Are you looking to get hired as a project manager for a software development team – or as a project manager in general – but are unsure if your resume is up to snuff? Here are some tips for writing a project manager resume that can make you stand out from the competition and help you land that dream position in project management.
Read: How Much Does a Project Manager Make?
How to Write a Project Manager Resume
Project managers assume many responsibilities and play a huge role in determining the success of an organization. As such, recruiters and companies want to make sure they pick the right person for the job. To show that you are that person, incorporate the following tips when crafting your project manager resume.
Use the Right Keywords
In an ideal world, an actual human would scan your resume to determine if you are worthy of an interview for a project manager position. Unfortunately, that is not always the case since there are so many applicants.
What typically happens when you submit a resume or online application for a project manager position? It goes through an ATS or applicant tracking system that scans your resume and pre-screens you to determine if you are a potential fit to help recruiters and hiring managers save time. The ATS does this by searching for specific keywords regarding your experience, skills, etc.; if it finds enough of them, your resume gets forwarded to a recruiter so you can move on to the next step of the hiring process.
Since the use of applicant tracking systems is a reality, ensuring your resume is filled with the right keywords is a must. How can you determine which keywords to include in your project management resume? You can begin by examining each job posting that interests you. While time-consuming, this method considers that each position can vary in terms of industry, company, role, etc. In other words, while your resume may be ideal for one position, it may miss the mark for another, which is why you will need to read each job posting and adjust your keyword usage to increase your chances of hiring success.
The simplest resume keyword rules to follow when creating your project manager resume are as follows:
- If you see a proficiency or skill in a job posting that you have, include it and any related keywords on your resume.
- If you see any proficiency or skill on your resume that does not relate to the job posting, you may want to remove it and any related keywords if it could mean that you are not a right fit for the position.
As for which keywords are often found on project management resumes that could attract more eyes in your direction, here is a sampling:
- Attention to detail
- Budget management
- Business Case
- Change Management
- Client Communication
- Conflict management
- Critical thinking
- Data Analysis
- Data Modeling
- Deployment Management
- Development & Testing
- Due Diligence
- Financial Analysis
- Goal setting
- High motivation
- Impact Assessment
- Process Development
- Process Improvement
- Project Life Cycle
- Project planning
- Quality Control
- Relevant technical skills
- Report development
- Resource Allocation
- Risk Management
- Scheduling & Planning
- Scope Management
- Sense of urgency
- Stakeholder Management
- Team management
- Tech savviness
It is worth noting that while keywords can help you attract the attention of an ATS or recruiter, you should avoid stuffing your resume with keywords that do not reflect your actual skills or experience. Doing so will likely backfire and could prevent you from getting hired.
Highlight Relevant Project Management Metrics and Achievements
Many project managers craft their resumes using the typical formula of listing their past positions and dates of employment plus any responsibilities they had. While this is not technically wrong, it will not help you stand out from the crowd and could help you get lost in a sea of applicants.
Instead of taking the typical route, include relevant metrics and achievements that correspond to your past jobs and responsibilities. This displays the potential value you can bring to an organization and shows that you can think outside the box. To give each metric or achievement some extra “pop,” add a compelling verb at the beginning of each bullet point, such as “spearheaded” or “conceptualized.” Combine that compelling verb with your job duty and the project outcome, and use that as your formula for each bullet point.
If you are having trouble thinking of specific metrics or achievements to include in your project management resume, answer the following questions to brainstorm ideas:
- How many people did I manage in the project?
- Did I come in under budget?
- Was the project completed by the deadline?
- What was the project outcome?
We have a list of some of the Top Agile Software Development Metrics if you are going out for a job as an Agile project manager to add to your resume.
Highlight Technical Skills
Example of Project Management Software, Monday.com
The technical skills section of your resume will be highly scrutinized when applying for project management positions. Fill this section with any experience you have using project management programs that may be required in your next job. Some of the more popular PM programs you may be expected to be familiar with include Asana, Jira, Microsoft Project, and Trello. If you see a specific software or program listed in a job posting and you have used it before, include it on your resume to earn extra points in your favor.
You can check out our list of The Best Project Management Software to see what PM software is most widely used in the industry.
Project managers often come across different methodologies during their careers that help get the job done. Recruiters know the massive role methodologies play in project management, which is why you will need to include the ones you are proficient in on your resume. Whether you are an expert in following the Agile, Waterfall, Scrum, or Kanban methodologies, be sure to include them all to show your flexibility.
Basic Resume Techniques
Some basics to remember when creating your project manager resume include:
- Ensuring proper spelling and grammar are used since project management is a field that stresses attention to detail
- Condensing your resume to a single page since recruiters review so many applicants daily
- Using headings to make your resume easy to scan
- Including a brief introduction or summary to give recruiters insight into your potential and value as an applicant without having to read your entire resume
Tailor Your Resume to the Job
Although creating a one-size-fits-all resume can save you time and effort when hunting for a project management position, it will not do you any favors in terms of increasing your chances of getting hired.
As mentioned with the keywords, you need to ensure that your PM resume fits the specific job posting you are applying to. Make sure it is relevant to the position by only including past projects or responsibilities that relate to what the recruiter or company is looking for. A great way to include relevant skills or experience is to research the company and adjust your resume accordingly. Any minor details you include to show that you are a perfect fit for the position and company could go a long way.
List Project Management Certifications
Project management certifications can go a long way in pushing you past the crowd and into your desired position. If you have certifications, continuing education, seminars, and the like, mention them on your resume. Not only are these sought after by many employers, but they are typically required to hold such positions. Examples of certifications that can attract positive attention include Agile Certified Professional (PMI-ACP), CAPM Certification, and Project Management Professional (PMP).
You can read about the Top 5 Project Management Certifications to see which are the most popular.
List Organizations You Belong To
Do you belong to any project management organizations? Do not forget to add those to your resume as well, as they can bolster your chances of getting hired.
Read more project management tutorials and project manager career advice.