Data Analyst Resume or Data Scientist Resume; A How To Guide
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Creating a data analyst resume or data scientist resume can be a challenge. First, there are the general rules to follow that make any resume good. There is a lot of literature out there about action verbs, margin-sizes, and organization. I am going to make it simple for you. Resumes can be broken down into three key elements: appearance, organization, and content. The content section is where you target the resume to be a data analyst resume or data scientist resume.
The appearance of your resume is more important than the content. Why? Because, on average, a recruiter or hiring manager looks at your resume for less than six seconds. In those six seconds, if your resume appears poorly, then you can bet that the hiring manager is not going to even read it.
So, how do you make a resume pass the quick-eye test? There are five simple steps that you can use to make your appearance clean.
Step 1: Margins
The margins are very important in a resume. Margins that are too small do not look nice when printed out. Margins that are too big leave too much white space. The standard, MS Word, margin is “Normal,” which is 1” on each side (top, bottom, left, right). Anything less than 0.4” is too small as a hiring manager who prints out that resume will not see the content that runs off the page. So, the magic is between 0.5” and 1”. I suggest that you play around with it, and see what works for you. Personally, I use 0.75 left and right margins and 0.5 top and bottom margins.
Step 2: Font type
Choosing a resume font type is a daunting task. Microsoft Word comes standard with over 100 fonts. There are thousands of fonts on the web today. But, when thinking about fonts, keep it simple. The first rule is to not use more than two fonts. In general, you should only use one font. You may use two fonts, one for headers, and one for text, but it is cleaner to just use one font. Which font should you use? Keep it simple. The standard font for MS Word is Calibri for the body, and it is Helvetica for Apple products.
Because most of what you write will stay on a very high resolution computer, the best choice for font type is a sans serif font. Choosing between Calibri, Helvetica, Verdana, Garamond, Georgia, and Arial will be a personal choice, but I suggest keeping to those core fonts. The biggest reason to stick with one of these is because they are standard on all computers and programs, so you do not have to worry about compatibility issues.
Step 3: Font size
The size of the font is another critical factor in the appearance of your resume. Choosing a font size is important because too big means you are yelling at the person and too small is hard to read for a lot of people. You want your name to stand out, and you want the content to be the smallest. I would suggest making your name between 16-18 point. All headlines should be between 12-14 point. The content should be no smaller than 10 and no larger than 12 point.
Step 4: Bold, Italics, Underline
It is easy to lose your mind bolding too much, unnecessarily italicizing, and underlining random items. Be sure that you limit your use of emphasis and make it consistent. If you are already using font size and font type to distinguish your content, you do not need a lot of emphasis. It is okay to bold or underline your headlines, and italicize your company names, but limit the emphasis. Too much, and it will look busy and take away from your message.
Step 5: Spacing
Spacing is different from just the margins. Too much space in the middle or on the right side can make the resume look uneven. It is important to write with intention. Make sure that all your dates for jobs and education align well on the right side of the page. Ensure that the bullets are all the same type and size and style, with the same indent. When describing a position, be sure to make the description long enough so that it covers some of the inevitable white space that occurs with short bullet points. Be on the lookout for vertical space as well. Too much vertical space is a waste, but too little, and everything looks smashed together. The rule of thumb is to do a 1.0 line spacing and 0.0 or 0.5 before and after paragraph spacing.
Organization is very simple, and I will not belabor the point. Organization is also very important; if you do not have the information in the right order, the hiring manager may never see it. So, here are the first two, basic organization rules:
- If you have less than five years of full-time, professional experience, put your education first
- If you have more than five years of full-time, professional experience, put your education last
Other than that, you should put your experiences and volunteer efforts in reverse chronological order. The most recent experience goes first. In the data analyst world, there are two options for where to put your relevant skills. You can put the skills at the top, under your executive summary, or you can put them under your experience. The choice is yours, and it will depend on the position and your skills. So, the order goes like this:
- Name / Address / Phone / E-mail
- Executive Summary
- Volunteer Experience / Interests
- Name / Address / Phone / E-mail
- Executive Summary
- Volunteer Experience / Interests
Another item on organization is length. The resume should be no longer than two, full pages, and it should be no shorter than 0.75 pages.
Content is king. If you get the appearance and organization down, then you must worry about the content, which is the most important piece of the resume. Though, without good appearance and organization, your resume may never even get reviewed. So, what kind of content do you need?
