Even though data science jobs are in high demand, applying for any job can be a struggle. You may have the qualified skills and acquired relevant experiences, but you also need to communicate this information in the right way to land a job.
Resumes are often the first stage of the application process. Nail the resume, and you’re one step closer to getting the job you want. According to a study by Glassdoor, only four to six of 250 applicants move onto the interview stage. Hence, resumes are vital to creating a great first impression on the recruiter or hiring manager.
Creating a good data science resume requires many of the same strategies often involved in any field’s application process. Once you know how to build an attractive resume, you’ll be able to overcome the difficult first stage of the application process.
Tip No. 1: Understand the Necessary Qualifications for Careers in Data Science
Data science is an emerging field in technology that has tons of variety. You can work in many industries or take on many roles in a project or company. Before you begin to look for a job in data science, you should understand what is needed for the career that you want.
WOZ’s Career Coach tool organizes technology jobs according to industry. Take some time to look through different career options. It’ll reinforce your interest in the areas you are interested in or perhaps open you up to an entirely new career possibility.
Ultimately, you’ll want to narrow down the possibilities until you have a few distinct options. This will allow you to know what jobs to search for, so you don’t have to filter through thousands of data science job postings.
Tip No. 2: Find a Job You Want to Apply for and Match Your Skills and Values with the Job Position
Experts say the job application process is all about quality, not quantity. If you blindly apply to hundreds of jobs with the same resume — and you don’t read the job description clearly — then there’s no way to stand out against other applicants.
Applying for a data science job is a two-step process. First, when you are looking for a job, carefully read through the job descriptions to see if it matches your skills. What are the programming languages needed for the job? Does the position require experience with artificial intelligence, machine learning, or deep learning? You should meet most of the qualifications to have the best chance at the job.
If you feel like you’d be a good candidate, then you can move onto the next step. Ask yourself, “Do I see myself working here?” and, “Does the company’s values align with my values?” These questions may require outside research. It’s a good idea to look up the company that you’re applying to, so you can see if it’d be the right fit. If you know a current employee at the company, check-in with them and ask for advice.
Tip No. 3: Create a Clean, Simple Layout
After narrowing down your career options and finding the right job to apply for, you can finally move onto creating a data science resume. Resumes need to be organized and easy to read since most hiring processes involve Applicant Tracking Systems.
ATS systems remove unqualified applicants from the application process by searching for specific keywords often listed in the job description. If the requirements are missing on the resume, the hiring manager will most likely reject the applicant.
According to an article from Forbes, Career Expert Tejal Wagadia recommends that applicants use a Word Document instead of a PDF file and use a traditional format that avoids columns and tables. ATS will struggle if the resume has challenging fonts or layouts.
Ultimately, the actual substance of a resume will be more important than the design. A clean, simple layout will work for most data science resumes.
Tip No. 4: List Relevant Experiences and Projects
Technology employers expect relevant skills and experience for a position. However, research from Ipsos MORI found that companies struggled to hire prospective job candidates because they lacked the necessary skills for a job.
A good data science resume requires prioritizing experience and explaining one’s role in the job or project clearly. If you’ve worked with a specialized area like deep learning or have expertise in a specific programming language, make sure that’s in the resume.
Tip No. 5: Review for Spelling Errors and Consistency
It seems like a simple reminder, but spelling errors are a divisive topic among hiring professionals. According to an article by Fast Company, while some might let one spelling error pass, other recruiters will view a spelling error as an instant disqualification.
Rather than test the odds, applicants should read through the resume and check for spelling errors. Consistency is also vital. Verbs have to be in the same tense, and periods have to be at the end of every sentence.
Tip No. 6: Ask a Mentor or Peer Currently in the Industry to Review Your Resume
Even if you’ve written up your resume, checked for errors, and are ready to hit submit — don’t do it. Before you submit your resume along with your application, make sure that you have a mentor or peer currently in the industry to look over it.
SAP analyzed 43 studies that compared career paths of mentored employees versus non-mentored employees. The research found that mentored employees had better career outcomes, such as higher compensation, more frequent promotions, and greater career satisfaction.
Mentors can provide a different perspective to a resume. They can detect any missing details and help review the spelling and consistency of a resume. Once they’ve edited it and you’ve added the last few adjustments, you can finally submit your application.
Tip No. 7: Repeat the Process for Each Job You Apply For
Applying for jobs takes time and effort. To put your best foot forward, it’d be a good idea to edit your resume for each job application. Each job description is unique and slightly different. Your resume should reflect these differences.
Making a data science resume can’t be a rushed process. With the right mindset and insight into how the job application process works, you can craft a resume that helps you stand out and showcase your unique abilities and experience.
If you’re interested in pursuing a career in data science, WOZ can help to kickstart your career. Visit our data science page to learn more about the curriculum developed by WOZ.
Sophia Acevedo is a journalist based in Southern California. She is a 2020 graduate from California State University, Fullerton, and a proud Daily Titan alum.