Small Business Consultant and Career Mentor
After the 1st wave of the digital revolution in the early 2000’s, B2B Product Managers emerged. They were largely responsible for managing the entire product lifecycle, from conception to launch as digital disruption caused companies to move into the e-commerce and platform economy.
As another wave of the digital revolution is upon us, we can see that today’s digital world is very different than it was 2 years ago. Not only has Covid forced businesses into the rapid adoption of technological innovation, but there has also been a lot of changes in consumer behavior. These changes are encouraging companies to stay at the top of their game. To do this, they need to continuously take an active role in understanding how technology can help their business, while also maintaining excellent marketing skillsets. And this is where the product manager comes in.
The product managers are responsible for using technology and data to assess the needs of the consumers, and create a plan to address those needs through the company’s products. To land a job as a product manager, the product manager resume is the most important document. It is the one document that will make or break your chances at an interview with a prospective employer.
Ultimately, the product manager resume should be a concise summary of a person’s experience, skills, and accomplishments in relation to their career goals. In this article, we’ll walk you through how to make sure your resume is up to par and highlight some of the best tips and tricks for getting your foot in the door.
Career Paths in Product Management
Product management is a field that has grown in complexity and responsibility in the past years, so it’s no surprise that the number of career paths are also multiplying.
To simplify, there are 4 major types of product managers: strategy, marketing, business development, and product.
- Strategy Product Managers are responsible for making sure all aspects of a product are in alignment. They must work with finance teams to ensure that products can be released in an efficient way.
- Marketing Product Managers focus on customer acquisition and retention through digital advertising campaigns across multiple channels.
- Business Development Product Management focuses on revenue generation through various partnerships and developing new products for existing clients.
- Product Manager is the most well-known type of product management because they do not specialize in any one area. Instead, they have to take care of every aspect of phases in the product development cycle.
Because it is a broad and varied role, product managers can come from a variety of educational and career backgrounds. So, don’t exclude yourself just yet.
Step 1: The Brainstorming Phase
If you know the typical role of a product manager as well as what companies are looking for (usually listed in the job description), then it will help you find the best attributes to highlight. The following are some general guidelines to follow when drafting your best product manager resume.
First: Take some time to reflect on yourself and the previous jobs you have worked. Brainstorm on different skills, accomplishments, and experiences. From this, write down a list of achievements, notable projects, and the outcomes. You can also include a hefty list of skills you developed in the process.
Then: Take a look at the role of a product manager as well as some job descriptions from jobs that you are interested in applying to. Highlight the day-to-day tasks, skills, and projects that are listed in the descriptions. If you decide that you would like to move forward with applying to that job, then…..
Last: You will need to compare and contrast your skillset and achievements to the tasks and skills in the job description. Not only does this help you identify if you are a good fit for the job, but it also helps with drafting some useful content for your product manager resume.
Additional Things to Consider When Brainstorming
Other personal things to consider when brainstorming for content to go in your product management resume are:
- The types of projects you have been a part of and how it relates to the role or company you are applying to
- How to showcase your strengths
- Ways you can show creativity and initiative
- Your understanding of how a company functions and how important your role in the company is
What Makes a Successful Product Manager
While in the brainstorming phase, the last question you will have to answer is “what makes a product manager successful?” Though the answer to this can be dependent on the company, there are a few commonalities that most employers would agree on.
According to Harvard Business Review, factors that make a successful product manager are the presence of core competencies, emotional intelligence, and company fit. While most know what emotional intelligence is and core competencies are easy to track down based on the job description, company fit can be something that isn’t so clear. When deciding company fit, you should consider factors such as:
- The stage the company is in – Is it a start-up or an established Fortune 500 company?
- The morals and values the company holds – Would you be supportive of a company who addresses social issues that you don’t support?
- What partnerships or relationships would you have to maintain – What if the company is partnering with a company that holds a bad reputation but the relationship is needed to maintain operations?
As you write your resume, your job will be to address these points and communicate your potential for success.
Step 2 – Create a Product Manager Resume Template
Now that you have brainstormed some worthy content, it is time to create a template. As you know, most jobs are unique. They will have different requirements, which will cause you to tailor your resume for each job. When you have a template, it makes adjusting your resume that much easier.
What Your Product Management Resume Should Look Like
A product management resume is usually a one- to two-page document with four main sections. Sometimes there are also additional section.
- Resume summary: This section is an introduction to your resume that summarizes who you are, what experiences and skills you have, and how you plan to use those to address company needs.
- Professional experience: This section should include all job experience in the last 10 years.
- Education: This section includes any degrees, certificate programs, or other postsecondary credentials such as coursework.
- Skills: This section lists the hard and soft skills you have developed.
- Additional qualifications: This section highlights any additional qualifications that are relevant to the job at hand.
When formatting your template, you will want to use a template that is clean, neat, and professional. Below are some common resume layouts. The one you choose to use will be dependent on where you are in your career.
- Chronological – Lists professional experience from newest to oldest. This layout is good for people who have extensive work experience.
- Functional – Showcases relevant skills and downplays other experience. This layout is good for recent graduates or people changing career fields.
- Hybrid – Combines both formats. This format is good for someone who is reentering the workforce, has work gaps, or are switching industries.
