Just because you’re in-between jobs or looking for your first data science job doesn’t mean you get to sit around watching television and eating chips.
Okay, there’s a little of that, but keeping up to date with what’s happening in the data science world as you search for your dream position requires you to be proactive. You don’t have to have a job to keep up with what’s happening in the field. In fact, this could be an even better time to explore what’s happening now that you don’t have job responsibilities taking your time.
[Related Article: 3 Unique Ways to Get a Job in Data Science]
Here are some ways you can stay busy without losing your mind and still find time to binge-watch that series you missed.
Head to Conferences
Conferences accomplish two things. First, you get to hear talks and participate in demonstrations for all the coolest things happening in Data Science to date. And it’s not just presentations or workshops; you can network with peers and connect with companies you’re interested in.
The combination of networking and learning makes conferences a slam dunk for job hunting. The cost of most conferences is small compared to the number of connections you could make, shortening your job search time and helping build a career with impact.
If you have experience or something to contribute, you may even consider presenting at a conference. One step beyond attending puts you in front of potential employers, thinkers in the field, and possible connections who could help you find the company that needs you. Whether you attend or present, make sure you’re keeping your networking in mind.
ODSC hosts several conferences designed to connect you to both what’s happening in data science and the people making it happen. Both ODSC and Accelerate AI could be the staging ground for your next career move. You can also check out local meetups to network and learn a new skill in only a couple of evening hours.
Participate in Hackathons
Hackathons are another great way to get in front of potential contacts and employers. Plus, they’re fun. Many organizations host Hackathons, so see if your dream company has one. If not, scope out its competition. Chances are, they do.
A hackathon shows initiative and creativity and gives you a chance to showcase your skills if conference presentations aren’t your thing. You can showcase the standouts on your resume in your quest to find your next position.
You keep your skills nimble and maybe stumble on your next big thing. You’ll identify skills you might want to work on and possibly open doors for monetizing your Hackathon ideas. There are so many possibilities if you’re participating in active data science and coding, so take advantage of ones that are relevant to you.
Update Your Social Media
Did you know that most of your employers are on LinkedIn? If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, you could be missing out on some vital connections. More than any other social media, LinkedIn is a must-have for networking, finding potential jobs, and keeping an eye on what’s happening in your field.
Your profile should be professional but still showcases your personality. It should have current projects listed, and it even has a section for publishing if you’ve got material you want to get in front of your potential audience. Thoughtful connections through LinkedIn could net you some eyes on that resume and alert you to positions opening up before they ever hit job boards.
Optimizing your LinkedIn profile is different than other social media, but if you don’t have a presence here, you’re at a distinct disadvantage. Pop on and interact with your favorite companies and thinkers while remembering to provide your own value. The returns are worth it.
I know you’ve got a Github (and if you don’t, you need to get going today), but when was the last time you updated your profile? Making sure your Github is showcasing the latest projects, accomplishments, and skills you have is a vital part of your social media picture as well. Together, LinkedIn and GitHub can get you more exposure, more connections, and more traction than outdated profiles or lack of presence.
[Related Article: How to Become a Freelance Data Scientist]
And while you’re at it, get on AngelList and start making connections there. While many of the startups on the site are strapped for cash, an even larger number are ready and able to invest in the talent they need to get the company off the ground. Treat it a bit like LinkedIn’s fun, younger cousin and make your presence known.
Making The Most of In-Between Jobs
The time you spend without a data science job could be a rich source of inspiration and connection. Watch that television show guilt-free by spending some of your time updating social profiles where potential employers are likely to be and pursuing continuing education. It’s a great way to remember that what makes you valuable isn’t the data science job position, but your skills, ambition, and creativity.