Conducting an Effective SQL Server Job Search Webcast Questions & Answers

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We hosted a presentation on "Conducting an Effective Job Search for SQL Server Professionals" on July 8th. We received several great questions we didn't have time to answer, so we wanted to take an opportunity to answer your questions via a tip. Below are all the questions that were submitted, and our answers. If you missed the webcast, you can view it in the archives!


If you had questions related to Resumes or Professional Development, keep in mind that we're hosting a webcast on that topic at the end of the month, so feel free to RSVP for that!

Resume Questions

Will certifications help weigh my resume over others?

  • While our clients rarely "require" certifications, they're always viewed as positive and can help differentiate you from other candidates! The same can be said of additional training and education. Also, if you do have relevant certifications, make sure they're prominently placed. For instance, you can add certifications next to your name at the top of your resume.  See the example below as a point of reference.

resume header

LinkedIn Questions

How many recommendations should you have in your LinkedIn profile?

  • We recommend having 3-5 LinkedIn recommendations. If possible, it's nice to have a mix of recommendations from different sources (i.e. Manager, client, teammate/s, individual you've managed, someone you know from community involvement, etc…). Keep in mind that it's "quality over quantity" when it comes to recommendations. Having a few strong and detailed endorsements can weigh more than having 10+ brief recommendations from individuals who you might not have an in-depth working relationship with!

Can we communicate to strangers via LinkedIn? How do we communicate with 2nd and 3rd degree connections?

  • Ideally, you find someone in common and ask that person to provide an introduction. If not, you can reach out to them and reference the person you have in common and that you'd like to network with them, or inquire, about a specific item.

Working with Recruiters

What are the best resources to find a good recruiter? How does one determine a good recruiter?

  • Evaluation criteria can include their tenure, reputation of the organization they work for, types of skill sets they support, and knowledge they have regarding your skill set. We actually wrote a tip on How to Find a Good SQL Server Recruiter for a couple weeks ago if you'd like to review that for more suggestions!

Is it OK to work with more than one recruiter/agency at the same time (as long as you communicate this with recruiters)?

  • Yes, absolutely! We both recommend that you work with 2-3 Recruiters at any given time, especially since Staffing firms have different client bases. Communication is key here! Please just let whoever you're working with know that you're exploring opportunities with other firms and keep them posted on the status of any other interviews and offers you have.

Is there an effective way to let recruiters know that they should never send you out of state job openings when I post my resume to a job board? I make note of that via Dice, etc., but many recruiters don't see this. Thanks.

  • If there's an option for ‘Not Willing to Relocate', you can select that. You can also highlight at the top of your resume on Dice or other job boards ***Interested in the DC Metro region only! *** Lastly, we would recommend only including your email address, not your phone number, if you're getting overwhelmed with calls. At least if you only have your email, it's easier to delete those out of state jobs as you receive them!

Do you have any tips for finding a job in another state? In-person interviews, etc.?

  • Our first recommendation here is to network with the local Recruiters you're working with, and ask them to make a phone call to the Recruiting Manager of the office closest to where you'd like to go (if they have a location there). Second, you can identify the top IT Staffing firms that have a presence in that city, call in, ask to speak with the Recruiter who focuses on SQL Server openings, and then communicate your interest in relocating to that area. It's good to emphasize your interest and commitment in relocating to that specific area to minimize any potential concerns (i.e. since some individuals don't follow through on relocation)!

Additional Questions

What are your thoughts on informing your current manager about (1) job dissatisfaction, and (2) that you are looking for a new position?

  • We touched on this a bit during the Q&A session at the end of the call, but wanted to expand. Again, it's all about how you phrase things. So, try to avoid comments like "I'm really frustrated because…" or "This job isn't at all what I expected." Instead, try communicating your interests and ask if there's potential to explore those. For example, "I've been learning the SQL BI technologies in my spare time, and I'd love to get the opportunity to work with them here. Is there any potential for me to work with SSIS and/or SSRS on this project? Or, are there any other projects I can help out with that are utilizing those technologies?"

What is the key to getting into a well-known company?

  • This is where partnering with a reputable staffing company can come in handy. Staffing companies support a lot of Fortune 500 companies, and have individuals who have a direct communication line and relationship to the hiring Managers of openings at these companies. If you have a list of target clients, make sure you communicate those to the Recruiters that you're working with! Then, they're more likely to get your resume in the hands, or the Inbox, of any hiring Managers at those clients.

If you want to move from a contractor to a full-time, what's the best approach?

  • If you're in a contract position right now, but want to become a full-time employee, there are a couple things you can do. One, confirm with the Recruiter that you're working with that you've reached the tenure to transition to a full-time employee of the client. Most staffing firms have contracts in place that dictate when a client can bring a contractor on full-time. Then, schedule a meeting with the Manager at your client site, thank them for the opportunities you've been given thus far, express your interest in becoming a permanent member of their team, ask if there's potential to do so, and then ask about what the next steps are!

What would you recommend for introverts that may not have a large network to leverage?

  • If you don't have a large network, reach out to folks you do know within your smaller network, and see if they can help you connect with the right people. All it takes is one champion to make an introduction to the right person! Also, many Leaders of Technical Groups are more than willing to help members of their group network. If you're in a local SQL Server User Group, take the time to talk to one of the Leaders about your situation, what you're looking for, and get their advice on who you should connect with.
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About the author
Erica Woods has nearly a decade in the IT staffing world, an MBA, and is a member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches.

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About the author
MSSQLTips author Cate Murray Cate Murray is responsible for managing the nationally-based talent acquisition strategies of the Apex Systems PMO and Business Analysis Practice and holds her PMP certification from PMI.

This author pledges the content of this article is based on professional experience and not AI generated.

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