I once made a potentially morally objectionable website for my very first project out of school. Do you think I should put this on my resumé?

It made use of PHP, AJAX, media streaming, payment gateways, etc. I think this improved my skill set, but I am unsure if it would be a good thing to display on my resumé, has any one been in a similar situation?

42 accepted

Remember, the main goal of a resume is to get an interview, to that end I would never explicitly state that the job was "adult". Certainly never use it as a sample of your work. You're just going to have too many managers toss your resume aside.

Second, how sparse is your resume as it is? If you have a number of projects/jobs that have come after, then maybe you can leave it off. Depending on the job it sometimes makes sense to leave off projects for all kinds of reasons. A resume should be targeted towards the job you are trying to land, not a complete history of your professional life.

If your resume is a blank page without this gig, then maybe you can describe the project with general terms like "subscription ecommerce site". Or "multimedia site" and then list the skills you used. Although, you better be prepared to answer questions about it if you get an interview.


I would definitely list it, in a prominent section of the resume. Granted, there will be some uptight people who won't like it, but to many others this will be exactly the reason that your resume stands out from the rest. (Not only you did a project on your own, but you also have the courage to list it). I can see listing this getting me a job in a very friendly company.

As a sidenote, i was applying for a part-time job when I was 17. Before the interview they gave me a form that asked 'List your biggest achievement' and I wrote down 'sleeping with the class cheerleader'. And that alone got the manager to really crack up laughing and open up to me, and I ended up getting a job there.


If people are really that uptight about previous work experience then maybe you shouldn't be working there in any case. I suppose there are some who would also frown upon you having been in the military or homosexual, if they can't look past the fact that you worked on a job and did it well (possibly) then they shouldn't be in a position of hiring.


I would take a look at Unkwntech's answer to a similar question here: Designers/Developers: Would you work for an ?Adult? Company? In it he mentions how at least he treats resumes with such accomplishments listed.


I wouldn't do it.

It is easy to lapse into the simple moral bromides about "uptight" people or "sleazy" people and how you might offend the "uptight" ones if you include it. But think about it in the broader sense: the broad perception of porn websites - even among people who think that there is nothing inherently wrong with nudity - is that such sites are filled with nasty worms, viruses and spyware. And how do the people who run such sites often market their "product"? Via spam email in which the implicit message is one of humiliation or degradation. The message is that they'd do nearly anything to make a buck.

If you include the site on your resume, you are bringing all this baggage with you. Do you really want it?

Now, the one exception is if you worked for a famous nude photographer or a nude site that you might "sell" as being truly an exception to these rules. Even here, you'd have to be very careful about the message and its presentation.


Only add it if you are applying for a like job. Else it will only do you harm.


I'd put it on. It's the work you did on the website, not the content of the website, that is important. If you did a website for some other organization (eg military, charity, research, etc) would you put it on or leave it off because it could offend some people?


I worked for a company where a candidate did really well through the interview process, passing somewhere around eight interviews with really positive feedback.

Until the CEO interviewed him, and vetoed him.

Some time later, when it was too late (and embarrassing) to revert the decision, we discovered that this candidate had mentioned casually how he'd developed a website called "Red Hot Porn".

Only on his CV (which the CEO hadn't read) it referenced the chess site, "Red Hot Pawn".

Poor guy.


Look, you have to understand what it's like to do an interview. You are analyzing every little thing. When a candidate leaves, you keep analyzing, you talk them over with your co-workers, you really try to glean as much as you can from the small amount of time you had together.

So one time we did interview a guy who was candid about his adult web site experience. And after we thought about it for awhile, and wrote down our notes, and talked it into the ground, all of us agreed that it made us just a little uncomfortable. It made him just a little too difficult for us to understand, too morally gray, and ultimately it disqualified him.

This was actually a nice, otherwise qualified and likeable guy who, bizarrely, I worked with at Pizza Hut when I was a teenager and I actually have faint memories of him being smart and reliable.

The moral of this story: put your best foot forward. Don't lie or do anything devious, but de-emphasize the objectionable. Don't give them any reason to disqualify you... That's exactly what many interviewers are trying to do!

That's my experience, I hope it helps.


Hey, guys? This would probably not be the best thing to have on your resume if interviewing with a woman, or for a job with a female manager. "Adult" does fairly well correlate with "exploitation of women".


You should list it in a way that does net reveal the client name or url. You were self employed, so list yourself as the client. List the technologies involved. Was it a "Media Gateway", or a "Video Portal". Those words have nothing to do with adult content. I see resumes every day for self employed people that don't list the exact client. Some clients have non disclosure agreements, and some sites are not available on the Web. It is not a big deal at all to see good work experience without the exact client name and without a URL.


I have a more interesting question! Would you put you resumé on the adult site you developed?

Come on, be honest... :)


Heavy question, I think, I wouldn´t do it... because of the "for some people!"


I worked at one job that always viewed the porn websites as "cutting edge" Back in 1999-2000 at least, porn sites led the way as far as creative use of javascript and image serving technology. You could get past the taboo and use this as an advantage.


I'd list it unless you know the company's culture is uptight and you're desperate for this job. If the people at that company are uptight enough to hold it against you, you probably don't want to work for them anyhow.


It depends who the resume is for, if you go so far as to customize your resume for different people. But, in general, I wouldn't include it.


I would include it if the company name is something like "New Media Solutions" or generic like that. For a job description put down what you did (IE project manager, developer, etc). If they ask what you did, tell them you worked with getting the "content" of the company into database, displayed on the web, whatever you did. It's not a big deal. If they ask what the content was, say various media things, such as video's, etc. Normally if you do this they won't keep "diving" into the nature of the business. If they keep asking and you feel uncomfortable, simply say you signed a contract not to reveal the exact workings of your former operation (this will make you look good), or simply be honest and say "various adult content".

The old Directory of Application Development at my company worked for one of these Adult Media Companies and he got his job and put that down on his resume


Only if it was really, really well designed.


It's not "adult," it's "model agency."

See? That doesn't sound so bad now, does it?


Reasons to put it on the resume:

  • It is the best example you can provide for your experience and skill set - the rest of your resume doesn't do this
  • You don't want to work for someone who's so uptight they'd reject you for having worked on this site
  • Might make your resume stand out

Reasons not to put it on the resume:

  • You are embarrassed at having worked on the site
  • You are applying to places that would likely take offense
  • You have enough other work to fill out your resume

You can see which apply to you and decide. Personally I would (largely from Yes Reason #2).

Regardless of what you decide, you should definitely be completely honest. Be vague if you want - but don't lie.


You shouldn't put the actual URL or client's name. You should describe the kind of work you put into it. When asked at an interview, you might wish to be more explicit. (Pun intended)