How To Write a Project Manager Resume That’s as Organized as You Are
As a project manager, your number one priority is making sure every job gets done. Right now, the job before you is writing a killer project manager resume that stands out from the stack.
If you're inbox-zero organized and painfully punctual, then you already know you're the perfect fit for a career in project management. But now, you need to convince the hiring manager. You need to show them you can prioritize, manage, budget, and deliver as well as you claim. This means writing a project manager resume that is the reincarnate of the concise, organized, and detail-oriented human you know yourself to be.
Below, we tell you exactly what to write on your project manager resume, which template to choose, and which bullet points to include to land an interview.
How To Write a Compelling Project Manager Resume
The hiring manager is the gatekeeper to your dream position. They need to know you can complete a project on time and on budget. As you begin typing, keep these three resume objectives in mind:
1. Focus on the Numbers
Any interviewee can speak to their project management skills. A recruiter wants to see hard evidence that it's true.
Provide numbers throughout your resume. Numbers can pertain to the size of the team you managed, budget you oversaw, or timeline you stuck to.
Keep each bullet point in your resume results-oriented. Here are some examples:
- For a construction project manager: Launched six new restaurants in the tristate area in 18 months, coming in 5.6% under budget
- For a brand manager or creative director: Managed a project team of 12 designers, launching three new client websites within a nine-month timespan
- For a business development manager: Reconstructed sales territories from a team of eight into a team of 12, reconfiguring Salesforce.com to reflect the expansion.
2. Sell Your Projects, Not Your Position
You don't need to have the words "project manager" in your job title to know how to execute a plan. Focus your resume writing on the successful projects you oversaw, even if “project manager” wasn't part of your former job description.
Every bullet on your resume should focus on breaking down large, complex problems into actionable steps. Focus on team members, timelines, and project plans, and don't waste space discussing your promotions or how you rose through the ranks.
- If you worked in sales: Share how you designed your business development plan for the year, broken out into quarterly goals.
- If you worked in client service: Discuss your procedures for escalating client problems on a swift timeline, leading to higher client satisfaction.
- If you worked as a technical project manager: Describe how you were the liaison between engineering and marketing, leading to a new feature launch.
3. Don't Forget To Share Your Soft Skills
Throughout a project lifecycle, you will be the liaison between internal teams and the client. A hiring manager wants to know you can communicate effectively, handle case management, and elevate client deliverables through constructive feedback.
When describing your soft skills, avoid generic terms. Writing common sayings like, "was a great team player" or "an effective listener," does little to describe your work experience. Instead, think of your soft skills in terms of processes and procedures, or how you made a team work more effectively.
Here are a few resume sample bullets to include:
- To display effective client communication: Created a five-step SOP process for escalating client concerns, leading to a 20% increase in client retention.
- To show your collaborative side: Instated bi-weekly all-hand meetings to help the team through C-suite change management.
- To prove you care about people: Mapped out a client lifestyle plan, including a budget for anniversaries and other celebrations.
Project Manager Resume Format
All resumes should be clean, concise, and error-free, but this holds especially true for project managers. If you don't appear organized and detail-oriented on paper, a hiring manager won't trust you to organize their team.
Choosing a Resume Template
Make your resume look sleek and clean, using a reverse chronological template. Begin with a short summary of your professional experience at the top, followed by your actual work experience from most-to-least recent. If you're a recent graduate, stick to a one-page template.
If you have decades of experience or are applying for a senior project manager position, you can use two pages. Just ensure your writing is succinct, and not taking up space just to appear impressive.
Keep your resume free from heavy borders, colors, or illustrations. A subtle watermark or logo in the top left corner can add a nice touch, as long as it doesn't interfere with the text.
Sections Within a Project Manager Resume
Your resume will cover your contact information, a brief summary, work experience, skills, and education. As you write, remember the three objectives discussed above: Plug in numbers, focus on projects, and discuss hard and soft skills.
1. Contact Information
List the following basic information at the top of the page:
- First and last name
- Most recent job title
- City and state (no need to include your full address)
- Phone number
If you have a website or portfolio, you can include a link. However, this would be a rare addition for a project manager resume.
2. Resume Summary
Every sentence in your resume matters — particularly at the top.
Don't try to ease the reader into your first paragraph. Make your first, and only point that you are organized and thorough, and you — and only you — would be the perfect fit for this role. For example:
"Experienced project management professional with six years of experience managing experience design, branding, and website redesign projects for trade associations. Detail oriented and able to facilitate clear communication between creative, account management, technology, and executive teams."
3. Work Experience
Within a project management resume, the work experience section is most important. Here, you show the hiring manager you can see project progress through completion.
Companies depend on project managers to cut down on response times to clients, prioritize deliverables, break down barriers between departments, and oversee process improvement. Weave these items throughout each role you describe, touching on project budgets, timelines, procedures (SOPs), and people (both client and team management) throughout your experience.
Here is an example for each of those four buckets:
- Project budgets: Managed a $125,000 annual budget for the creative team
- Project timelines: Oversaw the expansion of three new cycle studios, each launching before the scheduled grand opening
- Process and procedures: Implemented an SOP for risk management for a 250 person team
- People management: Negotiated 13 pieces of new client business, leading to 1.3M in revenue
Keep your education section brief. List the school(s) you attended and your degree(s) you received.
"Drake University, Bachelor of Business, Marketing and Finance | Sep, 2007 - May, 2011"
In your skills section, focus on your hard skills, such as software you know how to use. Leave off any soft skills — such as communication or time management — as those were already weaved in throughout your work experience bullet points.
When applying for a project manager job, you can also use this section to list any certifications. If you received your PMP, CAPM, PgMP, or Disciplined Agile certification from the PMI (Project Management Institute), list them here. You can also change the heading to read, "Skills and Certifications."
Using the Standard Resume builder, you'll list your skills side by side, rather than through bullets. Consider listing the following items:
"PMP certified, Adobe Creative Suite, MS Office, Asana, Trello, Salesforce CRM"
Design the Perfect Resume to Make Yourself Stand Out
A project manager often gets coined as the most organized person in the room. But beneath those spreadsheets and Asana tasks hides an edge of creativity.
The best project managers think outside the box. They solve problems through strategies and procedures no one at the company considered. To show off your innovative side, don't imitate any boring project manager resume example you saw online.
Instead, use a polished, modern resume template from our online resume builder. Using one of our sleekly designed project manager resume templates, you increase your chances of landing an in-person interview in your job search.