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Career: Secrets from a Professional SAS Recruiter

Submitted by on 2012-01-25 – 7:06 AM 4 Comments

Recently I spoke with Dick Smith, Talent Engagement Manager for PiTech Solutions, about some tips for working with recruiters. He’s an experienced technical recruiter so I think you’ll find this information particularly insightful. He offers a good mix of traditional job search strategies and ways to leverage social media for your job search.

Working with SAS BI Recruiters

As for working with SAS or specialty recruiters, the technology world is most times defined by skill sets or product expertise. In SAS for example, there is a big difference between a SAS/Stat Programmer and a SAS BI/Analytics skill set. For my money, the KISS method applies in either case. So to begin with, keep your resume simple and straightforward. Tell the reader what you can do, what your best expertise is, and what you are looking to do with your career next.

Our screening process here at PITech Solutions, for instance, has a focus on the individual. Of greatest importance to us is to clearly understand what kind of position you are really looking for, or put another way – what is the ideal job for you? What do you see as your strongest expertise in the IT field at this point in your career?

Recruiters Seek Keywords Then Candidates

SAS BI Recruiters use keyword Search

Courtesy of Free Digital Photos (click image to go to site)

Recruiters today for the most part work with an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) and a job description that is loaded with skills (keywords). They are hardly, if at all, trained in knowing what those skills mean or represent; their boss tells them to find somebody who has [keyword] skill. So, if the keyword search in their ATS doesn’t find a matching skillset, there’s never a phone call made.

Any potential candidates are passed over almost immediately. Some recruiters might invest a moment or two to review a resume regardless. However, if they cannot quickly (30 seconds or so) find the information they want; they are off to the next prospect. [More about using keywords in your LinkedIn profile.]

Secrets for Resume Preparation

Here’s some tips for resume preparation:

  • Make sure your true skills are represented in your resume (e.g. SAS BI Reporting, SAS/Graph, SAS Enterprise BI Server, etc.) You cannot be all things to all people.
  • Don’t be afraid to tell the recruiter what you define as your ideal job.
  • Be prepared to discuss how your expertise fits the need. Remember you might be talking to someone who hasn’t a clue as to what you do or are capable of doing.
  • Work hard to reach the actual hiring authority at a company versus a recruiter. Very contrary to what I do for a living [See free article download below]. 
  • Have a profile on LinkedIn and join relevant technologies groups, such as SAS Analytics & BI. They post jobs and have discussion groups.
  • Create your own pay-it-forward blog and publish your work on the internet.
  • Make sure your resume is posted on credible job boards. Stay away from spammers and mass resume distributors.
  • In general, limit the number of recruiters you work with (maybe a half dozen at a time). Drop recruiters who do not communicate with you on a frequent basis.

unpublished job market resume career sas professional

Truthfully, smart aggressive recruiters will find you. The technology tools for sourcing people is ever expanding. The internet and cyberspace are remarkable.  In summary, it’s all about meeting expectations – yours, the clients and ours. If you cannot do that – then how can you ever hope to make a deal?

Read More

The Hidden Job Market article for more job search tips and how to contact Dick Smith for assistance with your technical job search. I really appreciate Dick providing this information – appears he’s the rock star of the SAS Recruiting world!

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Tricia Aanderud

Director of Data Visualization at Zencos Consulting
Tricia Aanderud is a SAS Business Intelligence and Visual Analytics consultant based in Raleigh, NC who works for Zencos Consulting. She has written several books about SAS, presented papers at many SAS conferences, and has been using SAS since 2001. Contact her for assistance with your next project.
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  • David:

    I really couldn’t agree more with your comments. You have some excellent advise that I hope others will use.

    One thing I am noticing but didn’t really want to say in the forums – I wonder if people consider the way they communicate when they are in the forums – i.e. what I call text speak (How R U? Look 4 job, Pls hire me.) If recruiters and hiring managers are looking through the forums – how likely are they to want to hire one of those people?! Eeek! I would be picturing the new hire sending an email to my manager with some cryptic message or doing a PowerPoint full of text speak.

    Just my $ .02 – that and $1 will get you a cup of coffee in some places.


  • Hi Tricia! Good article. These are certainly some of thing I have in mind when looking for new team members. Let me add two things –

    1. Networking! Get your name out to people in the industry by attending conferences (better yet – volunteer!), presenting papers and participating on SAS-oriented networking sites like this one. Strive to make your name better known in the community, because people will rely their own personal network first when seeking new employees.

    It used to be that resumes were checked, a first cut was made and then phone contacts went out. Now, there is often an additional cut – after resume keywords and before the first phone call: recruiters are running Google searches on the names that make the first cut. If you want a particular job, pretend you are a recruiter and hit the search engines. Does your name come up? Work to win the Google search.

    2. With all the good comments on SAS recruiting, we should remember that all of the standard rules for recruiting for any professional position still apply. In many areas, such as business intelligence, the ability to communicate clearly and effectively to a non-technical audience may be the most important skill of all. So, think of your resume as an example of the analysis you will be presenting on the job – you can be sure the recruiter is looking at it that way. Is it clear? Does it follow a logical order and clearly state its objectives? Does it convey technical material without being burdened with jargon that makes it hard for a lay person to understand? Is it up to current standards or does it look like it is from the 1980’s? Let’s get down to the very basics here – is the spelling and grammar correct? Ask yourself objectively: would a business person be proud to present to a customer or manager a piece of analysis that looks like your resume? If a resume looks confusing, I can be confident the person’s analysis will look just as bad. If I see spelling and grammatical errors – showing that the person didn’t even show enough discipline and attention to detail to check it – I don’t need to look again.

  • Thanks for commenting. I hear you Narendra. My first job out of school I was not what I had trained to do; it took three years to get to a job that was closer to my education. It is very discouraging when you feel so full of energy and you know you are super capable!

    I think Dick’s advise about the hidden job market could work for you – he offered some tips on things to do (volunteer, social networks, etc). You have to target companies that work with people fresh out of college. Make a list of companies that offer internships and see if you can break in that way.

    Another option is to do what I did – take a job beneath your skillset and grow into the position you want.

    Good luck.


    Dear madam,
    Being a fresher, I am looking for an opportunity as a SAS programmer as not somany openings in the market which is difficult to make a ntry in the corporate world.

    Narendra sahoo.