See some tips from Michael Jones’ SAP experience
These tips are also relevant for anyone coming to Australia.
1. Get your foot in the door early by compromising
When you’re fresh off the boat and wet behind the ears there is nothing like getting your foot in the door early in this country so you can start your journey as a SAP contractor. I’m not saying you should apply a “scatter gun” approach and apply for a thousand roles that are not relevant to you just to start working; because ultimately this would result in you taking something that is not the right fit for your skill set. However, if you’re lucky enough to find a role that meets 80% of your job role requirements at an early stage of your new life in Australia, grab it with both hands.
I was lucky enough to secure two offers of SAP contract work within the first week of arriving in Australia, and whilst both of these options didn’t tick all of the boxes in terms of my preferred role I accepted one of them in order to make a start.
2. Be Amenable
I’ve always tried to be amenable throughout my career, and I’ve continued with this approach whilst being a contractor in Sydney. This might take the form of picking up work that you haven’t done before, or getting involved with things you did many years ago.
I was asked to be a Test Manager during one of the SAP projects I worked on a couple of years ago and initially I wasn’t too keen on the role as I knew it would involve the creation of numerous test scripts which was a fairly monotonous job. However this task became only a small part of the role whilst offering me other opportunities to expand my skills in other areas such as leadership, so it became a great opportunity in the end.
You can’t be too precious when you’re contracting and this thought process has served me well for the past 5 years.
3. Think CUSTOMER
You must always think of the customer when you’re contracting, whether it be the CEO or the cleaner, you were recruited to provide a service to the organisation that hired you, so always aim to please, or they might find a good reason not to renew your contract.
4. Be Nice to Recruiters
Recruiters have an image problem. They are probably sandwiched in between real estate agents and used car salesman in terms of their popularity with some people in Sydney. It’s time now to throw those preconceptions out and to give them a chance; love them or hate them, but you will almost definitely need their help at some stage of your contracting journey.
From my own perspective I had phone conversations and face to face meetings with around ten recruiters when I first arrived in Australia, and the majority were really helpful in regards to giving me advice on not only how to secure a role, but they also gave me amazing tips on the best suburbs to live and the coolest restaurants.
I’ve remembered the guidance that some of these recruiters gave me and have always been nice to them whenever they called or emailed me for a position they were recruiting for.
You’ll never know when you’ll need a recruiter so treat them kindly.
5. Work with the business
Keep in mind you need to work with the business that you have currently been hired for; that might seem like a pretty generic statement but all it means is that you should learn to adapt your behaviour to fit the needs of the organisation.
You’ll realise pretty quickly the culture and environment that you’re working in, so consider how you can adapt yourself enough so you can blend into the fabric of the organisation.
If you’re working for an organisation with strong work-life balance polices or where employees have flexible leave there is no point in setting unrealistic deadlines with the business (in regards to UAT testing for example).
Understand where you’re working and adapt your expectations and behaviours accordingly.
Networking is a topic where you can devote a whole blog to and there are a million different opinions on how best to do it so I won’t try and give too much detail here as it means different things to different people.
However with that being said, as a contractor you need to make sure to network to some degree to ensure you keep expanding your contacts. These could be former & current colleagues, recruiters, mentors, industry leaders, and even other SAP professionals you have connected with on LinkedIn.
I try and attend as many networking events as I can, as it’s a great opportunity to meet new people over a few drinks in a social setting, however simply keeping in touch with ex-colleagues & recruiters is a great way to keep in touch and you might be introduced to new people. The six degrees of separation is certainly a theory that I believe in!
7. Own your self-development
One of the key differences in being a permanent employee or a contractors is that it’s very unlikely that your manager is going to knock on your door and offer you the chance to participate in a suite of training courses or send you to an industry conference in Las Vegas (unfortunately!!!)
Contractors need to stay ahead of the game and own their self-development so it’s always worth putting some time aside to read up on the latest changes in the market.
You should also consider the job-related training courses that are available, most of them can be done online these days and self-education expenses are tax deductible when the course you undertake leads to a formal qualification and meets the following conditions. The course must be related to your current role and maintain or improve the specific skills or knowledge you require in your current employment, or result in an increase in your income from your current employment.
If you would like assistance in salary management and compliance as a contractor, Pendragon have close to 20 years’ experience in assisting contractors throughout Australia and have additional services that can assist to maximise your take home pay.
talk to us… 0294078700 | [email protected] | Contractor Management Information
See some tips from Michael Jones’ SAP experience