How to Write a Project Manager Resume That Will Stand Out in 2018

What you need for a winning project manager resume:

You need to stand out in the cutthroat world of project management and these are the factors that will help you do it:

  • Make sure it’s the right length
  • Ensure it shows you have the specific skills and attributes mentioned in the job posting
  • The general tone should match that of the company (check their website to get a feel for this)
  • Write your resume with the recruiter, (HR professional, or whoever will read it) in mind; they are your audience
  • Be sure to include specific metrics wherever possible
  • Try as much as possible to show and not tell about who you are and what you can do

Taken together, these tips point to the fact that project manager resumes are about far more than just skills or experience. You can have excellent skills and impressive experience, but packaging all that information in the wrong way can easily lead to your resume getting overlooked. So to balance the personal and professional elements, demonstrate culture fit, and show your impact, you need to carefully craft a targeted project manager resume. We’ve worked with several successful project managers to learn what made their resumes work.

Best Project Manager resume examples by users who got hired

How to write a project manager resume

Begin with the job description

We generally start our resumes by thinking about ourselves and our experience. But this gets it backwards. The best way to start a project manager resume is to look at the description of the position you’re applying for. Carefully read the job spec and make note of all the skills and qualities it’s looking for. Also note the general tone of the writing.
Now, rewrite your resume so it matches the tone, skills, and qualities mentioned in the job spec. Stay honest, but rewrite everything in your resume so it’s tailor made for that job. The idea is that a recruiter will read it and think “this person seems perfect.”

Make it a One-Pager (with exceptions)

Similar to the idea above, remember that the person who will read your resume is your audience. Always be thinking about them. A part of doing that is considering resume length. In most cases, one page should be fine (unless you’re a very experienced project manager). Look at every single thing on your resume and ask yourself whether it adds value for the reader. If it doesn’t add anything, then remove it.

Use concrete numbers whenever possible

Simply put, recruiters do not like overused buzzwords. They’ve read a thousand times about how someone managed, improved, or optimized something without any concrete numbers to back it up. The result? These statements largely get ignored or even count against you. The solution is to focus on concrete numbers which demonstrate your impact as a project manager. So instead of “improved project efficiency” write “Improved % of on-time projects from 65% to 95% within 6 months.” Those kinds of statements really stand out and leave a strong impression.

Resume Section

Show, don’t tell

This ties in with the idea of showing concrete numbers. Recruiters don’t want you to tell them you’re a leader, resourceful, or creative. They want you to show them that’s the case. So instead of throwing around buzzwords, demonstrate that you possess the qualities listed in the job spec by telling stories or giving concrete numbers.

Focus on what makes you unique

Most recruiters pour over dozens (if not hundreds) of resumes a day. You need to make your project manager resume stand out for the right reasons. That means showing who you are as a person and not just a professional. Recruiters are far more likely to remember candidates who seem like genuine people and not just a list of previous jobs. You can do this by iincluding a compelling personal website, talking about your hobbies (a great place to demonstrate skills), or even sharing your favorite books.

Resume Section

10 sections recruiters and hiring managers look for in a project manager resume

While you don’t necessarily need all 10 sections (that would be a bit overwhelming) these are the top sections to consider for a project management resume.

1. Bio
2. Strengths
3. Experience
4. Uniqueness
5. Languages
6. Most proud of
7. Philosophy
8. Books
9. Contact information
10. Education

1. Your Bio

This may seem obvious but there are plenty of ways project management applicants make mistakes in their bio section. Besides your name, a short description of who you are or what your goal is can quickly establish this information in the recruiter’s mind. This section really sets the stage for the resume, contextualizing all of the information which follows. The result is a far more effective project manager resume.

Resume Section

2. Your Strengths

This is where you’ll want to put that “show, don’t tell” mantra into action. Explain what your strengths are, but make sure each is accompanied with a concrete example. So don’t just say you’re great at managing people, demonstrate it.

Resume Section

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3. Your Experience

Obviously, this is the core section for nearly any project manager resume. But we can be surprisingly limited in how we think a resume experience section can look. The basic reverse chronological setup is standard, but there are other options. However you structure it, be sure to include bullets showing the impact you had in each position. Also, carefully curate what experience you show (don’t just overwhelm the reader with everything you’ve ever done). The key here is to make tough choices and only include what a recruiter wants to see.

Resume Section

4. Your Uniqueness

This can come across through any number of sections, but one of the best in our experience is the “my time” section. It’s an Enhancv exclusive and allows you to really get creative in how you show anything from what your day looks like to how you’ve spent your career.

Resume Section

5. Your Languages

Being multilingual is about much more than just the languages themselves. It’s about understanding different cultures and perspectives, as well as increasing your cognitive abilities. The result is that speaking more languages makes it more likely you’ll get hired. So make sure you mention them.

Resume Section

6. What you’re most proud of

Yet another fantastic section to really stand out. Include something interesting about yourself, show where your true passions are. You can share a story about overcoming hardship, learning an important lesson, or just a triumph you had that means a lot to you. Either way, this is one of the best places to make your project manager resume really stand out.

Resume Section

7. Your philosophy

What’s your approach to project management? Are you all about transparency and flat teams? Or are you a hardcore Kanban enthusiast? This is a great spot to include either your personal or project management philosophy. Knowing how you think about your work is invaluable and can be hard to get across in other resume sections.

Resume Section

8. Your favorite project management books

This is another area where you can show your influences, how you think about project management, and maybe something personal. For example, maybe your biggest realization about project management came from reading a Harry Potter book or a classic Russian novel? Either way, this is a great place to get creative and stand out.

Resume Section

9. Your contact information

Yes, you’re probably thinking this is too obvious to mention, but plenty of people get do this wrong. Your contact information is worth carefully considering with the recruiter in mind. What message are you sending, how would you like to be contacted? Just make sure the recruiter can get in touch with you as easily as possible.

10. Your education

This will vary from project manager to project manager. You may choose to include your education, but honestly if it doesn’t relate to what you’re doing now then you might leave it out. This is an example of thinking more about the recruiter, ask yourself whether including details like your GPA will really tell them anything valuable about you as a project manager.

Resume Section

How to get a referral on LinkedIn for the project manager role you want

Applicants who rely solely on their resume to get an interview have less than a 2% chance of getting an interview. At the same time, the sales industry is downsizing (in the US). As you can see, it’s important to give yourself the best shot possible at getting hired. This includes leveraging personal connections to get referred to a job.
So before you start applying for a new sales role, check your 1st and 2nd degree contacts in both LinkedIn and in any other relevant groups you may belong to. If you don’t have strong connections in the industry you’re looking to establish yourself in, start making them now!
Check out our complete guide to getting job referrals for more actionable tips.

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