Not everyone is aware of Hackathons, so listing one on your resume is definitely going to work in your favor. This can be an asset as tech companies worldwide always look for candidates who can think out of the box. Hackathons are increasingly becoming a much-coveted platform. If you have ever been a winner, your chances of selection become manifold. Or else, even your participation can give you an edge over your fellow applicants.
Since Hackathons are all about engineering and technology, it shows that you are aware of the latest trends in this field. Even if you are not a software engineer, you can still participate in them. Coding can be an advantage, but there are several other ways in which you can qualify for a hackathon. You should include your contributions at the hackathon. It will give your prospective employers a fairly good idea about what you are capable of.
Here is all you need to know about the hackathon and how to include it in your resume. If you still haven’t taken part in one of them already, now is the time to do so.
So, What is a Hackathon After All?
Like a marathon, you need to get to the finish line in a hackathon. However, here there is no need to run physically. Instead, you will be running against the clock in a speed-design event where you have to create a functioning technology within a given time frame.
You can be given a problem that you have to solve, or you could have to come up with a unique app. As engineers, you could be asked to build prototypes. As software engineers, you could be asked to create apps and solutions for better user interfaces.
There are ample opportunities for marketing managers and product managers too. All it requires is that you can provide a solution to the given problem by the end of your event, which you could also have to do by collaborating with people from other fields. It is an intensely rewarding experience and will also add to your personal growth.
Including Hackathons on the Resume
Participating in hackathons and including it on your resume will show your employers that you are motivated and have a penchant for solving problems. It shows off your skills and qualities like the ability to work in a team, the zeal to solve issues, and your dedication to your field. This can be immensely fruitful for the younger professionals. Here is how to include it in your resume correctly.
#1. Describing the Project
You should include the Hackathons in your resume under the “Projects” section. If you have been participating in them consistently, make sure to include at least three or four of them where the outcome for you was the most impressive.
Name the Hackathon event, the date, and the organizers. Then add a small summary alongside the particular event describing the problem that was presented and the final goal. Describe the scope of the event and the requirements needed for participation. Was it related to cloud-based applications, or was it something associated with AI? Describing the project correctly is crucial.
If you list three hackathon events, then there should be three bulleted subheads describing each.
Bonus Read: 18 Best Websites for Remote Jobs
#2. Describing Your Solution and Product
Once you have presented the problem, you should describe the solution you came up with. What product did you build? Was it a prototype or software? How will it help the people who are faced with a similar problem? What will be its commercial value, and whether it will be possible to build it on a large scale at some point? This will also help you showcase your business acumen.
You must also talk about your approach towards solving the problem and what kind of technology you used to develop the product. Did you face any challenges while coming up with the solution? What were they, and how did you overcome them? This will also help demonstrate your problem-solving abilities.
#3. Contribution Toward the Team
One of the qualities that that prospective employers look for in their employees is whether they will be able to become team players. And a hackathon is the perfect place to show that you are. Mention your role in the team in your resume while solving the problem. Did you come up with the idea of the prototype? Did you take on the part of the front-end developer? Or did you come up with the features and ideas that the prototype should have as a project manager? Talk about the size of the team and the other people you worked with in brief, and it shows you are mindful of their contributions as well.
#4. Your Achievements and Takeaways
Suppose you were finally awarded at the hackathon, and your product received recognition. In that case, you should include it on your resume in a professional and humble manner. But even if your solution did not make it, you should still list some of the things you learned from the experience and your takeaways.
You can also talk about how you thought you could improve upon the product and the ways in which it will benefit everyone once the changes are made. The hackathon should be a learning ground, and your employer will still be impressed when they think you have learned skills that you will be able to use later.
Listing Hackathons Under Skills Section
You could also include your participation in Hackathons under the Skills section. However, this time, the approach will be a little different. For example, your skill might be your efficiency in using C++ or Java. So that should be the title under the Skill section. Next, include a bullet point mentioning the hackathon you were in and how you used your skill. The description should not be too long, as you should be focusing more on the skill.
Listing Hackathons Under Relevant Experience Section
The “Relevant Experience” section differs from “Work Experience” because it primarily focuses on short-term experiences. Participating in a hackathon can be a crucial experience that gives you an insight into what the industry needs at present. You could show your employer that you fit the bill.
Suppose you are listing your Hackathon participation under the “Relevant Experience” section. In that case, it is ideal you do so in complete sentences. Talk about what the event was all about. What were the focus and critical objectives? What skills did you have to use to achieve the desired results? What was the time frame, and your final achievement? Keep it brief and to the point, with a complete description not exceeding three to four sentences.
Should you Include Hackathons in your Resume at All?
This is a question that many young professionals struggle with. Will it make the resume too long? On the other hand, when you have had the opportunity to participate in something unique, why would you want to leave it out of the resume? The idea is to strike a balance when mentioning the hackathon in the resume.
To do that, you need to first evaluate your work history. Hackathons are great, but they are more in the category of a weekend experience. Do you have something more substantial than the hackathon to show in your resume? If yes, you can write about those in detail. In the end, in the “Relevant Experience” section, you can simply add a bullet or two and list the hackathons you have participated in. That will help you mention your hackathon experience, leaving you with enough space to write about any more significant projects you might have worked on. The idea is to be concise and not go overboard with too many details. This requires some patience, skill, and practice.
If you are fresher, writing about your Hackathon experience in detail can be a good starting point. You might be asked about your collaboration skills. You could expand on it during the interview when asked about it. If you are asked about a challenging situation you overcame, then speaking about the hackathon experience and how you overcame the problem presented at the event could be a huge plus.
Multiple organizations are now organizing hackathons, and participating in them is quite easy. You need to check, of course, if there are any eligibility criteria. Once you are in it, a whole new world of opportunities opens up. You find out you had abilities you weren’t even aware of. Your skills will be tested, and you will have a more practical approach to whatever you have learnt. Add the thrill of competing, and the entire process becomes enriching and rewarding. Putting it all on your resume also improves your prospects, and you will embark on something fruitful from here.