Did you know your resume only has 7.4 seconds to make an impression? That’s according to a recent study conducted by Ladders. That’s why I’m sharing my best tips for crafting the perfect product manager resume so that you can improve your odds and land your dream job.
1. Treat your resume like a product
By using standard questions that you normally ask yourself while working on a new product, you’ll not only improve your product management resume but also demonstrate your ability to communicate in a clear and concise way, design something that’s user-friendly, and be detail-focused and data-oriented.
2. Always include a cover letter
A cover letter is your best opportunity to elaborate on skills and experience that are not mentioned in the job description but that will be useful to the company. If you’re applying online for a job and there is no way to upload or post a cover letter, don’t worry about it. However, if you’re provided the option of uploading a cover letter, sending one demonstrates that you are a motivated candidate.
3. Keep it concise
As previously stated, your resume only has 7.4 seconds to make an impression. Don’t waste time with a long objective or mission statement at the top of the page. Focus on highlighting your skills and experience. Your resume should be easy to read, so use a standard font size (no smaller than 10 points, please) and keep those margins generous. The recruiters and hiring managers will thank you.
4. BEAT THE ATS BOTS
ATS stands for Applicant Tracking System, and it’s used by most companies to automatically screen resumes to speed up the hiring process. According to a popular study conducted by search services provider Preptel, as many as 75% of the candidates don’t make it past the ATS screening! An ATS-friendly product management resume is absolutely critical to a successful job hunt. To improve your chances of getting through the ATS bots successfully, follow these tips:
- Keep the format and font simple.
- Avoid layouts with columns, lines, and graphics.
- Use standard headings such as “Skills” instead of “Major abilities”.
- Include keywords, especially those from the job you’re applying for.
- Spell out acronyms.
- Submit as a Word document instead of as a PDF.
5. Tailor your resume for the position
Yes, this will take more time, but by making some minor tweaks to your resume, you can customize it based on the job posting to improve your odds of bubbling up to the top of the resume pile the hiring manager is reviewing. For example, if the job posting states that the ideal candidate will “Possess strong decision-making and prioritization skills”, make sure you include examples in your resume about things such as frameworks you use for prioritizing what features to build.
6. Focus on projects, not experience
It might seem strange to put a large-scale extracurricular project or even a school research project in the “experience” section of your resume, but these kinds of experiences show a hiring manager you’ve got a strong grasp of what a Product Manager’s work actually entails. Typically, these types of projects involve collaboration and creativity, which are good skills to showcase.
7. Lead with outcomes, not skills
Are you familiar with the concept of burying the lead? It’s when a story begins with details of secondary importance while postponing more essential facts. Don’t do that! When you’re describing your work experience, focus on your achievements instead of tactics. For example, instead of “Wrote functional specifications for feature X that improved usability”, say “Improved usability by xx% based on my written functional specifications.”
Want even more help landing your dream job? Check out my PM Job Search Accelerator.