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How to Optimize Your CV for a Data Scientist Career

A data scientist is a thriving career in this technology-oriented world. In fact, Glassdoor named data scientists the number one job in the United States. Not to mention that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shared that the demand for data science skills will drive a 27.9% increase in employment in the field through 2026.

Considering the years-long consistent demand for data scientists, more and more people are taking their career in that direction. What this means for job-seeking data scientists is that the competition is fierce.

To stand out and catch the attention of hiring managers, you’ll need an optimized CV. Optimization will ensure that your CV is more attractive, but it will also ensure that it passes the ATS resume test.

Use the following tips to optimize your data scientist CV and get the job you want.

Use the Keywords from the Job Description

Hiring managers, as well as ATS, use keywords as one of the crucial filters for CVs. The job description is packed with specific keywords. Those keywords are what hiring managers should find in your CV.

Mine the keywords from the job description and put the same phrases on your CV. Using the exact words will further improve your chances. Why? Because hiring managers will be more attracted to the same words, they enlisted in the job description. It will simply signal that you are the perfect fit.

For example, the job description can list “machine learning,” “experienced in a fast-paced environment,” “R programming,” and “great written communication skills” as essentials. List those same skills in your CV. Within appropriate sections, of course.

To make the process of generating keywords easier, you can use a mining tool – Resume Worded. Paste the job description within this online tool, and it will provide you with a list of main keywords.

Bear in mind that you should use keywords carefully. Stuffing your CV with keywords or listing qualities and experiences is frowned upon. Moreover, it can hurt your chances of getting the job.

Personalize the CV for Different Job Postings

Unless you plan to apply for a single job, your CV will need some personalization. Adapt the CV to match specific job descriptions.

First, optimize your CV for a certain job position. That initial document will serve somewhat as a resume template.

Whenever you plan to send out your CV to a different company, revise it, and personalize it if necessary. What falls under personalization, you ask?

Check which keywords a different job position asks for. You might need to make slight changes to soft skills or rearrange hard skills for maximum attractiveness.

Tailor the CV for each job posting. Thus, you’ll ensure that your CV is the right match for each job position.

You can use Jobscan’s ATS testing tool to check the consistency between your CV and the job description. The tool can give you feedback on resume aspects that need some more work.

List the Hard Skills at the Top

Hard skills are of the highest relevance for the hiring managers. Save them some time and list the hard skills first.

Create a section that will be dedicated solely to hard skills. The hiring managers can take a quick scan and assess whether you have what it takes.

According to Towards Data Science, the top 10 must-have skills for a data scientist job are:

  1. Probability and statistics
  2. Multivariate calculus and linear algebra
  3. Programming languages (Python, R programming, SQL, to name the top three)
  4. Data wrangling
  5. Database management
  6. Data visualization
  7. Machine learning/Deep learning
  8. Cloud computing
  9. Microsoft Excel
  10. DevOps

The preferable way of listing hard skills is based on their demand. The job description will reveal which hard skills your employers prioritize. List the skills in the same order. If you possess skills that aren’t enlisted in the job description, name those last.

Depending on your resume length, consider how you’ll list the skills. For example, a freelancer’s resume often includes lengthier work experience (due to a number of smaller data scientist projects). Thus, you need to be mindful about rearranging the information. Who has the time for a 5-page resume?

To save some resume space, you can list your skills in a row. Another space-saving tip is to use bullet points but split the list into two columns.

Impress with Numbers

Your relevant achievements will be more notable if you back them up with data. Get employers excited about your capabilities with quantifiable accomplishments.

For example:

  • Used data mining techniques and machine learning to forecast the company’s sales of new services with a 97% accuracy rate.
  • Modernized data streamlining processes, resulting in 30% redundancy deduction.
  • Improved data mining processes, resulting in a 25% decrease in time needed to infer insights from customer data used for developing sales strategies.

Whenever possible, state how your skills have contributed to the company or project. Quantifying the results will make a better impression on the hiring managers. It will make your accomplishments tangible.

It is recommendable that you use one sentence for the description per achievement.

Provide a Description for Soft Skills

To boost your chances of getting hired for data science, you need more than just suitable hard skills. Hiring managers will also pay close attention to your soft skills.

According to the State of Data Science report, around 60% of data science professionals work in teams (5 or more people). Consequently, you need to prove that you can be a valuable member of a company’s team.

Besides listing the soft skills that make you the perfect employee, you should also include a one-sentence description for each skill.

For example:

  • Teamwork – Worked in a team of 5+ people for 4 years.
  • Verbal communication – Led weekly round-up meetings with remote workers to provide guidelines and give feedback.

The description will clarify what that skill refers to. If listed just in bullet points, soft skills can be vague. They don’t tell much about your specific abilities in that way.

A concise description of every skill will paint the picture of what you can bring to the table.

Apply a User-Friendly Design

Lastly, you want the CV design to be optimized for the best UX. This means that it needs to be scannable, well-organized, and comprehensible.

Increase your CV’s UX by applying the following characteristics:

  • Reverse-chronological layout for work experience
  • Relevant information only
  • Bullet points
  • White space
  • Minimalistic design
  • Single font type
  • Segmented sections

The hiring managers should be able to glance at your CV and spot the information they are looking for. Browse the web for user-friendly resume templates. You’ll be able to get a better sense of how to organize your CV.

Wrapping Up

Whether your CV gets revised with a 10-second skim or it needs to pass the ATS test, optimization can get you that second round in the hiring process. Use these tips to craft a CV that is engaging, skimmable, and packed with attention-grabbing keywords.

All that is left for you to do after you write the perfect CV is to persistently send it out. With an impeccable and optimized CV in your hands, you can confidently apply for the jobs of your dreams.


WRITTEN BY Estelle Liotard

Estelle Liotard is a data scientist and a content writer with years of experience in different fields of technology and marketing. Besides, she also works for essay writing services. Estelle enjoys helping students who need someone to do my paper for me. Her passion is learning about new technologies and sharing that knowledge with the world through compelling writing.

PHOTO BY Evangeline Shaw