Searching For A Job In Analytics?
Desire to do the job. Analytics jobs are by no means "easy." A hiring manager wants to know that you desire to take on the challenge of the opportunity. After all, while Web analytics is an excellent field, it can be difficult, challenging work. Building a data-driven culture is hard. Tool configuration can be complex. Tell them "I want to do this job." Mean it, and be prepared to answer why...Passion for Web analytics. How do you show this passion? It comes out in how you express your aspirations for an analytics-focused career path, the zeal you convey in answers to interview questions, and even your extracurricular industry activities (do you belong to the Web Analytics Association? Have you gone to a Web Analytics Wednesday? What blogs do you read?). Be passionate -- not gushing -- within context. Hiring managers I know like passion.
Relevant experience. Obviously, the track record you have building, implementing, participating in, and/or owning an analytics function will appeal to a hiring manager. But if you don't have any, and want an entry-level position, there's no excuse for not getting some when free tools exist. Deploy Google Analytics or Yahoo Analytics on a site you build or a friend's site (doing so shows passion and gives you experience).
Subject matter expertise. What's the difference between a visitor and a visit? What's the relationship of entry pages to visits? Are conversions measured on visits or visitors? What's the difference between the marketing concepts of frequency and recency, and what analytics measures could be used to denote them? These are straightforward analytics questions that I've watched people applying for Web analytics jobs not be able to answer correctly.
Readiness to take ownership. Demonstrate from past experience at other jobs that you know how to take ownership and drive forward a job function.
Accountability. Show the hiring manager that "you do what you say" and have a history of getting the job done. What projects have you stepped up to the plate on and delivered? What organizational obstacles or technical impediments have you surmounted?
Ability to think critically. Google, I hear, asks some wild questions in the interview process: the famous "How many golf balls fit on a school bus?" Is the answer relevant to the job? No. Rather, it is a test of how many parameters and concepts you can apply to work toward and justify your answer as a proxy for your critical thinking ability. Be prepared!
Of course, it goes without saying that all analytics jobs require some degree of specific talents and necessary experience unique to the opportunity, which isn't as general as I've presented above. They will vary by job, company, and hiring manager. But if you come across as a candidate with all of the above attributes, you stand a leg up against the competition. Good luck in your job search!