How to Build an Impressive Data Science Resume

Every one of us needs a resume to showcase our skills and experience but how much effort are we putting into it to make it impactful. It is undeniable that resumes play a key role in our job application process. This article will explore some simple strategies to significantly improve the presentation as well as the content of data science resumes.

By Sharan Kumar Ravindran, Data Science Professional and Author

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash


Every one of us needs a resume to showcase our skills and experience but how much effort are we putting into it to make it impactful. It is undeniable that resumes play a key role in our job application process. This article will explore some simple strategies to significantly improve the presentation as well as the content of data science resumes.


First, Why is it important to focus on the resume?

Getting a data science job is becoming very competitive, though the number of opportunities is historically high the number of people applying for these jobs is extremely high as well.

For example, below is a screenshot of a job posting from LinkedIn, this job posting has a total of 1200+ views and if we consider approximately one-tenth apply for the job then it is a total of 120+ applications and this is just one way to apply for the job there would be people applying for this job from other sources, through references and directly as well and hence the total number of applications would be approximately 200+. The same logic would apply to any data science job position hence resume plays a critical role in getting shortlisted.

Screenshot from LinkedIn


In this article, I am going to guide you on building a high-impact resume that can help you in getting shortlisted for the job application. The topics covered in this article are,

  • Basic rules in resume preparation
  • Customizing your resume and cover letter
  • Google’s X-Y-Z formula to make impactful statements
  • Tools to help build a stunning resume

If you have a preference for video format, check out here.


Basic rules in resume preparation


Resume formatting

Most job applications accept resumes in both pdf and word format. But I would suggest you stick to the pdf version as this ensures the formatting is preserved, that is the recruiter sees the resume the same way you see it.


Profile summary

Profile summary is key to a resume, consider it as an elevator pitch. It should be persuasive and should cover information like who you are, what are your skills and strengths. This part of the resume will be the main driver for the first impression also in influencing the recruiter’s decision hence spend enough time to ensure it includes the key details about you.

My people include career objectives at the beginning of the resume. I personally advocate removing the career objective from the resume and instead use that space for a better profile summary. Because most recruitment happens based on your achievements, strengths, and skill and not based on your aspirations. So make an intelligent decision and efficiently use the real-estate of your resume especially the start.


Use bullet points

Make sure the details you include in your resume are in bullet points, be it the profile summary or professional/project experience. It is very difficult to focus on a long paragraph and hence keeping it simple and in bullet point ensures better readability as demonstrated in the below screenshots.

Profile summary in one long paragraph


Profile Summary in bullet points


Try to restrict each bullet point to 2–3 lines and make key phrases bold as it helps while scanning through quickly.


Consistency in format

The contents of the resume should be in a consistent format, the titles, subtitles, bullet points, and other texts in the resume should all be in a consistent format. Below are few things that will ensure consistency,

  • Pick one font and use it across the resume
  • Titles used in your resume like for highlighting Experience and Education should be in a consistent format. You can choose to use a bigger font but let it be consistent across the resume
  • If your resume is more than one page then ensure the margin, alignments and spaces are consistent across all the pages
  • You can choose to capitalize the first words in the titles but then let it be consistent across the resume


Avoid typos

Always check for typographical and grammatical errors as they might turn off the recruiter. While there is a good chance for the typographical and grammatical errors to go unnoticed but when caught they send out wrongs signals like,

  • You are not detailed enough to catch those mistakes
  • As a data scientist communication is a key aspect and having spelling or grammatical mistakes is definitely not good
  • Firms are increasingly using automated tools to filter resumes, these tools most likely reject resume with typographical errors


Include contact details

Your contact details are important for the recruiter to contact you hence ensure that you double-check your details. Many people start editing their resumes based on their colleague’s or friend’s resumes in those cases ensure the hyperlinks are also edited when you edit the text. Like when you edit the email id ensure the email in the hyperlink is edited as well.


Include links to your profile and portfolios

Ensure your resume has links to your LinkedIn profile, git repository, and other websites or profiles like Kaggle you would like to highlight to the recruiter


Customizing your resume and cover letter

When you are competing with a lot of people on a job application, simple things like customization can be a differentiator and could help you in getting the immediate attention of the recruiter. When I say customizing your resume to the job posting it doesn’t mean completely re-writing your resume to every job you apply but just making a few minor tweaks to ensure your profile highlights the requirement and the expectation the job demands.

Customizing your resume helps you in

  • Ensuring that your resume is tailored to the job posting
  • Ensure your resume passes the automated keyword-based filtering
  • Sends out a positive signal to the recruiter since you have done your groundwork

There are few components in your resume that you can customize, they are

  • The target job title in your resume, as well as the cover letter, should match the job posting
  • Ensure skills highlighted in your resume includes some of the skills requested in the job description
  • Make simple modifications to your profile summary to ensure the expectation mentioned in the job posting are addressed
  • If you are applying for a job position away from your current city or you are applying for a job that demands traveling then explicitly mention in the resume or the cover letter your willingness to relocate or travel


Google X-Y-Z formula to make impactful statements

This is an amazing formula that helps to convert your accomplishments into a high-impact statement. It was first introduced by Laszlo Bock in his article here. This is a very effective technique that can be used to write an impactful resume. This formula means,

Accomplished “X” as measured by “Y” by doing “Z”

I will use some simple examples to exactly explain how this formula can be applied in your data science resume.

Example 1:

“Built a recommendation system”

this is a simple statement, not attractive at all because it doesn’t exactly mention the impact of the use case. We can try to improve it by including details of its impact by using below the statement,

“Built a recommendation system that increased revenue by 10%”

Now, this is much better than the previous statement but this can be further improved by using the Google X-Y-Z formula as below (X, Y, and Z of the formula are highlighted below)

“Built a recommendation system (X) that helped to increase the revenue by 10% and improved the customer engagement (Y)on the platform by using Collaborative Filtering Algorithm (Z)

Example 2:

“Participated in a kaggle competition”

this is again a simple statement which just says you participated in a kaggle competition but doesn’t talk about your performance hence this can be improved by including some details like below,

“Finished at 20th Place in a Kaggle competition”

This is now better but we can make it more impactful by using the google X-Y-Z formula like,

“Participated in a Kaggle competition (X) and finished at 20th position out of 1250 teams (Y) by working with 3 colleagues building an ensemble predictive model (Z)

Now, use this formula to convert your accomplishments into more powerful statements.


Tools to help build a stunning resume

There are great tools out there to help you in building a stunning resume. Below are two of my favorites,


  • This is a paid platform to build your resume and cover letter, though it doesn’t require any payment to use the platform and build a resume payment will be required for you to download the resume
  • They have a lot of resume templates catering to several job categories to help you with getting started
  • While this platform supports several templates and has many options to make changes but some parts of the template remain rigid. But I personally feel its better this way as it makes you focus only on things that need attention and it also ensures consistency in your resume


  • This is a free platform to build your resume and cover letter, if you wish to have more than one version of your resume then it is required to make a one-off payment
  • This platform offers several configurations to make any changes to define how things should look. I feel having more options means more decision to make hence time-consuming and might lead to some inconsistencies

These tools are very helpful in creating stunning resumes.


To stay connected


Bio: Sharan Kumar Ravindran (LinkedIn, GitHub) is a data science professional with over 10 years of experience and has authored two data science-related books.

Original. Reposted with permission.