What Sections to include (and not) on your Data Science Resume

What Sections to include (and not) on your Data Science Resume

Wondering exactly what should be on your Data Science Resume? Spending a lot of time scouring resume advice sites but not finding anything specific to Data Science? It can be hard (not to mention time consuming and frustrating), trying to figure out what Sections should be on your resume. Of course, it is not just the Sections that matter - the content in them is important too; we'll help with that as we get further along - but for now, let's at least cover off what Sections you should include (and what not to include!).

Sections To Include

We recommend including the following, with the order subject to your circumstances (more to come on that in a later post)

  • Education: Details of your undergrad and grad (if relevant) degrees, making sure to demonstrate both academic and extracurricular achievements. You should also be listing relevant courses you've taken as part of your degrees in this section (although we'd suggest limiting this to ~5 so it doesn't dominate the page!). The Education section is also where you can include any self-study courses you have completed (e.g., Coursera, MOOCs etc.) as well as Bootcamp type training you may have attended (e.g., Insight, Metis, SlideRule etc.)-
  • Experience: Highlights of your work and accomplishments at your current and relevant prior roles. All of these should be written in the past tense (yes, even the current role), and with punchy, action/accomplishment-oriented language.
  • Skills: Summary of the programming languages, statistical techniques, machine learning skills, software packages etc. that you're comfortable using. This should be tailored to the job role in question - you don't need to list everything, focus it based on what they're looking for - and also make sure it is a true reflection of your skills, which should mean you have used the language, technique etc. in at least one personal or work project (not just that you've read about it)
  • Projects (& Publications / Presentations): Showcase of your Data Science work outside of academic and/or work environments. For example, competition projects you've completed, independently-driven project ideas you've worked on, presentations you've made (e.g., at Meetups or conferences), your thesis and/or other publications (e.g., articles, books)
  • Hobbies & Interests: Only include a "Interests/Hobbies" section if
    (a) you make it specific such that it conveys something about yourself - for example, don't say "like to travel" which could just mean you like taking vacation (who doesnt?!) but "travelled to x countries, learnt y languages, organized group trip etc." all of which give much more of a sense of your curiosity, determination, leadership etc.
    (b) you have the sense from networking / interactions with the company you're applying to, that they value some of the softer skills. If they do then great, putting a couple of specific interests can be a great way to showcase more of your skill set and start a broader conversation. If your sense is the Hiring Manager is very technically focused or would view this section as "fluff" then dedicating valuable real estate (remember - you just have one page!) to this content is likely not a good investment

Sections To NOT Include

We recommend not including the following

  • Summary: For more discussion on this, check out our discussion article here
  • Awards & Recognition: We'd suggest making sure these points come out in the relevant Section versus having a distinct area dedicated to it. For example, Academic awards, scholarships etc. are best highlighted in the Education section; Data Science competition awards/prizes (e.g., Kaggle, Data Hackathons etc.) as well as Open Source contributions should be covered in Projects; Industry awards should be paired with either the relevant Work Experience or Independent Project that earned it
  • References: If these are needed, you'll be asked, and likely much further into the interview process, so no need to include them now
  • Photo: Some people do put this in, but trust us, it really doesn't help!

How to take action now!

Open up your resume and take a look at the Sections you have (or don't have) relative to this list. Then, do some re-arranging! The likelihood is that you have a lot of the right content but potentially slightly mis-bucketed (i.e., under a different Section structure than we lay out here), so moving it around to put against these headings instead should be relatively straight-forward - and make it crisper. Also, if you have anything that would be on our "don't include" list, we'd recommend taking it off :)

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