Imagine that you’re browsing the Internet and you come across an opening for a product manager at your dream company. It would be huge for your career if you could land that job. The company is well known and you love their products. But the recruiters for that kind of role will get hundreds of applications. How do you set yourself apart from the rest? You’ll need to showcase your skills and aptitude in the perfect resume.
A resume is a make-or-break chance for you to get noticed by a potential employer. It’s one of your only chances to make a great first impression. So you’ll need to put some time in to make sure it’s structured logically, organized well, and ultimately gets you the job.
We want you to succeed and land the job offer. Here are our tips for how to write a great product manager resume.
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The Ideal Resume Format for Product Managers
Most product managers use the reverse chronological order resume format. This format emphasizes your most recent work experience. It also efficiently highlights your soft and hard skills, as well as your academic background.
Regardless of what format you use to write your resume, the recruiter will scan your resume for a few seconds and decide if they want to keep reading or not. The key is to make your resume look appealing and easy to read on first glance. To do this, keep the following tips in mind:
- Don’t use fancy fonts. Your good old Times New Roman or humble Arial will do just fine.
- Bullet points are your friends. Make use of them because they make your resume easy to scan.
- After you’re done writing your resume in Word, convert it to PDF. It’ll ensure that the format of the resume isn't disturbed and that it looks the same on all computers and devices.
Now that you’re armed with these tips, let’s talk about how to write a resume that will easily cross the barrier of the applicant tracking system: software that scans resumes and picks up specific keywords. From there, the algorithm decides if your resume should be passed on to a human on the other end or not.
What are those keywords, you may ask? The answer’s in the job description. Read the job posting, pick out words and terms that seem important to the role, and use them in your resume. Try to determine the tone of the job description, and look at how the responsibilities and skills are described. When you’ve done that, write your resume to match as much as you can.
Here are a few examples of possible keywords in a product manager job description:
- Team player
What is a Hiring Manager Looking for in Your Resume?
You might have a lot to share in your resume, but very often, recruiters seem to have their minds set on certain particular skills. The following skills are what recruiters typically look for in a potential product manager.
- Proof that you have what it takes to design, build, and get the product in the users’ hands.
- Cues to determine if you’re a team player. Taking a product from the cradle to the grave requires teamwork. So, if you don’t work well in teams, they might not consider you a good fit.
- People skills and teamwork.
- A passion for the craft.
How to Write the Perfect Resume Header
Simply put, a resume header is the business card that you put at the top of your resume. This is where you put your name, the job title, and your contact information. This is the part of your resume that recruiters read first. They say that the first impression lasts, and we couldn’t agree more.
The truth is, this section is the easiest to write. But a poorly written resume header can get you instantly rejected. So you have to make sure your resume header makes a good first impression.
To do this, it’s essential to realize that the role of product manager varies within industries. A product manager in banking will have different roles than a product manager in a tech company. Recruiters look for applicants with experience in the relevant industry. So be very specific about the title you put in your resume header.
Also, leave out your complete home address. It isn't exactly necessary at this stage of the recruitment process, and it isn't safe to have your address on the web. Most communication related to the hiring process happens online. So just mention your city, state, and country, and you’ll be good.
Your resume header should have the right amount of information: not too much, but not too little. You can include:
- Job title (don’t forget to be specific)
- Phone number
- Email Address
- City, State, and Country
- URL to your LinkedIn profile (if applicable)
How to Add Work Experience
When hiring for a product manager, recruiters try to determine if you have what it takes to own the lifecycle of a product and generate revenue. One easy way to help them is by talking about your real-life achievements. Just make sure you back your claims.
A common mistake that candidates make while writing about their work experience is listing only the responsibilities. Almost every other candidate has performed those responsibilities. So you need to set yourself apart from others, which you can do using quantitative data. For example, instead of writing:
Received product feedback from customer reviews
you can write:
Conducted 600+ customer interviews for product feedback, with suggested improvements, leading to a 99.6% customer satisfaction level.
Standing out from the crowd is as simple as that.
Let the percentages and figures speak for themselves. This way, the hiring manager will know that you’re capable of making a real contribution to the success of a product.
Last But Not Least, The Skills Section
This is the section where you make the maximum use of the keywords that we were talking about earlier. As mentioned before, you can find all the right keywords in the job description. Scroll down to the list of responsibilities in the job description, make a mental note of all the keywords, and use those in the skills section. A well-written skill section is your best shot at getting past the ATS software.
For example, if they’re looking for someone who can work with software products, and you have some hands-on experience, make sure you mention that.
Also, don’t stop at your hard (technical) skills. Remember, recruiters don’t just expect you to be good at your job; they want you to be able to fit into their work culture. That’s why you should add soft skills like great communication and leadership qualities into your resume.
Earlier in the article, we mentioned some keywords that you might find in a job description. But to get into more detail, we’ve listed the top soft and hard skills hiring managers look for in a product manager.
- Excellent communication skills
- Analytical skills
- Leadership skills
- Time management
- Risk management
- Project management
- Team player
- Problem-solving skills
- Agile methodologies – Kanban and Scrum
- Product road maps and pricing
- Financial modeling
- Creating market launch road maps
- User onboarding strategies
- UI and UX design
- Studying product metrics for troubleshooting and growth
- Getting user feedback, and using those to prioritize features
How to Craft a Strong Resume When You’re Just Starting Out
If you’re an aspiring product manager, it can be a challenge to write a strong resume. Especially if you don’t yet have experience. If you’re early in your career, format your resume in a way that highlights your education and transferable knowledge.
While you’re learning all of the skills you need to know to become a product manager, start to build a portfolio or at least keep track of your projects. When you’re ready to apply for jobs, you’ll be able to use your projects to show your skills, even if you’ve never held a product manager title.
Hiring managers look for passion and knowledge. They understand that you might not have years of experience, but they want proof that you have the potential to make it. Your passion and potential for the industry can be conveyed in your product manager cover letter.
And just like that, you’re ready to write your winning product manager resume. And if you’ve realized that you don’t have all of the necessary skills to land your dream job, our Product Management course can help you change that.