How to Include Project Details in Your Resume (The Right Way)

Jun 4, 2020 | Resumes

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You should include specifics on your resume… but only the ones that are relevant. Learn the best way to include project details in a resume.

By: Matt Dupee, CPRW | Resume Writer for Let’s Eat, Grandma

“Get specific about your project details on your resume.”

“Make your resume as short as possible.”

The conflict between these two pieces of advice is a common frustration for job seekers, especially in the tech industry. You might have been told to include specifics about your projects in your jobs, but then tried it and been told your resume is now too long. What are you to do?

Everyone has a unique story

As a resume writer specializing in the tech industry, I work with project and program managers on a regular basis. During our phone consultation, they’ll usually ask: “How do I handle all these projects?”

While I don’t have a cookie-cutter answer to this question, as everyone benefits from a unique approach to their story, I can share some best practices that will impact how your project history is portrayed on the resume.

My goal is to show you the right amount of project details to include in your resume bullets about specific accomplishments. The big takeaway? Only explain the details that show off your own skills and are relevant to the job.

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Too many job seekers include project details that don’t actually add value and end up creating wordy bullets or multi-page resumes. In a world where our attention spans have been reduced to a tweet, we need to say a lot in much less time. 

Don’t tell me about the project — Tell me how you impacted the project! 

All too often I will see  precious resume real estate devoted to a deep dive explanation of the project and too little devoted to how you actually impacted the project. When writing bullets, I’ll always ask “OK, how did this person move the needle on this project? What did they do to make an impact?” Here’s an example:

BEFORE

  • Decreased Q4 production costs by 30% by designing and implementing new Lean process that changed workers’ break schedules and streamlined process for cleaning production machines by using new chemical for cleaning blades and requiring supervisor sign-offs at the end of each shift

 AFTER

  • Decreased Q4 production costs by 30% after designing and implementing new Lean process

We just turned three lines into one! Cutting irrelevant project details on your resume streamlines it so that when a hiring manager spends as little as seven seconds reviewing it, she/he will know that you get results. The hiring manager doesn’t care about what chemicals you used for cleaning machines. She/he wants to know that you improved something and by how much. 

Don’t lose the tech talk

I will often see folks remove critical technology jargon from bullets in an attempt to save space. This is a bad idea.

Technical tools and systems on your resume serve a dual purpose. They demonstrate technical acumen while simultaneously serving as valuable keywords for the Applicant Tracking System (ATS). Don’t lose the tech, embrace it. But, keep the bullet readable. Here’s an example:

  • Developed JavaScript coding standards based on a modified version of Google’s and enforced with ESLint; actively developing coding standards for PHP code based on PHP-Fig and PEAR coding standards; actively working to implement code review.

This bullet is loaded with keywords like “PHP”, “ESLint” and “coding standards” that speak directly to the ATS for a given job description. Removing these technical terms will only reduce your ATS score and decrease the possibility of you getting past the electronic gatekeeper and in front of a human. 

However, the bullet is still too crowded and confusing. While the writer shouldn’t remove the technical keywords, he should cut this bullet down from three lines to just two. He could do so by separating it into two bullets (one on the first bit about Javascript and the other on PHP) or removing project details such as “based on a modified version of Google’s.” This would make these accomplishments more understandable and impressive.

Remember that while your technical terms are important, recruiters and hiring managers still need to understand what the bullet means!

When writing a resume for a project-based role, focus only on the information that shows how you uniquely impacted the project. This will keep your resume at a manageable length and make sure it’s relevant. And don’t forget, keep the technology jargon to make it through that pesky ATS!

Wondering if you’ve listed project details in your resume the right way? We can take a look.

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