How do you land an entry-level data analyst role?
The strategy outlined below will minimize your job search time. This article will provide the best results if you will either be searching for such a role soon or hoping to accelerate the pace of your job search process. As a note, if you would like a more tailored strategy for the data analyst role, we will provide relevant reading at the end of this article.
There are 3 steps you need to take if you want to stand out as a data analyst. Make your data analysis experience publicly available, share it with data analysts and methodically follow up.
The first step in landing a data analyst role is to prepare an online portfolio of your practical experience. There are too many under-qualified applicants applying to the profession and you don’t want to be counted in this category. In order to create a portfolio, we recommend using free tools like WordPress or Blogger.
Next, you want to populate your blog with a minimum of 5 projects you worked on that required data analysis. A sample structure would look something like this: research question, hypothesis, relevant datasets, methodology, results and analysis.
You have created a pristine portfolio. Now, it is time to share it with the world. More accurately, it’s time to share it with the data analyst community. We recommend using LinkedIn to find a list of 30 analysts at companies you would like to work at; make sure these companies are actively hiring for your position!
Now, you want to send each of them a LinkedIn connection with a note attached. In the note, you should give a brief summary of your work and a link to your portfolio.
For example, you can say something like this: “Hi Alex, I hope you are doing well! I am an aspiring data analyst and have completed analyses around Citibike usage for the NYC Mayor, the impact of coal mining on air pollution in the Northeast and a few more. Here is a link: bit.ly/1234. Would you be open to a 5 min conversation where I can walk you through my methodology & findings?”
The note is short and sweet and has a clear call to action. To set expectations correctly, most of these professionals will ignore your message. The ones who don’t, however, can become your biggest advocates.
During your phone conversation with these data analysts, you want to keep a casual tone. It’s important that they find your work interesting and even more important that they find you capable and fun to speak with.
In order for them to actually advocate for you meaningfully, you need to do the following. First, share your data-analyst approved resume with them directly after your call; be sure to thank them for their time. Next, you need to follow up every 5 days for 2 weeks until you are positive that the company has received your application. Finally, it’s time to line up more calls so that you can cast as wide a net as possible.
For a more in-depth strategy focused on data analyst role, please read this related article