Do you enjoy working on a project from start to finish? Are you interested in creating products that delight other people? If you answered yes to these questions, a job in project management may be a good fit for you.
Project managers are responsible for leading the direction of a project. They will drive an initiative, meet with other professionals to determine the scope of a new project, create timelines, assign work, and ensure that a project is completed on time.
If you’re interested in working in project management, you may be asking yourself, “How do I write a project manager resume?” or “How can I show to an employer that I have what it takes to manage all these responsibilities?”.
In this guide, we’re going to discuss how to write a project manager resume that adequately demonstrates your skills and potential worth to a prospective employer.
How to Write a Project Manager Resume
Project managers, also called PMs, serve an essential function in many businesses. Therefore, you may be wondering how you can best position yourself as a good candidate for this role. To help you write a resume dedicated to a project management role, we have compiled a list of tips as follows.
Tip #1: Highlight Your Main Accomplishments
Your resume is an opportunity to discuss the skills and expertise you think uniquely qualify you for a position. You want to do as much as you can to impress the person reading your resume—the more excited a recruiter feels about you, the more likely they are to reach out.
As a result, you should make sure that you mention all your main accomplishments in your resume. When you start writing your resume, think about what you achieved in your past jobs. What projects did you work on? Were they successful? How can you demonstrate your impact on these projects?
Once you’ve considered what your main accomplishments are, you can start to think about how to phrase these on your resume. They should be listed as bullet points next to each position on your resume. Suppose you were responsible for determining the KPIs for a project in your last job. Here is how you could mention this experience on your resume:
Facilitated with the project team to determine relevant KPIs, and set up a dashboard to track those KPIs to keep team members focused.
Tip #2: Discuss Your Technical Skills
Project managers employ a wide range of technical skills on the job.
Do you have experience using methodologies like Agile or Scrum? Or do you have a history using tools like Slack, Asana, Trello, or the Atlassian suite to manage products? If so, you’ll want to mention these on your resume.
Employers not only want to know that you have the right soft skills—like being organized or reliable—for a job. They’ll also want to know what technical skills you have. If your skills tick all of the boxes that an employer is looking for, they will have to invest less in training and onboarding.
Tip #3: Use the Right Keywords
No matter what position you are applying for, you should make use of relevant keywords in your resume.
Many employers use tools called Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) which scan resumes and pick out the ones that include certain keywords. These systems help employers sift through large numbers of resumes and identify the people who are most likely to be a good fit for the job.
To know what keywords to use, you should read over the job posting of the position for which you want to apply, and think about which skills are most relevant to the job. While there is no “master keyword” list you can use, here are a few that you may want to mention in your project manager resume:
- Due diligence
- Impact assessment
- Meeting deadlines
- Data analysis
- Project life cycle
- Scope management
- Stakeholder management
- Vendor relations
The keywords you mention in your resume should be tailored to the position you’re applying for. For instance, if a PM job clearly states that the ability to set your own KPIs is an essential requirement, you would want to make sure that you mention this skill somewhere on your resume, or give an example of when you set your own KPIs.
How to Format a Project Manager Resume
While every resume is different, there are a few best practices you should keep in mind when formatting your resume. Here are the main rules you should follow:
Rule #1: Keep It Short
There is no specific rule around how long a resume should be, but the common rule of thumb is to keep it as short as possible. Ideally, your resume should be no longer than a page, unless you have extensive experience in a field.
A recruiter will only spend a few moments reviewing your resume. If you include too much content, there is a risk that the recruiter will skip over the main points that qualify you for a position. This, in turn, may result in your resume being passed on.
Rule #2: Use Section Headings
Section headings—such as “Education” and “Professional History”—help make resumes easier to read. Each item in your resume, such as past work experience, should fall under a heading with a relevant name.
Rule #3: Review Your Resume
Before you submit your resume, you should make sure that you have proofread it thoroughly. Check for typographical errors, grammatical errors, and inconsistencies in your resume. You only get one shot at making a first impression. If your resume contains a number of errors, a recruiter may get the impression that you rush through your work, or are imprecise.
You could also ask a friend or a family member to read over your resume before you send it. This is a great way to get feedback on your work and identify areas for improvement.
Tips for New Project Managers
If you’re applying for your first job in project management, you may be wondering, “How can I showcase my project management skills without any prior experience?”.
If you don’t have any direct experience in project management, don’t worry! Everyone starts somewhere. Here are a few tips you can use to improve your resume as an aspiring project manager:
Tip #1: Mention Side Projects
Have you worked on any side projects in your spare time? If so, you can mention them in a “Projects” section on your resume. While working on a side project is not the same as managing a professional project, many of the fundamental skills are similar—setting timelines, determining KPIs, and so on.
Whether you have started a podcast, built a website, or worked on a product as part of a club, you can mention this experience on your resume.
Tip #2: Sell Your Soft Skills
Project management involves using a wide range of soft skills. If you are lacking in technical skills—which you presumably will be if you are new to the field—then you should try to sell the soft skills that would make you a good product manager.
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Are you organized? Do you thrive on meeting deadlines? Do you pay attention to every detail? These are the types of soft skills that employers are looking for in product managers. You can mention these in the “skills” section on your resume.
Tip #3: Discuss Your Past Project Experience
Even if you have not managed a project, you can still discuss your experience as a contributor to various projects.
Did you help your last employer on a website migration? Were you responsible for improving load times on their website? Did you manage the budget for a project? These are all skills that project managers use and that you can mention on your resume.
Project Manager Resume Example
Now you know what goes into a project manager resume, you’ll likely be thinking, “What does a project manager resume look like?”. Here is an example you can use as inspiration for writing your own resume:
San Francisco, CA
Experienced and hard-working project manager with four years of experience contributing to projects in the paper industry.
University of California Berkeley
Masters of Business Administration
Cloud Paper Company, Project Manager
- Directed project management initiatives from ideation to implementation and evaluation
- Determined budgets, KPIs, deliverables, and milestones for core projects
- Presented progress updates to the executive team
- Prepared project documentation, finances, and resource allocations
- Vendor Management
- Microsoft Office
- Team Management
- Project Analysis
- Experience using Scrum, Kanban, and Agile methodologies
- Experience using Jira, Google Drive, SharePoint, Trello, Slack, and Basecamp
Writing a resume is an essential part of applying for any job, especially in the product management industry. The goal of your resume is to help you showcase the value you can provide to a business. This will help the prospective employers see clear value in reaching out to you to schedule an interview.
When you’re writing a project manager resume, you should highlight your main accomplishments, discuss specific projects that you have worked on, and mention any relevant keywords. Doing so will help you set yourself apart from the other candidates who are applying for a position.
By following the tips in this article, you’ll be on your way to writing a resume that catches the attention of a recruiter.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.