Are you a project manager looking to take your career to the next level?
Well, it’s no secret that your resume is a strategic part to unlocking new opportunities in your job search.
As an executive and leadership focused resume writer, I have worked with hundreds of emerging managers and project managers to help them get to the next level.
By working with professionals trying to advance from tactical project management roles to broader management positions, I have gained a deep understanding of the unique challenges and requirements for this field.
My goal is to empower you with the knowledge and tools you need to craft an impressive project management resume that gets you quick results.
Whether you’re an experienced project manager or just starting out in the field, this resume development guide gives you the step-by-step instructions, expert tips, and real-life examples to get started today.
Tailor Your Resume With the Right Keywords
When it comes to project manager resumes, using the right keywords is crucial. According to the 2023 survey reports of JobScan, Over 98.8% of Fortune 500 companies use use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to scan resumes for relevant skills and experience.
To ensure your resume gets through the ATS and into the hands of a recruiter, you need to include keywords that match the job description.
Start by carefully reading the job posting and identifying specific project management keywords and terms.
These may include skills, qualifications, certifications, or types of experience.
Here are some commonly used project management keywords to get you started:
- Strategic Planning
- Change Management
- Client Communication
- Data Analysis
- Financial Analysis
- Process Improvement
- Risk Management
- Scheduling & Planning
- Scope Management
- Stakeholder Management
Remember to tailor your resume for each job application by including the relevant keywords from the job description. This will increase your chances of getting noticed by the hiring manager.
Spotlight Your Metrics & Achievements
As a project manager, you are familiar with measuring outcomes and achieving goals.
Highlighting your metrics and achievements on your resume is essential to showcase your capabilities.
Assign quantifiable metrics to each of your job duties wherever possible. For example, instead of saying “managed project budgets,” you can say
- Directed $2M corporate headquarters relocation project, delivering target outcomes on time and under budget.” Use this bullet point formula to structure your achievements:
- [Compelling verb] + job duty + outcome or accomplishment
Here’s an example of a well-crafted bullet point:
- Designed accelerated program roadmap, saving 20% on expenditures and delivering completed implementation three months ahead of schedule.
If you have managed multiple projects, consider creating a separate section for key achievements.
This resume format and layout can give an opportunity to provide more details, quantifiable facts for each specific accomplishment and with clear success examples.
Choose the Right Layout
When it comes to resume layouts, the traditional chronological format is usually the best choice for project managers.
This format presents your work history in reverse chronological order, starting with your current or most recent job.
The chronological resume format provides a clear and organized structure that is easy for recruiters to follow.
In my resume practice, I have found that combination, not functional, resume formats to be more effective in highlighting professional work experience.
Even if you have a freelance project management background, the combination format will allow you to highlight specific projects more prominently.
Feature Technical Skills & Methodologies Prominently
As a project manager, your technical skills and knowledge of project management methodologies are essential.
Recruiters will be interested in seeing your proficiency in programs such as Microsoft Project, Asana, Jira, SharePoint, or Trello.
Include these technical skills prominently on your resume, and indicate your level of expertise or familiarity with each.
If you have completed specialized trainings or earned certifications like PMP (Project Management Professional) or Agile Certified Professional (PMI-ACP), be sure to showcase them as well.
Continuing education and certifications are highly valued in the project management field and can set you apart from other candidates.
Don’t Forget the Basics
While it’s important to focus on the specific requirements of a project manager resume, don’t forget the basic elements that apply to all resumes. Here are some key points to keep in mind:
Keep your resume to no more than two pages:
- On average, companies receive about 250 applicants for each job posting, so recruiters and hiring managers have their hands full. Keep your resume concise, but impactful so that you can still make an impression in a quick read.
Consider a resume summary:
- A resume summary can be helpful if you’re transitioning into a new industry or role. More importantly, it provides a brief overview of your experience and goals.
Here are some key strategies to keep in mind when developing a resume summary that can catch the recruiter’s attention right from the beginning.
- Start by making a list of your professional accomplishments. Look for keywords and consistent themes and rank the themes according to their relevance and impact.
- Place the resume summary right under or next to your contact details. It should be the first thing hiring managers see when they scan your resume.
- Craft a concise summary that includes information on years of experience, job title, significant achievements, and relevant skills. Highlight your most impressive facts and keywords from the job listing.
- Keep the resume summary to about 3-5 sentences or bullet points in length. Be clear and concise in describing your skills and achievements.
- Tailor the professional summary to match the job description. Emphasize the skills and experiences that are most relevant to the position you are applying for.
- Write the professional summary after completing other sections of your resume. This way, you will have a better understanding of your overall qualifications and can highlight the most important points in your summary.
Make it scannable:
- Use clear section headings to break up your resume and make it visually appealing. Recruiters should be able to quickly scan and find the information they need.
- Take the time to proofread your resume for any errors. Set it aside for a while, and then review it with fresh eyes. Ask a trusted friend or colleague to proofread as well.
If This is Your First Project Manager Job
If you’re an entry-level job seeker or looking to transition into a project management role, there are a few things to consider:
Tell your story in the summary:
- Use the summary section to bridge the gap between your existing experience and your project management aspirations. Highlight any relevant project management experience or transferable skills.
Lead with technical skills:
- If you lack direct project management experience, but have relevant certifications or technical skills, feature them prominently on your resume. This will demonstrate your commitment to the field and your ability to learn and adapt.
Highlight managed projects:
- Even if you haven’t held the official title of project manager, showcase any projects you have managed. Include details such as budgets, timelines, and vendor interactions to demonstrate your project management skills.
Examples of a Project / Program Manager Resumes
Here’s an example of a well-crafted resume that incorporates the tips mentioned above that can work for a project manager, program manager and operations manager:
Additional Tips and Tricks
Use action verbs:
- Start your bullet points with compelling action verbs to make your achievements stand out. This demonstrates your proactive and results-oriented approach.
Include relevant coursework:
- If you’re a recent graduate or have taken relevant courses, consider including them on your resume to showcase your knowledge and dedication to project management.
Highlight leadership & communication skills:
- Project managers are responsible for coordinating teams and communicating with stakeholders. Emphasize your leadership and communication skills throughout your resume.
Customize your resume for each job:
- Tailor your resume to match the specific requirements of each job posting. This will show the hiring manager that you have the skills and experience they are looking for.
FAQs ON PROJECT MANAGER RESUMES
1. What should be included in a project manager resume?
A project manager resume should include a professional summary, relevant skills, work experience, education, certifications, and any notable achievements or accomplishments.
It should also highlight your leadership abilities, problem-solving skills, and ability to deliver successful projects.
2. What skills should I highlight on my project manager resume?
Some important skills to highlight on your project manager resume include leadership, communication, time management, problem-solving, team management, risk assessment, and budgeting.
Tailor the skills section to match the requirements of the project management role you are applying for.
3. How can I showcase my project management experience on my resume?
Highlight your project management experience by including specific details about the projects you have managed.
Mention the project objectives, scope, budget, team size, and your role in achieving project success.
Quantify your achievements by including metrics such as project completion time, cost savings, or client satisfaction ratings.
4. How can I make my project manager resume stand out from the competition?
To make your project manager resume stand out, focus on showcasing your unique skills, relevant project management experience, and notable achievements.
Use action verbs and quantifiable results to describe your accomplishments.
Executive & Leadership Resume Writing Services