How to Create a Resume that Stands Out for Project Manager Job Role

The project management domain is indeed a great career path for aspiring Project Managers. They play a lead role in all five key phases (initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing) in managing a project throughout its life cycle. Project managers are involved in critical product rollouts, handling programs that have multiple projects, and are key contributors to the PMO (Project Management Office) within the organization. 

Moreover, project managers regularly communicate with stakeholders to ensure there is clarity on project goals, scope, timelines, and progress to complete the project within the given timeline and budget constraints. 

A project manager’s job role is highly demanding and equally skill-driven. It requires an individual to have various skillsets in handling teams, managing projects, and addressing stakeholder requirements throughout the project life cycle. Project managers are responsible for turning ideas into project/product deliverables.

Resume Guide for a Project Manager

Project managers are highly sought-after by employers as they are exceptional with communication, use methodical and flexible approaches, and are well-organized in handling business-critical projects. Thus, project managers should be a skilled multitasker and communicator with the knack of handling major responsibilities to its minute details. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Project Manager job role is probable to rise by 12% from 2016 to 2026.

It would be great if you could feature all the mentioned-above traits of a project manager on a CV. However, writing a CV as a project manager is indeed a complex task to get all your experience down into one or two sheets of paper. A skilled project manger’s CV should demonstrate their ability to mitigate risks and deliver the required output within the given timeline. 

Enterprises looking out for highly-skilled project managers are aplenty. And with many entry-level and experienced Project Managers looking out for newer challenges, ensure your resume is unique and informative that stands out.

Here’s how you can write a resume that captures the essence of your qualification and experience:

Craft your CV with relevant keywords

On submitting a resume for the project manager job role, an employer screens it through an applicant tracking system (ATS). The tool scans your resume comprehensively to check whether the skills mentioned matching the job role that you have applied by searching certain keywords relating to project management experience. If your application has ample relevant keywords, your CV will be shortlisted for the job role you’ve applied for.

Before including keywords in your resume, take a look at the job posting of the profile for which you are applying. It is because the roles, responsibilities, and industry are unique from one another, and keywords vary accordingly.

Here is a list of relevant project management keywords that you should know and get started with:

  • Analysis 
  • Budgeting
  • Change Management
  • Deadlines 
  • Development & Testing 
  • Impact Assessment 
  • Scope Management 
  • Risk Management 
  • Stakeholder Management 
  • Timeline 
  • Transformations

If a specific skill-set is mentioned in the job description and you possess that skill, then it should appear on your CV. Similarly, you will have to exclude some elements if they are not relevant to a particular job role.

Give a brief Job description/ Career summary 

Hiring managers have thousands of CVs to screen daily, but restricted time to go through all. Keep your resume summary concise and straightforward with factual data to capture the attention of the employers, while they take a quick view of your resume. 

Start your career summary with years of experience in the relevant domain and duties performed. 

Experience

What do you understand by Project Management Experience?

Having experience in the project management domain is crucial. Though a good resume layout gets your CV more eyeball time, it’s the experience you mention on the resume that will get you the job.

“Project Management experience is not about coming in and punching the clock; it’s driven by things such as gaining clients, proper budget plan, and turning around the projects that were foundering.”
Jason Nugent
Resume editor at Essayroo

There are a couple of things to consider while writing the experience section. One, to be specific by quantifying your results. Two, it is advised to showcase your experience in chronological order. The key aspect here is, don’t share the whole thing you have done, instead just include what recruiters want to take a look at.

Take a look at the right way of mentioning the experience section in your CV:

C:\Users\Dayshift\Desktop\experience  CV.png

C:\Users\Dayshift\Desktop\EXPERIENCE CV.png

Experienced project managers should possess a long list of projects. With each job application, go back to your master list and showcase your ability to that job. 

Industry/Domain

Another most important aspect to consider in your resume while applying for the PM Job role is the industry/domain experience you possess. It will help the recruiters to shortlist your resume according to the industry and organization match up.

Formal education 

Education is an important entity to consider when it comes to project manager CV.

Though this may not be the top point to consider by the employers, still it can help you to get the job you desire. That’s the reason why having a presentable and attractive education section is essential in a project management resume. 

Here is the right way to present the education section in your CV:

C:\Users\Dayshift\Desktop\education CV.png

Quantify your project experience 

Explaining your project summary in terms of numbers gives more real experience. While writing your resume, you can answer questions like “How much?” or “How many?” which you need to include in your resume. 

  • How big was the project team?
  • What was the project budget?
  • How long did the project last?

