Projects In Resumes: Where Do They Belong? (And How to Make Them Shine)

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August 4, 2023
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19
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Projects.

They highlight your skills, showcase your impact, and elevate your professional profile. But where do you include projects in a resume to have the most impact in a way that differentiates you and impresses prospective employers?

Whether you're a freelancer with a diverse portfolio, a professional aiming to showcase your accomplishments, a recent graduate with academic projects, or someone looking to make a career change, effectively showcasing your project experience can distinguish you in a way that helps drive your career.

3 key takeaways

  • Why including projects in resume sections is important
  • How to use the Teal AI Resume Builder to list projects on a resume
  • Inspirational examples of projects on a resume across a variety of professional scenarios

Why including projects on your resume can make a difference

Including relevant projects on your resume can significantly impact how hiring managers or recruiters view your qualifications. If you're wondering how to write experience on a resume, projects are a fantastic way showcase your skills, creativity, initiative, and problem-solving abilities. And they offer tangible evidence of everything you're capable of while adding depth to your resume beyond traditional work or educational experience.

So what kinds of projects should you showcase to enhance your marketability and set yourself apart from the competition?

  • Academic projects demonstrate your ability to apply theoretical knowledge to practical situations.
  • Personal projects reflect your passion, self-motivation, and dedication.
  • Team projects highlight your collaboration, communication, and teamwork skills.
  • Freelance projects reveal your entrepreneurial spirit, client management skills, and ability to deliver results independently.
  • Volunteer projects emphasize your commitment to community service, teamwork, and social causes.
  • Leadership projects reveal your ability to take charge, inspire others, and drive successful outcomes.

And while most projects contribute to growth through the lessons or skills you’ve learned, the key to including projects in a resume is choosing ones relevant to the job description or industry you're targeting.

Choosing the right projects ensures that those you list resonate with the hiring manager, showcasing your expertise in a way that directly relates to the position you're applying for.

When should you include projects on your resume?

Deciding whether to include projects on your resume largely depends on your professional circumstances and the specific job you're applying for. 

So, which professional scenarios would benefit from the impact projects offer? 

When you're a freelancer or contract worker

Projects are often a primary form of work for freelancers or contractors. And, if you’ve found yourself in this professional realm, you should prominently showcase them as resume accomplishments within your “Work Experience” section. Think of creating your work experience as a more project-based resume section instead. (Just remember to be mindful of any non-disclosure agreements you may have signed before listing any client-identifying information.)

For example, imagine you're a freelance web designer who completed a website revamp for a client in coffee distribution. In this case, you didn't sign a non-disclosure agreement, so you're free to use their name, metrics, and more. Here's how you would highlight the project on your resume:

Website Redesign: Bigbie Coffee

  • Created visually appealing and user-friendly website interface featuring responsive design, intuitive navigation, and enhanced branding.
  • Received positive client feedback on new website's aesthetics, functionality, and improved user experience.
  • Resulted in a 30% increase in website traffic within the first month of the redesign implementation
  • Redesign resulted in a 20% increase in online orders and a 15% rise in average transaction value.

When you're a student or recent graduate

Especially if you're a student or recent graduate creating a resume with limited professional experience, showcasing academic projects in a resume can serve as valuable evidence of your skills, knowledge, and initiative—positioning you as a qualified and capable candidate.

For instance, if you've recently graduated college with a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science, a resume project could look like this:  

Senior CS-450 Software Development Project

  • Developed a comprehensive task management application utilizing Java and JavaScript, allowing users to create, assign, and track tasks, set deadlines, and collaborate with team members seamlessly.
  • Received an outstanding grade of 99% for the project—showcasing excellence in software design, implementation, and functionality.
  • Received positive feedback from both professors and classmates on the application's intuitive user interface, robust functionality, and efficient task management capabilities.

When you're changing careers 

Transferable skills are the bread and butter of any career changer's resume. They highlight valuable abilities, demonstrate soft skills, and convey knowledge you've acquired that applies to other careers, industries, or professional spaces.

As a career changer, key projects demonstrate transferable skills and showcase your passion and knowledge for the target industry or field you are transitioning into.

Let's say you're shifting from financial services to sales. In that case, showcasing a leadership project, like spearheading a cross-functional team to implement a CRM system that resulted in improved sales processes, streamlined communication, and increased client retention rates, would be applicable. This is because the leadership skills, communication, and problem-solving skills demonstrated in this project are highly transferable to sales. 

So how could that look as a project in a resume? 

CRM Implementation for Enhanced Sales Processes and Client Retention

  • Led a team of 10 in successfully implementing a CRM system within the financial services department.
  • Facilitated cross-functional collaboration between sales, marketing, and IT teams, ensuring smooth adoption and integration within seven business days.
  • CRM implementation resulted in a 25% improvement in efficiency, reduced manual effort, and enabled teams to focus on client interactions, leading to a 15% increase in client retention rates within six months.

