12 Program Manager Resume Examples & Guide for 2023

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Program Manager Resume

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As a program manager, you’ve got your work cut out for you. Managing teams, identifying problems, and delegating tasks is all in a day’s work.

You’re a pro at making plans and organizing budgets, but what about when it comes to creating your own resume?

Your program manager resume needs to show recruiters that your strategic planning and team management skills will benefit any company.

But how can you create a program manager resume that stands out from the stack of other qualified candidates?

This guide will show you:

  • How to personalize your program manager resume for every job
  • How to frame your relevant work experience
  • The winning combination of hard and soft skills in your program manager resume
  • How to properly format your resume
  • Specific resume samples for technical, senior, and IT program manager jobs

Program manager resume examples

Technical program manager resume

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What works in this example:

  • It prioritizes technical experience
  • It makes good use of resume keywords

Using custom sections in a hybrid format resume is the best way to put forward technical projects. Leading teams and projects is universal among program managers, but the technical experience is what will give you the advantage for technical jobs.

Technical program manager jobs typically require highly specific experience within a particular niche. Use the right keywords so that your resume isn’t filtered out by ATS (Applicant tracking systems).

If you see requirements such as “bottom line project management experience” and “Strong knowledge of GD&T principles” make sure to provide relevant workflows from your past.

IT program manager resume

it program manager resume.png

What works in this example:

  • Skills reflect the company’s tech stack
  • Experience tailored to target company’s PgM methodology

Analyze current and past employee LinkedIn profiles to learn what tech is used at your target company. If you have experience working with some of these technologies, mention that in your experience and skills sections to stand out to technical recruiters.

If your target company uses Agile methodology, provide relevant certificates (e.g. Scrum Master certification) and successful experience working within Agile framework (e.g. Continuous Improvement approach in action, change management, etc.)

If your target company follows the waterfall approach, focus more on traditional waterfall deliverables: plans, system design, deadline estimation, and relevant KPIs.

Senior program manager resume

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What works in this example:

  • It focuses on growth and scale experiences
  • It highlights business outcomes

When describing your previous experience, show that you’re not just a supervisor, but a strategist. Put forward your most strategic projects, complex multi-project developments, and experience in scaling working strategies on a company-wide level.

The higher your management position, the closer your vision should correlate with business visions. Your potential employer will want to know how hiring you will improve business.

Highlight your business acumen and the ability to provide business outcomes in every relevant section of your resume.

Youth program manager resume

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What works in this resume:

  • Great representation of summary and skills that give a quick overview of the applicant's career
  • Strengths and languages solidify their relevant experience

Education program manager resume

education program manager resume.png

What works in this resume:

  • Reverse chronological order of job titles as well as diverse background
  • Passions brings out the applicant's personality

Principal program manager resume

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What works in this applicant's resume:

  • The format is done well because the left column concentrates mostly on their skills and strengths;
  • The right column is focused on their experience and achievements.

Deputy program manager resume

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What works in this resume:

  • We like that sections are ordered in a way that's important for the hiring manager, starting with summary and experience;
  • The addition of certifications helps for a well-rounded application.

Mental health program manager resume

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Why we like this resume:

  • There's a lot of experience and using a more compact template helps for squeezing this down to a single page;
  • We get the gist of it from the beginning of the page - making this applicant highly likely to be called for a second interview.

Public health program manager resume

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Why we like this resume:

  • The subheading under the name is used smartly for a quick intro to the applicant, including a noticable achievement;
  • Each of the bullet points focuses on a valuable metric the applicant influenced.

Nonprofit program manager resume

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Why we like this resume:

  • A good summary that sets the tone of the whole resume;
  • Strong achievements listed on the resume. We even advise repeating some of your most noticeable achievements in several sections, such as the summary, and experience as you never know if your resume will be fully read.

Microsoft program manager resume

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Why we like this resume:

  • As a technical resume, it's more focused on software expertise, skills, and certifications;
  • They've cleverly weaved soft skills, with examples from work situations.

Looking for similar jobs? You can read our guides on

How to format your program manager resume

The first decision to make when writing your program manager resume is what format to use. The best resume layout varies depending on things like experience, position, and industry.

A standard reverse chronological resume format is a common selection for most industries. For your PgM resume, we recommend using a hybrid resume format.

Always make sure your resume is straightforward and easy to scan. Recruiters should be able to get the most important information about you within a few seconds.

Use color, white space, legible fonts, and headers to create an enjoyable reading experience for recruiters. Avoid excessive jargon or overused buzzwords.

Adding custom sections will put forward your unique qualities and make your resume stand out from the competition.

