How I Found My First Job in Data Analytics

A friend I know wants to find a job in AI, but he narrowed his options by tunnel-visioning on computer vision which limits him quite a bit.

Another friend I have is limiting himself by only staying within the city where he already lives.

Do not limit yourself like this and make sure to widen your scope as much as you realistically can!Ofcourse, each person has their own list of constraints and deal-breakers when it comes to searching for a job.

However, when searching for a job it is important to keep an open mind as to where your skills can be applied.

As an example, instead of laser focusing in on Data Science/Machine Learning, I was also prepared to do Data Engineering, Python Development, Business Intelligence and things such as that.

Given that I am European, I also was happy to travel throughout Europe.

(My scope was Germany, The UK, The Netherlands and Switzerland, while keeping an open mind towards the nordic countries as well.

) All of these things meant that I had a lot of choice when it came to writing applications.

This can create the opposite problem where you have too much choice, but I think that is better than being strapped for choice.

Just remember, do not search for unicorns/perfection just as employers should not expect perfection from you.

Oragnise Your Search & Where to LookYou should organise your application process by using software such as Google Docs, Evernote or Trello.

This way you can keep track of the applications you have sent and gives you a concrete idea of your response rate, when you have interviews, etc.

It is also good as a place to keep track of interesting job posts that you see around and about as well as a wish list for companies that you have yet to apply to.

There are various places to find jobs these days.

It is really not as difficult as it once was by needing to check the local newspaper.

You can always try looking on individual company websites for job positions that might suit you.

Otherwise, here is a short list of platforms that you fan use for finding job posts:LinkedInIndeedGlass Door (Also good for job reviews)MonsterStack Overflow (For those who can code)Stepstone (German)Tips for Applying to Companies Multiple TimesIt is well known that when a company becomes large, then it has a hard time communicating with itself.

(Anyone working at these jobs will know what I mean.

) Often, companies that operate within multiple countries have branches that do not talk a lot with each other.

This means that if you are applying for a company that is on a larger scale like this, applying to each of the branches separately can help your chances.

This strategy actually helped me to secure two interviews at the same company, one in The Netherlands and the other in Germany.

Once again, have common sense then you apply this tactic.

I am not telling you to apply at every single position at a company, spamming people is never the answer.

However, lots of people who work at Facebook and Google are people who were dead-set on getting a job there and applied multiple times over the course of their careers.

You should usually wait 6–12 months before applying again after being passed over in each country so that you give yourself time to grow and become a better candidate.

An interesting thing that happened to me is that some chemical firms would not give me a second glance as a chemist, but once I applied as a data scientist at the same companies then I would suddenly get a call back.

Once again, this is why it is important to consider various positions and not to restrict yourself too much.

You can be more picky once your career gets going and you have a network to rely upon and such.

InterviewsPay attention to Verbal and Non-Verbal QuesIf you have made it to the interview stage then in my opinion you’re already 80% of the way to finding your next job.

The reason for this is that in order to get an interview in the first place you already need to be on the right track.

The deciding factor here is being able to get indirect feedback on where you go wrong.

Sometimes the people who are interviewing you will let you know what they are thinking about you but you can also get a good feel for how what you are saying is landing.

Doing this can give you an idea of areas for further practice and consideration.

This feedback creates a virtuous cycle that allows you to become a better candidate.

The problem with the application phase is that you get very scant feedback meaning that people can get suck for reasons that are not apparent to them.

However, sometimes getting feedback so directly can also deflate your ego a bit and help cement a feeling of hopelessness.

If you have a particularly bad interview where you come off very poorly by accident (it happens) or you make a mess of answering the questions, then it can feel like you are bashing your head against a wall even if you are doing well.

Do not let negative experiences capture the center of your attention, always try to focus on your successes even when human negativity bias makes that incredibly difficult.

(This is a weakness that I have as well, it is really easy to knock the wind out of my sails.

) Ultimately, the feedback that you get during interviews are what make it the easiest part of the process so play close attention to your interviewers and what they say.

You gain experience being interviewed and even about the types of questions frequently get asked and your best responses towards them.

Do your homework and ask questionsThis is also the ideal time to get to know the company a little better.

