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4 Actionable Ways to Level Up Your Resume/Portfolio

 

Have you ever printed out thirty copies of your resume at once? No? Well, I have. Just imagine standing by a printer before a job convention praying your resume is mistake free. It’s a little nerve-wracking, but it also gave me the motivation to finally update my resume. This process made me realize how far my resume has come since my freshman year.  Plus it made me want to share my tips with others going through the same thing. So today, we are going to discuss four actionable ways to level up your resume or portfolio.

1. Create Projects You Care About

My first personal project was a  clone of the game 2048 called Memes of 2048. I was so proud of that game not because it was technically advanced, but because I actually cared about what I was making. I played that original for years in high school and the thought of creating my own version made me so eager to learn how to make it and complete it. There are tons of coding projects out there that you can do, but make sure that they actually interest you before taking time out to build them. It’s great if you want to build the next Facebook, Twitter, or data collection software, but don’t do it just because it would “look good on a portfolio”. Do it because you actually want to.

2. Set Yourself Apart

Chances are you are going to share classes with some of the same people during your four years at college. While this isn’t a bad thing, you’ll have to find outside ways to sent yourself apart from your classmates. The last thing you want is to have the same projects on your resume as everyone else. Maybe you can start a club on campus or take up a leadership position. Maybe you can build projects at technical talks or even give one yourself.  You can even do things way out of the box like starting a blog or a Youtube channel. The sky, along with your schedule, is the limit. And before you know it, you will have built up skills and experiences that not many other students have.

3.Break-Up With Tutorials

I admit this is something I am still dealing with. It’s so easy to follow a tutorial building a cool application or game because you “feel” like you are learning a lot. However, I bet if anyone asked you how a certain feature worked, later on, you would have a hard time explaining it to them. That’s probably because you were so focused on seeing how the app was made and getting to the end product that you didn’t remember the steps to do that. This tutorial purgatory is actually pretty common in the tech world. Everyone goes through it at some point. And the easiest way to overcome it is to start building stuff on your own without tutorials.  I know that’s much easier said than done, but actually working through the coding process rather than have it told to you will help you remember more. Not only that, but you will have a project that is distinctly yours.

4.Focus Your Goals

If you were like me and had zero experience coding before majoring in SWEN, then you were probably overwhelmed by everything you can do. Languages like C++, CSS, and React all fascinated me because of all the things you could make with them. In fact, at one point I wanted to learn as many coding languages as I could in one year. I quickly realized it wasn’t helping me. Just because you could say you worked with a bunch of languages doesn’t mean you deeply understand any of them. If you go for the quantity over quality approach you will end of being a master of none- which probably won’t get you hired. Instead, try to focus on the languages that are most used in the area you want to work in. For me, I’ve been working with front-end languages lately like Javascript and Sass because I want to work on the front-end. If you want to work on the back-end, you can look into projects using Java or Python. And if you don’t know what you want to do yet, try researching role expectations on job searching sites and see what piques your interest.

 

Let me know in the comments below what you’ve done to improve your portfolio. I found that these tips work for me, but I am curious what you guys have done. Until next time, I’m signing off.

Hey, I'm Mel. I'm in a junior in college who is looking to leave her footprint on the tech industry. When I'm not studying, I'm creating pure css images, watching youtube videos, and being a total geek.

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