How to Put A Side Project on Your Resume

Alright–you’re a new programmer, and you’re out looking for your first job.  How do you prove you know what you’re doing?  By putting your projects on your resume!  Listing projects on your resume helps demonstrate your skills to potential employers, so it’s vital to “put your best foot forward” and make sure your resume accurately reflects what you’ve worked on.  In this article, we’ll talk about how to put a side project on your resume, including naming projects, how to talk about the work you did, and making your work stand out in the endless sea of resumes coming across employers’ desks.

Give Your Project A Snappy Title

The title of your project should be short, descriptive, and–if at all possible–memorable.  Bonus points if you can come up with something clever, like a joke or alliteration, but remember to keep it professional!  Think about the functionality or purpose behind your project to help you come up with a clever title–even if the project itself isn’t about an exciting topic, a memorable title can help you stand out a little.  I promise you that every hiring manager out there is very, very tired of seeing “Reddit Clone” or “Tic-Tac-Toe game” on junior developer resumes.  It’s perfectly fine to have one of those things as a project, but please… give it a better name!

Describe The Project

You’ll have a very limited amount of space to describe your project when listing it on your resume, so you’ll want to make sure you hit only the most major talking points: features of the project and what technologies were used to build it.  Your description can involve some of the following information: 

  • What problem does the project solve? 
  • What technologies were used to build the project? 
  • What are the main features of the project?
  • Did you work with other people on the project (and if so, how did you manage sharing the code and/or organizing the work)? 

Remember to tailor the language and details of your project listing to align with the job you’re applying for and emphasize the skills and experiences most relevant to the position.  Keep your descriptions as clear, concise, and focused on demonstrating your capabilities as possible.

If you’re putting your project on LinkedIn or another portfolio site, you’ll have more room and can include more information.  Start with the couple of sentences you used on your resume, and then expand to include more information about the project and links to where the project or source code is hosted.

Make It Marketable

Prepare a brief statement that highlights the main features of your project and what you learned from implementing them.  You could talk about specific things you learned about the programming language or framework you used to create the project, challenges you experienced while implementing a particular piece of functionality, or about working as part of a team (if you’re talking about a group project).  While this statement will probably be too long to include on your resume verbatim, it’ll help you get ready to talk about your project in an interview. 

Show & Tell

Make sure that the details of your project are available somewhere online: this could be in your GitHub account, on your LinkedIn profile, or on your personal portfolio site.  If you’re only showing off the code for your project, put it into a git repository and make sure that it is publicly available on GitHub.

At the bare minimum, you should list your GitHub or LinkedIn username on your resume so that potential employers can access more information about you and your skills.  On a PDF of your resume, you can make the title of the project a hyperlink to the place online where you’re displaying your project or the project code, so that an interested employer can take a look at it. 


Showcasing your side projects on your resume can help increase your chances of landing your first job in the tech industry.  Tailoring your project descriptions to align with the job you’re applying for demonstrates your understanding of the role and its requirements, giving them catchy titles makes you memorable, and making your projects accessible online will allow recruiters and hiring managers to assess your skills easily.  Remember, the goal in putting projects on your resume is not only to showcase what you’ve done, but also to demonstrate what you’ve learned and how you’ve grown as a programmer.  So, polish up that resume until your projects shine, and get to applying! 

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