How to Write the Best Project Manager Resume

FT Contributor  | 

A project manager is in charge of planning, preparing, and managing projects. In this position, you define the goals of the project, set benchmarks, and decide how to measure the success of the project.

A project manager also ensures the project stays within budget and meets the final deadline. In this job, you usually act as a liaison between the project team and the client or company management.

Project managers can work in different industries. Options include construction, energy, healthcare, hospitality, IT, marketing, and software development.

The resume you need for a project manager job search depends on your area of specialization and the industry in which you wish to work. Project management jobs are often well-paying and, therefore, the hiring process can be competitive. Here are ideas, strategies, and tips to help you create a standout project manager’s resume.

How to Organize a Project Manager Resume

To stand out from other applicants, you need to create a great resume that highlights your skills and experience as it relates to the job for which you are applying. You will want to format your resume so that the correct information gets highlighted, and you distinguish yourself from other applicants.

Here is how to organize a project manager resume.

Header

The resume header is the section at the very top of your resume, and it contains your name, the resume title, contact information, and links to any online portfolios or profiles.

Your name should be the largest text in the header. In other words, you should make the font bigger than the other text. You can use your full name, but you may want to use the name most associated with your work so that the person who reviews the resume can find you if they search on the internet and social media.

You do not have to include your complete address, but you should add your city and state so that hiring managers know your general location. You should also include contact information, including a phone number and email. Make sure that the voicemail message on your phone is professional.

You can include links to professional social sites such as LinkedIn and your portfolios. However, you should not link to personal social media profiles.

Introduction

There are several different approaches that you can take when creating an opening statement for your resume. All the options will focus on highlighting your skills and experience, but they accomplish this in different ways.

With an objective statement, you tell potential employers what you are seeking in your career. An example of an objective statement could be: “To obtain a position as a project manager within the IT industry so I can utilize my skills with Agile development methodologies and my experience in software development.”

A summary statement, on the other hand, lists the skills and experience that you can bring to the job more directly. For example, you could say: “I am a detail-oriented construction project manager with eight years of management experience, an engineering degree, a professional engineer license, and a strong work ethic.”

An offering statement focuses on how your skills and experience can benefit the company. For example, you could say: “I will improve your company’s efficiency by using my knowledge of DevOps and my Project Management certification to ensure that you complete projects on time and under budget.”

You can mention both relevant hard and soft skills in the introduction, and you may alter the text so that it speaks directly to the details of the job for which you are applying.

Skills

Employers expect you to list both hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills are technical skills. You often learn and develop these skills through education. Hard skills can involve using a specific piece of software or a computer language or using some operational methodology or machinery to complete a task.

Soft skills are not technical. You often get these skills by developing specific personality traits or by gaining life experience. A project manager, for example, would need communication abilities so that they can direct team members in various aspects of the project.

Hard skills for project managers vary depending on the industry in which they work. Some examples include:

  • Budgeting: A project manager would need to know how to create a budget and then track it using accounting or bookkeeping software.
  • Design: A project manager would need to be familiar with the design methodologies for their industry. An IT project manager would need to know the process and practices for designing software. On the other hand, a product design project manager would need engineering knowledge related to the products that they produce.
  • Marketing: In some cases, project managers need to know specific marketing techniques.
  • Knowledge of project management software or methodologies: A project manager needs to know how to use project management applications such as Asana or Trello. In the software design industry, this means knowing how to operate using Agile or Scrum methodologies.  

The hard skills that a project manager needs may vary slightly depending on the industry, but the soft skills that you want to highlight in your resume are similar regardless of your area of expertise.

  • Leadership: Project managers need to direct team members who are working on the project.
  • Communication: You need to communicate clearly with clients, executives, project planners, and project team members.
  • The ability to negotiate: Regardless of their industry, project managers may need to negotiate with vendors, contractors, and suppliers.
  • Adaptability: As a project manager, you need to adapt to different situations and circumstances for each project.
  • Conflict resolution: You need to resolve conflicts between team members during the project.
  • Critical thinking: You need critical thinking skills to plan the project and address problems during the project.
  • Problem solving: If an issue arises during the project, it is ultimately up to the project manager to solve it.

