How to Showcase Personal Projects in Resume

How to Showcase Personal Projects in Resume

If you’re a college student or a recent graduate, you must be looking for a job. It’s time to see the cumulative result of your decades of education. Thrilling, right? A quick question: what projects have you included on your resume?

The projects on your resume, spanning from academic and freelance to personal endeavors, provide a peek into your skills and potential. Get me or not, projects make or break your resume (and your shot at getting that job).

How do you get a job? You apply for it. How do you apply for it? Through submitting a resume. How do hiring managers qualify or disqualify your resume? By looking at your skills and projects.

In this article, I’ll talk specifically about personal projects and and offer practical tips for presenting them effectively.

But first, let’s look at different types of projects:

Types of Projects to be Included in Resume

When I was in my last year of computer science engineering, I prepared a resume with two projects in the project section. The first was JavaScript calculator which was a personal project, and the other was an android application, a team project.

Of course, I know the type today. But I didn’t know back then. But you don’t have to be me. Here goes:

  1. Academic Projects Academic projects are your chance to apply classroom knowledge to real-world challenges. Whether it’s a research paper, a thesis, or a group project, these demonstrate what you’ve learned in college and display your expertise in the said field.
  2. Personal Projects Personal projects show off your passion and creativity beyond just academics. These can be anything from a personal website or app to a community project or anything else. Personal projects highlight your initiative, interests, and dedication. The type of personal projects you choose to display on your resume tells a lot about you. I’ll tell you how.
  3. Team Projects Team projects highlight your ability to collaborate and communicate effectively. They could be from group assignments or extracurricular activities, showcasing your teamwork skills and contributions to shared goals.
  4. Freelance Projects Freelance projects reflect your entrepreneurial creativity and ability to work independently. Whether you’ve freelanced in writing, development, design, or another field, these projects demonstrate your real-world experience and client interactions.

An ideal resume, in my opinion, should have a project of each type. But if I’d to choose just one, I’d pick personal projects. Here’s why:

Why Should You Have Personal Projects

If I were to sum up in short, I’d say personal projects help recruiters understand your creativity, passion, and self-starter quality. But I know you won’t be satisfied in short, so here goes:

Demonstrates Skills in Action:

Personal projects serve as tangible proof of your skills and capabilities beyond what’s listed in your academic books. For instance, if you’re a computer science student, a personal coding project demonstrates your programming skills in a real-world context.

Shows Initiative and Drive:

What do you think of a student who takes up work out of the classroom without a teacher pressurizing them? Exactly. Taking the initiative to start and complete personal projects demonstrates your motivation, initiative, and drive. Employers value candidates who show a proactive attitude and are willing to take on challenges independently.

Highlights Passion and Commitment:

Including projects that align with your passions and interests not only makes your resume more engaging but also showcases your dedication and commitment.

For example, if you’re passionate about environmental issues, a personal project related to sustainability initiatives speaks volumes about your values and dedication.

Differentiates You from Others:

Imagine you’re a recruiter, and you get 10 applications for a job role. Nine of them have JavaScript Calculator and Portfolio site in their project section. But there is one with real-world, unique projects. What’ll be your decision?

In this competitive job market, personal projects set you apart from other candidates with similar academic backgrounds. They provide a unique selling point and give recruiters a deeper understanding of your strengths and abilities.

Offers Practical Experience:

Personal projects often provide hands-on experience that complements theoretical knowledge gained in classrooms. For instance, if you’re studying graphic design, a personal design project for a local charity or business can demonstrate your ability to work with real clients and meet their needs.

Demonstrates Problem-Solving Skills:

Successfully completing personal projects showcases your problem-solving abilities, critical thinking skills, and creativity. Whether it’s overcoming technical challenges in a coding project or finding innovative solutions in a design project, these experiences demonstrate your ability to tackle complex problems.

Builds a Strong Portfolio:

Over time, accumulating a variety of personal projects builds a strong portfolio that reflects your growth, skills development, and versatility. This portfolio becomes a powerful tool during job interviews and can greatly influence hiring decisions.

By incorporating carefully chosen personal projects into your resume, you not only enhance its content but also present yourself as a proactive, skilled, and passionate candidate with real-world experience.

