As a product manager, you should know all about products—how to brand them, package them, and sell them. Your resume is a product too. It should represent your brand be presented in an appealing way. Most importantly, it should sell you.
This guide will show you how to create an exemplary product management resume. If you follow our job-search advice, your resume will sail through an applicant tracking system filter and tell your career story. You will learn what format to use to draw the recruiter’s attention, what sections to include, and how to present your skills set, education, and unique attributes.
Lastly, we show you an example of a well-constructed product manager resume.
Ready? Let’s dive in.
Thoroughly researching a company you are targeting is crucial to developing a stand-out resume. It will also help you deliver a stellar performance in an interview, so consider it time well spent. A product manager can have many roles—at the front-end doing product development for a portfolio of projects, at the back-end working on product-to-market, or both. So, before you can sell you to an employer, you need to know what the employer is looking to buy in terms of a new product manager.
If you understand the role you will play and how the company operates, you are in a much better position to successfully sell your professional experience. Explaining what a fantastic PR person will not impress anyone if your role is on the back-end managing product architecture. You need to know what the job entails and deliver it.
So, how can you get a clearer picture of what the job really is? The job description is the first place to go, then, read the content on the company website. However, a company insider such as another product manager who works for the same company would hit the jackpot!
To find an insider, you could call your HR contact and ask them to recommend someone that you could chat with. Or, try visiting the company's LinkedIn page and reaching out to a few employees. What about your social networks? Can anyone you know help you to find an insider?
Once you know a bit more about the job, you can start to create your resume.
There is a set structure you can use to format your resume, and there are certain elements that you should always include—work experience, hard skills, and soft skills. Remember, however, that the resume that you develop is merely a template. Tailor your resume for each job that you apply for. We’ll explain how and why a bit later.
A product manager resume format should be simple, and it should be just one page in length. The “clean” resume template shown here is a good choice. Don’t add images, photos, or graphics. The most important elements should be clear and should stand out, and images clutter the white space.
What are the most important elements? They are your hard or technical skills, how deep you can go with a certain technology, language, or software, and your soft skills, which are your management and leadership skills.
Your hard and soft skills should be set off to one side and listed in a column. The rest of the page, the body of the resume, should contain your work experience with an objective summary at the top.
The first section of your resume will show your contact information. Include your LinkedIn URL, your Twitter handle, your address, and your phone number. If you have an advanced degree, an MBA, for example, add the letters after your name.
Your resume objective is where you package yourself neatly and aim for maximum impact to land your dream job. Your resume objective should summarize you and your brand. It should be a strong statement about who you are, what value you can offer the company, and where you want to go professionally in product and project management.
Before you write the job summary, you should research the company and study the job description so that what you say matches the type of person the company is looking for.
Here is an example of a resume objective.
Highly adept technical product manager with 5+ years of experience, looking to use proven product development, placement, and marketing skills to boost product-to-market times. Achieved 100% of product-to-market targets in a fast-paced tech company and gained $1.4 million in total cost savings.
Let’s unpack the resume objective and explain each of the components. The opening uses adjectives that should have an impact. In this case, “Highly adept,” is used to describe the candidate. Alternatives that would fit here are “Motivated,” “Accomplished,” “Results-driven,” “Customer-oriented, or “Innovative.” Use the words that fit your brand.
The next part of the statement gives your years of experience. It’s important to be current as a product manager, so don’t state more than 10 years of experience, just say 10+, and don’t go beyond that. Unfortunately, ageism is rife in the recruiting world.
The next few words give a picture of what you can do for the employer. This is where your research comes in. By studying the product manager job description and researching the company, you should have a good understanding of what the company is looking for in a product manager. What you learn should be summarized in a few short words.
In the example above, the candidate is offering to use their “proven product strategy, development, and marketing skills to shorten product-to-market times.” What you say here should mirror what the job description lays out as requirements. Here, the job description might have listed product placement and marketing experience as a requirement.
Lastly, the statement gives a quantitative measure of the candidate’s accomplishment as evidence that they are a great product manager and can deliver what they promise. In this example, the candidate claims to have achieved “100% of product-to-market targets,” which resulted in “$1.4 million in total cost savings.” Using data in this way makes your argument convincing.
All that research that you did will also come into play when you are developing your content for the body of your resume.
A high-performing product manager excels at setting clear, measurable goals and leading cross-functional teams to deliver meaningful outcomes. They also are top-notch data analysts, data interpreters, team managers, and collaborators. That’s a lot of talent. So, how do you convey all that to the employer? The answer is, you don’t.
If you try to, you’ll end up with an overstuffed resume that is not interesting. It’s better to focus on what you specialize in, the areas where you have the most experience and knowledge. If you can align your experience with what the employer is looking for, fantastic! If not, that's ok.
