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Program Manager Resume Examples & Guide for 2021

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Volen Vulkov Avatar
Volen Vulkov
8 minute read
Updated on 2021-09-15

You’re a Program Manager who thrives on increasingly large projects, challenges and responsibilities.

Yet, you hit a brick wall when it comes to showing this on your Program Manager resume.

To resolve this, we developed a framework that has helped hundreds of our Program Manager clients to consistently land jobs they applied for.

This guide will show you:

  • How to personalize your Program Manager resume for every job
  • How to frame your 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 Managers jobs

Looking for similar jobs? You can read our guides on:

Program Manager Resume Example

Program Manager Resume Examples

Technical Program Manager Resume Tips and Examples

  • Prioritise your technical experience. Usecustom sections andhybrid format resumes to put forward your technical projects experience. There are many managers out there who led projects and worked with people, but for technical jobs people with technical experience are like unicorns.
  • Double down onresume keywords. Technical Program Manager jobs typically require highly specific experience within a particular niche. 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 Tips And Examples

  • Study the company's tech stack. Analyze current and past employee LinkedIn profiles to learn your target company environment: programming languages, infrastructure, vendors.If you have experience working with some of these technologies, mention that in your Experience and Skills sections to  earn some bonus points with technical recruiters.
  • Study company’s PM methodology. In your target the 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, deadlines estimation, and relevant KPIs.

Senior Program Manager Resume Tips and Examples

  • Focus on growth and scale experiences. 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 of scaling working strategies on a company-wide level.
  • Focus on business outcomes. The higher your management position, the close you vision should correlate with business visions. Highlight your business acumen and the ability to provide business outcomes in every relevant section of your resume.

How to Write your Program Manager Resume: Format & Tips

Follow these tips to maximize your chances of getting a Program Manager job:

Tip #1. Tailor your Program Manager Resume to the job description

  • Study job requirements. There is no standard definition of a program manager for every organization, so the responsibilities will vary from job to job. Alsoidentify resume keywords and weave them into your resume to pass ATS scanning systems.
  • Identify company dealbreakers. All PgM jobs have deal-breakers, or some core qualities that a target candidate must have. These pop up first in the job description or buried in the job pretext. Examples of dealbreakers include: experience within a certain niche, an experience working with a team of a certain size or using a specific PM methodology. Refer them in key parts of your resume.
  • Research target company in-depth. Study the target company blogs, interviews, or employee LinkedIn profiles. What PM methodology are they using? How big are their teams? Are they in crisis?Using this information, you can change the order of your certificates, emphasize relevant achievements, or highlight unique skills.

Tip #2. The way you format your PgM resume DOES matter

  • Make your resume easy to read and easy to scan.Usecolor, white space,legible fonts, and headers to create an enjoyable reading experience for recruiters, and they’ll spend more time reading about you. Avoid excessive jargon usage
  • Choose a properresume layout. In most cases, a standardreverse chronological resume format will do just fine. But we recommend using ahybrid resume format with a custom section to put forward your unique qualities and stand out from competition.

Tip #3. Write a Program Manager resume that focuses on long-term business objectives.

The core principle of program management is benefiting from several projects that work together.

Here’s how you write a resume for Program Manager jobs for maximum strategic value:

  • Showcase experience and skills in supervising several projects at once. Your focus should be not on completing a single project, but a series of interconnected projects, and a company-wide business outcome.  
  • Demonstrate that you worked with cross-functional teams and stakeholders. Programs are happening at the intersection of several departments and projects. The success of a program depends on your ability to make them work together. 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.

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

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)

Program Manager Resume Header: When First Impressions Matter

Let’s start at the very top of your resume with the header.

This is the first place hiring managers will look.

Nail it, and you’ll be off to a good start.

Let’s explore two examples of a program manager resume header to see the dos and don’ts.

Jason Smith
Program Manager

+359 88 888 8888

help@enhancv.com

Boston, MA
WRONG

This header doesn’t check all the boxes.

While the contact information is there, it’s missing a few things to make a real impact.

