Data Analytics Career Transition 201: How to write a killer resume and ace the interview | Ladders

Craft a resume that will land you an interview in the world of big data, business intelligence and analytics.

Data Analytics Career Transition 201: How to write a killer resume and ace the interview

Craft a resume that will land you an interview in the world of big data, business intelligence and analytics.

In our first installment of ” Data Analytics Career Transition 101 ”, we showed how to bring the dream of a data analytics career one step closer to reality by crystallizing your career objectives and interest, assessing your analytics aptitude, targeting your dream jobs and filling skill gaps with training. Now it’s time to craft a great resume that will land you an interview, and “wow” them in person when it does.

What gets you the interview? What stands in your way?

Right Job + Right Resume + Right Time & Place (aka luck) = Interview

You can’t control luck. But the other two, you can. And here is how to:

  • Find and apply for the right job
  • Write the right resume

Apply for the right job
You’ve done the hard work, learning about your career path and preparing for it, so don’t throw it away by applying for the wrong jobs.

1. Be focused in applying for jobs that fit your dream job profile and build on your skills. Don’t blanket the market with your resume; it wastes time and energy.

2. Look inside your current company, if already employed. Moving to a new job internally is always easier than landing a job elsewhere—you already know the culture, the colleagues and the company, which makes you a better candidate for the hiring manager.

3. Use the right job sites and your contacts to learn of opportunities and capitalize on them. LinkedIn.com, incrunchdata.com, craigslist.com, dice.com, etc. are great sources of up-to-date job postings. Some of these enable direct access to the recruiter via paid services. And if you are lucky enough to know someone who works at one of your target companies, ask them to send your resume to the hiring manager or make an introduction so you can make direct contact yourself.
Write the right resume
Once you know where you’re applying, it’s time to craft the perfect resume. Of course, that means being accurate and thorough in describing your work history, experience and education. But how you do that is what makes a great first impression and gets you the interview.

1. Tell a powerful story that not only paints a clear, coherent picture of your strengths as an analyst, it provides the proof—with dollar signs. First, write your story as an analyst, even if you’re a developer right now. Then, don’t just list your projects; list their impact. Show how you were instrumental in driving revenue or savings. If you don’t have actual numbers, describe the impact as potential gain.

2. Answer the hiring manager’s questions before they are asked with a resume structure that is clear and direct. Use a “Request for Quote” (RFQ) format that allows a hiring manager or recruiter to see how you stack up against the job requirements in seconds. Simply list the job requirements from the job description in one column and your bullet-point experience in the next. Hiring managers who spend hours wading through verbose resumes to see if an applicant is qualified will appreciate seeing you’re a great fit for the job in two seconds!

Use boldface to highlight key words or concepts to make it even easier for your skills to get attention. And remember, keep your resume to no more than two pages.

3. Show your passion for data analytics by choosing words that convey your enthusiasm. Don’t use empty words or inactive verbs. Replace terms such as “good problem-solving skills” with brief stories about how you used those skills. Instead of saying you were “involved in a market research project” say you “conducted market research that resulted in [a tangible impact]”.
Acing the interview
You’ve written an attention-getting resume that did the job—it got you an interview. Now it’s time to seal the deal in person.

1. Prepare, prepare, prepare. Take time to research the company to begin to understand the business model, revenue stream, future plans and more. You’ll use this information to provide meaningful answers set in company’s context during the interview and prepare questions of your own to asking the hiring managers and interview team.

Practice your story so you focus on the key messages you want to emphasize and know how to answer tough questions without derailing the conversation. An interview is your chance to bring life to the words you’ve already written in your resume.

Be ready to demonstrate your technical knowledge, which may include using a whiteboard to show your knowledge of SQL, for instance, by writing code.

2. Show your fire. An interview is not the time to appear bored or disinterested. Let the interviewer see and hear your passion for analytics, your enthusiasm for the company and your desire to get the job. Passion for the job often counts for more than hard skills when it comes to winning a position.

Demonstrate your ability to help the company. Show them your problem-solving skills, as well as your ability to size and estimate their impact. Interviews sometimes include a problem-solving exercise that may be modeled on an issue being faced by the company; this is your chance to demonstrate your analytical skills by how you take a large problem, break it into small pieces in a structured way, lay out your assumptions and facts, and pull it all back together as a solution.

3. Mind your manners. Be confident, but not arrogant. Listen to others without interruption, ask thoughtful questions, show up on time, dressed appropriately and prepared. And then, when the interview is over, follow-up with well-written thank you notes to each member of the interview team. Thank them for their time and let them know how excited you’d be to work for the company.

If you need more hands-on help with your career transition, I highly recommend taking Aryng’s Analytics Career Transition training. Also, check out my book ‘ Behind Every Good Decision ‘, a step-by-step guide on how anyone can use Business Analytics to turn data into profitable insights.

It’s true that landing a job contains a certain amount of luck. But by controlling the variables you can control, you have a better chance of winning that dream job.