In The Projects

What have you added to your résumé to actually makes it pop?  I’m not talking stars and a cute little banner.  I’m talking content worthy of getting a call back for an interview.  The kind of arrangement and wording that stands you out in a stack of 450 other similarly qualified candidates.  I expect you have the same thing on your résumé that everyone else has:

  • Your contact info (always at the top and make sure you have a decent email address)
  • Current and relevant experience (with the right verbs and keywords) 
  • Education (completed or not)
  • Special training and licenses (current and up-to-date)
  • Computer and software application knowledge, and
  • Volunteer work (if applicable)

Nice.  Neat.  Boring.  Unless you’re coming from companies like Apple, Google, or Microsoft, you’re not really bringing anything else to the table with a résumé that basic.  Yes, tech skills are in; no you don’t need to know how to build app to be a superstar on paper (but that would look really good, though).  What you do need to know how to take everything worthwhile you’ve accomplished or been a part of and throw  it on your résumé, especially all those projects you’ve started or helped friends out with.  THAT looks good.  Like, entrepreneurial –take the initiative — be my own boss — kind of good.  It’s those kinds of projects that show prospect employers:

  1. You have goals and drive — you know that God-awful question that is always asked during interviews about where you see yourself in 5 years?  Listing projects helps answer that question for you.  Anyone working on something outside of work (that is still some kind of work) has something bigger in mind.
  2. You have vision — why else would you start something?  Why else would you dedicate your time as such?  Because you want to know what it’s like to crash and burn? NOT.
  3. You know how to juggle multiple projects (and manage your time) — this is a big winner here.   This shows responsibility, accountability and focus.  Tack on the fact you’re trying to bring in more money (for yourself, yeah), what more could an employer want?

There’s certain information expected on a résumé.  So give them what they want.  But surprise them as well.  You’ve probably done more than that little dinky job you first got when you were 18.  Those projects you kept starting may get you the interview.  Hell, it may get you the job.  But you gotta showcase them.  You gotta talk them up and make them sing for you.  You probably have more skills acquired, developed and mastered in working on those side project — those side hustles — than many of the jobs that required a grocery-list size of responsibilities.

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