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How to Craft a Project Manager Resume

GRADUATE STUDIES | 4 MIN READ

An illustration of charts and other graphics shows the skills people need to put on a project manager resume.

The good news if you are looking for a job in project management is that project managers are critical to an organization’s success, so their skills are highly sought after. Opportunities exist in fields from construction to information technology and commerce to finance.

It can be tricky, though, to convey those intangible qualities that describe a project manager—organized, focused, patient, methodological, flexible—on a sheet of paper.

As you put your project management resume together, keep in mind that there are best practices, but no hard-and-fast rules. Your goal is simply to communicate your value to a prospective employer.

Before you start writing, you may want to jot down some potential bullet points to include. Brainstorm through your past experiences for:

  • Specific projects you have managed
  • Your methodology
  • Programs in which you are proficient
  • Degrees, training and certifications
  • Technical skills you possess
  • Metrics you’ve met: budgets, cost savings, deliverables, deadlines

General Project Manager Resume Tips

First, the basics: Everything on your resume should be grammatical and spelled correctly. Use the same verb tense throughout. Choose a clean font. And stick to one or two pages.

Next, decide on sections.

Including a summary at the top (under your name and contact information, of course) is a popular choice.

The summary introduces you to the person you hope will be offering you a job. It’s different from an “objective,” in that the focus is not on what you want, but what you bring to the table for the company. State your title (or the title you are seeking) and industry specialty, and then summarize your strengths and assets.

For specific achievements or competencies, you might choose to make a catchall category—call it key achievements or core competencies—to gather those quantifiables together. Assign a metric or outcome to each of your job duties whenever you can. Use dollar amounts when you mention the budget. Include the number of people on your team. Say exactly by how long you came in under deadline.

This is also the time to address the Applicant Tracking System that nearly all employers use to move a select group on to Round 2.

The ATS scans resumes for relevant keywords, with the idea that that is an efficient way to skim the applicants who are best suited for the job. But how do you know what keywords the ATS will look for? The best way is to study the job posting itself. If a skill is mentioned in the job description, and you possess that skill, mention it in your resume.

Examples of Quality Keywords

Every position, company and industry is different, so relevant keywords can vary widely. However, there are some common terms that pop up often:

  • Analysis
  • Budgeting
  • Client communication
  • Deadlines
  • Outcomes
  • Project lifestyle
  • Risk management
  • Specification

The professional experience section—the one most job-seekers are most familiar with—is usually written chronologically, with your most recent position at the top. Include the name and location of the company, your title, the dates you worked there, and your responsibilities. An easy format to follow is strong verb + job duty + outcome.
List any certifications you possess, plus the degrees you have earned and the schools you attended.

And one last thing before you send that resume off: Find a fresh set of eyes—a friend or family member—to proofread it one more time.

Earn the Degree to Reach Your Goal

Finally, don’t leave off your educational background and project management certifications. Continuing education in project management is highly valued. Almost a third of jobs prefer or require a graduate degree, such as a master’s degree in project management, in addition to Project Management Professional certification.

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Sources

Illustration by Partners in Crime
Posted Feb. 9, 2021

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