Effectively Pursuing Remote SQL Server Jobs

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In our Job Search Strategies webcast, a question arose around getting a remote job. This is certainly a hot topic, as more and more employees want increased flexibility on where, when and they do their work. The specific question was "What recommendations do you have when applying for a remote worker job?".

According to 'Global Workplace Analytics', 80-90% of the US workforce says they would like to telework at least part time, but only 20-25% of the workforce teleworks at some frequency. Considering these statistics, it's important to have a detailed plan for getting an offer at a company which will allow you this option. Simply stating on your resume and in interviews "I'd like the option to work remotely" most likely won't cut it.


A lot of job seekers are looking for companies that are flexible when it comes to remote work. While many of the resources you'd use for a normal job search are the same when searching for opportunities with remote work potential, how you go about utilizing those resources can differ. Here are some resources you can employ when searching for remote work jobs, and best practices when using:

  1. Revisit old job/bosses. Think about the past companies you've worked at in your space, and past Managers. Do you have any you'd be interested in going back to, depending on the role? Any Managers you left on really good terms with and feel really valued you? Make a list of these companies/Managers, and proactively reach out to them. Be clear and direct on your remote work goals/preferences. Revisiting an old company/Manager who knows your strengths, values your work, and would want you back, might be more flexible than those you don't already have a positive track record with.

  2. Partner with 1-2 strong recruiters/staffing firms. Love them or hate them, recruiters who are well-established and work with a large client base can be instrumental in determining which organizations offer remote work potential, as well as a good partner with helping to get your resume in front of the right person. Once you identify the right recruiters who frequently support your skill set, explain your remote work preferences and then directly ask them "How many organizations in my area who typically have openings for my skill set allow remote work options? Do any of them have current openings? If not, would you be able to submit my resume to the right Manager proactively?". If the recruiter is able to submit your resume to current positions, or proactively, equip them with the information/candidate material that will help your case! For example, if you've worked remotely at two companies, and had some strong achievements there, share your milestones via a few bullet points, and include a recommendation endorsing you for work you did remotely.

  3. Develop a 'Company Prospect List'  of organizations who offer remote work. One of our main suggestions for an effective job search, even if you're not actively looking, is to always keep a running list of companies you'd be interested in if and when you found yourself in the job market. As you get contacted by phone, email, LinkedIn, etc., ask a question to determine "What's the potential of working remotely, even 20-60% of the time, at this organization?". If it's a company which supports that, take an extra minute to capture that company and additional details via your List.

    Below is an example of how you could track this.

Company Prospect List
Company Location Allow Remote? Connection Additional Details
ABC Company downtown DC Yes! Joe Smith (SQL Group) 10K tuition reimbursement, all custom dev work, 3rd largest in industry
DEF Company Northern VA After 3-6 month trail period Jane Smith (Recruiter) has strong relationship Large DB staff; have 100 DBs supporting 45 clients in managed hosting environment
RST Company Bethesda Yes, in DB Solutions Group Jack Smith (SQL Sat Lead) works there Outdated tech in some groups; known for good work-life balance
XYZ Company DC Metro No Jordan Smith Strong PTO (20 days at start); always working with newest tech! Excellent 401K and benefits coverage.
  1. Use the right resources, including job boards dedicated to remote jobs. Ask around, and generate a list of resources that specify which jobs could be considered remotely, such as Dice. If you're active in your local technical community, keep a gauge of the fellow members who work at organizations remotely, and inquire on how they identified the job there originally. Use remote work job sites, such as We Work Remotely. Here's a recent article from SkillCrush on 'The 25 Best Sites for Finding Remote Work'.

  2. Include as part of your search criteria for job alerts. When signing up for job alerts, add a string that generates results that offer remote work. Example string - ("remote work" or "remote option" or "telework" or "telecommute").

