The resume is one of the most important and tricky steps to landing a new position. Preparing your resume is a difficult and seemingly a never-ending task. I’ve spent A LOT of time crafting my resume, from time to time I review it, and I feel like I’m always making updates to it.
It’s common to try to condense all your features and awesomeness into a huge block of copy in as many pages as possible. However, besides you, is anyone else actually going to read all that?
If you consider you have only 3–6 seconds to grab someone’s attention using a piece of paper or a PDF page, how do you do it?
Even if your resume is really interesting, I can guarantee you most recruiters and hiring managers won’t have time to read all that. For this reason, you need to make every word on your resume count. There is no room for meaningless fluff or information not relevant to the position for which you are applying.
I’d recommend starting off with an introductory summary of your relevant professional qualifications. This is a paragraph that highlights your credentials, skills, experience, and accomplishments relevant to the position of interest.
A product manager wears many hats and works with a cross-functional team developing a product. Therefore, experience on a product manager’s resume can be difficult to narrow and describe, making the resume look very generic. Because of this, I have listed the most important skills you should keep in mind while developing your resume.
For product managers, interpersonal skills are the most important and also the most difficult. Consider that you’re going to spend most of your time in meetings and otherwise interacting with people.
The first thing you need to demonstrate is that you’re a good communicator. For example, discuss how you’re able to solve ambiguity and how your effectiveness led to the success of your cross-functional. How do you lead your team? How did you gain their trust? How do you communicate with internal versus external teams?
Strategic and Analytical Skills
Product managers need strategic and analytical skills. If you don’t have a lot to show yet, you can think about ways to sharpen these skills. Think about your goal as a product manager. Your goal is basically to launch a new product or make it better. What can be more strategic and analytical than this?
In your resume, demonstrate that you’re a good researcher, good at collecting and analyzing data. For example, show how you saved your team’s time by optimizing a process and came up with a brilliant solution after analyzing the data. If you weren’t solely responsible for the strategy and analysis, make sure you’re mentioning your experience supporting those teams.
Leadership skills are certainly among the most important capabilities for product managers. It’s also considered one of the most challenging skills. One way to show you’re a leader is by demonstrating your team’s trust of you. How do you motivate your team? Leadership is definitely an ability that comes with experience, but not only that.
Highlight in your resume how you worked with the team, and also how you motivated them. This goes beyond moderating meetings, though this is an important skill too. Do you have experience making tough decisions? How do you communicate clearly the product vision? How do you get buy-in?
Prioritization and Organization Skills
A Product Manager is always responsible for a large amount of work, and the best part: the work will never stop coming! Being able to organize and prioritize the work is going to save you a lot of time and most importantly, it helps you to gain trust and buy-in. Show how badass you are and how you keep your product on track. Demonstrate your attention to detail, organization skills, and vision.
Demonstrate your sense of order and prioritization. Some things come with time. However, if you understand, for example, the frameworks or methodology your team is using the amount of effort each backlog item is going to take, and your team’s goal, combining this information will help you organize and prioritize more easily, not to mention communicate this information clearly to your team.
UX Design & Research Experience
You don’t necessarily need design experience yourself, but it’s extremely important to have a sense of design and especially UX design knowledge. It’s important to show you have experience working with UX designers and also that you understand your users’ pain points and use cases.
If you have never worked with UX designers and are not a designer yourself, you can fill this gap attending UX courses (even online) and later demonstrate your knowledge in your resume. Show how you get your users’ insight and how you are able to understand their needs.
- Keep it short and simple.
- Be specific.
- Quantify achievements.
- Focus on the right skills for the job.
- Highlight experience relevant to the specific job.
- Cite what you’re most proud of.
- Present your experience in chronological order.
- Use action verbs.
- List your certifications and education along with the year of each achievement.
- Include the tools you have experience with.
- List the languages you speak and also the languages you code.
- Tailor your resume for each specific job.
- Share your resume with a trusted friend and ask for feedback
- Consider the feedback you receive and edit your resume accordingly.
- Include a brief summary description of the companies for which you worked as not every reader will know your industry or the companies for which you worked.
- Make the recruiter/hiring manager’s life easier by including relevant links. For example, you can include links to your past experience websites for easy access in case they’re curious.
- Always share PDFs to guarantee your page setup doesn’t change.
- Include your phone number and email for contact.
- Include any relevant personal link you want to share, for example, your portfolio or blog website. Note: ensure that the content at any link you provide will reflect on you positively. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot.
- Don’t include your address or your age on your resume.
- Don’t use margins smaller than 0.5 inches.
- Don’t use more than two different font types.
- Don’t use a font type smaller than 11 pt.
- Don’t use more than two font colors.
- Don’t include any information that is not relevant to the job or strategic. For example, you may want to show you have a dog and two cats only if you’re applying for a PM job at Rover.
- Don’t include an objective or mission statement.
- Don’t use more than one page unless it’s strictly necessary.
Good luck with your resume and your job search. I hope you land in your dream PM position soon.
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