Projects on your resume can prove you have what it takes to succeed

You've likely heard a few catchphrases related to resume writing. Things like “show, don't tell” and “be an achiever, not a doer.”  One of the most effective ways to put these principles into action is by including projects on your resume. But how exactly do you list projects on a resume, and why are they so important?

You've come to the right place. Here, you'll learn how to list projects on your resume in a way that catches the eye of hiring managers and helps you to stand out from the competition. 

It doesn't matter if you're fresh out of college or have a decade of experience under your belt; including projects on your resume can significantly enhance your chances of landing your dream job.

Your old resume may have been a list of work experiences, but your new resume will outshine the competition and win you the interviews you seek. 

Projects vs work experience

Depending on where you're at in your career, it can be tough to separate projects from actual work experience, especially if you're a freelancer or regularly tackle projects as a part of your job. While both are exceedingly valuable in telling your career story, you have to be a bit discerning to determine which is more important. 

Obviously, you gain experience from working at jobs and completing projects, but listing projects separately can help you to highlight specific skills that might get lost when you explain work you did in a previous job. 

The main differences can be summarized as: 

  • Projects are concise and specific

  • Work history provides a broader view of your career trajectory

At the end of the day, you must pick the things you want to include on your resume with the aim of balancing your knowledge and skills with what's being called for in the job description. Relevancy and tailoring your resume are critical, allowing prospective employers to see what you have to offer their team. 

Why listing projects can be good for you

When you're trying to prove to an employer that you're an achiever rather than a doer, having a project or two to back up your claims can do wonders for your candidacy. Not only do projects on your resume have the ability to demonstrate relevant skills, but they also allow you to showcase initiative and accomplishments. 

In the context of standing out from the crowd, projects on your resume can add depth to your experience to paint a more well-rounded and comprehensive picture of what you bring to the table for the new employer. One thing that a lot of people miss is that you can also use projects on your resume to fill in any experience gaps that may be present. 

Types of projects you can highlight on your resume

While the projects you list on your resume are as unique as you are, there are some common types. Knowing what type of project you're going to list on your resume will help you to determine if the project is relevant and can also guide you in knowing where on your resume to list it. 

There are four basic types.

1. Work

This is any project you've done in your position with a company. It was probably part of your job description, but it could've also been something you were called on to do outside of your day-to-day role. Perhaps you led a team to launch a new product or created a new process for doing something that saved time and money. Work projects are good to have on your resume because they demonstrate that you're the type of person to go above and beyond to achieve an objective. 

2. Academic

These are projects that you complete in a classroom or educational setting. You'll definitely need to include academic projects if you're fresh out of college and have little to no work history or relevant professional experience. Academic projects for your resume can be anything from conducting a research study and writing a thesis or dissertation to developing a software application as part of a class project. Including academic projects on your resume gives you a chance to highlight relevant skills and prove to a future employer that you have a passion for learning and development. After all, continuous improvement is a highly sought-after skill. 

3. Personal

Sometimes, you get bored at home and decide you want to build a personal website or create a blog. There have even been folks who've created apps that work with their smart home devices to automate activities. It doesn't matter that these are personal projects, if you find that your resume is lacking particular skills or achievements you can use these projects on your resume to round out your candidacy. That said, adding a personal project to your resume should be a last resort. 

4. Freelance

'Tis the time we live in – a lot of people work as independent contractors or freelance. It's a great way to fill in employment gaps or have some income if you're on a sabbatical. The most common freelance projects center around things like graphic design, marketing, tech, and writing. These types of projects can be valuable additions to your resume. 

How to add projects to your resume

Since you want to keep your resume relevant to the job you're applying for, the first step is to create a list of projects from your history and compare them to what employers need. 

Analyze the job description to dissect out the keywords and phrases. Once you have that list, compare it to the skills and achievements you can talk about with each project. Beyond picking the right project to match the job, you also have to consider space.

Bear these guidelines in mind:

  • Pick projects for your resume that match the job description

  • Pick projects that allow you to keep your resume on the right number of pages

The final step is to properly format the project entries in their respective sections. 

Where to include projects on your resume

For the most part, you'll format a project listing the same way you would a work history listing. The only difference is that you may not have a company to list indicating where you did the project. If you can't list the client or location associated with the project, don't let that stop you from adding it. 

