I'm preparing the resume for a big agency, they want the resume in their own format, however their format does not allow to add hobbyst/opensource experience (just jobs). Since I have almost 10 years in C++ opensource development is it ok mentioning it anyway? As I understand, from the interview call there was some pressure for hire me as Java developer, even if they gave me a C++ online quiz and have open C++ positions in the company.

I developed over small 10 C++ projects on my own, plus various contributions to several OpenSource projects. It happened to me few times also in helping a friend to resolve some difficult task in C/C++ (friends that are regularly employed and working with C++). It looks to me that hobbyst experience is totally discarded by interviewers, and it is a pity since I did a lot of nice projects.


2 Answers 2


Just put it down as a job, but make sure that you can back up the experience you're claiming. Something like this would be ideal:

  • 2007 - present: Open Source developer (C++).
    Contributed in my free time to a number of major C++ Open Source projects, including TensorFlow, Open CV and Protocol Buffers.

"Wrote some small projects" and "helped a friend twice" isn't nearly as impressive. Get the code for those "small projects" on GitHub, so as an employer I can make a judgment as to your skill level.

  • Just a bit late the comment. Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 12:56
  • @JoeStrazzere: Wouldn't that depend on a lot of context? Chances are that whoever designed the mandatory resume format simply didn't consider the possibility that anything other than a "job" could be relevant. Having to creatively work around the limitations of fixed forms is not at all unusual. It is the very same problem category as, say, being asked to indicate your tertiary education degree, and only getting a fixed set of choices - none of which apply because you have a roughly equivalent, but foreign degree. Obviously, somehow indicating the degree you are legally entitled to claim ... Commented Mar 28, 2017 at 6:41
  • ... yours rather than making up some ad-hoc match and pretending to have one of the listed degrees has nothing to do with not understanding the rules or deciding not to follow them. Commented Mar 28, 2017 at 6:42
  • @JoeStrazzere: I have no idea whether they only want jobs. The OP merely described that the required format has a space for jobs and no space explicitly meant for anything else (at least that's how I understand "the format does not allow"). If they explicitly indicate the space for jobs must not contain anything that was not a job in the narrow sense (e.g. contract-based paid requirement-based work), you're right. Otherwise, it would seem that the maxim "Activation of brain permitted." applies. Commented Mar 28, 2017 at 11:18
  • @JoeStrazzere: As I wrote - based upon that description, I picture a form that has a large field titled "Jobs:". Unless there is any explicit restriction, it is completely open to interpretation whether that means they want to know only about paid jobs, or whether they just didn't consider the possibility there could be comparable items that are not "jobs" as such, or whether they reckoned applicants would be intelligent enough to figure out that information about less "standard", but otherwise comparable items is just as welcome. Commented Mar 28, 2017 at 11:25

If it's a requirement that you only mention professional experiences tied to monetary compensation, so be it.

Otherwise, if you actively contributed to open-source projects and had a meaningful role in them, nothing prevents you from mentioning them on your resume; any period of time that you were exposed and contributed to it would count as professional growth.

As an example, this is a real entry pulled from a StackOverflow Careers profile:

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