Try to look not only at their website, but make sure also to read their Wikipedia page if they have one and to follow them on social media (i.


Twitter) to see what the company is working on and is proud of.

Once again, in my experience, the time spent on the company is relatively small beyond the basic details.

You should use this time to inform yourself of some questions that you want to ask them.

While I was interviewing, I had 9 “stock questions” that I could ask while taking notes of questions that came up during conversation.

Having 3 additional questions that you have from researching their background should give you more than enough firepower to interrogate them when it is your turn to grill them.

My stock questions are as follows:In what way are you innovating for your customers to keep up with disruption?What projects would you want me to help out with exactly?What does your data strategy (i.


data quality) look like?.(80% of your time as a data scientist is spent on wrangling, good data strategy minimises this.

)What sort of technology would I have access to?.(Once again, a natural question for someone who does a lot of programming.

)Are there opportunities for training or to visit conferences?.(I highly value this.

)What are the interviewers experiences of the company?What does the “company culture” look like?How does the company expect to grow over the next couple of years?.Where are the priorities at the moment?What are the next steps?.(Always finish up with this.

)Yes, I have all of these questions in a diary so that I can ask them at every interview.

Once again, I find that most interviews do not actually let you ask more than 2 questions due to time constraints, but I find that preparing your questions means that you often start asking them during the flow of conversation, which is why I keep so many handy.

Interview Mindsets to reduce pressureA lot of people can feel like they are under a lot of pressure when having an interview either in person or over the phone.

This is natural because you are being evaluated by a stranger but also because answering questions in a way that makes sense for other people takes a lot of mental energy.

This can cause people to cramp up and respond in ways that can sound unnatural and forced.

Being someone who listens to a lot of podcasts such as the ones mentioned towards the top of this blog post, I eventually found that it was easier to think of interviews as podcasts where two people are discussing the interviewees experiences to an audience that is interested in hearing every word helps to take the edge off.

There are a lot of rules when it comes to interviews such as the STAR/CAR method which makes the experience robotic and inauthentic.

Instead, I prefer to just answer questions as stories with the structure of having a problem, working towards a solution and a resolution.

(Once again, see the book “Storytelling with Data”.

)The important thing when interviewing is to remember that having confidence is important.

Talking like people do during interviews helps to make that confidence and to engage with your interviewer.

Just relax, focus on the present and just answer the questions as they arrive.

There will always be a next interviewFinally and leading on from my last point, if you mess up horribly and you give the wrong impression then there will always be a next interview.

Once you have secured your first couple of interviews, then they will just keep coming.

(For better or worse, if you get stuck at the interview stage then it is its own kind of purgatory.

) It is still possible to tunnel vision and get attached to certain applications but at the end of the day you need to remember that there are a number of positions that you can still apply for.

Even in fields where things are more competitive, having what is called an abundance mindset can help to make confidence and to keep calm under pressure.

Remember, sticking-points for certain companies will be glossed over by others.

Focus on the “macro” instead of obsessing over the “micro” of individual interviews.

ConclusionThe more competitive a field is, the more you need to find ways to set yourself apart.

In the past this was done by getting a university degree, now it is considered baseline.

So now you need to think of things you can do that supplement that.

Right now, very few people are using the techniques I have outlined above.

People underestimate social media, try to appeal to corporate aesthetics with their CV, do not think it is worth using MOOCs for fear that it wont get taken seriously, underestimate how much employers value strong skills (technical, social or otherwise), tunnel vision on knowing a single organisation inside and out, do not take ATS into consideration and waste a lot of their potential by constraining their options.

Be different.

Allow yourself to break the mould and to become an individual who grows at any cost and is willing to challenge the status quo without being unnecessarily rebellious, that is the kind of person that it seems to me that industry is looking for at the moment.

Finally, make sure you give value using social media.

It is an investment that is likely going to pay off in the long run if you are diligent and make things that are actually good.

Engage, network and do things that are up to date with <the current year> and let go of the advice from decades past.

I hope that this post helped you to open your mind to the possibilities a little bit.

Make sure you check the resources that I have cited, they will be invaluable in helping you to understand what I have said.

I wish you the best of luck for the future!.

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