18 Jun 2019, 09:11

Career Advice for a Data Scientist: CVs, everyone has an opinion!

Part 2: In the previous blog we discussed why you should focus on your CV rather than a cover letter, here we discuss CVs.

In our opinion, your CV is a direct reflection of you, your background, your personal, academic and commercial achievements and what you can bring to any hiring manager.

To focus the attention of the reader on the important parts, your CV should be:

  • easily readable,
  • concise, and
  • catchy

Your CV should include relevant information that corresponds with your exposure and experiences that directly relate to potential employers needs. If that means that your CV is 3 or 4 pages long, so be it! That said, don’t forget that recruiters only spend 10-20 seconds on each CV.

In bigger corporate environments, the first stage of CV screening is likely to be done by an HR Administrator who (often, but not always!) is a non-technical internal resource. You can easily be passed over if they don’t immediately see the information that ticks the boxes given to them by the hiring manager.

Take note of where you are applying. For example, in France, all CV’s must be one page long, whether you are a graduate or have a decade of experience.

Structure and readability

Have your most important information on page one and then work backwards to your “non-relevant” information at the bottom of your CV.

Quick tips to enhance your CV

  • Do not write long paragraphs
  • Use a clear font
  • Align your CV correctly
  • Use spell check
  • Make sure your formatting is consistent (Make sure all headings are the same colour, all text looks similar, etc)

Use bullet points to break down

  • Role responsibilities
  • Technical skills
  • Achievements

Make sure all information is relevant to the role you are applying to; and have your strongest points at the top of all your sections.

There are CV templates online so you can choose different structures and colours. Remember – content is more important than looks.

The salient information

The information that makes a candidate stand out from the crowd.

We always qualify our candidates on what they themselves have actually done.

  • What algorithms have you designed?
  • What machine learning techniques have you applied?
  • What machine learning have you used and turned into a product?
  • If you worked in a team, what did you do?

Then elaborate on the real world impact of your efforts!

  • What costs were reduced?
  • What efficiencies maximised?
  • What additional sales or revenue was created?
  • What ROI was proved by what you developed?

These tangibles directly translate to what you can do for a company, how quickly you can transition into their environment, how much support they will need to provide to you in order to get you going and how effective you will be in the team.

What if this is your first job?

Talk about what experience you do have.

  • What did projects did you work on in university?
  • What courses have you taken?
  • What exposure have you had?

Great attributes to have and to showcase are:

  • Confidence
  • Time management
  • Communication skills
  • Passion
  • That you think outside the box
  • You are task-driven
  • You report issues quickly
  • You actively ask questions
  • You are hungry to learn and enthusiastic

Show that you possess the above attributes, through the information you supply within your CV, and then back this up in the interview, and again when you start in your new job.

All of this above is designed to help you secure the possibility of having a one-to-one conversation with the hiring managers, which is 50% of the battle! The other 50% is how you prepare and apply yourself to the interview process. That, as they say, is for another day and for another blog!

AI Unity

AI Unity is a South Africa based specialist recruitment company whose focus is on the niche Data Science, Machine Learning and AI spaces. AI Unity takes a candidate-focused approach. Our intention is to walk the career journey with candidates over the years. Zindi is happy to announce a partnership with AI Unity to provide all-round career support and guidance to the Zindi community.

We hope you enjoyed the content above and, more importantly, the insights provided helped you in one way or another. Do you agree or disagree? Do you have more questions? Head on over to the discussion page!

About the Author:

Matt Mallett is the Managing Direct of AI Unity. AI Unity shares the belief that Data Science, ML and AI are going to become the predominant technology bases of the future.

Matt is available to the Zindi community for career advice, CV reviews, job searches, or a chat about where the AI job market is heading. You can reach him at matt@ai-unity.com.