Best Resources for Your SQL Server Job Search
How candidates search and apply for jobs has changed drastically over the last 10 years. Some key resources, such as identifying companies through user groups, have remained the same. However, new job searching resources have launched, others have grown in popularity, and the process of using others has changed!
Here are some recommended resources, along with a few best practices for utilizing!
1. Sign up for Job Alerts - This is an easy, customizable way to be alerted real-time when new positions matching your criteria are posted. Job alerts are available through Indeed, LinkedIn, CareerBuilder, Dice, Monster (and other job boards), as well as job portals that some staffing firms have established. Indeed is one of the top sites companies post jobs on, so signing up for Indeed job alerts should be a great resource for identifying opportunities! Make sure to sign up so you can stay in the know and find out about a new potential opportunity immediately! An additional best practice:
- If you see a job you’re interested in applying for, try to pinpoint the person recruiting for that role. If there is a name listed on the posting, you can look up the person on LinkedIn and send them a brief message. Bottom line, take a few avenues in reaching out to the contact person, don’t just rely on them seeing your resume in the list of applications!
2. Engage Recruiters - Reach out to proven recruiters you’ve worked with in the past. Ask others in your network or technical community for recommendations. It’s extremely beneficial to build a strong partnership with a few recruiters. Posting your resume on a job board can lead to a great relationship with a recruiter you hadn’t previously known about. You can also find quality staffing/recruiting firms by looking at the list of Inavero’s Top Staffing Firms, see which firms have a local office, and call into the office and ask to be connected with the best Recruiter that supports your skill set. Here are a few additional best practices:
- Do some prospecting on LinkedIn, searching for local Recruiters
and then evaluate their profiles and recommendations to see if they seem
like a good partner.
Identify 2+ Recruiters who focus on supporting Database/SQL Server positions, or the types of jobs you’re looking for.
- Make an effort to meet that person and build a relationship with them. They will be a better partner to you if they get to know you in person, and studies have shown that your relationship can be positively impacted by 55% if you meet someone in person.
- Treat Recruiters as “Job Search Consultants.” Especially if they’ve been recruiting for a few years, they typically know the best resources for you to utilize, effective ways to professionally market yourself, quality companies that have the types of positions you’re looking for, and can provide additional career coaching and job searching advice!
- Determine if the Recruiter/Staffing firm has their own job portal, and ensure you sign up for that. Ask them questions like “What is the most effective way I can work with you and your organization? What is the best way to learn about jobs you get?”
3. Seek Help From Your Network - We can’t stress this enough, but your network can be a huge advantage when looking for a new job / career! Think of former co-workers, community members, friends, neighbors, etc. that work at a company or work in a role that you admire. Reach out to them, and inquire on things like:
- Are there any openings at their company?
- Do they know of any similar clients that are hiring?
- Would they be willing to put you in touch with someone directly at the company?
- Do they have recommendations on resources to leverage or Recruiters?
- Do they have any other suggestions?
4. Use LinkedIn for Professional Branding and Searching for Jobs - LinkedIn is one of the top resources Recruiters and other hiring Managers use for both identifying candidates and screening them out. Once you have a quality LinkedIn profile that paints you in a positive light, leverage LinkedIn for identifying jobs and helping Recruiters find you. You can change your tag line (status) to reflect you’re looking for jobs, upload your resume, sign up for LinkedIn job alerts, look at job postings, look at job discussions in relevant LinkedIn groups, and do advanced searching.
5. Increase Involvement in Technical Community - Most companies working with your local technical community event are likely sponsoring because they hire the types of people who attend those meetings! Getting involved, or increasing your existing involvement, in your local technical community is another great networking avenue that can be especially helpful for connecting you with the right people.
- Ask for recommendations on contacts from user group leadership and members. A lot of Recruiters reach out to the leadership of their local user community when they’re hiring, so group leaders probably have some firms/Recruiters to connect you with.
- Contact community sponsors. Remember, the companies who sponsor your local technical community events are typically sponsors of communities they want to recruit from. Therefore, look at the sponsors listed on the websites of the local technical communities you’re a part of, and reach out to a Recruiter or Talent Acquisition Specialist at those organizations.
- Attend local technology events/conferences. These mini conferences typically have 5-10+ sponsors who are looking to hire. Treat these events as quick career fairs as well as great learning and networking opportunities!
6. Apply Through Corporate Websites - Most companies will publish their available jobs via resources like Indeed and LinkedIn, but some still just rely on their website. If you determine a company you’d like to potentially work at, go directly to their website and see what jobs they have available. Here’s a few ways you can identify target companies:
- As mentioned in #5, look at the companies who support your local technical community.
- Pay attention to local news, and keep a pulse on companies who are moving to your area.
- Look at ‘Best Companies to Work For’ lists.
7. Online Searches - Simply putting “SQL Server Developer jobs in Atlanta” in a search engine can help you quickly uncover some job leads. I once had a Developer contact me, and he referenced that he had Googled “.NET Developer jobs in Baltimore,” and my name came up associated with several related job postings. We were able to get him considered for several positions, and he had a job offer within a week! Always think through how you can get connected with the people who will be in the best position to help you!
8. Utilize Social Media - A lot of cities and technologies now have social media channels established for the job seeker. For example, there are groups on Facebook for technical jobs in specific cities (i.e. there’s a ‘Baltimore Tech Jobs’ group on Facebook) or handles and hashtags on Twitter for specific cities and technologies (i.e. @AtlantaTechJobs and #DCTechJobs). Lastly, Recruiters will post jobs or send emails about jobs via MeetUp groups, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.
9. Post Your Resume - If you’re actively looking (not passively), and you want to communicate your job search to the masses, upload your resume on job boards. Ask folks in your network for recommendations on any sites they’ve found success with. Also, be as clear as possible about what you’re looking for, to help minimize calls about non-relevant jobs or jobs way outside your location or salary ranges!
10. Attend Career Fairs - It’s common to associate career fairs with college, but there are actually quite a lot of job fairs available for the working professional. We’ve seen prominent user groups hold annual job fairs and workshops, and most major cities have regular offerings too. You can search “Upcoming Job Fairs” or “Career Fair Event Calendar” in your area to see what’s available! Attending a job fair is a great way to learn more about a company than what you might find on their website. You can talk to a client representative (typically someone in HR or Recruiting) directly about openings, benefits, company goals and directives, and what they look for in applicants. And since job fairs tend to offer a more relaxed environment (although you should still plan to dress to impress), this is a fantastic time to hone your interviewing skills!
There are a ton of resources out there to leverage during your job search. Keep in mind the following when deciding which resources to use:
- How eager are you to find a new job? If you’re more passive, you might want to avoid posting your resume, as doing that will result in a lot of calls. I’ve heard some IT candidates say they have received upwards of 100+ calls from Recruiters weekly after the post their resume!
- If you’re in a permanent job and don’t want to risk your current employer finding your resume, avoid posting your resume. If you do post your resume, consider making it “confidential.”
- Treat the above 10 resources as a ‘Job Search Checklist,’ and utilize at least 2-3 in your job search.
- The top 5 resources we’ve seen our client base use for identifying strong technical talent is Recruiters, LinkedIn, Indeed, Referrals and technical community sponsorship.
If you have any other resources you’ve found helpful in generating job leads, please share them in the ‘Comments’ section!
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.
Last Updated: 2015-11-06
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