Jason Smith
Sr. IT Program Manager

+359 88 888 8888

help@enhancv.com

linkedin.com/in/jasonsmith

Boston, MA
RIGHT

Much better!

Here’s why:

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

Program Manager Resume Summary: Two Sentences to Get Ahead of Competition

Your professional summary must consist of:

  • A detailed description of your seniority level and specialty (if any);
  • Examples of real business success that you’ve contributed to;
  • Tailored keywords that are found in 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.

Here’s an improved Technical Program Manager resume 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

Now, this covers all three bases we talked about before - it’s descriptive, personalized to the job ad, and uses real data. Success!

Program Manager Resume Experience: How to Stand Out From Other Candidates

Program managers are in charge of budget, scope, meeting deliverables and ensuring an overall high performance for their team.

That’s no small feat.

Your work experience descriptions should answer this one question:

Have you made a real business impact on your projects?

Use data and metrics to show how. Here are some examples:

  • Managed a project team of 10+ people
  • Saved the company x$ after improving processes
  • Achieved an on-time project delivery performance score of 99%

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

Here are two examples of a Program Manager resume’s work experience description to inspire you.

Experience
Program ManagerWorkSmart Inc.
Managed budgets and costs for projects
Recruited project faculty and managed them
Assigned and monitored KPIs
Identified funding opportunities
WRONG

This resume is too generic.

The hiring manager reading will assume that you weren’t good at your job, since you can’t give any specific examples of success.

Pro Tip: Useaction verbs to make your resume sound more authoritative and impactful.

Let’s make some improvements to build more confidence.

Experience
Sr. Program ManagerWorkSmart Inc.
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

This is a much better version of the first example.

  • It’s tailored to the hypothetical job description by focusing on their biggest requirements (e.g. managing budgets, leading the staff and ensuring milestones completion and success)
  • They back up their claims with real numbers, showing how they’ve achieved overall business success

Check out ourHow 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.

The most common major is Business Administration or Management.

More senior positions might require an MBA.

For Program Manager positions in specific industries, degrees related to that specialty might be required as well. For example, to land a job as a Program Manager at a hospital, you’ll need a Health Science degree on top of the Business Administration degree.

To showcase youreducational background on your resume, include the school name, degree type, the major you studied in, and the years you studied. (alsorelevant coursework andGPA for entry level Program Manager jobs).

You can also add in relevant universityprojects you worked on or a short description of your thesis.

Certifications: Do You Need Them?

100% yes!

Almost all Program Manager positions will request that you’rePMP certified. 

You can also go above and beyond with additional certifications like:

List yourcertification in bullet points on your resume, with the year completed beside it.

Program Manager Resume Skills: The Right Combination For Maximum Impact

Program management is a highly skilled job.

You’re in charge of everything from strategy to budgeting, from reporting to presenting, and everything in between.

That being said, strong organizational and leadership skills are two of the most important to emphasize.

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.

Just make sure that you’re honest about what you’re including.

And finally, include a balanced mix of soft and hard skills on your resume.

Here’s a big list of hard and soft skills you can include on your resume.

Thinking your Skills section needs a power up? Check outHow to Create A Resume Skills Section To Impress Recruiters (+10 Examples You Need to See)

Cover Letter for a Program Manager

In case the job description says you need to provide a cover letter, do include yours. Otherwise, you can always leave it out.

Nowadays, job application forms include questions like “why do you want to work here”, or “explain why you’re the best fit for us”, which makes you wonderare cover letters really necessary?

Still, they help youtell your story in a way that, if written right, it’s captivating and engaging.

In any case, you should pay close attention to the following tips when a cover letter is a must:

If you need more inspiration for a Program Manager cover letter, check out our60+ cover letter examples here.

Key Takeaways: Resume for Program Managers

  • Since Program Manager positions vary so much across industries, it’s important that you tailor each resume for the job you want, mirroring the same keywords used in the job description.
  • The #1 question hiring managers want answered from your resume is: do you have a proven track record of achieving real business success? The best way to answer that question is by using real data and metrics to support your points.
  • Education and certifications are important prerequisites for Program Manager roles. List all of your degrees and certifications in bullet point format under their own subheadings.

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