We recently caught up with Bruno Neves Alves, Technical Director of eProseed, to find out what advice he has for students looking for positions in the ERP/EPM sector on graduating.
In summary, his tips are:
||Focus on what you enjoy to increase your chances of success.
||Make sure you have a balance of technical knowledge, business knowledge and soft skills.
||Maximise opportunities to secure work experiences & if you get the chance to travel, take it!
||Invest in building valuable social networks.
||Research, prepare and practise.
Read on to find out what Bruno advises you to do to achieve these things...
What advice would you give young people entering the technology, ERP or EPM sector in terms of deciding in which direction they should focus their career?
Firstly, it is paramount that you target what fuels you and give it everything you’ve got. It’s a hard market out there, but it’s easier if you can have fun doing something you enjoy. Doing what you enjoy is the best way to get to enhanced results. Be observant during your studies or professional experience and try to identify where most of your abilities lie. Think about where you can excel most, make sure that you maximise your professional experiences in this area and bring your own personal experience to the equation. Try to find your space and drive in to an arena where you can transcend.
Identify and locate mentors in the industry you want to board who already have the career you desire. From there, weigh up the pros and cons – on reflection you may even decide that your dream career isn’t a good match for you after all.
Finally, pick up a book or two on technologies and/or enterprise management basics. At the end of all this research you'll have a better idea of the right path for you to follow.
It’s about clarifying your thoughts and finding out what is right for you, so don’t be afraid to change direction.
If you were entering the workforce now and looking to improve your prospects of building a career in the EPM or ERP sector, which skills would you choose to learn?
Fundamental is RDBMS knowledge, be sure to have SQL – PL/SQL skills. Invest time to understand the principles and foundations of the different ERP and EPM modules and, if possible, gain experience with Oracle Fusion Applications and Oracle Forms as this is also valued.
On another note, no more monolithic applications exist at the enterprise - integration is key. Be sure to gain knowledge in data, services and cloud integration concepts, tools and technologies.
It’s also important that you improve your management concepts knowledge. Good management knowledge will abridge the link between tools and business needs when working on this thematic.
When talking about soft skills, no matter what, we agree that there is an essential one - be a good listener. Be focused - your ecosystem is providing you with the necessary information. Listen to your colleagues, your management and do not forget to hear your client. At the end of the day, be sure to take the lessons learned from your experiences and process and transform this into tailored skills. Walk the best walk you can find. Being organised is essential and remember - keep your creativity.
We frequently hear that graduates and apprentices will be lacking in real-world business experience, what would you suggest they do to counter this lack of knowledge?
We live in a global marketplace so my first advice is, if you have the means, experience the world. When you are travelling you are absorbing other cultures, languages and knowledge all at the same time. It prepares you for the real-world business and puts you in a position where others follow.
It is essential to create a healthy social network. Build relationships with quality people and invest time in them allowing a high-quality mutual relationship to form. It makes sense that if technologies are an integral part of our life (and no one can deny it) you need to embrace it. You have available interesting online social business networks that you can leverage. Meet new people, not only in your business arena, but in different business arenas as well. It will help you in taking some steps and decisions at the beginning of your career.
Last, but not the least, always be active. You have at your disposal a wide range of choices to reduce the existent lack between the studies and the real-world business; summer internships, Erasmus programme, other country exchanges programmes, Technological Innovation projects amongst others - do not think twice, take the risk – it will pay off.
What is the best advice you could give to a graduate about how to build an effective network, for now and the future?
Online social networks are a good starting point. You need to be curious and look for all the related Oracle and technology communities that may introduce you. Once identified, try to actively help. Even without experience, do your best to contribute solving problems, making yourself noticed - people value people that help. All the initial efforts will pay off later.
During your graduation, innovate, try to be different and show that you can think outside the box. That will put you under the spot light and draw attention to you which then facilitates interactions.
Be present at related events and ensure that you enjoy your time meeting the people and the professionals. Remember: not everything is about work, strong relationships and networks are also built over fun!
What advice would you give a graduate on how to make themselves stand out in the job application or interview process?
No matter what, be prepared. Preparation is everything – it will impress any recruiter and starts from the moment you attach your CV to the email and press the ‘send’ button. You need to make sure that the people reading your application will see you as a correct fit for the job by ensuring your CV contains adequate and relevant information for the position.
In this respect, you must highlight any activities (curricular and extra-curricular) and interests that demonstrate you are a match for the area you are applying for. Additionally, any contributions that you may have already made in related communities – if it’s not the case, it’s time to change… anyone can say they contribute, but be able to demonstrate action.
Do not forget that people like to look at nice and sharp things so be a designer and prepare a nice layout for your CV. There are plenty of examples over the internet. Cherry pick the ones that you feel are more suited to your profile and positions you are looking for.
Being prepared means practising in advance; study your CV well so you will not get stuck on a query from your recruiter. Preparation is key; be prepared for the questions and also take time to learn about the employer and to understand their values.
During the interview, it’s important to demonstrate passion and interest about what you are applying for. Show how your experiences, even in areas that are not directly linked to the position, can bring value. It’s important to show your opinion, you are entering to the workforce and companies are looking for someone that they can trust to invest in. Show that you are reliable, smart and you can align with the same working spirit.
Do not be discouraged when things do not go well and you are passed over. Learn your lessons and identify what should be improved. The experience will help you to be ready for the forthcoming interviews.
Bruno has been working in Oracle Fusion Middleware technologies for 10 years across Europe and South America, holding several Oracle certifications and deeply experienced as SOA/BPM Senior Consultant, Solution Architect, Team Leader, Presales and Speaker. He currently performs the role of Technical Director as part of the CTO Office at eProseed.