Career Launch

Guidelines for Putting Your Projects on Display

Chuck Grimmett
December 2019

We emphasize the importance of showing your work whenever we can. 

If you don’t have traditional work experience, creating and documenting a project–whether it be focused on tools or skills needed for software engineering, customer success, marketing, design, operations, or sales–is one of the best ways to bypass credentials and stand out from the crowd. 

And even if you do have experience, showing your work is one of the best ways young people are being hired for entry-level jobs today.

But once you create a project, how do you show it? How do you package and present it?

That’s what this post is all about.

Before we dive into the guidelines, here are some of our favorite resources for creating a project:

How to Show Your Work to Your Future Employer

Once you’re ready, here are some general guidelines for what makes a good project write up. Not every project needs all of these categories, but your write-up should at least cover most of them. 

Project Scope 

Explain the scope of the project. What are you trying to accomplish? What constraints are you working under?

Challenges

Explain how this project challenges you. Frame it in a way that sets you up for personal growth. 

Research and Inspiration

Post notes on your initial research and links/screenshots of inspiration. 

Actions Taken

Explain your process. How did you go about tackling this project? Did you work daily? Only on weekends? What main sections did you break the project into? How long did you give yourself for each section?

Your Solution

  • Show the final result. 
  • Include screenshots of the stages and the final product of digital work.
  • Include photos of the stages and final product of in-person work.
    • What didn’t make the cut and why?
  • Shoot a video walk-through explanation showing what you did, explaining details and features, and commenting on design decisions. Go a level deeper than you do in writing. If your project is a digital product, use Loom to do a screen share. If it’s a physical product, pull out your cell phone and have a friend film it for you.

Tools and Resources Used 

Link to the tools and resources you used and explain why you chose them over others.

What You Learned

Detail out what you learned while working on the project. How will you approach future projects differently?

Next Steps

Was this a one-time project? Something you are done with for now but want to revisit and improve? Part of a larger skill you are trying to develop? Write out your future plans for this project and for your personal development in ways that relate to this project.

Real-World Examples of Project Documentation

Here are some links to project summaries created by people who broke into entry-level roles at startups.

Marketing

Kayla Sanoy wanted to win a marketing job, so she ran a Facebook ads campaign for a month for a local business. In her project write-up, she shares exactly how she did it and shows how anyone else can, too.

Software Engineering 

Jonah Grimm wanted to create a game in two weeks to see what he was capable of—so he did. But he didn’t stop there. In his project write up, he quickly documents his process while making it easy to see proof of his skill level.

Sales

Gregory Williamson set out to analyze a startup company’s sales funnel, find areas of improvement, and discover a software solution that could be implemented to optimize his funnel. This is his write up.

Operations

Bailey Heldfond spent a month signing up for free demos of CRM software, project management tools, and other tech tools. Her goal was to learn the programs and show she could effectively use them at a company. Here’s how she documented her project.


This post was originally written on discoverpraxis.com.

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