Product Manager Resume Creation: Back To The Future?

Your Resume Should Do More Looking Forward Then Looking Backwards…
Your Resume Should Do More Looking Forward Then Looking Backwards…

It is the time of year that a product manager’s thoughts turn to … searching for a new job? During the global recession, things were so bad for so long that most product managers were just trying to hold on to the jobs that they already had. Now that things appear to be slowly getting better, the calls from the recruiters are starting to ring once again. Will you be ready when you get a call?

It’s All About Your Resume

Sure, sure – we live in the all-digital 21st Century where the old ways of getting your next job are long gone and now candidates are automatically selected by computers that spend their days trolling Facebook and LinkedIn. Well, not quite.

It turns out that how you present your product manager experience in a resume still matters because eventually once you get past the robots, real live humans read the things. How you go about structuring your resume can have a significant impact on how well it works for you (or doesn’t).

Perhaps we should spend a moment or two talking about how to create a resume that will do the job for you.

Which Way Should Your Resume Be Looking?

Phyllis Korkki over at the New York Times has done some digging into just what makes a resume work and she’s come up with some interesting findings. The first thing that all product managers should realize is that a resume is first and foremost a way to market yourself – it’s your very own personal product brochure.

That being said, what your resume should really be doing is telling the reader what you are capable of doing in the future – not focusing on what you’ve done in the past. This means that you should take the time to figure out what kind of job you want to have in the future, and then make sure that your resume focuses on those jobs & skills that have prepared you for the future job that you want.

Here’s an important point: your resume is not designed to be your personal work autobiography. What this means is that you really don’t have to list every job that you’ve ever had. In fact, anything that is over 15 years old should get very little space or perhaps should be dropped all together…

It’s your most recent jobs that will count the most when you are searching for your next job. This means that you are going to want to quantify what you’ve been able to accomplish in those jobs as much as possible – this is a good way to use your precious resume real estate.

Make It Easy To Hire You

I’m always amazed at how often I see product manager’s resumes that make me work to find the answers to my questions. When you are submitting a resume for a specific job, be sure to customize it so that it contains key words that have to do with that job as well as inserting some terms from the job description that were used to define the job. This makes it easier for the reader to understand how your experience relates to the job that they are trying to fill.

What All Of This Means For You

In order to land your next job, there are a lot of things that have to go just right. You need to discover that someone has a product manager opening, you’ve got to look good to them both on paper and in person, and they need to end up picking you. Can this happen – yes. However, your resume can be a key tool for making it happen quicker than later.

You’ve got to make sure that your product manager resume is saying the right things: focus on telling the story about how your past jobs have prepared you for the job that you are now looking for. Although we are often proud of all of the jobs that we’ve had, it’s not necessary to list them all on your resume, especially if they happened a long time ago.

Resumes still do count even in this day and age. Product managers who take the time to create a resume that does a good job of marketing what they have to offer will be able to find their next job faster than everyone else.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Product Management Help

Question For You: Do you think that making your resume fit on just one page is still necessary or can you go to 2 or even 3 pages?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

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?