Being involved in Kaggle competitions can look good on a job application if it represents an accomplishment that makes you stand out as a perfectly matched candidate. Merely participating is no achievement. However, being recognized for exceptional performance is an accomplishment, especially if you can tie it to a tangible business outcome.
It's important to know about the organization to which you’re applying. For some, Kaggle competitions may be regarded as table stakes, and mentioning your participation could peg you as a noob. However, leadership roles within the community or having managed competitions should be mentioned. That can signal you have access to a powerful network of high achievers.
Likewise, if you know the organization to which you’re applying values regular Kaggle participation, include this information and be prepared to discuss it in your interview. This can help establish similarity, especially if the hiring manager or your potential future coworkers are regular participants.
Even if you are a Kaggle standout, its inclusion on a job application needs to be relevant. Don't lead with it unless one of the prominent job duties is indeed competing in Kaggle. On the other hand, if competing regularly appears to be part of the profile the employer seeks, frame this as a sign of your ideal candidacy.
Especially for applicants without a significant amount of relevant work experience, listing other ways you have used essential skills can boost your resume. However, this does not mean you should put down anything you have ever done. You need to be discerning and select projects that really showcase your abilities. Many applicants applying for data scientist jobs want to know if Kaggle competitions look good on a job application. Simply participating in competitions may not give you the edge you need, as many other applicants can claim the same thing. However, if you placed especially highly in a competition or can show a particularly impressive Kaggle profile, do describe this specific accomplishment on your resume. If you are an experienced data scientist, you will be better off using your limited resume space to describe your work experience. And, no matter your level of experience, an impressive independent project can enhance your credentials. A Kaggle competition would not count as a true independent project, as Kaggle presents you with the question as well as with cleaned data.