Finding Your Tribe

Navigating the INFORMS Analytics Conference as a Job Seeker

The INFORMS Analytics Conference isn’t just about the latest analytics trends or snagging that perfect job offer. It’s about connecting with people – the mentors, the colleagues, the friends-you-haven’t-met-yet. If you’re searching for your next adventure in analytics, here’s how to make the most of this conference, one genuine interaction at a time.

These tips were presented during an INFORMS sponsored panel on Wednesday, April 3, 2024. Many thanks to my fellow panelists, Tayaba Nadeem and Carol DeZwarte, for contributing to these tips.

Here is a link to the recording if you are interested in seeing more.

Before the Buzz: The Calm Before the Storm

Think of the prep work as laying the groundwork for meaningful conversations:

  • Materials Matter: Your resume and LinkedIn are your first impressions. Make sure they’re polished and tell a consistent story about your skills and goals. Get that resume review – outside eyes can spot things you might miss.
  • Authenticity is Key: This isn’t about memorizing a stiff elevator pitch. You’ll shine most when you’re comfortable being yourself. Know your strengths, what you’re passionate about, and the type of environment you thrive in.
  • The App is Your Ally: Download the conference app ahead of time. It’s more than a scheduler – it’s a connector. Use it to see who’s around, send messages, and keep yourself organized in the hubbub.

Where the Magic Happens: During the Conference

Remember, everyone is there for the same reasons: to learn, grow, and expand their network. Embrace it!

  • Breaking the Ice: Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation. Start simple: compliment someone’s presentation, share an observation about the lunch spread – anything to get a friendly dialogue going.
  • Listen More, Talk Less: This is where the real connections happen. Ask thoughtful questions, find out about a person’s work and what excites them. Showing authentic interest goes a long way.
  • It’s a Two-Way Street: Job-hunting can feel one-sided. Flip the script! Ask how you can help your new contacts. Connections made now can lead to opportunities down the line, even in unexpected ways.

After the Conference: Nurturing Connections

The conference is just the beginning. Here’s how to follow through:

  • Timely Follow-Ups: Don’t let those conversations fade! Within a day or so, send a quick message on LinkedIn or email, reminding your contact how you met.
  • The Power of Reflection: Look back on your notes. What inspired you? Who seemed like a great mentor? Did a particular company spark your interest? Use these insights to guide your next steps.
  • Beyond the Job Search: The INFORMS community is about long-term support. Stay engaged on INFORMS Connect, volunteer if a chance comes up, and continue building relationships.


The INFORMS Analytics Conference is full of brilliant, passionate people. You belong in this space. Be confident, be curious, and focus on building genuine connections – the job opportunities will follow.

CANA Senior Director of Analytics

An analytics professional that enjoys learning, teaching, and using analytical techniques and tools to answer challenging questions.