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Recommended resume sections:

  • Resume header with contact info and relevant links
  • A professional summary that highlights career accomplishments
  • Work experience
  • Overview of education and certifications
  • A mix of hard and soft skills
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What hiring managers want to see:

  • Experience relevant to the job you’re applying for
  • The right skills for the job (based on the posting)
  • Quantifiable achievements (Mitigated risks by identifying, escalating and resolving issues)
  • Examples of what makes you unique (Your usual day or your favorite books)
  • What you’re most proud of (displayed creatively)

Make a strong first impression with your program manager resume header

Your header is at the very top of your resume. This is the first thing hiring managers will see.

Get started on the right foot by including the correct information.

Let’s explore two examples of a program manager resume header to see best practices.

Jason Smith
Program Manager
555-555-5555
jason@website.com
Boston, MA
WRONG

What’s wrong with this header:

  • Includes basic information only
  • Missing personalization

It’s important to include basic contact information, but don’t miss the opportunity to make yourself stand out. Adding just a few minor details can make a major difference.

Jason Smith
Sr. IT Program Manager
555-555-5555
jason@website.com
linkedin.com/in/jasonsmith
Boston, MA
RIGHT

Much better!

What works in this example:

  • The job title is descriptive, with the seniority level and the specialization
  • Includes all relevant contact information
  • There’s a LinkedIn profile URL, so the hiring manager can find out more about you

Including a job title will show hiring managers that you’re the right choice for their specific position.

When writing your location, the city and state are sufficient. Including a full address is outdated and unnecessary.

Program manager resume summary: two sentences to get ahead of the competition

Your professional summary is a short but detailed description of your experience, contribution, and goals in your industry.

In 2-3 concise sentences, you should explain your seniority level and specialty, examples of real business successes, and a goal for your future position.

As with every section of your resume, be sure to tailor your summary to your target job using keywords from the job description.

Let’s take a look at two examples of program manager resume summaries.

Summary
Program manager with 5 years of experience leading projects and programs at multiple companies. Seeking my next full-time opportunity.
WRONG

This summary is too vague. “Leading projects and programs at multiple companies,” says nothing about either the types of projects you led or how successful they were.

For all the hiring manager knows, they were a complete failure.

Don’t expect them to just take your word for it. Back up your claims with examples using real numbers and statistics.

Let’s take a look at another summary example.

Summary
Technical program manager with 5+ years of experience leading operations for various projects in the SaaS industry. Certified Scrum Master with proficiency in project management techniques (Waterfall, Automated Testing, Kanban). Increased activation rate by 20% after leading user onboarding improvement project. PMI Agile Certified Practitioner.
RIGHT

This is a big improvement. It uses a descriptive job title and is personalized for the target company. Industry-specific technology is mentioned, and real figures are given to illustrate success.

The summary is an opportunity to showcase skills in supervising several projects at once. The core principle of program management is benefiting from several projects that work together.

Now that you’ve written an amazing summary, let’s move on to the experience section.

Program manager resume experience section: how to stand out from other candidates

Your work experience will give hiring managers an idea of what you will bring to their company.

Show them your history of managing budgets, scope, meeting deliverables, and ensuring an overall high performance for their team.

Utilize every bullet to demonstrate your accomplishments in previous roles. Recruiters know the job description of a program manager. They want to see how you made a real business impact on projects.

Boost your credibility on a resume by backing up your claims with data and metrics.

“Met project deliverables” is not nearly as impactful as “Achieved an on-time project delivery performance score of 99%.”

Let’s take a closer look at a few program manager resume experience sections.

Experience
Program Manager
WorkSmart Inc.
Ottawa, CA
Managed budgets and costs for projects
Recruited project faculty and managed them
Assigned and monitored KPIs
Identified funding opportunities
WRONG

What’s wrong with this example:

  • Bullets are too generic
  • No specific accomplishments

This experience section describes duties rather than accomplishments. The hiring manager will assume that you weren’t good at your job, since you can’t give any specific examples of success.

Use action verbs to make your resume sound more authoritative and impactful.

Program managers work with different departments to produce quality programs. Demonstrate that you have worked with cross-functional teams and stakeholders with specific examples.

Describe yourself as a leader of matrix cross-functional teams (internal and external subject-matter experts, along with customers, suppliers, and partners). Or, how you were responsible for overseeing third-party program administrators.

Let’s make some improvements and look at the example below.

Experience
Sr. Program Manager
WorkSmart Inc.
Ottawa, CA
Coordinated project budgets of up to $2million and reduced operations costs by 30% by applying new controls.
Recruited and managed a team of 10 people, including interviewing, onboarding, training and monitoring progress.
Oversaw strategic objectives and KPI targets for all project teams, resulting in a KPI success rate of 99%.
RIGHT

What works in this example:

  • It’s tailored to the target job description by focusing on their biggest requirements
  • It backs up claims with real numbers, showing how they’ve achieved overall business success

Study the requirements and keywords in your target job description. There is no standard definition of a program manager for every organization. Tailoring your experience section to your target role will maximize your chances of getting an interview.

In addition to requirements, identify company dealbreakers.

