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I've been trying to get a new job for the last 10 months since I started the one I'm on. The pay is good, but my management has no experience managing a software product (in this case, a company web site). My company bought a vendor-customized expensive software package that's bankrupting them on maintenance and enhancements, and I'm now the poor guy who gets called when something's wrong because the management is pretty useless for production support.

They keep shooting themselves in the foot in hiring additional staff for coverage, and I don't want to invite (and likely burn) any of my colleagues to work in a mess. It's frustrating that I'm basically having to train a development manager and CIO on how to manage the product, and that I have to now set many MANY boundaries to keep them from encroaching on my work-life balance.

Other than these hero-save-the-day contributions after management blows it again, the work I've done on this job and for about the last three years prior has been exceedingly pedestrian - not by choice. I've done some self-led courses just to expand my horizons, and I share info about those on my resume. I also have a pretty sophisticated, technically challenging, independent project that I've been reluctant to share in interviews, because it's been my experience that employers frown on any independent work.

Now - on recent interviews, I've been told "not technical enough", or "not enough explanation". I actually got that response on an interview today, and had to (figuratively) sit on the guy to get any feedback at the point where he was looking to escort me out. So as a last-ditch, I show him my independent project (which is functional, and is a mobile web site) and after a short demo he says, "You should have put that on the resume!" I came home and wrote the guy a full technical summary of my project, thanking him for being frank -- but I don't know it that'll turn the tide on this opportunity.

I bought a new suit, and was excited about this interview, and blehhhhhhhhh. So for future - put my personal projects on the resume, or nah?

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put my personal projects on the resume or nah?

If I had a fairly challenging technical project that I was working on in my spare time, I would definitely put it on my resume as it helps demonstrate my technical capabilities.

In fact, as an interviewer, I've seen many a personal projects on the resumes of candidates, some of whom went on to get offers, as long as they were able to convey that the project was done on their time, and company work did not suffer due to it.


That said, there are few things that stand out in your post:

but my management has no experience managing a software product

It doesn't matter how incompetent your management is, you have to find something positive amidst all that they are doing, and use these positive things to talk during your interviews. This could be the domain they are in, the purpose of the website (someone paid for it, so they must see some positive value in it) or anything else.

They keep shooting themselves in the foot in hiring additional staff for coverage

Again, don't talk negative about your current employers. what is to stop an employee who talks bad about current employer to talk bad about the next one?

Other than these hero-save-the-day contributions after management blows it again, the work I've done on this job and for about the last three years prior has been exceedingly pedestrian

This should not be a deal breaker if you have personal projects to demonstrate your technical capabilities

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If you are proud of your personal project I would absolutely include it onto your resume, especially if the project is completed. It demonstrates that you are self-motivated and am able to follow through on a goal. If it showcases other skills outside of your usual work it also highlights that you have the ability to learn and adapt to new techniques on your own.

Just make sure that if either of you mention it during an interview that you have someway to showcase it, like having a video or blog online to demo your personal project.

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