Job Search Tips

Read Up on Data Science

Google the latest articles on Data Science to get a sense of the state of the field. Read Data Tau. Read blogs. Learn about the tools, pick up the jargon, sound like a data scientist, act like a data scientist. 

 

Resume Writing

  • I used to say keep your resume to 1 page, but 2 pages is becoming more standard due to computer tracking programs that read your resume to determine if you're suitable for a phone interview. Whatever length your resume, make sure it's all relevant, interesting information
  • Speak to your reader! Tell a cohesive, focused story by only highlighting job titles and accomplishments that are related to the position you're applying for (other great jobs you've held can be included on your LinkedIn profile for a comprehensive picture of your job history)
  • Include key words and specific skills tailored to each job posting
  • Put your job title first, then company, then dates. Your titles are more important to your reader than the companies and dates of employment
  • Highlight accomplishments, not just duties
  • Use simple font
  • Use bullet points, do not write entire paragraphs under each job title
  • Strategically use bold and italic (I would never underline)Don't overuse BOLD or italic (consider never underlining) because it's messy and hard to read
  • Make sure to include your professional-sounding email address (i.e., no 'cheesehead@gmail' addresses), phone number and website or LinkedIn profile in the header
  • Save as a PDF to preserve formatting across computers but also save it as a Word Doc or text file so it can be easily read by 

 

Online Job Searches

Applying for a job online will rarely get you an interview (because you're a lot more likely to get a job through a 'weak tie') but you should do it anyway! You never know. Plus, reading job postings online is one of the best ways to get a sense of the skill set employers are looking for. Do data science postings pique your interest? What skills are required* for each job? Do you have them? Do you need to brush up on a few things? 

Applying online will also force you to make many versions of your resume tailored and customized to each company. Save all versions of your resume so you can continue to recycle them for future applications. 

* Note on "required" skill sets - Many companies post a lot more "required" technical skills (coding and database technologies) than you actually need to get hired. Apply anyway if you've got 60% of the skills they need. Then start brushing up on the 40% you don't know yet.

 

Make Business Cards

Clean and crisp networking business cards should ALWAYS be in your wallet because you never know when you're going to meet someone who might be able to help you (or you might be able to help him or her). You meet people at networking events, weddings, your favorite coffee shop ... all the time! If you don't currently have a business card, order some online using a site like vistaprint or moo.com

Keep them a conventional shape, size and color with easy-to-read, simple font. Include your name, a tagline conveying your career focus, phone number, email address, postal address (at least city), LinkedIn address, and website if you have one. 

Carry them everywhere.

 

Use LinkedIn

Why LinkedIn? Because recruiters and hiring managers use it! It's often the first place they go to find candidates or to look up candidates after seeing a resume. Also, LinkedIn users are more likely to be educated and highly paid -- just the people with whom you should be networking.  

  • Make your profile visually appealing. Customize your public profile URL. Add your name, professional headline (could be like a mini-elevator speech) and a professional-looking headshot
  • Keep your profile updated
  • Showcase interesting work you've done that doesn't fit on your resume. Add descriptions of your jobs, conferences, publications, documents and websites to show your work and accomplishments
  • Strategically connect with others - people whom you can help or who can help you
    • First, connect with people you know
    • Second, when you meet someone new, send them a LinkedIn connection request with a short personal message like "Great to meet you last night and hear about your role at Company X. Let's stay in touch."
    • Third, it's especially important to send a personalized connection request when connecting with someone you don't know. Tell them why you want to connect with them. If you're browsing LinkedIn to find data scientists in your area to ask to coffee, say so - "Hi, I noticed you are a data scientist at Company X. I'm interested in learning more about your position because I'm making a career transition from Y to data science. Do you have time to grab a quick coffee or take a phone call? Thanks so much.  Sincerely, Sara"
  • Use the search function to find job postings 
  • Use the search functions to find people who have worked at companies where you are interviewing and ask them to give you some more information about what it's like to work there

 

Network Network Network!

Join data science and tech Meetups. Email every person you know to ask if they have any friends who work in data science that you could take out to coffee. Use your LinkedIn network to find out if you already have acquaintances working as data scientists and talk to them.  

Networking tips for coffee dates - 

  • Remember this person is doing you a favor, buy their coffee
  • Make it a convenient time and location for them
  • Do your homework and come with a list of questions about their job and how they got into it
  • Figure out if there is anything you can do for them
  • Always thank them in person and with a followup note (handwritten is proper etiquette, but I don't know many people who do this anymore)
  • While you've asked this person for help, be thinking of ways you can in turn help others

 

Before an Interview

Coming soon!

The New York Times tips

 

During an Interview

Coming soon!

 

After an Interview

Coming soon!