After spending numerous evenings and weekends learning and coding for more than a year, you finally did it! You’ve now completed your data science program, earned your shiny certificate...now what? Chances are you were looking to get a job in data when you signed up for the course. So let’s face this, it is time to get a job! The only thing that’s standing between you and success is that first data science job offer. But how?
Look no further, follow these proven steps that have helped many data science enthusiasts like you secure job offers.
Without a direction, any direction is the right direction. To travel from Toronto to Beijing, if you don’t choose the right direction first, no matter how fast and powerful your transportation vehicle is, you won’t arrive on time. Actually, if you choose the wrong direction to go, the more efficient your transportation is, the faster you get lost and fail (think about choosing rocket to go towards moon...).
In job search, the target role is your direction. Pursuing the right target role will lead to better application response rate and interview experience, given the good match between your profile and the target role’s ideal candidate profile. Thus we need to research the requirements for different roles (e.g. data scientist versus machine learning engineer) and find out the best match in terms of skills, education and experience. Have a strong CS background and interested in machine learning? Maybe machine learning engineer is a good fit. SQL is your top skills? consider data engineer or business intelligence roles. Possess strong communication skills? Data science might be a good option.
How can you make sure people listen when you speak? Say things they are interested in. In marketing speak, this is called “cater to your target audience’s needs”. When you market yourself to your potential employers, you’ll then need to have their needs in mind, so that they can “listen to you” by looking at your resume and giving you the interview. Communicating what YOU have to offer helps you stand out, among a crowd that can be at least 300 to 500 candidates strong!
How can we make sure what we say is what employers want to hear? The trick is the target role. Now that we’ve defined the target role and we have a clear understanding of the ideal candidate’s profile, we can then pick our most relevant qualifications and craft them into the personal branding message! For example, for myself, based on the insight that communication and business knowledge are valued characteristics in data scientists, I branded myself as a “business-savvy data scientist with strong statistical skills and hands-on data science project experience”.
You might think that your resume has gone through multiple revisions, why do you need to customize it again? Well, the truth is, there is no “best” in resume writing, and you can always get better! How do you measure better or not? In short, “relevance”.
You might have an incredible track record as a soccer player, but being a successful lawyer likely involves a different skillset, and therefore, your stellar sports resume might not be that impressive anymore when applying with a law firm. But, if you do have prior experience building the case to help a soccer player win the legal battle against their former club, do put it in your resume! And that, my friend, is relevance. All we need in resume tailoring is that the resume is a relevant one for the role you are applying for, in your employers’ eyes.
Furthermore, we need to incorporate our understanding of the target role (the job requirements), our branding message (which helps us stand out) into resume customization.