How career projects can get you any job
“Can they do the job?”
That’s the question on every interviewer’s mind. In every job application – from hiring a customer service rep to hiring a CEO.
The single best way to prove that you can do the job is to have succeeded at it before. The second is to have succeeded at the most important projects and activities you’ll face in the job.
So, by reviewing the key activities and example projects for any job, you can know exactly what skills to develop and what outcomes you need to deliver to get hired. Below is a list of some of my favorite projects that let you build skills and prove you can deliver results, organized into:
- Learn to use Webflow by cloning a website like Apple, Duolingo or your favorite brand.
- Practice usability testing for improving landing pages and product copy.
- Create a growth backlog for a product you like. Make sure to define the expected outcome in users or ARR, the logic behind that outcome (based on back-of-the-envelope assumptions and any data you can find), estimated scope, and % chance of success.
- Create a mock editing portfolio. Find content (like blogs, website copy, emails, newsletters, or social media posts) from products or companies you love. Then create a portfolio where you edit their writing to make it better, more compelling, funnier, better optimized for SEO – more effective at building an audience and a brand.
- Shadow a sales rep.
- Create a personal website + LinkedIn + social profile overhaul. If you can’t represent your own brand well, why would someone hire you to represent theirs?
- Create a “portfolio” of landing pages. Take an existing landing page for a product you like, and show how you’d improve it.
- Analyze the landscape of influencers and brands in the industry you’d like to work. Figure out the different types of posts they use that really work (i.e. get a ton of engagement, create value for users and will earn brand equity, account follows, and URL clicks).
- Create a social media “portfolio” including posts and campaigns you would implement for different brands that you could show (including the brand you’re applying for).
- Use Screaming Frog to conduct a site crawl and audit, and create a prioritized list of technical changes to implement.
- Use Ahrefs, Mangools or Google Keyword Planner to research potential blog topics, and write posts on Medium that get 1,000s of site visits per month.
- Create a content portfolio. Include op-eds, newsletters, brand copy, company blogs.
- Create a product backlog.
- Write a product requirements document (PRD).
- Write the engineering tickets for your PRD.
- Learn how to use Figma for wireframes and prototypes.
- Create a low fidelity prototype for a product or feature in Figma.
- Learn to use SQL so you can better analyze product data.
- Analyze a company’s acquisition cost, retention, and customer lifetime value by channel to help them identify where to invest.
- Get an agile or scrum certification.
- Conduct informational interviews on a specific project type (product launch, content calendar, etc.) and create a template project Kanban board in Asana, Trello, Jira, and Airtable, and publish a medium post to share.
- Develop a Kanban board for your career search.
- Develop a mock set of screening criteria, and source 50+ candidates for a startup role.
- Use LinkedHelper to create an automated outreach campaign to find people and conduct informational interviews.
- Use LinkedIn and email automation to find a startup that will let you source and screen candidates for them.
Career projects for businesses
- Develop documentation / FAQ page for an online business.
- Create a referral campaign for a company or product you like. (MVP Using email, then using tool like kickoff labs.)
- Find a product, small business or organization you love with a horrible website, and improve their website.
- Create a lead generation campaign for a company, and get them 100+ leads.
- Create an affiliate program for a company you like.
- Run a series of A/B tests for a business’s website, landing page, or mailing list to improve customer acquisition or another key metric.
- Create and manage a growth backlog for another business, and deliver 10% Month over Month growth. (To deliver these results, the company will need to have some operations to work with – a mailing list to improve, a website with significant traffic and conversions, staff to work with.)
- Manage the blog for a small business in your network. Grow it by at least 5,000 monthly visits (or 25%, whichever is greater).
- Manage ads for a small business. This could be a restaurant, retailer, online vendor, physical service provider, or digital service provider. Find someone that sells a product, has happy customers, and is willing to spend some on a marketing budget.
- Help improve sales for a local business.
- Fundraise for a nonprofit or political campaign.
- Manage a business’s social media profile, and grow it by 5-10K users.
- Manage SEO for someone else’s blog or business, and deliver impressive results (i.e. 10,000s in extra traffic, a step change in growth, or significantly more leads or revenue).
- Project manage a project for a small business, club, nonprofit or political campaign.
- Manage customer experience for a local business or online brand to deliver some result.
- Improve company onboarding process.
- Implement company pulse check, and identify / project manage projects to improve results/
- Find an organization, business or startup and offer to run their hiring process to source and screen candidates.
Entrepreneurial career projects
- Create your own service business (e.g. lawn mowing or something else where you can easily subcontract the service delivery).
- Grow a social media profile to 10K users.
- Create a blog, and reach 10K monthly visits.
- Build a no-code project, and launch it on Product Hunt.
- Create a product or business that you have to sell, and generate revenue.
- Scale your own business online, and get $10K revenue.