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I'm a senior college software development student, graduating in a couple of months, and I've begun looking at and applying for jobs. However, I don't have any internship or real-company experience.
What I do have, though, is project experience working for real clients, but all of it has been volunteer work, and most of those projects have given me college credit simultaneously. For instance:
- I volunteered my help with a local non-profit's transition to a new website. (It was for a pretty short time; I did not earn college credit).
- I single-handedly created a website for a non-profit organization for free, but also got college credit for it.
- I acted in the role of Lead Developer for a team project (in a college course) where we built a website for a real client. But again, it was free and it was for school.
- I'm currently building a pretty complex web application for a private client. The application also doubled as the Final Assignment for one of my courses, but I'm continuing to build out this application (for free, volunteering) even though the semester ended already.
Now, when I'm applying for jobs, I don't know if I can list these as experience. Under different circumstances, each of these projects could have earned a freelancer some nice money.
So when I'm applying for jobs, do I need to specify that these were volunteer/college-co-op projects? Does the fact that they were for real clients validate them enough that I can list them as "work experience"?
And the answer to that is a yes, then how do I write that in a way that's honest but makes it sound like legitimate experience?
Also, on my resume, I list it under "Relevant Projects/Experience", but do I need to specify that they were for college credit?
I care very much about not being deceiving... so I'd appreciate some input about how this is viewed by professionals in the workplace. Thanks!