Experience

Project managers are senior members of a project team, so job experience is an essential attribute for employers. When mentioning your experience, it pays to be as specific as possible and to mention achievements or accomplishments rather than merely listing experience. Saying that you “increased sales by 20% while working as a marketing project manager” is better than saying “increased profits while a marketing project manager” or only listing your experience as a “marketing project manager for XYZ Inc.”

You can prioritize your most relevant experience in this section. You will want to showcase your expertise in the company’s industry. If you had multiple responsibilities or worked on different types of projects with a previous employer, highlight the most relevant duties and projects.

Most employers will expect you to list experience chronologically, beginning with your most recent jobs.

Education, Strengths, Philosophy, or Career Objective

In these sections, you need to decide how to best present yourself to potential employers. Most hiring managers expect to see some mention of education. If you have a relevant degree, you can place it here. In some industries, such as software development, you may also need to list professional certification. You can still mention a general degree that is not directly related to your industry.

If you lack relevant education, you may mention your strengths. This section can include both hard and soft skills, and you can put them in the context of the job for which you are applying.

If you address your project management philosophy, you may include things such as explaining your approach to managing a team or how you deal with problems that arise during a project. Any philosophies that you list here should be relevant to the job for which you are applying.

Finally, career objectives let employers know what your goals are for your career. Again, you will want to tie these goals to your industry.

References

You can leave references out of the initial resume, or you can opt to attach them on a separate page along with the cover letter and resume. Most companies will ask for references after they review your first resume.

If you opt to add references, you should include between three and five names. You need to ask the person to act as a reference before including them. You should list the full name, position, and company of the person you use as a reference. You also include the work phone number, email address, and the physical address of the company.

Tips for Writing a Project Manager Resume

  • Use action verbs. When listing achievements or experience, opt for words such as:  
    • Lead;
    • Create;
    • Design;
    • Increase;
    • Decrease;
    • Initiate;
    • Achieve;
  • Quantify achievements: By quantifying achievements, you give context to your experiences and make them more believable. Rather than merely stating you improve program efficiency, point out that you increased productivity by 50% over six months. If your program affected 500 people across 20 states, be sure to point out those exact numbers.
  • Edit and proofread carefully: A spelling or grammar mistake could cause an HR manager to pass on your resume. Keep irrelevant details out of your resume and focus on skills, education, and experiences that are relevant to the job at hand.
  • Don’t include references unless the recruiter or job add asks explicitly for them. If you do need to include references, print them on a separate page and attach it to your resume.

Project Manager Resume Template

[FULL NAME.]
[Address.]
[Phone Number.]
[Professional Email Address.]
[Project portfolio, website, or relevant professional social media accounts.]

Introduction

[Introduce yourself and use an objective statement, summary statement, or offering statement to explain what you can bring to the company.]

Skills

  • Hard Skills (related to employer’s industry):
    • [Hard Skill #1.]
    • [Hard Skill #2.]
    • [Hard Skill #3.]
  • Soft Skills (related to project management):
    • [Soft Skill #1.]
    • [Soft Skill #2.]
    • [Soft Skill #3.]

Work Experience

[Company Name – Dates of employment.]
[Explain relevant experience. Use action verbs when possible.]

[Company Name – Dates of employment.]
[Explain relevant experience. Use action verbs when possible.]

[Company Name – Dates of employment.]
[Explain relevant experience. Use action verbs when possible.]

Education

[School Name – Dates attended.]
[Degree obtained]

[Relevant Certification – Date obtained.]

[Relevant Certification – Date obtained.]

References

[Reference Name — Relationship or Professional Title.]
[Reference contact information.]

[Reference Name — Relationship or Professional Title.]
[Reference contact information.]

[Reference Name — Relationship or Professional Title.]
[Reference contact information.]


Image Source: https://depositphotos.com/