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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.

Finding Your Next Job

We’ve had a few people in the SQL community find jobs lately and many of them attributable to their network. It’s good to have a network, good to be able to use it successfully, and I’m all in favor of growing your network. But…not all of us have a great network, and sometimes even the best network won’t come up with what you need. What is plan B?

It starts with a good resume. People with large networks will tell you that the resume comes second, but that presumes that you can have a conversation first and then send them the resume. In practice most potential employees will get their first look at you from your resume and then, maybe, you get to meet them and try to pitch your skills.

Short of trying to gain employment with a specific employer, I’m not a fan of sending resumes out blind. A better strategy is to select 3-4 staffing companies to work for you. Think of staffing professionals as your proxy network. Their job is to know people and what they try to do is tell the hiring manager about their great candidate and then send them the resume. In most cases they’ll send you a short note about job openings and ask ‘does this fit?’, so that they don’t waste time trying to place you some place you don’t want to go. Still, the resume matters. Sometimes it’s the only thing that matters.

This technique also works well when you’re working and want to find the next job. You can’t (and shouldn’t in most cases) just announce via Twitter and LinkedIn that you’re looking for work. You can selectively reach out to your network privately, but that rarely scales. If you message everyone in your network, it will filter back to work – that’s the nature of networks.

Especially for DBA’s most of us have the wrong network. We’re connected with other DBA’s and while they would happily let us know if a job comes up, that’s will reveal only a fraction of the jobs out there. Most of us are geographically centered, but our networks usually aren’t. For example I live in Orlando, yet a fairly small percentage of my network is in Orlando. Even attending the local PASS chapter meetings (which I do) only slightly increases that. If you really want to find work in your area start thinking about how to increase your local network.

Comments

Posted by Jason Brimhall on 20 July 2010

A good network and a good resume are extremely helpful in finding that next job.  Thanks for showing us the benefit of getting our own agent.

Posted by Steve Jones on 20 July 2010

Good advice, and I completely agree that you ought to use some staffing companies to work for you.

However, I'd also send out my own resumes, to specific companies. I might even send a few to companies that aren't advertising on the chance that they might have a rec and be impressed by me.

Make sure you have good cover letters as well when you send your own resumes out.

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