How to Write a Project Manager Resume – Step-By-Step Guide
As a fully qualified project manager with years of experience, how do you separate yourself given the sheer volume of resumes a hiring manager / recruiter might see every week?
This Project Manager Resume guide will tell you everything you need to know, help you identify the skills, experience, and keywords to include and explain how to present them in the most appealing professional way to ultimately get you hired.
Why is an effective project management resume important?
Project management jobs are found in most industry sectors, IT, construction and engineering, to name but a few. Over the last five years, it has become the fastest-growing job type. The Project Management Institute’s Job Growth Report claims that an amazing 2,100,000 new project managers will be required across the United States by 2027.
Resume First Steps
Of course, the first step to any resume is to include your name and contact details. Ensure you are contactable by inserting both your phone number and email address, as well as a link to your LinkedIn profile if you have one.
Project Manager Resume Headline
Include a concise headline above your professional profile. This headline aims to give a quick, brief outline of your potential capabilities as a project manager. The headline should be no more than 12 / 15 words. The headline is aimed at being a powerful statement. It serves as the first piece of information that comes to the attention of the resume reader. When writing, the statement consider your key project management qualities and look to communicate these in your headline.
Here is an example:
“IT Project Manager with 10 years experience leading multi-million global projects”
“Results-oriented Project Manager possessing 20 years experience directing large scale projects.”
Set the right tone by writing an engaging, polished professional profile
A professional profile, also known as a personal statement, is an introduction to your resume, introducing you as a project management professional and informing the reader why you’re the best candidate for the job. This part of your resume is very much a sales pitch. It’s your chance to promote yourself and convince the hiring manager to take your application seriously.
Professional profiles need to be between 100 – 150 words in length and focused on your project management experiences, skills and knowledge. Examples could include drawing attention to your experience managing projects in multiple global locations or highlighting your knowledge of various project management methodologies like Agile or Waterfall. Have you managed project budgets over $1M? If so, use your professional profile to draw attention to these facts.
With the profile as per standard resume writing convention, do not use any pronouns. For example, instead of saying “I am a Project Manager specialising in construction projects”, say “Project Manager specialising in construction projects”.
Here is an example
An accomplished Agile and Prince2 accredited Project Manager with 15 plus years experience delivering multi-million-pound initiatives within the financial services sector. Confident in managing complete project lifecycles to achieve delivery within budget, on time and to agreed preset specifications. Recognised as an accomplished leader who can direct global teams whilst managing stakeholder expectations. Specialises in implementing large-scale process and regulatory change with minimal impact on day-to-day operations
Result-orientated Project Manager with 5 years of proven experience across complex engineering projects, including developing, implementing and supporting complex technical infrastructures. Detail-oriented and able to quickly adapt to changing project requirements to identify approaches, deliverables, schedules, and tools to ensure delivery of projects within established constraints.
Project Management Key Skills
The next step is to add your key skills and areas of expertise. This section enables a recruiter to quickly see at a glance whether you possess the Project Manager skills they’re after. By placing the key skills section under the profile, you can include more keywords at an early stage, thereby improving your chances of being picked up by an (ATS Applicant Tracking System).
There are several specific areas of expertise that could prove valuable to different employers. For example, certain employers may require project managers with experience in particular project management methodologies. It is essential to ensure that your CV is tailored somewhat to each specific position you are applying for.
The skills often expected of project managers can include communication, change management, business transformation, risk management, stakeholder management, project planning, governance, scheduling, forecasting and expertise with project documentation. Software skills can include Jira, Microsoft Project, Team, Excel, Hive, Zoom.
Other areas of expertise that may be relevant include specific project management methodologies, such as Agile, SCRUM or Waterfall. Ensure your skills section shows knowledge of the different principles, frameworks and processes used to provide structure to project delivery.
While it is important to bring attention to your key skills, don’t make the mistake of adding too many. The skills section should not be exhaustive. Stuffing your skills section with numerous skills results in the most critical ones being challenging to locate. Ideally, you should select the ten most important skills relevant to the position you are applying for.
Project Manager Achievements
Listing achievements on your resume is what separates the top project managers applications from the rest. Most applicants only list their responsibilities and daily-to-tasks. A hiring manager generally knows what responsibilities you have as a project manager. They not only want to see what you did but what you achieved. Mention your achievements in the following sections on your resume, work history, professional profile and even under specific projects you have mentioned.
Below are some examples.
- Led the digital transformation project, adopting software to assist with streamlining marketing, and PR duties across the business.
- Implemented Six Sigma and Lean Training for all personnel. Reduced costs 18% within 5 months through employee idea collection and implementation
- Switched all company employees to a new scheduling system, improving cost management payroll savings of 15%.
- Over the past 3 years, successfully completed 6 projects from inception to completion, generating more than $900,000 in additional revenue.
- Worked as a single point of contact for over 15 primary project stakeholder clients managing all their requests and questions within set timeframes.
Project Manager Qualifications / Certifications on Resume
The positioning of this section is generally recommended at the end of the CV, as experience is generally more critical. However, qualifications like ITIL, P2P and PMP can be very desirable/relevant and can therefore be positioned above the experience section.
Don’t just list degree-level qualifications on the CV. Include all courses and qualifications relevant to project management. Prince2 (P2P), ITIL, PMP and Agile accreditations are very desirable, but if applicable, include internal courses as well.
