How to Write a Good Product Manager Resume

One thing everybody hates about job hunting is writing and revamping your resume. Why? Because if you were given a shot you could very possibly DO the job. Now, you just have to highlight that fact on paper in the form of a resume.

If you’re a fan of the path to least resistance like myself, then I need to tell you that a good resume is not about you; it’s about the reader. From here on out I want you to think in terms of end-user experience and think of your resume like a Product.

  1. Resume Format and Layout
    1. Template
    2. Font
    3. Structure
  2. Content and Optimization
  3. Narrative and Branding

PRODUCT MANAGER RESUME FORMAT AND LAYOUT

TEMPLATE

The first thing you can do to breathe some life into your resume is moved it to a different template. I recommend that you visit your local Barnes and Noble and go directly to the Career section for inspiration. The challenge that you will face trying to find a template on Google is that there will be way too many resumes for you to sort from. A resume book that was published and lying in Barnes and Noble will have more than enough ideas for you to choose from.

Please note here, do not choose resumes with frames on them. Those are the worst. Let’s not torture the person that has to read it now, okay?

Choose 5 or 10 that you really like, search for them specifically on Google, and narrow down the one you like the most. You can look them up by the name that was written on the resume and search for a soft copy. The publisher more often than not may also have a templatesomewhere on their website.

FONT

Even if you don’t like the template, envision it with a different font. Imagine you flip homes as a hobby, only with your resume you just need to change the font. One font in particular that I have discovered recently is Comfortaa (I love this font) that is really clean to me. Stay away from Times New Roman. This is 2018 and you are not Peter Parker responding to a position from the classifieds section of the New York Times. Calibri is nice, but it been overused so many times. Be unique and think of your branding here. Something very small like changing your font can really add some color for the person that’s sorting and sifting through hundreds of resumes. Let’s do the right thing and make an impression on them right from the start.

STRUCTURE

When it comes to structure, please do yourself a favor and remove your biography and summary up top. Chances are it’s not very good and even if it was, nobody will read it. Hiring Managers are interested in getting to the heart of the information FASTER.

Good Example:

Yes, it looks a little boring, but there are many things we can do to spice this up. Right below your email, you should place your LinkedIn profile URL. The standard mode of operation for any recruiter that is looking at your resume is if they see what they like; they will look you up on LinkedIn. Why make it harder for them to find you?

Bad Examples:

The above resumes are a sure way to get your resume tossed in the shredder. But why? They look pretty good? Am I not supposed to differentiate myself from the competition? Of course! But let’s go back and consider user experience because the person reading your resume is sorting through 500 resumes a day. That’s no joke! Don’t believe us? PERFECT!!!

Post your own Product Manager job on indeed and LinkedIn and wait for your phone to light up like a Christmas Tree. Honest! Do it. We know this because we pay attention to every detail here when it comes to getting the Product Manager job of your dreams.

After speaking to more than 200 internal and external technical recruiters that conduct hiring for the leading technology companies across both coasts, we know their eyes only roll one way.

Its starts off on top and center then they scroll all the way to the left and work down. Which is why it is important to have your resumeresemble a good example. Don’t believe us again? Well now that you have posted for your position on indeed and LinkedIn; SORT ALL THE RESUMES THAT COME IN. See how many resumes you can get through and notice how your eyes naturally scroll. What are you looking for first?

CONTENT AND OPTIMIZATION

Content is the bullets you have in your resume and they must be optimized to POP. There should never be more than 4 to 5 bullets per position and they should contain very broad wording. You want to sell your Product Management expertise either with hard skills or soft. For those of you reading this from a non-technical background DO NOT FEEL DISCOURAGED. There are plenty of Product Managers out there that do not code and are killing it on the job. Think about optimizing a website; your resume is no different.

 

HARD SKILLS BULLET EXAMPLES

When it comes to Hard Skills think about things you do with your hands or things you physically go out and hustle to GET DONE.

