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Guest Post: Parul Walia, Applying For a Job is a Well-Planned Journey-so let's start early-

As mentioned in the introduction of this page, I will be inviting Queens College alumni and other notable professionals to share their advice, experiences, and expertise.

I'm very pleased to post my first guest writer's piece, written by Parul Walia, Sr. Data Scientist, Microsoft.

Applying for a job is a well-planned journey…so let’s start early ☺

When Professor Nix offered me to write a guest blog on her website, I was thrilled, since it was my way of giving back to the community – a community of students, professors, mentors, schools, job seekers and job providers. A community that supported me throughout my journey and gave me opportunities I didn’t think would come my way.

After I enrolled for a Master’s in Economics at NYU, I developed a list of principles (my value system) to give my 100% to the program. This in return gave me opportunities instrumental in my personal and professional growth.

I share below some thoughts.

Build a network

Work hard, engage in the classroom, and give your best. Besides learning, this helps you bond with professors who in my opinion are one of the most important constituents of the job market. My first three job opportunities were due to my professors at school.

Be sincere and support your fellow students. This will help build a huge network of people. I genuinely like to help and support the system around me (fellow students, friends, colleagues, family), and this has ‘unknowingly’ helped me build a network of people who are more than willing to refer me for positions at their organizations.

Throw LinkedIn into the mix

It’s never been this transparent to learn more about your prospective employer. Thanks to LinkedIn – you have access to the people and companies that matter the most.

Create a solid profile, seek those recommendations for every job you did (even if it was flipping burgers), ask your co-workers / managers to write about your character and work ethic. Think of LinkedIn as a showcase of your abilities.

What more, a public LinkedIn profile also elevates you in search engine rankings. When recruiters search for you on Bing / Google, chances are you’ll show up in the first page.

Reach out to alumni, potential employers, and meet them over coffee for informationals. Seek mentors – they guide you during every phase of life.

Pour hard work into your job search

“I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.”

Make a regime to put in some effort to your job search every day. These tiny steps add up. As a master’s student at NYU, I used to do ‘something’ for my job search every single day…whether it was building my resume, or polishing it, or writing an essay for a position, or applying to a position, or reaching out to a contact – I did something every day.

Realize, the no’s are important too

In the job market you’ll have to go through a series of no’s to get to the yes. So see the no’s as a path to finally getting a job.

Don’t see the no’s as rejections and feel disheartened. See them as opportunities to learn from…polish your answers, sharpen those interview skills, continuously build on candidacy.

Make the most of the school placement center

Don’t judge the career center and categorize it as useful or bad. Use the services they provide to your advantage. As a graduate student I attended sessions on interview skills, resume writing, breakfast and lunch discussions and mock interviews. Each one of these contributed to my landing a job before graduation.

Think specializations

My passion in quantitative economics (econometrics, big data analysis, model building) opened more doors for me than I could have every imagined. So choose the path that is most near and dear to you, and go for it!

Get those internships

Since these are important work experiences and could potentially lead to a full-time job, as it did for me.

These can also help you understand your true passion. My first internship further helped me realize that I loved econometrics model building and forecasting.

And yes, remember to give back. All the best!

Parul Walia

Sr. Data Scientist, Microsoft

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