First, do not lie. Someone will catch you in a lie. You can embellish a bit, but be careful. Just be honest. You do not want to start off on the wrong foot by lying.
Now, onto the juicy bits. I will go over the content of every section (above) to make it easy on you.
Name / Address / Phone / E-mail
While this might sound straight forward, there are several different ways to present this information. Put your full legal name, and if you go by a nickname, put that in parentheses (e.g., William (Bill) Smith). You do not have to put your middle name. If you have a professional master’s degree or a terminal degree, you may put that after your name (e.g., William (Bill) Smith, MBA). Do not put an undergraduate degree after your name.
For your address, it is less important these days to include your address because most jobs communications occur via e-mail. If you are applying to a position outside of your school or experience’s area, feel free to include your address to show that you already live there. If you are planning on relocating, you should also include your address. Nothing is worse than a recruiter or hiring manager assuming you can pop by for an interview when you live 3,000 miles away.
You do not have to include your phone number on your resume, if you do not want, because you are going to include it in your cover letter and on the application. Very rarely will someone call you after reviewing your resume, and it just takes up extra space. The same goes with e-mail. It is unnecessary to put your e-mail on your resume as it will be in your cover letter and on your application, so it just wastes space.
What is an executive summary? An executive summary is short, no more than three sentences, that gives the reader a snapshot of what you are bringing to the table. Think of an executive summary as a mini-resume. If the reader only takes six seconds, it is much easier to get that person to read three sentences at the top than to read an entire two-page resume. Be concise in your summary, showing what you have done, what you are doing, and how you will do it. More on the exact language in Part 2 of this four-part series.
Do not go overboard on skills. Microsoft word is not a skill in 2017. Focus on no more than six or nine skills, in column form for easy readability, that are relevant for data analysis. This is where you can tailor your resume to read like a data analyst resume or data scientist resume. Read the job description and tailor your resume to the job description. You really want to focus on five critical skills: analytical, communication, critical thinking, attention-to-detail, and math skills. The key here is finding balance and not over promising. If you are not an expert in SPSS, do not list SPSS. Keep it simple, honest, and concise.
Like I said, list experiences in reverse chronological order. You want to put the name of your position, the name and location of the company, the dates you kept employment, a short description of the company, and no more than five bullet points of what you did. When you put down what you did, do not write “managed data analytics.” What does that mean? Try to use percentages and other quantitative and verifiable metrics to show the value you added to your position. A better example of the above would be “increased customer conversion by 33%.” You are one of 100 people applying for this position, and everyone has managed data analytics. Not everyone has converted 33% more customers. Keep in mind, that the experiences you choose to obtain, even if part-time or volunteer, should all cater towards working with data in some capacity.
Education is another tricky area. Stick with formal, verifiable education. Keep it simple and short. Write down the name of the institution, name of the degree earned, and the name of your major and/or minor. If you earned above a 3.5 GPA, include that as well. If you had a significant scholarship (more than 25% of tuition), include that here as well. Lastly, you can put non-formal education through Coursera or a community college if and only if you earned a certificate and that certificate is relevant to the position to which you are applying. If you earned a project management certificate through UC-Irvine on Coursera, you can include that. Do not include the pastry certificate you earned online through Udemy when you were trying to be romantic for Valentine’s Day. Earning a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or certificate in data analytics, math, statistics, computer science, or actuarial sciences will set you apart.
Volunteer Experience / Interests
This last section is optional, but it often can set you apart. Recruiters and hiring managers want to see a little personality. They want to get to know you and see if you would fit the team dynamics. Showing off your volunteer experiences and accomplished interests can make you a fit on paper and lead to an interview. Avoid putting down interests that you have but are not very good at here. If you are interested in cars, but you cannot change your own oil, do not list cars as an interest. Try to stick with interests that you can show some sort of accomplishment (e.g., former division three soccer player). Even better, if you volunteer for a non-profit and help increase their conversions because of your data analysis skills, you will be better off. With interests, showing interests in math tutoring for disadvantaged youth or GMAT test prep will also set you apart. Show personality, but stay relevant.
Sounds easy, right? I will show you an example of a one-page resume, below, for guidance. Ask questions, and we will respond. And as a reminder, always save as a .PDF. It will save you trouble.