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SQLAndy

I'm Andy Warren, currently a SQL Server trainer with End to End Training. Over the past few years I've been a developer, DBA, and IT Director. I was one of the original founders of SQLServerCentral.com and helped grow that community from zero to about 300k members before deciding to move on to other ventures.

Tips on Getting Hired – Part 2

Yesterday I posted Part 1 containing five ideas for those looking for work. Today I’m going to focus on what to do when you’re struggling to get interviews. Your chances of getting hired for any given job once you interview are perhaps 1 in 10 (an unscientific estimate). If you’re not interviewing, you’re not in the game.

  • If you’re not getting a couple interviews per week ask your recruiter why not. Do they not have openings that fit you? If they don’t, try to figure out why they don’t – are they more .net or Java or whatever focused, lacking clients that use your technology, or just not trying for you hard enough? Or are there truly few openings that fit? Or, are they showing your resume to employers and you’re not being picked? The question to ask is how many times a week they are presenting you as a candidate to someone actively trying to fill a position.
  • I’m all for an updated and interesting resume, but having looked at a few hundred I can tell you that there aren’t many that will make an employer go ‘wow’. Read the books on building a resume and get someone to review it (recruiter is ideal), but you can only make it so good. Employers are looking to see if you appear to have the skills and experience they are requesting and filtering based on that to see who they interview.
  • If possible submit a cover letter with your resume. I rarely see this done, but it’s a missed opportunity for a couple reasons. One is that so few people do it you will stand out as someone that tries to do things the ‘right’ way and is trying hard. Another is that it gives you a chance to sell the employer on why you would be a good fit. They don’t want a sales pitch, they want you to show them something that they won’t see on the resume. Remember that it’s often less about what you have done in the past than what you can do for them now. The cover letter is the perfect place to include a link to a personal web site or blog that contains code samples, links to articles, etc (make sure it looks good and is current!).
  • Make sure you have an online presence and know what it looks like. Set up an account on LinkedIn or Plaxo or Facebook, fill in the major blanks. This can be your only presence, or in addition to the blog/personal web site. Both is better, but if you can only do one participate in one of social sites because you leverage your time. Make sure you search for your name and know what they will find, they will look if you start to appear interesting and what they find might tip the scales either way.
  • Don’t turn down any interviews unless you wouldn’t consider the company or location. I have a friend that changed jobs quite a few times during the early part of his career and one of the side effects was that he interviewed a lot – successfully. Practice makes perfect, but most of us get very little practice. Plus, even if it turns out you weren’t a good fit for that position, it’s not uncommon for them to keep you in mind for other openings later on.

Remember, if you’re not interviewing, you have just about zero chance of getting hired. Interviewing and not getting a job doesn’t hurt you, no black mark on your resume!

Tomorrow some tips from the employer perspective.

Comments

Posted by blaydes on 17 June 2009

Found this site yesterday.

This is a great networking resource.

http://www.linkedinworks.com/

I have ordered the book.

Posted by Steve Jones on 17 June 2009

I certainly agree about not turning down interviews. Especially early on. Even if you don't want the position or the location, go and get the practice of being grilled by someone.

Nice job!

Posted by Dugi on 18 June 2009

Yes, the Last one in this post " Don't turn down any interviews" is very nice if you are positive especially when you are hired and why not to be active with other interviews you will not lose nothing at all, just more practice for the interviews and adding little experience for Q & A!

Posted by Andy Warren on 18 June 2009

Bob, I made a note to look at the site you mentioned - thanks for that!

Posted by Sean Darby on 23 June 2009

Andy,

Your article was well-written. A lot of this seems like it would be common-sense advice, but sometimes people need to be reminded of the little things you can do to land that next job.

I was laid off from my previous job as a programmer in April. As soon as I'd left the building, I began calling potential contacts and updating my resume for posting to web sites like Monster, Career Builder, Dice, etc.

I set up each account to email me daily with any job openings that related to my location and skill set. I applied to every one, returned every call and email I received about job opportunities, even if they didn't pan out.

I also made sure to keep my profile fresh on sites such as LinkedIn, so that people I'd worked with in the past would know I'm available and forward any opportunities, and provide valuable recommendations to potential employers.

I'm happy to report that I interviewed for -- and was offered -- a job very similar to the one I'd lost. (And only half the distance from home to boot!) Even today I still get calls from companies looking to set me up with interviews.

I know that if I hadn't remained upbeat and continued to pursue every available opportunity that I might still be looking for a job today. Not everyone is going to be as fortunate as I was, but it's wise to make "finding a job" your new full-time job, if for no other reason than it will keep you busy.

Posted by Shihab Hassan on 23 June 2009

I certainly agree with lots of tips in this articles. I always sit and wonder can I write them a covering letter or not. I always don't write but if they call I try harder to convince them why I am good fit. I could do this better in the covering letter. I am not sure about Face book, Linked or any other social websites, it has good and bad and I find it mostly bad than good. I had one and I am tiered denying people not to link with me and when I do they get upset. But many has two accounts one for strictly quality people one for anonymous people. I find it not right way of doing it. I go with covering letter or personal website..  

Posted by Vivek Johari on 23 June 2009

Hi

 Your article is really well written.Nice job done.

Posted by Mark Pratt on 24 June 2009

When I was dealing with the recruiter regarding my current contract position, he persuaded me to fill out a covering letter showing where the matched between my skills and their requirements were. Bit of a pain to do but this went down a storm at the interview. Don't know if it helped me get the contract or not but I'll definitely use a covering letter again.

Posted by James A. Lawrence on 25 June 2009

I can't seem to find Part 1 of this series in SSC.

Posted by Andy Warren on 25 June 2009
Posted by Anonymous on 26 June 2009

Part 1 discussed ways to find opportunities, Part 2 was about how to get more interviews, and today we

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