When you don’t have much relevant work experience

If you're trying to create a resume with no work experience or have minimal relevant experience, personal projects can help demonstrate ability, initiative, and dedication. 

Imagine you've been out of the workforce for some time. What personal projects might be relevant if you're applying for a job role in software marketing? Volunteering for a school PTO, organizing a fundraising campaign, maintaining a personal blog or website, or creating social media campaigns for various causes are all valuable and relevant in marketing.

 So how can you add one of those examples as a project description in a resume?

Culinary Lifestyle Blog: Gourmet Delights

  • Successfully maintained and curated a culinary lifestyle blog, "Gourmet Delights," for four years, focusing on exploring unique flavors, recipes, and culinary experiences.
  • Increased website traffic year over year, achieving a remarkable 200x growth in monthly page views and engagement YoY through effective content creation and promotion strategies.
  • Recognized for consistent updating and high-quality content, leading to partnerships with renowned brands and selection for paid advertisements, establishing the blog as a trusted resource within the culinary community.

When you’re applying for project-based roles

If you're applying for a project-based role such as project manager, coordinator, or administrator, showcasing the skills you've developed by completing various projects demonstrates competence and experience. 

As a resume project, this could look something like the following: 

Software Implementation - StreamlineX

  • Led the successful implementation of the StreamlineX software solution, overseeing a team of 10 developers, coordinating activities, and ensuring timely delivery.
  • Met all project deadlines with 100% on-time delivery, effectively managing project milestones and dependencies.
  • Completed the project within the allocated budget, achieving a cost savings of 15% by optimizing resources and streamlining processes.
  • Improved overall efficiency by 20%, as measured by reduced processing time and increased productivity, resulting in a 30% decrease in customer support inquiries

Strategies for listing projects on your resume

Listing projects throughout different sections of your resume can be done strategically in a way that highlights your accomplishments and demonstrates relevant skills in an easily digestible format. 

Showcasing projects in a dedicated “Project” section

If your relevant experience is the sum of multiple projects, it might be worth adding a separate "Projects" section to your resume. 

Formatted the same way you would a comprehensive "Work Experience" section, a "Projects" section would include:

  1. Name of the project 
  2. The organization you were with while completing that project
  3. Dates started and completed
  4. The scope (for example, the size of the team, project duration, or budget)
  5. Any feedback received 
  6. Measurable results 

Including projects in your "Work Experience" section

When including projects that were part of your work experience, provide clear details of the project's scope, your role, and the outcomes achieved. Think of them as one part of your resume job description.

Be sure to use bullet points to showcase your contributions, skills utilized, and quantifiable achievements. 

As work experience, a project would look something like this:

Incorporating projects in your “Education” section

Incorporating academic projects within your "Education" section is valuable if you're a student or recent grad with limited work experience. As a bonus, leveraging this approach can be particularly beneficial when the school projects align closely with the skills and qualifications a prospective employer is looking for.

Highlighting projects in your professional summary

Your professional summary or the "About Me" section on a resume offers a high-level overview of your most impressive achievements.

If you have a standout project that showcases your technical skills, expertise, and accomplishments, including it in this section as an attention grabber can significantly enhance your resume's impact and pique the interest of hiring managers.

How to Use the Teal Resume Builder to showcase projects on your resume

Using the free Teal AI Resume Builder, you can quickly and easily incorporate past projects anywhere in your “Professional Summary,” “Work Experience,” or "Education" section.

Teal is more effective than trying to manipulate resume templates or create a resume from scratch because all the tools you need to put your resume together cohesively and professionally are in one place.

Note: Start with steps one and two, then follow the instructions for the specific section you want to add projects on your resume to. Be sure to click "Save" after Step 4.

Step 1: If you haven't yet, sign up for Teal. Or simply log in to your account. 

Step 2: Navigate to the Resume Builder icon in the left panel. Then, select the resume you want to add projects to or click the "New Resume" button at the top right. 

Listing Projects in Teal's "Project" section

Step 3: To list projects in Teal's "Project" section, scroll to "Projects."

Step 4: From here, click "Add Project" to include the project name, organization, start and end date, and any important details.

Section for projects in resumes

Incorporating a project in your professional summary

Step 3: To highlight a project as part of your professional summary, scroll to the "Professional Summaries" section. 

Step 4: From here, you can click "Add Professional Summary" to create one from scratch. Or, click the "Edit Professional Summary" pencil icon to incorporate a project into an existing summary.

