Building Blocks of Your PM Resume
A resume is the entry ticket to your next PM job and just like that ticket, it is scanned for about 6-7 seconds before it goes into the “Yes” or “No” pile. This gives very little time to convey your professional journey, but there are certain aspects that you can add to ensure your resume gets noticed.
Laying the foundations:
- The one-page rule: If you have less than 10 years of experience, your resume shouldn’t extend beyond a single page. Add the latest and most relevant parts and cut out the rest. For example, talking about a leadership position that you held in school isn’t recent and can be skipped.
- The uniformity rule: Ensure that your resume is readable and concise. All section headings should follow the same format. If you are adding a full stop for sentences, ensure you do so for all.
- The presentation rule: Use a font size of 11 for your resume. Differentiate section headers from the body and use bullets to explain in detail. Ensure important information like your name, contact details are prominent. Most importantly, be grammatically correct.
- The quantification rule: Use the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) framework to convey the impact. Put it across in the “Task/Problem, Action and Results/Accomplishment” format.
Building the frameworks
Map your background into the following sections:
- Education: Mentioned the degree, university, and any relevant awards. If you don’t have enough content, you can add relevant courses
- Work Experience: Translate your past experience into skills that a PM requires
- Projects: Talk about side projects that you have done and relate them to the core competencies of a PM
- Highlight programming languages, tools, and technologies that you are familiar with.
- Product and Design skills like creating wireframes, prototyping
- Highlight Affiliations & Leadership roles
Highlighting skills that show you are the best candidate
There are a few traits that are looked for in a Product Manager. Your past experiences have to be highlighted in such a way that these strengths are portrayed.
- Customer engagement-
As a product manager, you would need to be the person in the customer’s shoes. Highlight any experience with collecting customer feedback, translating their needs and solving their problems. Customers need not be external and it could be any project that you have done for a target audience.
- Communication and Cross-functional collaboration-
You will be coordinating between engineering, design, and sales teams and it is extremely important that you can convey exactly what you want, leaving behind no ambiguity. Highlight any experience or project where you coordinated between multiple stakeholders. Example: heading/organizing an event in college.
- Analytical Skills-
Showing that you are data-driven can add value to your profile. Highlight projects where you have done some analysis and derived a conclusion. If this is not something that you have done, complete a free course online, and practice with some datasets on Kaggle. You can also learn about product analytics and explore tools like MixPanel and Clevertap.
As a student, you can make an impact in student clubs. With this, you can highlight your ability to lead without authority.
Don’t miss out on mentioning any experience writing Product Requirement Documents, situations where you have helped PMs make decisions, or about your growth or revenue contribution to a product.
Adding keywords to your resume can help you get that call back and there are two ways to do this.
Adding keywords that are generic to a product manager role
- MVP: If you have built an app or implemented a project idea, use “minimum viable product” or MVP to your resume
- Writing requirements: For any project that you do, capturing requirements is a crucial step.
- Voice of the customer: This will enhance the customer engagement skill in your profile.
- Cross-functional team: Crucial keyword that will highlight your collaboration with different stakeholders.
- If you have a technical background then highlighting the coding languages that you know and the technical tools that you have used are recommended.
Adding keywords that are specific to the particular company you’re applying to
- Analyze the job description posting and figure out what skills they are looking for
- Adapt your experience in such a way that it highlights these skills
- Identify keywords that are repeated and align your experiences with it
Mistakes to Avoid in your resume
- A bad resume format can convey that you don’t care enough about the whole process.
- Adding unnecessary details can indicate a lack of prioritization
- Although adding keywords can increase your chances of being seen, adding them in irrelevant places without appropriate examples backing them up can have a negative effect
Adding a summary:
- Your resume is a summary of your career so far and adding a summary will simply move the focus from your actual accomplishments whilst also taking up space
Describing your job:
- Simply adding a job description instead of quantifying your impact will not convey your achievements
- Adding a result/accomplishment will make differentiate you from another candidate. Focus on output-based points rather than outcome-based points.
- For example, instead of writing “Android app that does <explain functionality>”, you can write “Developed android app that automated <problem>, improving <metric> by x percentage”
Don’t forget to join our Slack community to have your resume reviewed by experts. Stay tuned for the next part in this series which will help you get a foot in your dream company through referrals.