A Special Projects section can be especially effective for a person with valuable experiences that did not occur on a job.
Outstanding people have one thing in common: an absolute sense of mission.
Career changers, recent college graduates, and parents re-entering the work force can benefit from including a section on special projects. The section can also be labeled Selected Projects, Accomplishments, Achievements, Activities, Projects, Noteworthy Projects, Selected Accomplishments, or Noteworthy Accomplishments. Volunteer experiences with clubs and associations, as well as special projects performed as part of a course, can be presented in this section.
Use these examples as guides to determine whether a Special Projects section will strengthen your resume.
In the example below, the person had been at home rearing children since 1999. Her Special Projects section helps make it obvious that she is very capable and energetic.
As President of PTA, increased parent participation 26% and funds raised 34% over the previous year. (2008)
As a United Way fundraising team leader, exceeded the quota by 22%. Honored at banquet as Team Leader of the Year. (2006)
A project or accomplishment seldom requires over 45 words—20 to 30 words is usually best. Do not try to describe the project in detail—concentrate on results. When writing out each accomplishment in the first draft, feel free to describe it in 50 to 70 words. Then rewrite it by concentrating on results and include just enough detail so that the reader will understand what you did. Save all other details for an interview. List the projects and accomplishments in reverse chronological order and include the year.
The following person had been active in community affairs for several years and was seeking the directorship of a city-run agency for youth. On its own, his employment experience would not even have gotten him an interview.
Wrote news articles and special features for Troy Herald, Outdoor News, and College Forum. (2006–2008)
Lobbied for and obtained Troy city council support for three community parks. Played a key role on the planning committee and helped obtain matching federal funds for this model project. (2005)
Participated as a guest expert on disadvantaged youth for a public affairs radio talk show. (2003)
Organized a basketball camp for disadvantaged youth in Troy and obtained $55,000 in corporate and city funding. Got four coaches and seven college players from three surrounding colleges to donate one week to the program. (2001)
Below is a special projects section used by a 40-year-old woman re-enter
ing the workforce after completing an MBA. She had held just one part-time
research position ten years earlier.
Developed and coordinated budgets for YWCA and Big Sisters Program, Newark, 2001–2008.
Developed highly successful parenting, exercise, and personal growth programs for the Newark YWCA, 2000–2003.
Planned and coordinated programs for the League of Women Voters, Newark, 1998–2006.
Chaired The Mayor’s Conference on Aging, Newark, 1999.
The following example was written by a teacher who was seeking a position in private business and needed to demonstrate non-classroom abilities.
Interned for Omaha National Bank during the summer of 2008. Received assignments working with retail credit, corporate loans, and trust departments. Developed and completed a survey that determined customer needs. (2008)
Supervised the senior class store that sells school supplies, tickets, jackets, and sweaters. The store maintained a profit each year under my management, something it had never done previously. (1998–2005)
Supervised the research and publication of the Omaha “Volunteer Directory,” which helped draw new volunteers into dozens of agencies. (2004)
Developed an intern program to allow students to work in nursing homes and schools for the disabled. Dozens of students gained new skills and several now work in geriatrics. (1997–2001)
Organized record-breaking blood drives and won trophies each year from 1997 to 2001. No other school came close to matching the high percentage of students who donated blood. (1997–2001)
Sometimes other section titles such as Honors and Awards, Publications, or Activities will work better than Special Projects. This recently graduated college student had only one special project to describe so she combined it with an award and called the section Awards and Publications.
AWARDS AND PUBLICATIONS
Chairperson, Task Force on Teaching Quality. Investigated teaching evaluation methods at Reed College and published position paper that helped initiate change in tenure decision policies. (2008)
Senior Class Inspirational Person-of-the-Year Award. (2004)