All PgM jobs have deal-breakers or some core qualities that a target candidate must have.

Examples of dealbreakers include experience within a certain niche, experience working with a team of a certain size, or using a specific PM methodology.

If you don’t include this in your experience, recruiters will immediately toss out your resume.

Study the target company blogs, interviews, or employee LinkedIn profiles. What PgM methodology are they using? How big are their teams? Are they in crisis?

Using this information, you can emphasize relevant achievements or highlight unique skills that show hiring managers you’re the right choice for their company.

If you need more guidance on this section, check out our How to Cover Work Experience On Your Resume guide for more tips on building a job-winning experience section.

Education section: what to include

A bachelor’s degree is almost always a prerequisite for landing a program manager position.

In general, the most common major is business administration or management. More senior positions might require an MBA.

For program manager positions in specific industries, there is usually a requirement for a degree in a relevant field in addition to some combination of education and experience.

For example, a program manager position in the field of education might require a bachelor’s degree in education or a degree in a different field, plus work experience in an educational setting.

To showcase your educational background on your resume, include the school name, degree type, the major you studied in, and the years you studied.

Depending on the industry and your experience level, you might also want to include relevant coursework, projects, and GPA for entry-level PgM jobs.

Certifications: do you need them?

This also varies by industry, but in most cases, relevant certifications will give you a big advantage.

A large number of companies will require their program managers to be PMP certified.

Here is a list of other certifications that can give your PgM resume a boost, depending on your experience and target job:

The format of your certification section only needs basic information. List the name of your certification and the issuing organization.

Program manager resume skills: the right combination for maximum impact

Program management is a highly skilled job that requires both hard and soft skills.

Strong organizational and leadership skills are two of the most important to emphasize.

However, you’re also in charge of strategy, budgeting, reporting, and presenting.

It can be difficult to decide which skills should be emphasized. Refer back to the job description to see what skills they value most from their ideal candidate.

For example, will procuring and managing vendors be a big part of the role?

Or, do they need a technical program manager who can build and maintain the KPI dashboard?

Or, someone who has excellent communication skills to present strategy, risk assessment, and recommendations to key stakeholders.

Be honest about what you’re including, and make sure your resume gives an accurate idea of your impact as a program manager.

Here are the soft skills and hard skills you might want to include on your resume.

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20 soft skills to include on a program manager resume:

  1. Collaborating cross-functionally
  2. Leading teams, ensuring milestones are met
  3. Time management
  4. Organizational skills
  5. Client relationship management
  6. Attention to detail
  7. Change management
  8. Program schedule development
  9. Excellent problem-solving and identifying skills
  10. Creative thinker
  11. Negotiation skills
  12. Time Management
  13. Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  14. Report writing (Progress reports, annual reports, financial reports)
  15. Presenting to key stakeholders and executives
  16. Remote working experience
  17. Decision-making
  18. Self-motivated
  19. Analytical skills
  20. Conflict resolution

Something important to remember about soft skills is they can be interpreted in many different ways. Make sure to back up your soft skills with specific examples in your experience section.

For example, just writing “time management” doesn’t mean much to recruiters. Saying that you “simultaneously managed 3 company-wide projects and exceeded KPI goals by an average of 14%” provides a clear example.

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19 hard skills to include on a program manager resume:

  1. Project management tools (Jira, Trello, Confluence, Microsoft Project, etc.)
  2. Product development
  3. MySQL
  4. PHP
  5. Microsoft Office
  6. GSuite
  7. Kanban
  8. Documenting SOPs and processes
  9. Establishing and monitoring KPIs
  10. Procuring and managing vendors
  11. Budgeting
  12. Scope definition
  13. Hiring and onboarding new employees
  14. Resource planning
  15. Timeline planning and ensuring deadlines are met
  16. Strategic direction
  17. Attain funding
  18. Risk assessment
  19. Technology acumen

If you want to read more about how to write your skills section, check out our post on How to Create A Resume Skills Section To Impress Recruiters.

Cover letter for a program manager

A cover letter isn’t always necessary, though you will find that many program manager positions require one.

Since PgM roles and responsibilities vary between industries, companies will often want to know more about you beyond what is on your resume. If the application doesn’t specifically request one, you can choose to leave it out.

Still, they help you tell your story in a way that is captivating and engaging. It also provides an opportunity to share a personal anecdote or express part of your personality that doesn’t fit on a resume.

If you opt to write a cover letter and need some guidance on how to get it right, make sure to go over our cover letter checklist and review our 60+ cover letter examples.

Key takeaways on writing a great program manager resume:

  • Tailor each resume for the job you want, mirroring the same keywords used in the job description
  • Demonstrate a proven track record of achieving real business success by using data and metrics to support your points
  • Include a combination of hard skills and soft skills that show you are unique qualified for a program manager role
  • Make every section of your resume clear, concise, and engaging.

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