In a lot of cases, the traditional "reverse chronological" resume is not the most effective means of showing an employer that you have what it takes to get the job. If you've been a freelancer, you have a long work history that includes many jobs, or you simply want to highlight certain projects because they're more relevant to the new job, a project-based resume is probably the way to go. This allows you to get more in-depth about the skills the employer needs, and may land you the interview for your next job.
Include your contact information at the top of the resume, the same as you would for any other job. Type your name, address, phone numbers and email address at the top left or top right of the page. Then create a long line between that information and the next section.
Create a heading called "Projects," "Relevant Projects," or "Relevant Experience" at the top of the next section. This makes it clear that this is not an exhaustive list of your work experience, but instead is a listing of information that the employer wants to see.
Create a bullet point for the first project you want to highlight. Include the project name or the project's goals, your role and the client -- not necessarily in that order. For example, this line could look something like "Back-end development for Company X's new website" or "Concept drawings for remodeling of Z Family home." Put all of this information in bold.
Create dashes or smaller bullet points under the bold heading section, and use the "Tab" function to indent them. List the tasks you completed as part of the project, including any tasks or skills that the current employer is looking for in their new hire. No need to put dates here -- your goal should be to highlight that you have specific experience, not to highlight to the employer that this experience was short-lived.
Create a similar bullet point and list for each project you want to highlight. This is the meat of your resume and details specific skills -- so don't worry if this section goes longer than one page.
Move on to the more traditional sections of the resume following the project-based section. This can include an "Education" section, as well as a section that provides details about your work history. Since you've used a lot of space detailing the projects, the work experience section can be brief. Create a bullet-point list that names the job title, the employer and the years you worked there, in reverse chronological order. If you've done freelance work, include it in your work experience section as "Freelance Contractor" or another relevant title, to show the employer that don't have big gaps in employment. If the employer is interested, she may ask for more information about your employment history during the interview.
- The idea here is to list the projects that are relevant to the job in question. As such, you may need to tailor a project-based resume to each job for which you're applying, since different employers will be looking for different sets of skills. While this may take a while, don't fret -- your future is at stake and it's worth the extra effort.
Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.