Top tips for your data science CV

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In order to get your resume to stand out amongst the stack, there are a lot of things to consider. Even simple choices like what font to use, should you use bold and italics to set off your subheads, job titles, and other features?

Small details make the difference in the eyes of hiring managers, so creating that well-designed standout CV could allow you to leapfrog your competitors and get you to the interview. Obviously creating a functional data science CV is a little more complicated than choosing a font...

The first thing to consider when submitting your CV is to know your audience. If you’re applying directly on a website for a position and the company is medium to large, it’s very likely that your CV will be subject to an Application Tracking System (ATS)

Tailoring your CV to get past ATS.

So, a few things to remember when dealing with ATS.

  1. Your CV will not be seen by a human being if it fails to get past ATS. So even if you are the most talented data scientist in the world, it won’t matter.
  2. Don’t get fancy. Use standard fonts (Arial or Calibri), excessive formatting or decorative elements might present an unreadable mess to the ATS.
  3. Make it keyword-rich, since ATS is looking for keywords specific to the job.
  4. Target the right keywords. If you’re applying for a management position, you’re going to be scored on keywords that are relevant to qualities that are expected of a manager. Review your job spec to find suitable keywords.
  5. Keep it simple, a boring CV that hits all those keywords is far more likely to get past ATS.

However, if you are emailing a recruiter or HR personnel directly than you will be able to get more creative with your CV.

Use the right headings to grab a hiring managers attention.

Here are the sections we recommend including on every data scientist resume:

Resume Summary or Objective -

Experience - This should be the focus of your CV, remember to keep it recent and relevant. Don't include work experience that is 5+ years old, it is most likely irrelevant to high-end data science projects in 2019.  should include your job title, the company, the period of time you held the position, and your accomplishments. If one of your past roles has more relevancy to the position you are applying for than be sure to highlight your accomplishments more than your duties.

Education - Obviously, if you are a recent graduate than education will be the highlight of your CV. Remember to list post-secondary degrees only! If you are a graduate you can definitely go into greater detail in this section.

Certifications -  You can list any 'micro-degrees' in this section e.g. online courses, professional training etc. Again keep it relevant and recent.

Skills - Talk specifically about the skills that were listed in the job description, if the key skills are Python and R then highlight your years of experience with these tools. You can if you want to list your other skills further down. Do not list soft skills here, keep it strictly technical. Additionally, don't go overboard. A data scientist with 2 years experience that lists 6+ programming languages on their CV raises red flags.

Projects  - One important factor to remember here; Focus on how your project solved a business problem. Hiring managers don't care how diffcult the problem was or how cool the solution is, keep that in mind when including projects on your resume

Publications - Highlighting any articles you have written showcases your passion for data science. With data science roles, you will need you to interact with a variety of audiences, so it’s good to show you can explain ideas in a clear and efficient manner.

Hobbies and Interests - Only talk about your hobbies if they convey something about you. Don't say ' I like travel '. Say, I have travelled to x many countries and am fluent in x

Including both an Experience and Projects section will give the recruiter information they are used to seeing, but it also allows you to highlight specific things you’re really proud of working on.

Similarly, a formal Education section and a Certifications section provides you with additional opportunity to showcase knowledge gained.

A CV or resume is never one size fits all, so use these sections as you see fit.

Bonus: Crafting the perfect cover letter

My advice on this subject is simple. Less is more. I find that the majority of my candidates are much better at writing code than they are cover letters anyway. Another thing which you should try to avoid is following that 'typical cover letter format' that you see plastered all over the internet. It will give the reader the impression that you are unimaginative and tired. Obvious copy and paste jobs will just annoy the reader and give the impression that you are lazy or don't know what you are talking about. You see, there are a lot of pitfalls to consider when writing your cover letter. As a recruiter myself with over 13 years of experience, most cover letters that I see are actually detrimental to an applicants success. In fact, I very rarely forward cover letters to my clients.

Keep it simple with something like this :

Dear Mr. Hiring Manager

I would like to apply to the position of Head of Data Science. My CV with detailed job experience is attached. The job description sounds really interesting to me as both fun and challenging. While, [Insert company name] seems like the perfect place for me to learn and further my career! Whenever you are free, I would love to sit down and have a chat about the projects I might be working on and the tools that are being used.

If you have any questions for me about my CV or otherwise you can reach me by email or directly by phone.

Thank you for your time,


These kind of cover letters are perfect when applying to a company in which you have no contacts, through Glassdoor or LinkedIn for example. But please, for your sake, do not use templates that you found on the first page of Google, you will end up sounding like a robot and companies don't hire robots (yet!).

Again this is not a one size fits all example. If you are an avid writer and that is who you are then writing away if your not then just don't!

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