When listing, include the level of the course – degree, diploma, certificate, the title of the course and the year you completed it. Include the name of the university as well for any degree-level or higher qualifications.
Project Management career / work history
This is the section where you detail your employment and describe your project activities and achievements. When early into your career, include any project management experience you have, whether from university projects or previous roles that aren’t explicitly project management. If you’ve been working in project management for some time, there’s no obligation to include everything. Just include a brief overview of the project and outline your primary responsibilities in four to five bullet points.
Try to write about responsibilities that showcase your value as a project manager and ensure you come across as an achiever.
“Reduced site incidents by 29% by implementing safety workshops for all construction teams”.
“Managed all phases of the design and construction process on 6 major international projects, delivering them 12% under budget”.
The first example describes the project manager’s focus on health & safety while highlighting an achievement, providing tangible evidence of their proficiency in this area. Also, notice the use of numbers in this description. Figures, facts and statistics significantly improve the effectiveness of a project management CV.
The numbers stand out on the page and offer an even more robust form of evidence to back up the points you are making. Some recruiters may even ignore achievements if they are not quantified. Numbers, data and statistics are even more beneficial for project manager CVs than CVs in many other professions. The project manager’s ultimate goal is to deliver projects to high standards and within time parameters and requirements. What is a better way to show off your ability to do this than by using numbers?
Unless relevant to the job you are applying for, it is only necessary to detail your career’s last 10 / 15 years. A separate section with a simple job title, employer name and dates is significant for anything else. This is because your most recent experience is likely to be your most relevant and your most high-level, so that’s where you want the reader to focus.
Include an additional information section
One of the last steps involves providing any other relevant information that you haven’t already included, such as language skills, driving licences and security clearances. Should you be a member of any project management associations or organisations related to this, highlight them here.
Relevant awards and personal achievements could also be added to this section.
Software proficiency is one of the essential bits of additional information to include. If you’re adept with any project management software packages, detail them here. Again these can help get picked up by any ATS (applicant tracking system) reviewing your resume.
Do not feel the need to include names and contact details for your referees. Should you wish to add something, all that’s needed is a line stating “References available on request”.
Extra Project Management Resume Tips
We have provided some bonus resume Writing tips to ensure your CV makes an even stronger impact.
Job Title – Project Manager
Include you the job title applying for or at least “Project Manager” at the start of your resume. Doing so will help ensure that the ATS / HR department can quickly identify you as a project management professional and categorise your resume accordingly. To further help ensure the text used for this is slightly larger than the body text and bolded so that your CV stands out.
Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) technology plays a significant part in the modern job market. Many HR / companies use ATS systems to scan and filter resumes. The systems then rank candidate resumes based on keywords / phrases related to skills, company names, years of experience, and universities/schools. As such, it’s essential to ensure your resume is prepared with ATS requirements in mind and contains the necessary keywords to ensure your resumes safe passage through the system. Relevant keywords would be project management, project implementation, project delivery, risk management, quality control and stakeholder management.
It is vital not just to fill your resume with keywords. This makes the writing seem unnatural, and it won’t help your application when being read by a human once through the ATS system. Instead, identify the phrases and keywords you need to include and ensure they come across naturally. Where possible, always construct your resume in Microsoft Word as it’s fully compatible with ATS’s. Specific files formats like PDF’s can be difficult for an ATS to read, so always send the resume in a word file format.
The common misconception is that a resume should be a maximum of two pages. If necessary, three pages is also absolutely fine to encapsulate relevant information to your application. However, experienced you are three pages is enough to communicate your experience. Any longer and you will potentially lose the readers interest. Font size should not be as small as possible and avoid wordy text par paragraphs; instead, use bullet points and short, concise sentences.
Resume Interests / Hobbies
Don’t feel obliged to include a hobby or interest section by default into your CV. Should you choose to have something, make sure, it’s of interest and ideally a topic of conversation for the interview. Don’t include anything if you are going to say “socialising with friends, travelling and watching films” – that’s a little generic. If you do have an exciting hobby or pastime, including it shows there’s more to you than other candidates. You might get lucky and have the same interests as the people interviewing you.
With formatting your resume, ensure all of the sections are uniform and consistent. Should you decide to use 13 pt. size for the professional profile’s section heading, use the same size on all the resume section headings. Always use a text font that is easy to read and professional, such as Calibri, Times New Roman or Arial. Do not use more than a couple of fonts across the whole CV, and keep the general text font size between 10 and 12. Using a font size smaller than 10 will prove challenging to read, and any larger than 12 looks unprofessional.
As mentioned previously, you should always include a link to your LinkedIn profile at the top of your resume alongside your contact details, email, etc. LinkedIn remains the most effective tool for professionals, with large numbers of recruiters and even more so now HR professionals utilising the platform to recruit new talent directly. Optimise your LinkedIn Profile and very much treat it as your online resume. LinkedIn is an excellent tool for project managers offering the opportunity to highlight specific projects on your profile.
Your LinkedIn profile may have an enticing headline and summary but adding some projects will provide great value by showcasing your ability to excel as a project manager. To add a project to your LinkedIn profile, click the ‘Me’ icon and then click ‘View Profile’. Select ‘Accomplishments’ from the ‘Add Profile’ section on the right before clicking the ‘Add’ icon next to ‘Projects’. Then provide some engaging information about two or three of your key projects. Ensure these details show how you achieved success in project management.
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