  3. Clear communication of preferences via resume, LinkedIn, and/or cover letters. Over communication can be incredibly helpful here. Many job boards will allow you to specify that you're seeking remote work on your resume/profile. You can also add something like the following to your resume ***Seeking remote work/telework opportunities, but will travel up to 25% of the time!*** You can also explain your telework preferences via your LinkedIn profile and in cover letters/applications. As you apply for positions, include the number of years you've worked remotely, key projects/applications you completed while working remotely, and other details which could demonstrate your effectiveness as a remote worker. Also, you can copy and paste one of your recommendations which speaks to work you did while being remote into your application/cover letter.

Additional Points:

One thing you have to keep in mind about pursuing jobs with remote work potential is you're not the only one! Typically a Manager will have an increased candidate pool when they advertise there's flexibility to work remotely! Therefore, you need to have a clear strategy when searching for, applying, and then interviewing for positions with remote work flexibility! Here are some additional best practices to consider:

  1. Strengthen your skill set and develop a very strong portfolio. The reality is there's a much larger candidate pool for remote work positions, so you have to work harder to position yourself to be at the top of the list. When you get contacted, or see a job posting, with a position involving remote work, don't delay in replying/responding! Time is definitely of the essence, since managers will typically get candidates much more quickly and then stop allowing for additional candidates.

  2. Get relevant recommendations now. Think through which references would be good to showcase, and proactively call/email them now to request a LinkedIn recommendation, and ask if they could specifically highlight your accomplishments and work while being remote.

  3. Highlight experience working remotely. When applying and interviewing, demonstrate your successful track record of working remotely! Show examples of your work, especially products that were delivered when you worked remotely.

  4. If you have recommendations that emphasize you've previously worked at home, and successfully delivered, share those. We suggest getting both a Managerial recommendation as well as one from someone who was on the receiving end of work (i.e. internal or external client).

  5. Understand long-term potential, and be flexible now. Give consideration to companies where remote work is a possibility down the road! A lot of companies want to "test you out" as a productive and reliable employee first, before offering the option of remote work. If you're only considering companies who offer telework as an option right out of the gate, you're really limiting yourself.

  6. Understand your target salary range with a remote work option. Following the flexibility concept mentioned in #11 above, you need to be realistic with your salary expectations, especially if you're interested in a full time, remote work job. Typical salaries are less with remote jobs because of the flexibility and other benefits you're awarded, such as lower commuting costs, less food expenses from eating out, etc. Identify two target salary ranges as you start your job search, one for positions that require you to be onsite full time, and one for roles where you can work remotely. For example, you might be targeting 105-115K for onsite roles, and 98-105K for roles that allow at least 60% telework!
Next Steps

More and more companies are allowing their workforce some level of remote work option, even if it's only one day a week! That's great news for those of you that are looking for the flexibility of telecommuting. While there are still situations where being onsite is a must, ensure you're setting yourself up in the best way possible to find a remote job by adhering to the following:

  • Use 2+ sources that will provide you remote work jobs. Review the article from SkillCrush on 'The 25 Best Sites for Finding Remote Work'. Sign up for at least two of those sites.

  • Be proactive - How important is working from home to you? What % are you targeting? If it's something that's a deal breaker, make sure you're doing everything in your power to get ahead of your job search. Talk to mentors, trusted co-workers and Recruiters and create a Target Company List detailing their work from home options. We also talked about the importance of recommendations if you've had success previously working telecommuting.

  • Be realistic - Are you willing to be flexible with your salary given that previous commuting costs will dwindle? Make sure that you have clear and realistic expectations of what you want out of a remote job. Not sure if your target salary is realistic? Ask a few trusted Recruiters, or others you know in your skill set that work remotely, what common salaries are for roles with a telecommute option.

  • Over communicate - Make sure your resume, LinkedIn profile, etc. clearly communicates if/when you've worked remotely and what you achieved during that timeframe. If you have significant contributions / milestones when you were a teleworker, ensure you're getting references/recommendations from the managers and clients you supported to accompany your resume and add to your LinkedIn profile!
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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