This blog is contributed by Burtch Works’ data science & analytics recruiting team.
As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the past year has been a difficult time for many. Although we’ve seen that data science and analytics professionals are still in demand, the job market has still been challenging for many early career professionals looking to get their start during this “new normal”.
Unfortunately, academic programs, internships, career plans, and interview schedules have all been disrupted. While these things may often be out of your control, I wanted to offer some tips for early career quantitative professionals that you can do to proactively manage your career and job search if you have the time and are looking to do something productive!
1. Keep your existing skills fresh and look for new marketable skills
While keeping your skills fresh is always advisable, it is especially prudent in times like this! If you have time while job searching or finishing your coursework/internship, take some time to review potential job opportunities you might be interested in and see if there are any skills/tools you should be adding to your toolkit. There are tons of online data science & analytics resources (such as Coursera) where you can get exposure to different tools or refresh your knowledge.
Python and SQL experience continues to be in very high demand, and even if you haven’t had experience with these tools in a professional setting (yet), having a fresh foundation can still be helpful when you’re on the job market.
2. Update your resume
Even if you’re not looking, keeping your resume updated is something I strongly encourage data scientists and analytics professionals to do, for several reasons. First, it’s much easier to describe your projects and experience shortly after you’ve worked on them, instead of waiting months or years down the line. Additionally, you never know when the right opportunity might present itself, and if your resume is all ready or at least fairly current, you’ll be better prepared.
If you don’t have professionals work experience yet, make sure to highlight past analytics projects, such as market mix or predictive modeling projects. This is especially helpful if you’re able to highlight tools or techniques which you’ve employed that are requirements in the job you’re applying to.
3. Practice video interviewing skills
It’s never a bad idea to practice interview skills with friends, especially your fellow colleagues in data science and analytics, and get comfortable with video interviewing. With everything moving to virtual interviews, there are some unique challenges to consider when getting ready for a video interview. I’ve written about video interview tips in the past, and with everything moving to Zoom for the foreseeable future, don’t wait until your interview is scheduled to make sure you’re adequately prepared!
4. Look for data science & analytics virtual networking or meetup groups
As we know, lots of groups are doing virtual events, as well as virtual conferences, where you can meet other data scientists and analytics professionals either for networking or to expand your knowledge. You can check out local analytics meetup groups and see if they’re doing virtual events, or your local chapter of the American Statistical Association or INFORMS.
5. Practice your quantitative skills with a Kaggle competition
Need to practice using your new skills and tools? Do a Kaggle competition! Especially if you have downtime, make sure to keep working on something, whether that is technical skills, resume or interview prep, or looking through job opportunities.
Kaggle is an online platform that hosts data science competitions, and I’ve consistently recommended it as a great way to keep your skills sharp. Any way that you can gain practice time is going to be beneficial.
6. Stay up-to-date on analytics industry news
Industry research is something I always recommend as part of interview prep. And, especially with things changing so much over the past year, it’s now even more prudent to stay aware of what is happening in data science and analytics, regardless of whether you’re currently interviewing.
Stay well-versed in industry news and related topics to see how they impact analytics, especially if you’re looking to job search! Being aware of tool trends is great, but also be aware of what else is happening in the business world, especially since things are changing so frequently.
7. Reconnect with your recruiter, or find one to help you!
Sometimes when there are times of change, people may reflect on their career paths, so it’s always smart to keep in touch with recruiters to keep them updated on your situation. Let them know what you’re working on, and what’s going to be best for you in the future. Since data science and analytics is such a specialized field, I’d recommend finding a recruiter who specifically focuses on this area (like me!), since they will likely be able to offer a lot of knowledge about career paths in the quantitative space.
If you’re looking for more job search resources, I highly recommend checking out our recent COVID-19 Job Search Guide for Data Scientists and Analytics Professionals, which gathers all our resources on everything from LinkedIn profiles, resumes, company research, interview prep, salary negotiation, and much more, all in one place. Good luck with your job search and stay in touch!
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In our Data Science & Analytics Career Planning video, our recruiters answer your top job search questions on resumes, bootcamps, tips for students/new grads, tools to learn, evaluating opportunities, and more! Check out their insights in the video below.