As demand continues to surge for project managers, many new candidates are beginning to jump on the bandwagon and pursue careers in this growing field. The Project Management Institute estimates that by 2027 there will be more than 3 million job vacancies around the world. If you’re already on your way to charting a career in project management, a great resume showcasing your skills and competencies could be the one thing standing between you and your next great gig.
In this guide, we provide you with key tips to writing a stellar resume that's sure to grab attention.
Identify Your Target Audience
The first step in writing a great project management resume is to identify your audience. You wouldn’t follow the same project methodology for every project you work on—and resumes are no different. Writing one generic resume for every job you apply for is unlikely to result in success. It’s essential to tailor your document for each job you apply for. Read the job description carefully and identify the key qualifications and skills being sought in candidates. Tailor your qualifications and skill descriptions to respond to the recruiters needs. Feel free to talk up your abilities, but it’s important to also be honest and truthful with yourself. Make sure you possess the skills and qualifications that help you qualify for the job.
Use Project Management Keywords
Most large companies these days use application tracking software (ATS), which scans resumes for matching keywords before to identify suitable resumes for hiring managers. So before you even get a look-in with a real human, you need to pass the software.
Make sure you read the job description carefully and select appropriate keywords to work into your document. Here is an example job description from Indeed.com for junior Project Manager. We’ve underlined the likely keywords that would be appropriate to use in a resume targeting this role.
- Knowledge of computer systems and databases
- Proficiency using Microsoft Office suite, especially Excel and PowerPoint
- Excellence in client management
- Motivation, delegation, and team management
- Possess a strategic and analytical mindset
- Superior communication skills
- Excellent organizational skills
- Ability to take constructive feedback
- A team player, but also can work independently without supervision
- Possess outstanding leadership and cross-functional team management skills
Once you’ve incorporated the keywords into your resume, you may want to consider eliminating any redundant wording within your text.
Below are some prominent keywords that often appear in project manager job postings. You might like to use these as a reference point when drafting your own experience descriptions.
- Business process improvement
- Change management
- Development & testing
- Managing IT system development and implementation
- Program management
Structure Your Resume
One of the most important qualities of a good resume is its format. Your resume should have a professional look and should be easily scannable so that recruiters are happy to pick it up. Make use of clear subheadings, bullet points and white space. Use clear and simple language, provide all necessary information and focus on your strengths and achievements.
Use reverse chronological format when listing your experience and qualifications. Recruiters all over the world choose candidates based on their past experiences. A reverse chronological format is the best way to draw attention to your past experiences, as it foregrounds your most recent and highest achievements.
What to Include in a Project Management Resume
If you’re just starting out, and this is your first crack at a professional resume, we suggest including the following sections:
- Name and contact information
- Technical skills
- Work experience
If you’re further advanced in your career and already have some financial analyst experience under your belt, it’s much the same but you’ll have a lengthier work experience section. This should take up the bulk of your resume content. You may wish to add a new section above your experience pulling out your key technical skills in a bulleted list.
Resume Power Words
Think of all your achievements and accomplishments that are relevant to the job position and list them in your resume. Achievements are at the core of a spectacular resume. But don't just make a random list of all your achievements and rely on the hiring manager to go through them and identify your worth. It’s your responsibility to put a spotlight on your achievements. To bring them to the fore you can use action words. While everyone around you writes the typical stuff, you can catch the hiring manager’s attention by using some action words which are powerful and compelling. Let us go through a few examples to get an actual sense of what we are talking about.
Without Power Words:
- I introduced and developed the project
- The project helped increase the sales and revenue of the company
- With my efforts, we were able to get funding for the project
With Power Words:
- I spearheaded a project to identify...
- Through the project, we amplified the company sales and revenue
- With my efforts, we were able to secure funding for the project
It’s important not to go overboard or use them out of context, but incorporating a few choice power words can add an invaluable boost to your content. Below is a list of power words for your reference:
Knowledge of Tools and Techniques
If you’re a project manager, or aspiring to be one, you’ll know that project management is all about using the right tools and techniques. If you have knowledge or experience using tools like ProofHub, Basecamp, Zoho Planner, or Trello, it’s important to mention this in your resume. Similarly, if you’ve used project management techniques like Agile, Scrum, or Waterfall before, you’ll want to ensure that this is included in the mix. Recruiters are quick to nab candidates who have these skills. Be sure to also highlight any certifications you have like Project Management Professional (PMP) or Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP).
More Project Management Resources
If you appreciated this guide, make sure you check out our other resources for aspiring project managers. If you’re looking to transition into this career track, our Technical Project Management Bootcamp is a great pathway into a rewarding career. As always, if you need more specific advice, don’t hesitate to get in contact with our team.