I haven’t written anything here in almost two months, but I have an excuse. I’ve been really trying to position myself to land a job in machine learning as quickly as possible by figuring out how to showcase my knowledge and abilities to potential employers. I think I have succeeded. I am supposed to receive a contract to sign sometime this weekend, so hopefully next week I will already be working for a company here in Vancouver! I also have some other inquiries from potential employers, but I believe I have made my choice. Anyway, I will write more about it once the situation resolves itself so as not to make any premature announcements.
Over a period of 4 weeks in May I was attending a free government program for job seekers in the information technology field administered by S.U.C.C.E.S.S. BC. I found out about it by going to one of the local job fairs. Having completed the program, I think it was awesome! Basically, they teach you everything from writing resumes and cover letters to going through telephone and live interviews to cultural and soft skills. The atmosphere was very positive, the instructors are knowledgeable and helpful, and overall it was certainly a month well spent. I will definitely recommend this program to anyone without previous job hunting experience. It is only available to permanent residents and citizens of Canada though. The student body was very international, with two other native Russian speakers, four girls from India, a guy and a girl from Iran, and several other Asian and Middle Eastern countries represented as well. Everyone was very nice and supportive.
I was also looking for jobs both online and through networking. On the internet, I found LinkedIn, Glassdoor and Indeed to be the most helpful. However, It is better by a large measure to find employment opportunities via personal networking, especially through professional meetups which are plentiful nowadays. If you don’t have one where you live, well, go ahead and organize one! As a meetup organizer, you will definitely position yourself to be recognized by others and to have a certain degree of authority.
For existing meetups, the idea is also not to just go and watch, but to participate actively by giving presentations, asking questions and making connections to people. Giving presentations is especially helpful as this is an opportunity to both showcase your knowledge and to connect with many people at once. If you are just a member of the audience, there may be a few who will talk to you and remember you being there, but if you are the presenter, everyone will see you and know who you are, which is the goal. Of course, you need to prepare and deliver your speech confidently. For me this is not a problem since I’ve taught undergraduate classes at Tulane University for three years as an Assistant Professor, and had taught other classes and made presentations while being a graduate student at Penn State, so while I am certainly not the best public speaker out there and there must be many things I could still learn in this regard, I am quite confident in my ability to present my ideas and connect to the audience.
In the next few blog posts I am planning to write in more detail about some of the job search topics such as writing resumes and going through interviews in order to distill the knowledge that I have gained recently and perhaps be able to reread it in the future when I need to look for a job. I have also played in a couple of chess tournaments in May (the first time in 5 years!) and did pretty well, so I will probably write about that, too.