What to add to your featured work section

Updated over a week ago

Hiring managers want to know, Can you do what’s required for this role? This is your space to show them you are a candidate worth interviewing.

For any role, having previous work experience in that role is a great indication that you are worth interviewing. If you have previous work experience in the role you are trying to land, build your Featured Work around that.

  • Showcase projects you worked on and are proud of
  • Write about what you learned in that role
  • Document outcomes you created in that role. (I.e. gained X customers, raised revenues Y%, top-performing barista in our district, improved conversion rate Z%)

If you don’t have previous experience in the role you are trying to land, that’s okay! Build your Featured Work around proving the skills hiring managers look for:

Sales

Skills:

  • Verbal Communications
  • Written Communications
  • Empathy
  • Persuasiveness
  • Competitive

Ideas:

  • Write about a recent time where you had to sell someone something or persuade them about something. How did you do it? What tactics did you use?
  • Put together a sales pitch for your favorite product.
  • Put together a cold outreach email sequence for a software product.
  • Write about the best sales experience you’ve had as a customer. What made it memorable?

Marketing

Skills:

  • Attention to detail
  • Copywriting
  • Persuasiveness
  • Complex problem solving
  • Analytical thinking

Ideas:

  • Put together an analysis of landing pages from three competing software products.
  • Find bad marketing copy and improve it. Explain where it fell short and how you improved it.
  • Put together three audience personas for a marketing campaign for your favorite product.

Customer success

Skills:

  • Verbal Communications
  • Written Communications
  • Empathy
  • Friendliness
  • Ability to problem solve creatively and put other people at ease
  • Ability to understand technical concepts and communicate them

Ideas:

  • Write about the best customer service experience you’ve had as a customer. What made it memorable?
  • Make an onboarding tutorial for your favorite software product.
  • Were you in a sorority or fraternity? Group sports? Student council? Community group? Babysat? Write about what you learned through that experience about helping, motivating, and winning over other people, especially when they were upset.
  • Find an app you use that has bad (or no) help docs and write some.
  • Tell a compelling story of a time where you made an impact in a group setting (work, school, community group).

Design

Skills:

  • Creativity
  • Communication
  • Understanding of color theory
  • Graphic design
  • UI & UX
  • Attention to detail

If you are trying to land a job as a designer, you must showcase your design work. There is no way around it. Even entry-level design jobs require a portfolio of work to demonstrate your design skills in order to land an interview.

If you don’t have design work yet, spend an hour each day this week designing something. User interface, social media graphics, posters, book covers, or whatever jumps out at you. Put together posts explaining your design decisions, what tools and techniques you used, and how you think your piece can be improved. Show your process by including early sketches and partially completed drafts.

Don’t know where to start? Check out this great article by Nicole Saidy.

Software engineering

Skills:

  • Analytical thinking
  • Systems thinking
  • Problem solving
  • Verbal and written communication
  • Attention to detail
  • Ability to explain complex ideas clearly to non-technical people

If you are going out for a software engineering job, you must showcase software you’ve built and code you’ve written.

Ideas:

  • Link to two specific projects on your Github account that you want to showcase. Make sure they have a good readme that explains why you made the project, what the project’s goals are, and how to see it in action. Images and videos are helpful!
  • Write a post your development and collaboration workflow: Planning, architecting, writing code, testing, deploying, identifying and fixing bugs, etc.

If you don’t have any software engineering experience, you’ll need to learn and develop your skills before applying for a job in the field. Even entry-level software engineering jobs require a working understanding of programming.

If your goal is to make yourself as attractive a candidate as possible for Junior Engineer roles at a startups, Javascript is probably the primary skill to focus on. Specifically, node.js and modern javascript framework like Vue, Angular, Ember, Meteor, or React.

Most commonly they are looking for front-end help which would typically require working knowledge of a specific Javascript framework plus HTML, CSS, and SQL. Engineers at startups are typically expected to have a broad knowledge base to solve a wide variety of problems that come up.

We recommend checking out Lambda School. They’ll teach you the skills in 9 months that you need to land an engineering job.

Operations

Skills:

  • Organization
  • Attention to detail
  • Ability to digest and communicate complex information easily
  • Comfortable / familiar learning new things rapidly
  • Complex problem solving
  • Analytical thinking

Ideas:

  • Take a manual process that takes a significant amount of time and find a way to make it faster, easier, and more systematized.
  • Document a process improvement you’ve made at a previous job or organization: “We used to do task A manually or through P process. It took T time. Then I came up with a new process – Q. Now it only takes S time.”
  • Document how you manage your time and tasks.

What format?

The Featured Work section takes links and automatically pulls in images and descriptions. This means your work can come from a blog post, Medium post, public Evernote or Notion note, or any publicly accessible website. What matters most is that it is your work, not someone else’s.

Don’t treat this like a school assignment. Instead, ask yourself, "Would this make someone believe I can do the job?"

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