Other basic formatting rules you should aim to follow are:
- Using big and small headings to organize information
- Use a standard font and font size
- Don’t forget to space everything out
- Keep as much white space as possible
Step 3: Putting it all Together
Now that you have the outline and the content, it is time to put it all together.
Using Action Verbs
The first thing to remember when putting it all together is use of action verbs. Your job is not to just put information in the template. If that was the case, everybody could do it. Your job is to sell yourself using the template. The best way to do that is to transform your writing by using enticing action verbs.
The use of action verbs in a resume stands out to recruiters. Action words in a resume can make a big difference in getting noticed. When you have words, such as “construct,” “Integrate,” and “harmonize”, it can help make a great impression on recruiters. It shows you’re confident, you can make a difference, and it makes the accomplishments you have seem more valuable.
These action verbs are most beneficial in the Resume Summary and the Professional Experience section.
Product Manager Resume Summary
The resume summary is the first glimpse hiring managers will have into who are you are as an employer. The first key to making it engaging and captivating is to be concise. The summary of the work experience section for product managers is typically shorter than other sections. Only a few lines are enough to show what is needed.
The second key is showing significant accomplishments and awards. While you may be a very accomplished individual, showing accomplishments and awards that are relevant to what the company needs will make you stand out more than other people that are applying.
If you are writing a summary for an entry-level position, then it can be hard to pinpoint accomplishments that are in line with what the company needs. Instead, you can list what you are knowledgeable about and the skillsets that accompany that knowledge. In the end, it should be as relevant to the position as possible.
Here are some examples to work from.
Resume summary for Experienced Product Manager:
Compassionate and Analytical Product Manager with 8 years experience for both product planning and product marketing at USAA. Managing the product throughout the Product Lifecycle, gathering and prioritizing product and customer requirements, defining the product vision, and working closely with engineering, to deliver winning products.
Entry Level Product Manager Resume Summaries:
A successful Product Manager with proven knowledge in designing, developing, and managing products for large corporations. Skilled in leading business models, building innovative products, and collaborating cross-functionally to achieve company goals.
Successfully increased sales by 15% through increased traffic to existing channels as well as various strategic partnerships with large companies such as Google, Inc., Microsoft Corporation, IBM Corporation, AT&T Corporation and Verizon Communications. Successfully lead new initiatives such as expansion into new markets and inflection point strategies.
The Skills Section
This section goes back to the brainstorming you did earlier. One of your tasks was to write down all the skills you developed in previous experience as well as skills the job description mentions. When you see matches, that is your cue to slap it on your resume. Not only will this help you bypass the ATS, but it will make you look more impressive to the hiring manager.
While using this method is beneficial, it is also important to showcase other relevant skills that may not be mentioned. So, other important product management skills include:
- Emotional intelligence
- Critical thinking and analytical skills
- Time Management
- Web Development understanding
- Writing technical specs
- Conducting market research
- UX/UI best practices
When writing the professional experience section in a product management resume, it is important to remember to only use previous work experience that is relevant to the job title. That means working as a cashier in college or a barista in your spare time won’t look good, and it will take up space.
Not all relevant jobs use “product manager” as the job title. Some jobs titles are different, which can sometimes make it difficult to decide what to put on the resume. So here are some questions to decide if the job title is relevant or not.
- Are the day-to-day tasks similar?
- Will you be working on similar projects?
- Do you collaborate with the same departments as in the previous job?
- Are the skills needed the same as the skills you developed in your last job?
Another way to figure out if your previous job is relevant is just by learning relevant job titles to “product manager”. Examples are:
- Product Owner
- Management Specialist
- Product Development
- Portfolio Manager
- Product Strategist
Most product management positions require at least a Bachelor’s degree, while a Master’s degree could make you a better candidate. The way you list your education on your resume is conditional – based on experience and education.
- are a recent graduate, then list all of your education after high school, including Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD, and certifications.
- have extensive work history, then only list your highest degree.
- are changing career fields, then list all of you education if that education is relevant to field you are entering.
Product Management Resume Sample
Name Address Phone Number Media Link Quality-driven Product Manager with 7-year background. Spearheaded product development and enhancement to maximize sales success. Talented coordinator, problem-solver and team leader with proven expertise in roadmapping effective plans. Conceptualize, test and improve strategies to attain targets with cost-effective approaches. Improved Production 18%-Increased conversion rate 32%
EDUCATION AND CERTIFICATIONS Arizona State Bachelor's of Science- Industrial Management 2013-2017 Google Certificates Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) 2016-2017 SKILLS
Step 4- The Cover Letter
Your cover letter is the final part of creating a job application that works in your favor. In fact, not writing a cover letter could do more harm than good. So make sure you include a cover letter that briefly summarizes the most important parts of your resume as well as introduces something about yourself that your resume doesn’t cover.
In short, the format for your cover letter should be:
- An introduction – Introduce yourself and how you found the job.
- The body – In one-two short paragraphs, talk about why you want the job and what qualifies you for the position.
- A call to action – Reiterate why you are the perfect candidate. Also state the best ways to contact you and ask for the next steps in the hiring process.
As you can see, product management is a complex, versatile field that requires many skillsets. It has become an increasingly popular field in recent years; therefore, managing a product can require a detailed, experienced employee on the frontline.
So, whether you are an intern or looking for a new job, your resume will be one of the first things to get your foot in the door. The tips listed above will help put you on the right track. Good luck!