4 Career Lessons That Helped Me Navigate the Difficult Job Market

In this blog, I share 4 valuable lessons I learned while searching for data science roles amidst challenging circumstances, including 60-day immigration policies, layoffs, and health issues. My hope is to offer insights and guidance to those who are facing similar obstacles, whether due to recent layoffs or immigration challenges.

4 Career Lessons That Helped Me Navigate the Difficult Job Market
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Firstly, I am so grateful for all the support I have received over the last two months as I was challenged to interview, find, and start a new role amidst various challenging circumstances!

If layoffs recently impacted you or you are an immigrant facing difficulty in navigating the job market, here are 4 valuable lessons that I learned while searching for data science roles amidst challenging circumstances, including 60-day immigration policies, layoffs, and health issues:


1. Ask and accept help from others


I wish I had realized this a few years ago - that I do not have to do everything on my own and that there is nothing wrong with accepting help from those who want to support your goals and growth. For example, did we learn to drive or navigate walking by ourselves early on?!

So ask your professional connections, career resources, friends, ex-colleagues, teammates, and more to find, explore, and connect you with new opportunities. Ask people all the details you are interested to learn more about! Oh, and when someone offers to help - accept it! If it’s unclear how they can help, ASK THEM, “In what areas can you help me”? It is that simple yet effective!


2. Be Specific in your Search and Save Time


Start by clearly listing the 3-4 dimensions in which you have experience and expertise and identifying the roles that sound exciting! For example, I noted that my background is in 3 key areas: Machine Learning + Sales + Strategy, and that I was looking for entrepreneurial roles. Unfortunately, there are more than 100,000 data science roles on LinkedIn!

But after filtering to specific terms that I qualified for and was interested in (Sales AND Machine Learning AND Strategy) - I could prioritize my time in reaching out, applying, and learning about the 100 available opportunities - a reduction of 99.9%! This process helped me interview and learn about 8 opportunities in 6 weeks, so I highly recommend it!


3. Have Courage and ask Questions Early on


During my first few years in the US, I used to be scared and careful to ask potential employers questions about H1b or immigration-related topics (as I was worried about being seen as not a good fit!). 

However, over the years, I have realized that by asking questions ahead of time and getting clear on what is possible and not, a lot of the hassles an employer has to go through, to begin with, can be eliminated. It not only helps them from investing time and resources in a candidate they might not be able to support long term, but it also helps direct you to better opportunities that will understand immigration circumstances and genuinely support you in the best way possible long term!


4. [The most important] Reduce or Eliminate Noise, News Notifications, and External Pressures


"focus on learning and incremental progress"


Due to all the immigration challenges, I needed to focus and prioritize the task at hand - whether it be connecting with professionals, interview preparation, or learning about new roles. So any time or day I spent watching that latest company reorganization or notification about the most recent chat GPT release was not very helpful (unless chat GPT was going to interview for you!). 

Personally, what has worked for me over the last few years, and especially in the previous two months, is the following - I do not have any notifications set up for emails or news websites or have 100+ newsletters that I have signed up for - set up time and intention for each day, focus on the task, and make incremental progress towards what truly matters!

I highly recommend Option B for building resilience and finding acceptance during challenging times! Feel free to contact me on Linkedin and reach out if this sparked any new ideas or helped you find your next adventure!
Arjun Arora has helped multiple large enterprises (in retail, tech, and manufacturing) become more data-driven by identifying business urgency and leading technical execution of analytics and machine learning solutions and POCs. Additionally, he has helped increase the adoption of AI/ ML solutions within the industry through various training workshops, webinars, and presenting at national conferences. Outside of work, he is committed to learning about personal growth, supports various DEI & LGBTQ+ community initiatives, and is an avid hiker in the Bay Area!