Skip to content

How To Write About Your Data Analytics Projects Without Being Boring – Even If You Don’t Know What To Say

Today, I’m going to share the exact framework you can use to write about your data portfolio projects – even if you don’t know what to say.

When interviewing for data analytics jobs, having an awesome online portfolio will set you apart from the crowd.

Recruiters want to hire the best person for the role. And having a crystal clear write-up for each of your portfolio projects puts you at the top of the list.

Unfortunately, most beginner data analysts don’t realize the power of writing and miss out on the benefits.

Writing well about your projects has long-term benefits:

  1. Strengthens your ability to think through a problem
  2. Shows you can structure a project from start to finish
  3. Gives you the confidence to explain projects with ease
  4. Demonstrates your expertise more quickly than talking alone

Fortunately, there’s a way to crack the code on your project write-ups so that you never have to stare at the blank page again.

It’s called the STAR Method – let’s dive in:

The STAR Method breaks down your portfolio project into 4 parts: situation, task, action, and result.

  1. Situation: give some background on the project.
  2. Task: what needed to be done
  3. Action: what did you do
  4. Result: what was the outcome

You only need 1-2 sentences for each part. You do NOT need to be long-winded or go into extreme detail. Recruiters and hiring managers are much more interested in HOW you think than specific formulas, calculations, or functions.

Short is good. But short and specific is even better.

Let’s dive into each part:


In the first part, you set the stage for your project.

Give some context around the business problem or challenge that your project solves. Spend the least amount of time on this part, because it’s not directly applicable to the employer.

Be as specific as you can be with the situation by giving 1 or 2 background facts about the situation.

Bad: “I used the New York City bike rental data to create a regression analysis”

Good: “New York City has built a bike rental system that spans the 5 boroughs. But keeping track of bike usage and capacity is a challenge for the city.”


Here’s where you expand on the situation to fill in the gaps.

Describe the problem in more detail while making sure to stay in the context of the Situation and set up for parts coming up. This can be a bit longer, but still should be fairly short.

Bad“The bike rental data came in CSV format with one row for each rental event.”

Good“The bike rental tracking data was available but it was difficult to understand usage trends by location across the city, times of day, and any mechanical issues that happened with the bikes.”


This part is where you get to shine.

Explain the specific steps with technical details that you took to solve the problem or overcome the challenge. This part will be the most in-depth and is a chance to show of your technical skills.

Keep your audience in mind. Don’t overshare super-specific implementation details.

For example, if your project required a SQL query, don’t give specific details on table names and columns you used. 

Instead, mention broad topics that will apply to all data analytics roles like subqueries, CASE statements, CTEs, etc.

Bad: “Here’s a GitHub link to the SQL file I used.

Good: “I created a data pipeline with Python and SQL to ingest the data into a SQLite database. I then used Tableau to produce an executive-level interactive dashboard to help decision-makers see and understand the data at-a-glance.


The final part of the STAR Method is where you wrap it up.

Answer questions like:

  • What did you learn?
  • Was there anything surprising?
  • What was the final outcome of the project?

You’ll want to 2-3 sentences for this part and include any specific results from your work on the project. If possible, provide facts and figures that highlight the improvements your work brought.

Bad: “Here’s a link to the GitHub repo.

Good: “As a result of the new executive dashboard, New York City Bike Rental leadership teams have the information they need at their fingertips. I used dashboard actions to provide interactivity and Level of Detail calculations to create KPIs to help inform the teams.

Now that you understand the STAR Method, let’s look at an example from my personal data analytics portfolio.

Real-world Portfolio Write-Up Using The STAR Method

Interactive Nike Manufacturing map from my portfolio


Nike products are made all over the world by independent suppliers and one of their company goals is manufacturing sustainability.


Nike created a web-based map of Manufacturing Sustainability, but it requires a lot of clicking and has limited information at-a-glance. The goal of this project was to create a similar experience in Tableau but improve the user experience.


