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Unfinished Projects on Resume: Wise or Not?

3 min read

Sometimes, you're working on a project or app and itching to showcase it on your resume, but there's a catch – the project isn't finished yet.

So you might ask yourself, "At what stage in the development of an app is it appropriate to feature it on my resume? Should I include an incomplete project at all?"

To answer these questions, you'll need to consider two things:

  1. The project's contribution to your knowledge and growth as a web developer.
  2. The opportunity cost of including the project on your resume (i.e., what else didn't make the cut).

Let's discuss each of these points in more detail.

What have you learned from the project?

In an ideal world, only fully completed projects should make the cut for your resume.

However, if you're feeling the need to bolster your resume a little bit, especially if you're applying for jobs, it's acceptable to include projects that are still under development.

The key lies in their ability to demonstrate your competencies and expertise.

A good time to include an unfinished project is when you've learned enough from it that you could confidently talk about it in a job interview.

Keep in mind that anything on your resume is fair game for interview discussions. Be prepared to talk about your project and the challenges you've encountered along the way, as well as the solutions you've implemented.

This means the project will most likely have some noteworthy completed features.

What else are you excluding?

Furthermore, it's important to weigh the opportunity cost of adding an unfinished project to your resume.

A typical resume is limited to one page. Your education, skills, and work history have already staked their claim to that precious space.

If squeezing in this project implies omitting something else, ensure the project offers a much better representation of your skills.

Your resume is all about putting your best foot forward. You want to highlight your most impressive achievements. Think of it as cherry-picking your standout accomplishments to make a strong impression on potential employers.

So, if you consider the project to be a significant achievement, given everything else on your resume, then it's likely a good addition.

However, if your project is still in its infancy and lacks substantial features or progress, it's best to hold off on adding it to your resume.


Circling back to the initial question, "At what stage of an app's development is it suitable to include on a resume?" consider these two points:

  1. Has your progress with the app reached a stage where you can discuss challenges you've faced and solutions you've implemented? Could you have an insightful conversation about the project in an interview?
  2. If adding this project to your resume means sacrificing something else, does the app offer a stronger representation of your skills than what you're leaving out?

By answering these questions for yourself, you'll be able to make an informed decision about whether or not to feature an unfinished project on your resume.

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