Pro Tip: Use Teal's generative AI to create your professional summary with the click of a button. Then incorporate one sentence about a specific project you want to highlight, and you're set!

Adding a project as work experience

Step 3: To highlight a project as part of your work experience, scroll to the "Work Experience" section. 

Step 4: From here, click "Add Work Experience" and complete the details followed by "Add an achievement." Or just click "Add an Achievement" to incorporate a project into existing work experience.

Including a project in education

Step 3: To add a project or group of academic projects to your "Education" section, scroll to "Education."

Step 4: Then click "Add Education." Under the details, scroll to "Additional Information." Add your projects here.

Dos and don'ts for including projects on your resume

Now that you know how to add projects to your resume, let's talk about some best practices for incorporating them in an effective, compelling, and impactful way. 

Resume project dos

1. Choose relevant projects: Recruiters and hiring managers seek specific skills that align with the role they want to fill. List projects relevant to the role you're applying for can help you stand out as a qualified candidate whose experience aligns with the job requirements.

2. Showcase your role in the project: Were you collaborating with a large group? Leading a team? Exclusively responsible for the project's outcome? Clearly defining your role can offer prospective employers an idea of your abilities, responsibilities, and team interaction skills.

3. Include quantifiable achievements: Showcasing numbers, metrics, and data whenever possible provides a tangible understanding of the impact of your work. 

4. Use action verbs: Action verbs and keywords from the job description draw attention to your skills and experiences by conveying a powerful sense of movement.

5. Tailor the project descriptions for each job application: Using keywords and language from the job description not only shows that your qualifications align with a specific role but also conveys your understanding of the role's requirements.

Pro Tip: The Teal Job Application Tracker pulls keywords and other important language from the job description to help you tailor your resume for every role. 

Resume project don'ts

1. Don't overload your resume with projects: Listing projects on a resume can be exciting! After all, you're proud of all you've accomplished. But unless you have limited or no work experience, don't include too many projects. It's best to include only those most relevant projects or impressive projects in addition to other achievements and impact.

2. Don't be vague: Using specific details about your role, the project's objective, and the outcome can give recruiters or hiring managers a clear understanding of your key skills and abilities.

3. Don't forget to mention the team size: If the project was a team effort, include the team size to offer insight into the work environment you're accustomed to. 

4. Don't neglect the job-specific skills used or gained: Skills are often part of the keywords from a job description, and incorporating them into your projects helps showcase your alignment with the role.

5. Don't skip proofreading: Show your attention to detail by proofreading your projects (and entire resume!) for spelling and grammar mistakes. 

Inspiring examples of projects listed on resumes

Highlighting impactful projects on your resume can show employers your capabilities, creativity, and motivation. Check out some inspiring examples below.

Academic projects for fresh graduates and entry-level applicants

Example 1: Computer Science capstone project: "Intelligent Chatbot for Customer Support" 

  • Developed an intelligent chatbot using natural language processing algorithms to assist customers with common inquiries, resulting in a 30% reduction in customer support ticket volume.
  • Received an A grade for the project, showcasing strong problem-solving skills, proficiency in Python programming, and effective communication with team members and stakeholders.

Example 2: Marketing course campaign project: "Brand Revive: Reimagining the Consumer Experience"

  • Designed and implemented a comprehensive marketing campaign targeting Gen Z consumers, resulting in a 20% increase in brand engagement on social media platforms and a 15% boost in website traffic.
  • Demonstrated exceptional creativity and strategic thinking, effectively utilizing digital marketing tools such as social media management, content creation, and data analytics.
  • Received positive feedback from professor, who commended my ability to integrate consumer insights into the campaign and generate measurable results through a well-executed teamwork approach.

Work projects as achievements for professionals in project-rich industries

Example 3: Software development project achievement

  • Led a team of 12 developers in successfully creating and implementing an automated inventory management system, resulting in a 40% reduction in stock discrepancies and a 30% increase in overall operational efficiency. Using project management expertise, implemented Agile methodologies, coordinated project timelines, and ensured seamless collaboration among team members to deliver implementation on time and within budget.

Example 4: Social media campaign project achievement

  • Using data analysis, identified audience preferences, and optimized content strategy, designed and executed a social media campaign targeting millennial consumers, resulting in a 50% increase in brand followers across various platforms, a 25% boost in organic reach, and a 10% rise in conversion rates.

Work experience resume projects for freelancers or contract workers

Example 5: Brand redesign project - freelance graphic designer

  • Client: Confidential, January 2022 - March 2022
  • Successfully completed brand redesign project for client—a leading global company in the manufacturing industry—to enhance their visual identity and market positioning.
  • Developed a comprehensive brand strategy, including logo redesign, color palette selection, and brand guidelines, resulting in a 20% increase in brand recognition and a 15% growth in customer engagement.
  • Respected all non-disclosure agreements and maintained strict client confidentiality.