Your research will have given you a good idea of what your tasks as a product manager will be and what skills and experience the company is looking for. Now, you can draft the work experience section of your resume.
Your work experience section needs to convey a few things:
The hard skills that you have developed and used in the past.
The soft skills that you own and are still developing —specifically, management skills and leadership.
Continuity and progression—that you have stayed with a company for two years or more and that you have progressed in your career.
How far back should you go in your work history? You need only list your last two employers if you are further along in your career.
The recent pandemic has created gaps in many resumes, so hiring managers may not be too alarmed. If you took a sabbatical, had to care for a relative, or there were other reasons why you took some time off, add a line in your resume to explain that. Don’t go into details because you want to draw attention to your career and not your non-working time.
Another way to address gaps is to only include the years that you were with a company and omit the months.
If you are an entry-level candidate or a recent graduate with limited full-time work experience, add any summer internships, part-time, or volunteer work to this section that are relevant to product development. Independently, you might have built a wireframe or created an app. Add these initiatives also.
If you are a senior product manager with many years of experience, again, there is no need to list every employer, just as many as it takes to respond to the job requirements and to show progression. Your last two or three positions should do it.
You might have some experience from an old job that is relevant to the product manager role you are applying for, but it is from a job that you did many years ago. In this case, put the highlights in the skills section where there is no need to add the dates.
List your employers in chronological order starting with your current job. Use month/date format and add the name of the company. Use bullet points for each item.
As you write each item, include keywords that will ensure that a candidate tracking system will not reject your resume. Good keywords will be on the job description in the requirements section. If one of the requirements is “conduct market research” include “market research” in your experience if it is part of your history.
Also include words used in the industry. Here are some to get you started.
Most importantly, use metrics to back up your experience. For example, don’t just say that you adjusted product production schedules but explain the impact. For example, “adjusted product production schedules and improved completion times by 60%.” In your bullet points, include examples that showcase both your technical skills and your soft skills.
Here are some words to describe your hard skills
Experienced with Agile and Scrum
Creator of product roadmaps
Proven forecasting ability
Strong product designer
Here are some words to use to describe soft skills
Active team member
Efficient time manager
Here are some examples of bullet points to describe your work experience.
Collaboration with cross-functional design, engineering, marketing, and sales teams to achieve 100% product development goals
Execution of product roadmaps using agile methodology
Re-tooling of product iteration to boost the engineering teams’ productivity by 45%.
Managed a highly successful lean project for one year that improved quality by 30%, cut lead times by 20%, and cut costs by 46%.
As project manager and team leader, created opportunities for 20 engineers to travel to other facilities and then to share the best practices learned with peers.
Integrated real-time scheduling software to the front office to ensure better job flow and customer satisfaction.
Led a new pricing initiative to reposition existing products.
Nurtured relationships with external groups to drive platform product marketing content
Launched three new products and two SaaS products in 2.5 years, increasing revenue by 28%.
Managed five effective successful products with an ROI of 125%.
In the education section, list the schools you went to and the degrees you earned. Also, list any product management certifications you might have earned. These could also appear in the skills section if you prefer.
If you are early in your career and don’t have any metrics to showcase real accomplishments with employers, it is fine to add your GPA if it is 3.6 or above.
If you are more advanced in your career, there is no need to add your GPA. Whether you add the date that you graduated is a point for discussion. Some applicant tracking software might screen out resumes that don’t include the graduation date. However, if you are a seasoned product manager, and you graduated many years ago, it might be better not to add the year you graduated.
The best way to optimize the skills section on the resume is to align your skillset with the job description. It’s not about listing off as many skills as you can. In fact, if you can claim to have just the skills that the job description asks for, that’s perfect! That way, you don’t clutter your resume with irrelevant stuff.
Of course, if you have a unique or highly impressive skill that sets you apart and is not asked for in the job description, you should include it here. Again, include both hard and soft skills. Add any product manager or technology certifications that you have earned here too.
If you have contributed at tradeshows or written articles or blogs. List them here or under a separate heading such as “Presentations,” or “Published Articles.”
Tailor your resume for each position that you apply for. The keywords and job requirements will be different for each employer.
Choose an uncluttered clean format with no distracting colors or images.
Clearly list your product manager skills and education ideally separated out from the body of your resume in a separate column.
Update your LinkedIn profile to make sure the dates of your employment match your resume. If they don’t, this could be a red flag for recruiters, and they may not shortlist you.
Don’t list more than two or three employers.
Show career progression and explain any gaps in your work history.
Include keywords that you find in the job description.
Exclude any irrelevant information, such as high school, GPAs, or school achievements if you are further along in your career.
Always have a third party or three proofread your resume.
Follow these guidelines and you'll be exactly what the hiring manager has been looking for!