Recently, I came across a question from a Reddit user, where he asked, “What are some extra projects I can do during my free time to market myself better to future employers?” Putting myself in his shoes, I knew what he was expecting as I had the same question two years ago. So, I replied. I was really happy that he found my reply helpful.
His reply got me thinking about why I shouldn't write an article on the same topic to help more people.
So, here I am!
If you’re looking for a new job or switching jobs, you might find this article helpful.
Here it goes!
To market yourself better to your future employers, the first and the foremost thing is to make them understand how valuable an asset you can be for their team and the organization. So it’s important to let your work speak for itself.
Here are a few things that I would suggest from my experience.
- Start writing. Add value to your readers and be consistent with it.
- Understand your desired role in your future organization and how you can contribute to growth.
- Try to understand what your future employers are up to. Keep checking out their LinkedIn to understand the topics that they engage with.
Armed with this knowledge, you should look to network with your dream company.
From now on, I would like to keep it specific as your future employers’ expectation of projects might differ for every role. Let’s dive deep into it one by one.
Marketing/Content Writing/Technical Writing
For any marketing-related role, you definitely need something to showcase in the first place. Your future employers would appreciate it more if you can impress them with
- Your writing skills
- Your ability to show growth and
- Your analytical skills
I would advise you to show them an increase in metrics. Be it your Blogs/Videos/Social Media/Website traffic, so on and so forth. Show them from where you started to where you are right now. It’s important to speak with numbers.
It’s okay if you haven’t executed all these in an organization. But be sure of starting your personal blog or a YouTube channel where you add more value to your followers/subscribers.
Things that you can consider doing:
- Start blogging on Medium or Substack or any other blogging platform.
- Create videos — It can be you explaining a topic or creating a Whiteboard animated video. But put in the effort. Check out Doodly or Animaker, as these platforms let you create some kickass videos.
If it is a Sales role, be sure to jot down your sales perspectives as a LinkedIn post or in an article. Writing down your views allows your future employer to know who you are and what you’re aspiring to do in your career.
Your article should precisely explain what it takes to close a deal, how to build relationships with your prospects, how to manage time efficiently, how to prioritize your work, and so on. Also, don’t forget to add the Tools/Software you prefer and how it can make Sales peoples’ lives easier. In today’s world, the right software can make all the difference.
Things that you can start doing:
- Write down your perspectives as a LinkedIn post or article.
- Develop your communication and convincing skills.
- Explore Multiple Tools/Software that will increase your Sales Productivity.
Before applying to any Sales/BDE/BDA roles, learn something about the product, company, and the hiring manager (If possible). All these are supercritical and play a significant role when your profile is shortlisted.
Data Science/Data Analyst/Business Analyst
For any role that involves data, it’s time that you start a project that involves precisely analyzing data or solving a problem with data insights or any experimental data-related tasks.
But, how does one find projects?
The answer is straightforward.
If you’re aspiring to get into Data Science/Analyst roles, you should definitely be good at Math, MS Excel, and have a good grasp of programming languages. Start applying for internships. If you’re not able to convince recruiters for internships, reach out to people on LinkedIn and start working for FREE. Reach out to 100, 10 might reply back, 1 will give you an opportunity.
It shouldn’t be just working on projects, you should also suggest actions items that drive value to your project.
Things that you can consider doing:
- Sharpen your Machine Learning Techniques.
- Develop your programming skills.
- Master your MS Excel skills.
That’s it! You’re good to go. I’m pretty sure that these things will take you places if you consistently focus and add value.
##Web Development/App Development
If it’s a Web/App Development role, build websites/apps that solve a real-life problem. Your project should essentially solve a pain point or should come up with a better solution than the existing ones in the market.
At this juncture, I want to share an anecdote. In early March, 2021, I got an opportunity to organize a Virtual Hackathon for young engineering students. To be honest, I was absolutely thrilled with the ideas they presented and the approach they took to solve the problem.
After the event, I talked to some of the participants to share some tips. Here’s what I told them:
- Learn different approaches to solve a problem.
- Keep learning and updating yourself with the new programming languages.
- Master your logical thinking skills.
I honestly feel everyone is talented in some way or the other. But if your goal is to land a Development job, you should be good at logical thinking. You should know the in and out of the problem that you’re going to solve. There are no short-cuts!
If it’s a Project/Product Management related role, the first thing that you need to work on is your problem-solving skill. As someone owning a product/project, you’ll face different problems each day, deal with multiple use-cases, prioritise tasks, etc.
In such a scenario, you need to learn to solve problems quickly and effectively. However, this comes only with practise. As a starting point, you can hone your problem solving skills by coming up with solutions for daily life problems. Say, for example, if you’re finding it tough to manage your financial expenses, try solving it.
The more such problems you solve, the better you sharpen your skills.
Since I interact with product managers, these are the things I have learnt from them.
- Learn tactical and strategic approaches to solve a problem.
- Learn to prioritize your work and manage time efficiently.
- You don’t need to be an expert, but you need to have a decent grasp of Design, Marketing, Coding, and communication skills. This is super important as you’ll get to work with all these teams if you are a product/project manager.
You can also do a blog that explains your project/product management experience. Share it with aspiring managers. Also, this might also impress your future employers.
Regardless of whatever role it is, you need to have the passion to succeed..
It’s important to build a strong personal brand and also network. Though it takes effort and time, it is worth it.
I wish you all the best!
Feel free to drop a comment if this article was helpful.
Kaushik Vikram Balaji is a product marketer by profession. He loves writing about SaaS, marketing, personal branding, and customer experience.
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