:

  • Work on transferable skills such as leadership, analysis, team working, communication and problem solving. These are skills that all employers are interested in and will increase your suitability for new projects, internal moves and promotion.
  • Be good at what your boss isnt. Whatever your position within an organisation, everyone has a boss. Compliment their expertise by adding real value to their areas of weakness, this will increase their reliability on your contribution to the team.
  • Get yourself noticed- volunteer for new projects when ever possible raising your profile at work.
  • Build internal relationships- new projects and workload will give you an opportunity to make new contacts in different teams and divisions. The more effective your internal network the higher your profile.
  • Walk in your boss shoes- what would their definition of an indispensible team member look like? Take steps to emulate this.
  • Emit positivity- employers tend to look favourably on proactive team players with infectious enthusiasm compared to those who are disillusioned, insular and who do the bare minimum.
  • Look for ways to improve things- use your initiative, are there existing processes that can be re-worked to save time/money or add value?
  • Skill up- volunteer for any training courses on offer. Adding more strings to your bow is essential in this market and sends a message to your employer that you are serious about your work and personal development.
  • Be excellent- in times like these, employees who deliver above & beyond what is required are more likely to get noticed and get on.

Know where to look for new opportunities:

  • Develop personal relationships with specialist SAP Recruiters with a proven track record specifically in the SAP market. Keep in regular contact and make sure that your Recruiter is working proactively on your behalf.
  • Challenge Recruiters when responding to job adverts- are they preferred suppliers to the client? What has been their track record with them to date? What is the interview process? How long will it take to get to offer stage?
    What do they think your chances are? Knowing all this up front will allow you to evaluate your suitability to each role.
  • Know your market dont get bogged down on current projects and deadlines. Always keep up to date with trade press and find out where the new SAP projects are taking place.
  • Develop your own networks. This could be with peer groups, ex-colleagues and managers, internal contacts or industry leaders. Networks are an invaluable source of market information, referrals and direct job leads and
    have been a key contributor to our own success over the years.
  • Play an active part in industry events and online forums. This will increase your market knowledge and add to your network. Events such as the SUGannual conference and SIGs are both ideal forums for sharing market
    information.

If you would like further information on any of the issues raised in this article or have any questions regarding the current availability of SAP jobs or resources please contact Vincent Dunlop on 01423 874 566 or vin@peopleco.co.uk.

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