As you would expect, work projects would be listed in the Professional Experience section, academic projects are best suited in the Education section, and some projects may even merit having their own special section. 

What does all of that look like? Let's take a look.

Projects in their own section 

For the most part, your resume should have at least five sections:

  1. Contact information

  2. Profile (which contains your title and summary paragraph)

  3. Skills

  4. Work history

  5. Education

You can also add an entirely new section called “Projects,” “Selected Projects,” “Relevant Projects,” or “Academic Projects.” 

Depending on how hard you have to lean on those projects to wow a hiring manager will be the deciding factor on whether you place this new section above or below “Professional Experience.” If you really need them to make your candidacy, then put them above. If you want them on there just to give the hiring manager one more glimpse into what you can do, then put them below. 

Example of projects in their own section

You should create a title for the section and then list each project with relevant bullet points that call out things you achieved in working on that project. It's also appropriate to put the dates you were working on each project. 

Selected Projects

Post Evaluation Platinum LEED Office Building | 04/2022 - 10/2022

  • Used advanced knowledge of Occupant Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) Survey benchmarks and performed literature review / precedent studies to present data-driven solutions regarding visual and thermal comfort. 

  • Authored and presented findings related to underfloor air distribution (UFAD) system analysis. 

Integrated Façade Simulator: Hybrid Reality Simulations for Assessing Human Façade Interaction | 09/2020 - 05/2021

  • Created a novel integrated hybrid system that simulated a multi-sensory environment and observed participants and the impact of environmental stimuli for sensation, perception of comfort, and energy consumption. 

Projects in the experience section

If you're one of those people who get chosen by a boss to work on a project or if you've spent a significant time as an independent contractor, then it's probably going to serve you best to include projects within the “Professional Experience” section of your resume. 

Example of projects in the experience section

Format it like you would any other position within your experience section, including the name of the company, the dates you were employed, your position title, and some achievement bullets. Then, beneath those achievement bullets for your job, add “Noted Projects” and talk about the project as separate from what you accomplished as an employee. 


XYZ Company | Location 05/2015 to Present

Senior Biologist

  • Achievement bullet #1

  • Achievement bullet #2

  • Achievement bullet #3

Noted Projects:

Major Development Plan and Infrastructure Project – 03/2019 - 06/2021

  • Monitored site conditions to ensure the protection of sensitive species, including California gnatcatcher, cactus wren, least Bell's vireo, arroyo chub, arroyo toad, and general nesting birds.

  • Oversaw end-to-end project management processes, including scoping, planning, timelines, delivery, execution, and status reporting. 

Subdivision Development Project – 04/2013 - 01/2017

  • Directed biological resource protection initiatives for a 180-acre development project, resulting in approximately 475 acres of preserved, restored, and enhanced habitats. 

  • Conducted protocol and non-protocol environmental impact surveys for 3 years, in the wake of a widespread wildfire, to assess gnatcatcher habitat, population density, and movement. 

Projects in the education section

It can be hard to craft a resume when you've just graduated college and have no real experience to show future employers. Fortunately, you can lean on things you did at school to inject experiences, achievements, and skills into your resume. You just write an expanded education section. 

Relate reading: How to List Education on Your Resume (with Examples)

Example of projects in the education section

Whether you're listing your GPA or relevant coursework, you can always add some college projects to your resume education section if you need to prove your salt to a new company. 


Bachelor of Finance, | State University – Location (Expected May 2024)

Coursework: Current Economic Problems, Macroeconomics, Accounting Principles, Money and Capital Markets, Business Statistics, Spreadsheet Modeling in Finance, Global Financial Markets

Academic projects

  • Secured funding for a non-fungible token (NFT) from State University's Board of Trustees and generated a 100% return on investment (ROI). 

  • Placed in the top 10% of a financial modeling competition. Analyzed comparative values over time to predict future performance and identified a portfolio of stocks that were graded and ranked in terms of profit and loss and accuracy of predictions. 

Projects on your resume win interviews

Remember that the main goal of your resume is to win interviews. Adding projects can be just the thing that makes you stand out from the crowd of job seekers. Use projects wisely, though. Leverage them to boost your skills, enhance your achievements, and inject necessary keywords into your resume that align with what the job description asks for in a new employee. 

Once you get all of that written, we'll give it a once-over for you with a free resume review. After all, it's always good to get expert, objective feedback on your resume. 

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