Highlight your skills, certifications, and achievements

Typically, project managers have assessable responsibilities like budget, key milestones, and timelines.

While drafting your resume, try to assign a metric to each of your job responsibilities. There are certain questions that you need to ask yourself while writing a resume: Was the project completed within the given time? Did I stay within the budget? 

If you have completed any training or earned certifications like PMP (Project Management Professional), PRINCE2, CAPM, or PMI-ACP (PMI-Agile Certified Practitioner), ensure to feature it on your resume.

Technical skills and methodologies

Being a project manager, you would have surely encountered several project management methodologies such as Agile, Waterfall, Scrum, and Kanban, and these are essential from your job perspective. 

             “What is the most important skill for project managers nowadays? Problem-solving. By being able to use tools to lead groups through problem-solving sessions, you will have a valuable skill that can be used in any situation. This holds true whether the team follows a waterfall or Agile model. And with organizations needing to work more efficiently than ever, you will be able to help your team to identify ways to make improvements through your problem-solving skills.”

So, now let’s know about the project management technical skills and hands-on project management experience.

Recruiters pay close attention to “technical skills” in your resume section as it would help them to know the familiarity with each of your skills. Here is a list of technical skills that a project manager should consider adding in their resume- 

  • Problem-solving– Evaluate issues from various sources and come up with the best solution in addressing various challenges.
  • Budgeting -Upon lacking suitable talent and strategy, the project budget and strategies will remain ambiguous. Merely 57% of the projects are completed without a surplus budget, and 51% are successful in completing the projects within the original deadline.
  • Project scheduling
  • Strategic planning 
  • Project lifecycle management 
  • Financial Modelling 
  • Performance Tracking

Example:

Project Managers rely on various project management tools like Microsoft Project, Trello, SharePoint, Jira, and Asana to track their project progress. If a job posting requires technology-specific knowledge, and you possess that experience, make sure you bring out the same on your resume.

According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), a project’s success rate improves by 40% on average, when project managers possess the ideal skill set.

Choose the right format

Gone are the days of long format resume that were 5 pages long where you showcased even your internship experience. Today, a crisp single-page resume or at max two-page resume works wonders. Remember, recruiters, go through so many CVs every single day. A clear and concise resume that highlights your key experience and skills gives you an instant edge over a long format resume. 

Did you know: A resume that is longer than two pages is a deal-breaker for 17% of hiring managers.

Appropriate section sub-headings

Using appropriate sub-headings to break down your resume into precise and concise sections looks visually appealing to the recruiters. Various formatting techniques can accomplish it, i.e., center, bold, and underline.

Proofread multiple times before hitting that send button

Meticulously proofread your work for spelling and grammatical errors before you submit your resume online. One simple typo error can reduce your chances of landing an interview. Get the help of online proofreading tools such as Grammarly, typely, etc. to ensure your resume is without any typos or grammatical errors.

“According to the Careerbuilder survey, 77% of hiring managers say they instantly disqualify resumes with bad grammar and typos.”

Craft a convincing cover letter

Every job application consists of 2 parts – The cover letter and the resume. Now we have covered the first, let’s discuss the latter.Most employers think that just a resume is not sufficient to select a candidate or make a decision about the candidate. 

Writing a cover letter is pretty simple if you know the true purpose of writing. It lets you explain things that you want to keep it in brief on your resume. Highlight your brief achievements. 

A good cover letter that correlates with your CV will provide you a potential advantage over other candidates in the pipeline. 

While drafting a cover letter, think it as a direct message to the hiring manager. You need to explain why you are an awesome fit for that particular job role. When you put it that way, it doesn’t sound that difficult.

Conclusion

Creating an insightful and informative project manager’s resume can be a complex task. In today’s competitive job market, the demand for a highly-skilled project manager is huge and the supply for the same is woefully short. We’ve compiled some of the best practices to create a project manager resume format that maximizes your chance of being called for an interview. We’ve done our part, now go showcase why you are the right fit for the job role.

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Lucy Brown has many years of experience in the project management domain and has helped many organizations across the Asia Pacific region. Her excellent coordinating capabilities, both inside and outside the organization, ensures that all projects are completed on time, adhering to clients' requirements. She possesses extensive expertise in developing project scope, objectives, and coordinating efforts with other teams in completing a project. As a project management practitioner, she also possesses domain proficiency in Project Management best practices in PMP and Change Management. Lucy is involved in creating a robust project plan and keep tabs on the project throughout its lifecycle. She provides unmatched value and customized services to clients and has helped them to achieve tremendous ROI.

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