  • Managed mobile product development in a fast-paced, Agile environment, working closely with developers and stakeholders to ensure successful product and feature launches
  • Prioritized backlog with ready-to-go feature requirements so that developers are never blocked
  • Guided product priorities, product plans, and overall product strategy
  • Worked with sales and marketing to understand market potential and competitive landscape
  • Captured customer needsproduct scenarios, user stories, and stakeholder feedback to create new and improve existing products
  • Created and worked with design resources to create wireframes and design comps in order to guide engineering efforts

Hard Skill Bullets are easily quantifiable.

SOFT SKILL BULLET EXAMPLES

When it comes to Soft Skills, these are bullets that exemplify your skills as a leader and/or communicator such as your ability tocollaborate. Collaboration is used a lot!

  • Identify operational and support requirements and facilitate their implementation
  • Communicate with other cross-functional areas, sharing product plans, identifying possible issues and concerns, and collaborating to address them
  • Facilitate and support product training and launches
  • Contribute to broader technology strategy; give feedback to technical teams building products on top of the infrastructure
  • Discussed the architecture/technical decisions made in the squad
  • Interface with the rest of the technology organization to understand opportunities, requirements, and priorities to ensure the right focus of the team

Soft Skill Bullets are not easily quantifiable hence the verbs like identified, communicated, facilitated, contributed, discussed, etc.

The art here is how you present this information. There should never be more than 4 to 5 bullets per position. If you got promoted to another position (i.e. Product Manager to Senior Product) add that as a totally separate position. Even if you were doing the exact same responsibilities, chances are there are more than 10 bullets you can use to define your scope of work. Give each position a good ratio of 2:1 or 3:1 there should be at least 2 to 3 hard bullets for every soft bullet you list. If you are coming from a non-technical background (i.e. finance, management consulting, sales, etc…) soft skills are the king for you. That’s the only space you can dominate because stakeholder management is probably something you do very well at this point.

SCALABILITY

Anybody that says you need to customize your resume for every position you apply to is an idiot and clearly did not face the challenges you do in making the transition.

If you can’t achieve scale with your resume, you are f***ed. Why?

Here’s why: no matter how much you love that company, how much you think you are perfect for the role or think you have a shot simply because you know somebody that works there; you are not the only one applying.

You do not know if they are actually reading your resume.   Additionally, You have no clue as to the urgency of the position and whether or not they intend to fill the vacancy. They do not owe you a response. They may never read your resume.

One of the biggest mistakes candidates make is cherry picking. Let’s face it, that strategy has led you nowhere. Let’s have a minute of clarity here, are you seriously thinking you’re the only person that wants to work at Spotify or any other household name in 2018? That’s not realistic. You need to get your resume out to as many people as possible ASAP.

NARRATIVE

What is your origin story?

Every great empire in the world has some sort of origin story that helped legitimize their rule over the common folk. What is yours?

There are no Product Management Bachelor Degrees out there. It is highly unlikely somebody started doing Product Management right out of school. So, how did you come to be? This is just as important if you are already a Product Manager or an aspiring one. Whether you are selling the truth or otherwise this is where fluff is encouraged. Why? Because your reader sorts over 500 resumes a day. Did you take a rough headcount the last time you visited a Product Management meetup? That’s right! You are not the only person trying to make this transition, so spice things up!

New York is one of those cities where people stay after they graduate. On top of that if you haven’t realized that the cream of the crop and the best of the best in this country compete here, then you might have bigger problems than trying to make this transition. If you graduated from NYU or Columbia expect to compete with these boys and girls. If you are coming out of Finance or Banking; KNOW you are competing against many of your colleagues for this very coveted role. There’s no hiding from that fact.

You have to do this. This is your brand right here. This is what makes you more awesome, unique, or different from all the other people that are literally gunning for the same job you want so dearly.

Unfortunately, it’s also the part you have to have specialized training to do. In particular, because everyone is so different; a consultation is definitely required. Come schedule a call to get a second opinion on how you can improve your narrative and we would love to help you outmanoeuvre your competition.

Please schedule a call today or RSVP for our next event to see how Product Gym can help you land your next Product Manager job.

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