Jobs July 4, 2020

Adding Indie Hacker experience to your CV/resume?


Hello everyone

The question is a bit contradictory, as an Indie Hacker by default is someone that wants to free himself from long-term employment contracts with companies. However when such a person looks for a position with a company, for whatever reason (financial is the main one) is it normal for him to add the title "Indie Hacker" in the experience field of his CV?

If not, is there any better alternative (eg Solo Founder, etc)?

Have you ever applied for a normal job after a lengthy Indie Hacking period, and what is your feedback from the recruitment process? How HR managers face this part of your experience?


  1. 4

    I think it totally makes sense to add it to your resume, but how you add it should depend on what your product or experience is.

    The way I would break it down:

    • Small or in-progress product: I would add this as a side project, basically I would add it under your "Projects and Other Experience" sections
    • Live product with users/customers: I think this would depend on how large and complex the product is. If it is actually quite small and simple, then I might add it to the top of the "Projects and Other Experience" section. If it is more complex or has lots of users, then I would add it as "Work Experience" but I would make my title "Developer" or something less assuming than "Founder".
    • Business that supports you: If my business/product was my main source of income and was enough to live off of, then I would be more comfortable listing myself as "Founder" of the business

    I think the most important thing to think about is just to put yourself in the recruiter and/or interviewers shoes. What will they assume and what questions will they ask you? I think it's important to make sure you don't over-sell to the point where they ask you about it and it come across as disingenuous.

  2. 2

    As someone who interviews and evaluates software developers for big a fintech company I can say that having interesting side-projects on your resume is a really good thing. Especially if you can describe what kind of challenges (from a technical and business perspective) that you faced and how you overcame them.

    Most applicants don't have any projects listed (besides a TODO list app that was created by following a tutorial) and a meaty side project will really set you apart.

  3. 2

    My indie hacking got me my internship. I simply listed my experience under side projects (maybe you can just do this to avoid the issue). You could also just say you're a cofounder of a SaaS company.

  4. 2

    Actually something like this happened to me recently. I have been an indie for about 15 months now but I have a side hustle doing teaching on the side 2 days/week, and I recently applied for a dev job (why I did is a story for another time....).

    I say "I do teaching" to explain "the gap" and what I have been up to for the past 1+ year. If you have any similar side hustle that passes for a job it should work. People don't usually dig into it much. They may ask if it's full-time or part-time, and then leave it at that.

    I list my skills, including the ones I have acquired during my indie period, under technical skills in the resume.

    Then during the interview there are generally questions about the types of software I've been building, so that is the time to bring up various projects. It is typically not necessary to explain who it was built for, just why that project stands out in some regard.

    1. 2

      One more side-note: I used to work for a company that was very much agains indie projects. It was in the contract that we could only work on company software and we would get called to meetings saying if we want to work on own projects then the company could supply resources for good ideas and in return we would just have to give up 95% of ownership..... it was a terrible place to work if you have any indie tendencies at all!

      So perhaps it maybe worthwhile to just bring it up and see how they respond to gauge the attitude. It may burn short term, but finding a a company that is okay with these aspirations will be better place to work for long term.