Product managers have a diverse set of responsibilities - from overseeing the product from inception to completion to rolling it out and taking care of the maintenance. As a product manager, you have full ownership of the entire lifecycle of the product. Naturally, performing this task requires many diverse skill sets - from technical know-how to people management and more.
Product managers are responsible for creating the product pitches. Creating a product manager resume is very similar to creating a sales pitch. When the interviewer scans your resume, they should be able to extract enough information that proves your mettle for the job. This doesn’t mean you need to stuff your resume through and through - there’s an art to it!
Through this article, let’s make you the master of that art by offering five tips (along with examples that you can replicate and modify) that you can follow to create an awesome resume for your next product manager job interview!
#1. Know your worth!
Skills are only as good as you make them be. If you don’t value your skills and worth, it will reflect on your resume, and you will always shy away from writing a thing or two, thinking it to be irrelevant. This puts you in the backseat during the interview because your resume is the first impression that the interviewers get. This is an important thing to remember for all those who are looking to become a product manager.
You should try to communicate the value you have brought to the organizations you have worked with. Doing that will pique the interest of hiring managers, and they would probe further to know more - right into your comfortable playing field! The thing is, anyone can accumulate the said skills or certifications. How you add value is what matters at the end of the day.
For example, if you are making a product pitch to investors, you wouldn’t blatantly list the features. Instead, you would communicate the benefits that the product brings to the users. Likewise, your resume should communicate the impact you have made throughout your journey so far and how you will go about adding value to the organization if you’re hired. None of this will come to you if you don’t know your worth. So, introspect, and don’t undervalue yourself. Define who you are, what you are good at, some of your professional philosophies, and the areas you wish to impact in your work sphere.
#2. Personalize the resume for the job role.
While it might be tempting to just make one resume and send it across to multiple companies, that is not a recommended move. Read through the job description carefully, check out the company and what they do, and try to get a deeper understanding of what your responsibilities for that specific role would be. Check out the required skill sets for the job, and note down the ones you are confident about. In doing so, you will understand precisely the skills that your job would require, and you can then tailor your resume for those skill sets. Take a look at the skills and experience they’re looking for and highlight the ones you have. Those are what you should feature on your resume for that specific position.
#3. Always start with the first draft.
Now that you have defined your proposition and researched about the company and the job profile, it’s time to dump as much information as you can on a document file (or scribble it on a paper, whatever is easier for you!). Don’t worry, this is the very rough first draft - but it’s much needed. You can’t expect the final resume without creating a very rough first draft - which just looks like a dump of facts and skills, and achievements. However, the brainstorming that goes into writing the first draft will help you figure out exactly what you need to keep on your final resume.
Put it all out there - education, certifications, licenses, experience, volunteer work, passions, and anything else that you think is necessary. This draft is just like the prototype of a product.
#4. Communicate your impact.
Now that you have listed down all the things you could think of, it is time to narrow it down a bit. You can do this either qualitatively or quantitatively.
Qualitative communication includes talking about your mission, your inspirations, what transformations your career trajectory has brought in you, your specialties, your philosophies, etc. It is a very important thing to include within your resume to land a product manager job. An example of qualitatively communicating impact could be:
I am passionate about working with interdisciplinary teams - like tech, marketing, sales, customer support - as I get to learn more every day. I believe I am a learner at heart, and that is what has kept me intrigued in the field of product management. In my eight years of experience as a product manager, I have been involved in all aspects - from team development and leadership to developing and executing roadmaps and data research and analysis. I specialize in developing go-to-market strategies and increasing customer satisfaction using data analysis. I believe in effective and clear communication within the team and between the company and the customer. Apart from this, another one of my strengths is my ability to think strategically and creatively.
After you have this prepared, go back to your product manager resume’s first draft and check how this write-up matches with the skills that you mentioned there. Eliminate points that don’t seem relevant to you, and add any points you might have missed but might be relevant to the job role.
For qualitative communication, here are a few things that you must include in your product manager resume:
- Show, don’t tell.
- Talk numbers.
- Use action verbs.
- Emphasize growth and figures.
The Lazlo [X], [Y], [Z] formula is a good way of improving your odds of getting selected - as suggested by Google recruiters. Template - “Achieved [X] as measured by [Y] by doing [Z]”.
#5. Properly design and format the resume.
Now that you have your value proposition, necessary skill sets, technical information, and impact noted down, it’s time to properly design and format the content. Think of it as branding for your product. You want your product to be easy to understand for the user, and it should flow seamlessly. Likewise, your resume should be properly formatted and designed to logically flow from one section to another and make it easier for the reader. You can use different online tools to design the perfect resume for product manager role - like Canva, VisualCV, CV Engineer, etc - to design your resume even better.
Every potential reader of your resume is very busy, and this is not an unfair assumption to make. So, you want to present the information in a way that communicates everything without distracting the reader. This is always going to be a big factor when it comes to the evaluation of a product manager resume by interviewers.
Here are a few things to note to achieve that:
- Prioritize the current, most recent experiences
- Keep your accomplishments to only the most impressive
- Clearly provide metrics
- Use concise sentences
- For past experiences - mention how long you were there and the impacts you brought.
- For your education and certification - mention any awards or recognitions, if relevant to the job role.
Another thing is to try and keep your product manager resume within one page.. If any of the skills, accomplishments, achievements feels even slightly irrelevant to you for the job at hand, consider removing it.
You have a winning resume for the product manager role!
If you have followed the above steps in crafting the perfect resume to land product management job, you have a pretty good resume with you. Go ahead and share it with potential employers. Remember to modify this version of the resume every time you are applying to another company. The idea is to personalize as per the requirements of the employers so that even a quick scan of your resume can easily communicate your worth.