Why Extracurricular Projects are Just as Valued as a Degree
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denniswilliamsCommunity member
Autoplay OFF  •  2 years ago
Dennis is currently a contributor for the Huffington Post, YFS Magazine and many others. He has a heavy digital marketing and content background, heading user acquisition for a number of mobile apps and and platforms, both B2b and B2c. He also shares a love for film making! See his work on his website: itsdenniswilliams.com

Why Extracurricular Projects are Just as Valued as a Degree

to Employers

Employers are beginning to favor the entrepreneurial spirit

just as much as they do the plaque itself.

The Harsh Reality

A steady GPA and university mandated internships don’t guarantee jobs in the current market. The Economic Policy Institute found roughly 8.5 percent of graduates between 21-24 were unemployed

Recruiters see hundreds of resumes per week

Setting yourself apart from the pack is done in communicating your value. Professional extracurricular projects are almost becoming a necessity.

My real world experience

My real world experiences during my college years hadn’t equated to a salary at the time, after graduation.

After graduation, my friend & I created a tech incubator

We kickstarted mobile app startups for various clients as well as our own ideas. I had been freelance writing for the Huffington Post & Funny or Die for over a year at that point.

I learned useful growthhacking skills

It was this creating this incubator that landed me my first job as a creative officer for a digital marketing agency here in New York City.

Why Experience During School Matters:

1) Shows Initiative

Finding experience isn’t easy, it takes a good deal of networking in route to a good freelance position or work related program.

2) Identifies a professional focus.

Many graduates aren’t sure of what they can actually see themselves doing and that can make it hard for employers to visualize as well. If you’re into computer science, create a mobile app

3) Shows your value.

You’ll learn skills that you can take with you and you’ll see the difference between your brand and your career.

4) Helps establish the right relationships.

Networking will play a major factor throughout the rest of your career and collaborating through work is a great way to foster long-term professional relationships

You’ve shown your determination in earning your B.A.

but it takes a credible resume and portfolio to prove beneficial for a recruiting company.

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2 years agoReply
@denniswilliams @sydney I enjoy writing so much and being involved in projects in which I can grow and learn from others. It sounds like an obvious thing to do, but I've learned so much by pushing myself in doing things I wouldn't do normally e.g. public speaking, creating a club, running, and sharing my thoughts to the world in a blog.

sydneyVerifiedco-creator of Commaful
2 years agoReply
@kevinshin awesome!!! thanks will let you know :D

2 years agoReply
@sydney yup! you should come! It's every Monday from 430-520. First two weeks were setup and Bitcoin intro. In the later weeks, it'll all just be Hackathon style. Build a different Bictoin-based web app every week. http://bitcoin.stanford.e...

sydneyVerifiedco-creator of Commaful
2 years agoReply
@kevinshin from 21.co? Jealous!!!

2 years agoReply
@sydney haha no where near! Still working on it 😀I'll think about what I can post though. Yeah, the class is taught by Balaji and it's been pretty fun so far. And sure, let me know!

sydneyVerifiedco-creator of Commaful
2 years agoReply
@kevinshin Nice! So you're a public speaking beast! You should make a Pencil post about speaking :D that sounds like a cool class. Catch up soon! We've moved nearby

sydneyVerifiedco-creator of Commaful
2 years agoReply
@rometty_ Oooh what kinds of projects don't? Often times those really show what you're passionate about :)

2 years agoReply
@sydney I really enjoy things where I can learn by doing. For a while, I was in Toastmasters (haven't found club here in Palo Alto to join yet). I did business plan competitions and Startup Weekends, and a bunch of other stuff. Haven't been able to do much extra lately but I'm playing around with the 21 Bitcoin computer for this class I'm sitting in on.

2 years agoReply
@sydney I enjoy writing and creating! writing and coding help in all the ways listed above, but my some of my favorite projects wouldn't fit onto a software engineering resume haha.

sydneyVerifiedco-creator of Commaful
2 years agoReply
Immediately thought of you guys @interncass @slisam @charlesj @sarharibhakti @kevinshin @jack @lilianchen What are some extracurriculars that make you guys get excited?