You are more than the projects you decide to build and the skills you bring to the job market!

Maybe you’re wondering how to get that across to all the awesome people you meet at Hackathons.

Often, the intangible element that makes a project stand out is passion. What did you build, what motivated you to build it?

What got you excited about this in the first place? Sharing the logic and passion behind your work is a great way to showcase your strategic thinking and workplace ready skill set. It also helps show the human side of the tech.

Passion Projects aka Something to talk about

Your projects allow you to powerfully communicate your knowledge about subject areas like

application architecture, database schemas, or how the distributed internet works. Moreover,  they also allow you to describe where the project came from. They also allow you to demonstrate your interests outside of tech.

Knowing the inspiration behind an elegant solution is often one of the most genuine ways a project can gain traction online or catch the attention of recruiters. One of the best ways to get your work seen is demoing your projects. Putting in the effort to show off your work in creative and interesting ways helps build your reputation and confidence!

Give and Ask for Feedback

Use the tools available to give and ask for feedback. If you love open source projects, take the time to identify leaders in that space and fork their projects. Do pull requests, start a conversation. Speak with the mentors at your event and see what advice they have.

Don’t be shy. Let the people you meet know that you want to learn from them, and ask them to share advice and resources specific to what you’re working on.

There is a balance, of course. You don’t want to chase them down – there are ways to tactfully inform friends, family and close professional contacts that you’re actively searching. Apply these simple tips when talking to others about projects – you’ll be surprised by the results!

When you’re looking to share your projects here’s some things to explore or consider.

When in doubt, let these questions guide how you talk about your experiences building things at hackathons.

  • What motivates you as a hacker.
  • Share your inspirationwhat’s “your why”?
  • Always explain what your hack does or the problems you solve.
  • Describe in depth how you built it.
  • Communicate the challenges you ran into and how you got around them. Show off your problem solving skills and how you approach solutions.
  • What was learned through the process. How’d you like to apply these learning in the future and/or what’s next for the project.

Company Specific Questions

From time to time, the skills you have are an important part of the equation – but there’s more ways to make an impression on another person.

If you get the opportunity to interview for a job. Let these questions serve as talking points for speaking about the projects you’ve built and the technologies you’ve learned.

Knowing these can help you land a job:

  • Why does this type of work excite you?
  • Why would a job doing a specific set of tasks make sense for you?
  • How do your personal values relate to what this company does or the job itself?
  • What relevant and recent accomplishment can you speak of? (and how does it apply to this field?)
  • Did you make something awesome that relates to this company or type of job?
  • Have you solved a problem similar to the one this person or their company faces?
  • What’s the next step you’d like to take to build on both your talents and achievements?
  • How do you hope to apply your skills and what do you want next?

The projects you build at hackathons push you to grow. While the process may feel unnatural or seem silly to you, it’s important that you share your projects, hacks and quirks with the world.

The process of learning, building, sharing is a cycle.

The more you learn, the more things you can build — the more things you can build, the more value you can share with others (as well as in the marketplace).

No go forth and share your gifts with the world!

Happy hacking!