How to Apply for a Data Science Job

How to Apply for a Data Science Job(or any Tech Job, Really.

)Avishalom ShalitBlockedUnblockFollowFollowingJan 16Spoiler: Make the recruiter or hiring manager’s job easier.

Why did I write this?: We (Data Eng & Data Science @ Kik) are hiring FTEs and co-ops.

In recent months I’ve reviewed about 300 resumes of about 550 submitted (for several openings).

I’d like to help you, my loyal reader of these last 4 lines, avoid silly mistakes.

 Why would you read this?: If you are here because you googled me after applying to a position at Kik, kudos, else:I’ve spent more than 1000 hours over the last decade reading resumes and conducting interviews (and writing a resume and preparing for and taking part in interviews).

These tips are field tested.

Step 1: The ResumeYou’ve got 30 seconds of my attention for a chance to win 3 minutes of it.

Convince me that there is at least a partial match between the skills and experience you have and those required, and that I should keep reading.

Just like the text above the fold in a blog post.

(which ends right here iianm.

)The first part of the resume should be a very short declaration of who you are what you are good at and what you want to do.

(see template resume in links, below)How much time should you spend on your resume.

Most people in tech look for a job every 3–5 years.

Spending ~15–20 hours on polishing your resume every few years is fine.

I’m not talking about “”getting better at …”.

I’m talking about revising the document.

You will making tiny changes to formatting, sending it to friends for proofreading and feedback, changing the wording to agree in tense, making sure that the tense, the grammar and the punctuation are uniform.

 You will be judged on “attention to detail”, pay attention to details.

 The top 5 jobs you apply to should benefit from an hour of tweaking your resume to make sure you highlight experience and skills relevant to the specific job.

The most important don’t is : Don’t water it down.

I Cannot stress this enough.

 You are applying for a tech job — “Microsoft Word & Google Docs” is watering it down AND it is tautological (After all, I am reading a resume typed by you).

in short Do not water it down!Some more don’ts in Resume Mistake Bingo format.

(based on true stories)How to legitimately “beef up” a resumeIf you are just starting out, you have less accomplishments to boast, and there might be dozens, sometimes hundreds of applicants for the same position.

Stand Out.

If you have an interesting hobby, something you are proud of, something you’ve committed to, something you’ve won, a side project, volunteering, organizing, achievements, etc.

– don’t be shy.

highlight them.


If a common acquaintance points out your resume to me, you’ve basically passed the first screening, congratulations.

Get better at Linked-InGet better.

If you have time on your hands, hopefully you are looking for a job in a field that is interesting to you, do things in that field.

(Kaggle, open-source projects, courses etc.


The key piece of advice is “demonstrate completion”.

You can’t spell “Smart™, Nice™, Gets Things Done™” without “Gets Things Done™”Don’t forget to prune your resume:When you were just out of school, and added a bunch of Kaggle competitions, that was fine.

But now, some years have passed, you’ve got more job experience; keeping your resume up to date doesn’t mean just adding the latest accomplishments, it also means deleting the less impressive things of old.

Maybe keep just that one Kaggle competition with the highest score.

 If you haven’t used a language in a long while* do everyone a favour and delete it.

To the interview!You might think that once you got the interview the resume does not matter.

This is almost true.

It can trip you up; for example, I can ask you about some new features, or some under-the-hood- details of *that language you haven’t used in a while.

Part 2: Prepare & InterviewThis is a blogpost about applying, I am including interviewing tips because preparing should be an integral part of applying.

BeforePreparing for an interview is (like) preparing for a test.

The median recent grad I’ve interviewed scored a lot higher than the median industry veteran.

The only explanation I have for this, is that students are more up-to-date on studying.

If you are going in for a whiteboard interview, spend 20$ and get a small whiteboard and markers (fine are better) and practice on that.

It feels different and you don’t want to be doing it for the first time under pressure.

(Bringing the fine markers to the interview will double your whiteboard space and impress the interviewer.

)Practice completely solving interview problems (see below) in 25–30 minutes.

The ChatSome people say that the interview is your chance to prove yourself.

This is only half true.

The interview is also where you get to see whether you’d like the position.

The advice that’s helped me the most w.


t my state of mind going into an interview was:You might be spending your workdays in the company of the people interviewing you, let them convince you that they are nice, that you will get along.

Let them try to pass your bar.

The Technical Problem.

Make sure you understand the problem, ask questions to clarify it, maybe walk through a tiny example.

 Then — get started.

I don’t mean start coding right away, do not do that.

Solve the problem before you code it, walk through your solution.

Then, if and when you are asked to code it do so.

 Solving the problem in the abstract shows you are smart.

Coding it shows you get things done.

Walking through your solution with a few examples shows you pay attention to details.

TroubleshootingListening for hints.

 Interviewers will give you hints.

Don’t miss them.

Taking a hint will get you to a solution better (and earn you “takes feedback well” points).

 An interviewer might be familiar with some wrong solutions and wish to steer you away.

Or they may be looking for a specific solution.

 If you are stuck, take the hint.

Thank themIf you think your solution is good, but the interviewer’s hint is leading to a different solution, well — this is a tough situation.

My personal preference is for the candidate to recognize this explicitly.

“hmm, it looks like this is incompatible with what I am trying here, do you mind if I spend another 2–3 minutes on this direction before trying out your suggestion?”Getting unstuck — relax, rest, and restartSometimes people get stuck.

They might recognize it themselves (lucky them) or be tipped to the dead end by the interviewer (stressful.

) Many people then say: “hang on, let me start over.

” This would be great, except then they don’t actually start over!!.they think about themselves thinking about themselves getting the question wrong.

If I were to put it in cartoon form, it would look like this:Wile-E-Coyote ????.is holding a hammer and a bomb ????.????, imagining ????.himself trying to hammer the bomb into a box.

????.????.????.The box is too small.

 Then the coyote in the thought bubble ????.stops hammering ????.????and looks up, thinking.

????and a smaller thought bubble ????????.appears with another Wile-E-Coyote ????inside it hitting the bomb.

This causes the first imaginary coyote ????.to restart hammering????, which causes the real Wile-E-Coyote ????. More details

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