I have spent the last 2 years working on a social media mobile app with my business partner who is the CTO.

Together we've developed an API, backend, and developed a mobile app. I developed the mobile app, he developed the back end and API.

After doing two rounds of beta testing, it hasn't quite taken off how we expected, just less than half liked the product and my CTO has informed me today that he would like to step down. The product I feel however has potential and can be improved based on the feedback we have got, but since we do not have a lot of money, we are finding it hard to improve it and are both not in a position to quit our day jobs to do it.

Since this was not a start up in the sense that we had employees i.e. just two of us. How should I write about this on my CV as a project or a start up?

Also, I might continue working on the project sometime in the future, so I am a bit cagey about putting it on my CV in case someone else does it. Do you think that it is a good idea?

I am currently in full time employment


Don't put it on your CV:

  • You don't want to emphasize things that failed on your CV. Just to make the obvious point.
  • It doesn't provide great evidence of your skills. Of course even if the project has failed (so far) you might have applied great development skills on it. But the problem is that there is no evidence for the employer to see this, since the product hasn't been released.
  • It's not a necessary part of your career history. If you worked on this full time for two years, you would need to put it on your CV to explain that part of your work history. But since it was a side project and you were otherwise employed, leaving it off doesn't raise any questions.
  • It will make potential employers worry about what your next side project is going to be. They want to hire someone who is committed to and passionate about their work, not your pet project on the side. So mentioning that you worked on a significant personal development project while employed may be a red flag.
  • "They want to hire someone who is committed to and passionate about their work, not your pet project on the side" - Sounds like they have reason to worry, particularly when the OP says "Also, I might continue working on the project sometime in the future"! May 31 '16 at 16:40
  • @WorkerDrone I plan to resume working on it once I have built enough experience and can go contracting. I am in the phase right now where I am still building the experience to do that. More to the point, if it was not for this, I would have done this already and not bothered with a day job, but I have no choice to pay my bills
    – bobo2000
    Jun 1 '16 at 11:21

My 2 cents: Don't Bother

The purpose of the CV is to get a job, and you aren't looking for a job. In addition, listing the project might be detrimental to getting a job.

Some enlightened hiring manager's might appreciate this type of work, but more often it is not helpful for getting a job because:

  • Failed, and Side-Project implies "not real experience" (non-sense for other entrepreneur types, but hiring managers are usually not entrepreneurs)
  • Not Dedicated to Your Employer - because you've shown you will work on side projects outside work
  • Flight Risk - if your side project continues and takes off.
  • yes, make sense. Don't you think if anything by working on side projects you are enthusiastic about tech beyond your work?
    – bobo2000
    May 31 '16 at 14:17
  • Sure, and that can come up in the interview. A tech interviewer that thinks that way might ask, and there's your platform. A non-tech HR drone only sees 'not dedicated to me'. If it's on the resume, they WILL ask, whether good or bad.
    – Jay
    May 31 '16 at 14:28
  • "not real experience" isn't nonsense. It's about evidence of experience. Working a software dev job at an established company provides evidence that you are competent in a way that a side project does not. If the side project never went anywhere there is no way for anyone to tell if your work was any good, or if you even did anything. There is no external verification of what you did.
    – user45590
    May 31 '16 at 14:45
  • @dan1111 yeah I get that, what about if I provided screenshots and a reference to my business partner, who is an actual CTO?
    – bobo2000
    May 31 '16 at 15:22
  • @bobo2000 - Seems like you keep wanting to find a reason to do it for some sort of 'credit'. If you are trying to get a job with another startup, it might work. If you are looking to put it on 'linked in' or some other network, that might be useful for random connections. If you are looking to use it to get a job 'dan1111' puts it well, no 'evidence of experience' that is competent, more likely to harm than help (I've tried it myself, didn't work :))
    – Jay
    May 31 '16 at 15:52

To provide a dissenting opinion here:

Since you're fully employed now, it's optional.

IF you want to list it:

List your work on the project, but don't call it "failed" because it hasn't. A failed project is something that doesn't do what it should be doing, and not a lack of interest in it. That's a failure in marketing, not design.

You list what you did, what features you implemented, any coding tricks you pulled off, various CAR bullet points (Challenge, action, result), and if anyone asks, it hasn't failed, it's "pre-release" or in "beta testing".

You don't have to go into detail about what it is, so there is no need to be "Cagey" about it. In fact, resumes/CVs are not for detail anyway, it's to get the interview.

If you don't want to list it, your Full-time job should be enough.

Again, like everything on your resume, you only list it if it helps.

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