Also Read: Top 7 Internship Application Strategies

Strategies for Listing Projects on Your Resume

Convinced now, are you? Let’s get into strategies, then. Why do I say strategies? Because you can’t just put out anything anywhere.

So, here are some practical strategies to help you do that:

  1. Choose Relevant Projects: Select personal projects that are relevant to the job or industry you’re applying for. Don’t talk about Python when the job is for React developer. Tailor your choices based on the skills and experiences the employer is looking for.
  2. Use Clear and Concise Descriptions: Don’t write an essay. Recruiters don’t read your resume, they scan. Describe each project using clear and concise language. Use bullet points to highlight key aspects such as project objectives, your role, technologies/tools used, and outcomes or achievements.
  3. Quantify Achievements: Use numbers. Whenever possible, quantify your achievements in personal projects. For example, you could mention the number of lines of code written, the percentage increase in website traffic due to your optimizations, or the positive feedback received from clients or users.
  4. Showcase Your Contributions: If you’re mentioning a personal team project, clearly articulate your contributions. Explain what you specifically did and how it contributed to the project’s success. Use action verbs like “developed,” “designed,” “implemented,” and “managed” to demonstrate your active involvement.
  5. Highlight Transferable Skills: Emphasize transferable skills gained from personal projects that are applicable to the job you’re applying for. For instance, if you led a team project, highlight your leadership, communication, and teamwork skills.
  6. Organize Projects Effectively: Organize your projects section in a way that is easy to read and navigate. You can use subsections or categories such as “Technical Projects,” “Creative Projects,” or “Leadership Projects” to categorize your projects based on their nature. Looks like a good idea to me, although I haven’t personally tried.
  7. Include Relevant Details: Provide relevant details about each project, such as the project duration, your role (e.g., developer, designer, project manager), the tools or technologies used, and any notable outcomes or achievements.
  8. Tailor Descriptions to Job Requirements: Customize the descriptions of your projects to align with the specific job requirements or skills mentioned in the job description. Use keywords and phrases that resonate with the employer’s expectations.

Some Don’ts for Showcasing Personal Projects in Resume

While we are at it, let me give away some don’ts of including personal projects is resume:

  1. Avoid Overwhelming with Projects: Include a select few impactful projects rather than listing too many, which can overwhelm recruiters. The sweet number, in my opinion, is three projects.
  2. Avoid Exaggeration: Be truthful and accurate in describing your role and achievements; exaggeration can harm your credibility.
  3. Don’t Forget Results: Focus on outcomes and results achieved in each project rather than just listing tasks or activities.
  4. Limit Jargon: Use clear and understandable language, avoiding excessive technical jargon that may not be familiar to all readers.
  5. Include Feedback: If available, incorporate positive feedback or testimonials related to your projects to validate your skills and accomplishments.


Now, I’ve told you all about showcasing personal projects in my resume. But it’ll be all vague if you don’t have any personal project in the first place. Now, don’t advocate your personal portfolio site, calculator, or banana translator.

If you want to upskill with like-minded hustlers, build real-world projects, and get job opportunities straight in your inbox, join the FuelEd Community. It is now open to all!

Join here.


  1. How do you put personal projects on a resume? You can include personal projects on your resume by creating a dedicated “Projects” section. Describe each project briefly, highlighting your role, skills used, and outcomes achieved.
  2. Do personal projects count as experience? Yes, personal projects can count as valuable experience on your resume, especially if they demonstrate relevant skills and accomplishments related to the job you’re applying for.
  3. How do you describe a personal project? Describe a personal project by explaining its purpose, your role, the skills utilized, challenges overcome, and the results or achievements obtained in a concise and clear manner.
  4. What are examples of a personal project? Examples of personal projects include developing a mobile app, designing a website, conducting research, leading a community initiative, or creating artwork that showcases your skills and passions.
  5. Should I describe my project in my resume? Yes, it’s important to describe your personal projects on your resume. Provide enough detail to convey the project’s significance, your contributions, and the skills gained or utilized.
  6. Can you put current projects on a resume? Yes, you can include current projects on your resume, especially if they are relevant to the job you’re applying for. Clearly indicate that the project is ongoing and describe your progress and contributions so far.
Sushrut is the key content strategist and writer for FuelEd Community. He is a content writer and content strategist with experience in domains like technology, freelancing, and side hustles.

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