How to List Projects on a Resume: A Concise Approach

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Sep 8, 2022 8 min read

You want to list projects on your resume, but you’ve got no idea how to do it?

Keep reading and you will learn:

  • What are the benefits of listing projects on your resume
  • What types of projects should you include on your resume
  • How to list projects on your resume
  • How to avoid sounding boastful
  • How to talk about a confidential project on your resume
  • How many projects should you include on your resume

If you want to save some time, you should definitely check out our Resume Builder.

But if you really want to really dig into the issue of listing projects on your resume, just keep reading.

Let’s dive in.

What Are The Benefits Of Listing Projects On A Resume?

Why should I include projects on my resume, how would that help me?

The main goal of listing projects on your resume is to show potential employers that you have gained skills, experience and professional achievements that fit perfectly into their role.

What is important to do when listing your projects, is to highlight hands-on examples of how you applied your capabilities to find solutions.

Describing your experiences in the projects can also show potential employers if your character would be compatible with the company.

What is more, you can use these highlights to show that you have leadership skills, project management expertise and the ability to take initiative.

If you play your cards right, potential employers will start to picture you in a position that requires you to use the skill set you have gained in your previous projects.

Types of projects to include on your resume

There are a few types of projects you can include on your resume.

Keep in mind that whatever project you list, should apply to the job you are applying for. Its purpose is to increase your chances, so choose wisely.

We are going to take a look at the three most common types of projects that you can list on your resume:

Work projects

Your relevant work experience always works in your favour.

The way you can strengthen its effect and catch the recruiter’s eye is to list projects from your previous places of work on your resume.

Keep in mind that you should only highlight projects and accomplishments that show a set of skills relevant to the position you are applying for.

Personal projects

Another way to go is to list personal projects that show skills and personality traits that your potential employer might be looking for.

The project can be anything from community service and volunteering, to a personal project such as a blog.

Personal projects can make a really powerful impression on potential employers. They show that you take personal initiatives that develop your skills and personality traits.

When you have little or no work experience, personal projects can make an excelent addition to your resume.

Academic projects

The third main project type you can include in your resume are academic projects.

These projects can greatly highlight the skills and competencies relevant to a position you are applying for.

Academic projects can show your technical expertise or demonstrate soft skills such as teamwork and leadership.

Don’t hesitate to include any of these three types of projects on your resume. They can only work in your favour.

How To List Projects On A Resume

When listing projects on your resume, your best choice would be to write them below a job description as accomplishments.

Another way to go is to list them in a separate section. You can name it Projects, Academic Projects or Personal Projects, depending on their type.

If your projects are Academic, it’s better to list them in the education section on your resume.

If your projects are the strongest thing in your resume, we advise you to create a project-based resume.

Let’s take a look at all these scenarios.

Project-Based Resumes for Freelancers

When you are a freelancer, you will need a slightly different approach to building your resume.

A reverse chronological format works perfectly for most resumes.

It makes your resume easy to read by recruiters and it shows them if your experience is relevant in no time.

But when you are building a project-based resume, this format will probably not work so well.

As a freelancer, you probably work on lots of projects, and in many cases, the last one in reverse chronological order would not be suitable for the position you are applying for.

The actual problem arises because of the fact that recruiters have to look through lots of resumes every day.

That’s why a recruiter only spends about 7 seconds on a single resume, so chances are that a freelancer with a standard reverse chronological format resume would not be noticed.

The best way around that is to remove your work experience section, and replace it with Projects section.

Make sure you include details for every project in the section. That includes an overview of the project, time and numerical results/achievements.

Here is an awesome example of what you need to do for every project on your resume:

Enhancv How to List Projects on a Resume: A Concise Approach

Adding Projects to a Resume—Traditional Employment

Even if you are not a freelancer, you might feel like you should include some of your side projects.

Don’t hesitate, but list them.

Projects are a great addition to traditional employment types of resumes as well.

What you need to do if you have extensive experience, is to create a separate section for your projects only.

Recruiters love extra sections. Having an extra section for your projects can only work in your favour.

As projects are not the main strength of your resume, you need to keep the project description brief.

Here is one example to get you going:

Key Projects

Spearheaded a cost-cutting project achieving a $50,000 dollar annual saving by replacing paper towels with hand dryers in all bathroom facilities as National Operations Manager with Redbridge Systems.

Adding School, College and Academic Projects to Your Education Section

If you recently graduated high school or college, or you are still studying, you might find it difficult to write your resume.

What you can do in this situation is list School, College and Academic Projects on your resume.

By shifting the focus from the lack of work experience to the projects and the skills you have gained from them, you can easily get some bonus points with the recruiter.

Here is an example of how to include project, such as volunteer work, on your resume:

Enhancv How to List Projects on a Resume: A Concise Approach

How To Avoid Sounding Boastful?

There is also a slight risk, that listing projects on your resume might sound rather boastful.

In order to avoid that moment, you might want to stick to the advice of keeping it simple.

What you need to mention is an overview of the project, time and numerical results/achievements.

How can I talk about a confidential project on a resume?

When you are using a confidential project on your resume to land a new job, caution is advisable.

It’s one thing to list a project on your resume when it has already gone public, but mentioning a confidential project is a good way to wreck your chances of getting the job.

Keep in mind that no employer wants an employee who would be willing to share a confidential project on a document that any stranger could potentially see.

You might think that you would be safe if you leave out most of the information.

However, the truth is that the recruiter may feel like it would be right to call your former employer and tell them that you are leaking confidential information.

Your week would probably not improve from there on, especially if you have a confidentiality agreement signed in the past.

So, all in all, you should focus on your public projects and accomplishments. Doing so will make your life much less complicated.

How many projects should I include in a resume?

You should consider including a link to your online portfolio, website or blog if you have any.

This would encourage the hiring manager to review your projects in greater detail, and allow them to see the skill set you have acquired while working on the projects.

You should also focus on the projects that present your skill set in the best light,

What you need to do is list only a few important projects on your resume. If you have more to show the potential employer, you should definitely include a professional portfolio.

Summary & Key Takeaways: How to List Projects on Your Resume

So, all in all, in most cases it is a good idea to include projects on your resume.

No matter if your projects come from former work, high school, college, or if they are personal, they can only work in your favour.

The key points you need to take out at the end of the day are:

  • If you are a freelancer, you might want to consider building a project-based resume, instead of using a reverse-chronological format
  • If you have some additional projects to your work experience, you should include them in your Work Experience or Education sections. If you have more projects, consider creating a separate section for your projects only.
  • If you have too many projects you want to mention on your resume, consider mentioning the most important ones and include a link to a professional portfolio
  • If you have worked on a confidential project, better leave it out of your resume

So, there you go, you are ready to get your resume to the next step.

Include the projects you have worked on and get the interview for your dream job.

What are your thoughts? Did you list your projects on your resume? Give us a shout out in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!

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Kal Dimitrov
Kaloyan Dimitrov is a resume expert and content manager at Enhancv. He frequently publishes blog posts around resume writing, cover letters & job applications, and authors more than 500 publications on the site. Kaloyan also runs a Career Accelerator Bootcamp for young graduates where he applies his practical knowledge of job applications and writing resumes and educates people on how to present their best selves in front of business representatives. His opinions on resume writing and career development have been featured in Chron., as well as cited by top universities such as Simon Fraser University and UCL.
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