I created an interactive Tableau dashboard to show both high-level information as well as supplier detail without having to click back and forth through various countries.

With the data set in hand, I processed the data and created an interactive Tableau map.

  • Cleaned up country codes
  • Created calculated fields using Level-of-Detail
  • Designed interactive map with dashboard actions
  • Used Viz-in-Tooltip for deeper insights without navigating away from the main map


Through the project, I learned how to create an interactive map in Tableau and how to use the viz-in-tooltip feature in Tableau.

I also worked to gather feedback on the project and implemented some of the suggestions on formatting, UI, and interactivity for an improved overall user experience.

This redesigned dashboard provides at-a-glance supplier transparency for Nike executives and external stakeholders.

There you have it! A full data analytics portfolio project write-up that isn’t boring. 

Remember, don’t actually put each of the STAR words in the write-up. 😅

Once you get the hang of it, the write-up part of your project will come easier. Another side benefit is that as you create more projects, you’ll have this framework in mind as you work.

By the end, you’ll have a well-structured write-up that can be used in:

  1. Your online data analytics portfolio
  2. In screening interviews with HR
  3. In technical and team-fit interviews with hiring managers
  4. On LinkedIn and other social media sites

That’s it!

See you again next week!
Whenever you’re ready, there are 2 ways I can help you:
1. How To Create An Awesome Online Data Analytics Portfolio
Preorder today and get the full version when it’s complete.
2. Need specific advice? Book a 1:1 session with me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Tableau & Google Sheets Checklist

This one-page checklist PDF will help you learn how to upload your data into Google Sheets and build an awesome Tableau dashboard without wasting time.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

4 Things For Every Tableau Dashboard Creator

This free 4-page eBook PDF will walk you through the 4 most important steps for creating a Tableau dashboard

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Massive List of Tableau Tools

Tableau is even more powerful with these 20 tools you might not know about. The 2-page PDF includes a description and helpful links for each tool to get you started.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Career Boosting Business Analytics Trends

Use this list as a road map to take you from boring data job to the GO-TO PERSON in your company that knows the answers to all the questions.

All set! Check your email :)

Massive List of Free Data Viz Books

List of 10 Awesome Data Visualization Books

All set! Check your email to download.

Tableau Dashboards
Beginner’s Guide

Get the full 2-page PDF with the 5 steps outlined in this guide + 3 bonuses to help you along the way

BONUS #1: 5 Beginner mistakes to avoid

BONUS #2: Video walkthrough

BONUS #3: Links to the the Google Sheet and final Dashboard

All set! Check your email :)

How to Create 6 Different Tableau Bar Charts (Free Guide)

Get the step-by-step guide to create all 6 different types of Tableau Bar Charts (with copy-and-paste calculated fields included) for free.


All set! Check your email :)

Massive List of Tableau Web Data Connectors

Download the list of 21 different Web Data Connectors for Tableau in this Google Sheet (save a copy for yourself, too!) 

All set! Check your email :)

Slope Graph Examples PDF + Dashboard Walkthrough Video

4-page PDF showing 10 slope graph examples + a video walkthrough

All set! Check your email to download the bonus materials.

Tableau Tutorial Chart Redesign

Download the Tableau Tutorial PDF Checklist & Workbook

The step-by-step checklist for fixing busted charts with Tableau PLUS the full workbook with all of my formatting and calculations for free.

All set! Check your email to download.

Download the TableauHighlight Tables PDF Guide

The step-by-step guide for creating Tableau highlight tables
(plus direct links to the YouTube video walkthrough and link to final Tableau workbook)

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Tableau Scatter Plots: The Complete Guide

Get the step-by-step checklist guide to create scatter plots with Tableau


All set! Check your email :)

Rebuild a Busted Chart with Tableau

Enter your best email to get the PDF version of this tutorial + the companion Tableau workbook for free

All set! Check your email to download.

Download the Bonus Materials

Enter your best email to get the PDF checklist version of this guide and the companion Tableau workbook for free.

All set! Check your email :)