When you go hunting for your next Product Manager job (and it may be sooner than later), will your resume be up to the job? Come to think of it, when was the last time you dusted off and updated your resume? Do you still have that quaint “objective statement” or “career goal” hanging out at the top? If so, you may be in for a shock – that’s not going to be the best use of resume real estate when it’s being reviewed on the hiring manager’s Blackberry…
The Need For A New Resume
Parting is such sweet sorrow… or so the classic line goes. Look, when did you first create your product manager resume? Awhile ago? Even if it was only a couple of years ago, the world has changed dramatically since then and it’s time that you (and your resume) kept up with it. It’s time to say goodbye to your old style resume.
About that “objective statement” up at the top – ditch it. The next company that will be hiring you really doesn’t care about what you are looking for. Instead, they are facing pain right now and they are looking for someone whom they can hire to come in and make that pain go away. That’s what really matters.
This means that we’re going to have to make some changes to your current resume. Prepare to get out the sharp knife.
How long is too long? How long is too short? This rule of thumb has not changed even in the 21st Century – a resume should be two pages max. In fact, it’s really only the first 25% that you can count on a hiring manager reading so that’s where you’ve got to really shine.
If you’ve had some amazing product management experiences that you think would really help your case, then feel free to include them – as an addendum. This extra stuff can be anywhere from 4-12 pages long; however, remember that there is no guarantee that anyone is going to read it.
Are you the world’s best Cobol / Fortran / Java programmer? Drop it. Look, you’re going for a product management job and it’s really your leadership and project management skills that are going to get you the job – not your programming chops. Use your limited resume real estate to explain how your product management skills have made your past products successful.
Skip The History Lesson
A resume is designed to tell your next employer about how you’ll perform in the workplace. This means that pretty much anything that does not have to do with the workplace should be dropped. This list will include civic accomplishments, professional associations that you belong to, charity work, etc. Use the freed up space to provide more details about your most recent job and how it relates to the job that you are applying for.
Say No To Descriptions, Yes To Accomplishments
I must confess that this has been a mistake that I’ve made in the past and I found it hard to stop doing it. Instead of providing your work biography by listing every single job you’ve ever had, use the space instead to list your accomplishments. Ultimately this is what your future employer really cares about. Don’t worry about all of those “title only” promotions that you’ve gotten over the years, instead just focus on the products that you’ve managed and the challenges that you’ve mastered.
What All Of This Means For You
Everyone has a resume. However, not everyone has a resume that will work for them. In this day and age of everyone having too much to do and too little time to do it in, you’re going to need to shape your resume to be scanned quickly on your future boss’ Blackberry as he/she dashes off to their next meeting.
What this means is that you’re going to have to cut to the bone and get rid of everything that doesn’t pertain to how you would do in your next position. Detailing what you’ve accomplished in your most recent product management positions is what that Blackberry scanning hiring manager is going to be looking for.
Take the time to craft a new resume that is tailored to read quickly in digital form and you’ll be one step ahead of everyone else who is applying for the same job. If you make it easy for them to see why you are the perfect fit for the job, then you’ve just shown them why you’re the product manager that they need to hire…
Question For You: If a hiring manager is only going to scan the first half of the first page of your resume, what do you think that you need to put there in order to land the job?
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