Project-Based Careers

Techniques for incorporating your project portfolio into your resume.

For some job seekers – construction project managers/superintendents, architects, graphic designers – including a detailed project list is highly advantageous. For professionals in these industries, completed projects tell their career history in a much more tangible way compared to only including when and where they worked and what their duties were. Employers clearly see where their expertise lies based on real world examples.

How to include a project list

You can incorporate a project list within any of the three resume formats (chronological, functional, or hybrid). If you have 2–3 significant projects to highlight for each of your past positions, it would make sense to utilize the chronological format and include the projects as bulleted achievements. If you have a very lengthy project list, did not complete major projects in each past role, or want to highlight projects from 15+ years ago, creating a separate project section would be the better strategy.

If you showcase your project list in its own section, remember that it’s best to limit bulleted lists to 7 at most for readability. If you have an extensive project list, create an addendum page with your complete list to provide separately. Not sure which projects to include? Consider your audience. If you are applying to a residential construction position, select your top 7 residential projects that will appeal the most to that hiring manager. If you are targeting a broader audience, compile a set of projects that showcase diversity. Or simply include the top 7 you are most proud of accomplishing.

What to include in your project list

Beyond the basic details (project title, client, location, value) include more information to tell the whole story of that initiative. You should never count on the reader to make the right assumptions about your resume’s content. Outline the scope of the project in terms of necessary steps, size of the crew, any obstacles or challenges, involved organizations, etc. If you came in under budget or ahead of schedule, be sure to mention it and include the amount of time and/or costs saved. If this was a creative project, mention innovative design features, client satisfaction, and/or the impact your work had on the company following the launch of your design.

Sample Project List

  • Back & Spine Wellness Center, Fenwick Island, DE (2012): Oversaw $700K new building construction project for medical group practice, designing 8.4K sq. ft. facility and completing mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) details. Finalized project 20% under budget.
  • The Serenity Day Spa, Sterling, VA (2011): Managed schematic design through construction administration duties for 3-story, 6K+ sq. ft. facility with 18 spa rooms; project valued at $500K.
  • Pony’s Restaurant & Bakery, Frederick, MD (2010): Completed $100K enclosed balcony measuring 1.5K sq. ft. for restaurant established in 1854 and located in Frederick’s historic district. Finished project 2 weeks ahead of schedule.
  • Eagle Camp & Retreat Center, Phoenix, AZ (2005): Spearheaded $1.7M construction project following loss of church’s 110-year-old meeting/dining hall due to fire; directed design and construction administration of 11.4K sq. ft. facility consisting of dining area with seating for 240, restaurant-style kitchen, administrative office, and nurse’s room.
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