Example 6: New product launch - contract-based project manager

  • Client: CuttingEdge Video, Project Duration: May 2021 - December 2021
  • Title: Launch Operations Lead 
  • Led a cross-functional team of 20 members to successfully launch CuttingEdge's new video automation product, exceeding revenue targets by 25% and achieving a 90% customer satisfaction rating.
  • Oversaw project planning, resource allocation, and risk management, ensuring seamless execution and adherence to timelines.
  • Received commendation from CEO, COO, and VP for effective stakeholder management, problem-solving skills, and the ability to deliver high-quality results within a fast-paced, deadline-driven environment.

Professional summary projects for career changers

Example 7: Former teacher transitioning to corporate training 

Formerly a dedicated teacher with 15+ years of experience, I'm transitioning into a corporate training role, leveraging my expertise in curriculum development. I've successfully designed and implemented an innovative training program, significantly improving employee performance and knowledge retention by 20%. My proficiency in instructional design, needs assessment, and adult learning principles allows me to deliver engaging and impactful training sessions.

Example 8: Former salesperson transitioning to project management 

With 9 years in SaaS sales, I'm now transitioning into a project management role, showcasing my ability to drive successful product launches. I've led cross-functional teams in executing a highly successful Stock Forecasting product launch, resulting in a remarkable 30% increase in sales revenue within the first quarter. My strong organizational skills, attention to detail, and experience in developing effective marketing strategies contribute to the seamless execution of projects and achieving exceptional market penetration.

"Project" section examples for professionals returning to work

Example 9: Volunteer project for a professional returning to work after a sabbatical

  • Project Title: Fundraising Campaign for Local Non-Profit Organization
  • During my career sabbatical, I dedicated my time and skills to spearheading a successful fundraising campaign for a local non-profit organization focused on children's education.
  • Utilized my expertise in marketing and event management to develop and execute a comprehensive campaign strategy, resulting in a 50% increase in funds raised compared to the previous year.
  • Demonstrated strong leadership and project management skills by coordinating a team of volunteers, fostering community partnerships, and effectively leveraging digital platforms for campaign promotion.

Example 10: Personal Project for a professional returning to work after COVID-19 layoffs

  • Project Title: Website Development for Freelance Portfolio
  • During my unemployment period caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, I undertook a personal project to develop a professional website showcasing my skills and portfolio as a graphic designer.
  • Designed and implemented a visually appealing and user-friendly website, highlighting my expertise in web design, branding, and digital marketing.
  • Demonstrated adaptability and self-motivation by continuously updating and expanding the website to reflect new projects and industry trends, ensuring relevance and showcasing my commitment to staying current in the field.

Add projects to your resume today

Including projects on your resume highlights your skills and accomplishments in a way that impresses a recruiter or hiring manager and differentiates you from the competition in today's market.

With Teal's suite of tools, you can incorporate projects into your professional summary, work experience, or education quickly and easily.

Add a project using the free Teal AI Resume Builder today, and see just how easy it is to showcase your unique experiences in a professional, clear, and polished way—every time.  

FAQs for adding projects on a resume

Q: How far back should I go when listing projects on my resume?

A: The general rule of thumb is to focus on the most recent and relevant projects on a resume. Say from the last 10-15 years. However, this can depend on the industry and individual circumstances. If an older project is highly relevant and demonstrates unique skills, it may still be worth including.

Q: What if my project didn't have a successful outcome?

A: Even if the project didn't achieve its desired outcome, it could still have value on your resume. The key is to focus on what you learned, how you adapted, and any problem-solving, leadership, or other transferable skills you demonstrated during the project.

Q: Should I include personal projects on my resume?

A: Yes, if they are relevant. Personal projects can be a great way to demonstrate passion, initiative, and relevant skills, especially for early-career professionals, career changers, or those re-entering the workforce.

Q: I worked on a team project. How do I list projects like this on my resume?

A: It's important to specify your role and contributions within the team project. Focus on the aspects you were directly responsible for and how your efforts contributed to the overall outcome.

Q: What if I'm bound by a non-disclosure agreement and can't provide specific details about a project?

A: In cases where you are limited by an NDA, you can discuss the project in general terms, focusing on your role and the skills you utilized, without revealing sensitive or proprietary information.

Frequenty Asked Questions

Kayte Grady

Kayte, the Senior Copywriter at Teal, creates compelling content that builds connection, trust, and brand loyalty to drive conversions. With a data-driven approach to writing and a love of people, she's found growth and camaraderie in tech—a pleasant surprise given her never-ending devotion to the paper calendar.

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