By: Garrick Nichols
Asking how you can get more work experience to be qualified for better internship or full-time roles is like asking whether the chicken or the egg came first: you need experience in order to secure a job, but you need a job to accrue experience. Whether you know it or not, the projects you complete in classes can be used to help solve this issue. Including an Academic Team Project on your resume can help supplement existing work experience and can be another opportunity to highlight your skills.
Getting work experience as a student can be difficult at times due to time and/or knowledge constraints. Class projects are a great way to start building skills and gaining experience because they are often scaled to your current knowledge level and will enhance or utilize skills that you’ll use in multiple capacities moving forward. Whether it be soft skills (teamwork, communication, organization) or more specific technical skills (Bloomberg, Excel, Google Analytics), projects are an easy way to show a relevant experience. For example, in the past, I wanted to add an experience on my resume that would showcase my ability to answer qualitative questions with quantitative data. I had exhausted my past internships and leadership positions, so I turned to my QM222 class project. By using this project, I was able to increase the amount of “evidence” showing I had certain skills and abilities on my resume. Keep in mind though that you should always have a specific direction or purpose in mind when choosing to add a class project and you should try to stick to using one project at a time on your resume.
It’s advisable to change your class project to utilize the one that will best highlight the competencies related for a position. If you’re trying to show teamwork skills, you wouldn’t want to use an independently completed project. Similarly, you won’t want to use anything too dated as you may forget some of the work you completed or the results. More recently, when I applied to an internship in Human Resources, I removed my QM222 example and instead used CORE. This not only highlighted more of the relevant skills necessary for the role I was applying to, but it was also a more relevant experience that was fresher in my mind.
While you never HAVE to use a class project on your resume, it can be beneficial when looking to increase the overall amount of applicable experience and highlight skills to market. Using one, strongly related, project on your resume can show off your skills, capabilities, and industry specific knowledge, which hopefully helps result in that coveted interview opportunity. For more information on how to add this content to your resume, check out some of the samples (like this one!) on the UDC Career’s resume website!