Your resume is often the first thing that recruiters will see about you. Think about the kind of impression it makes on that audience. You aren’t writing for someone who necessarily knows a lot about project management. The person who is going to read it, and hopefully hire you, may not have a lot of project experience, or perhaps they did but have long since moved into a leadership role.
Capture attention with your project management resume using these 7 tips for crafting the perfect professional summary.
- Talk about How
A long list of your successful projects is interesting, but it won’t help a hiring manager decide if you have the skills and attitude for the job. How did you lead your team? What did you ACTUALLY do? The intricacies of handling that office relocation are background facts to where your real project management skills came into play.
- Tailor Your Resume
Candidates often make the mistake of ‘perfecting’ their resume and then sending it out for every potential job. The thing is, not every job requires the same set of skills. Yes, they are all project management jobs if that’s the area you are going for, but the clues are in the job description.
If it says ‘detailed approach to handling project finances’ you want to make sure that your skills at setting up and tracking a project budget are front and center. If the job description highlights teamwork and stakeholder engagement, then you want it to be easy for a hiring manager to spot how you would be a great fit.
In other words, a few minutes spent tweaking your resume could make the difference between getting an interview or not.
- Edit, Edit, Edit
Even if you don’t have a lot of work experience, there is still plenty that you can fit into your project management resume. After a few years in the workplace, your resume can grow and grow!
Keep your descriptions short. Edit down your text until you are only covering the basics, the context and the key takeaways from a particular engagement. Unless you are going for the most senior level positions, you want to keep your resume as brief as possible. Hiring managers don’t have a lot of time, and you have a glance or two to make a good impression. Make sure that time is filled with quality, clear information about your skills and experience, and not a lot of irrelevant information or jargon.
Check your resume for formatting and typing errors. A neatly formatted, error-free resume looks professional and shows that you have attention to detail and an approach that doesn’t take quality for granted.
Watch out for:
- Bullet points: make sure these are formatted in the same way throughout the document
- Capitalization of certain key terms or job titles: be consistent
- White space: the document should be attractive to look at which means plenty of white space and a font size that is legible
- Structure: make sure that the resume is organized. Don’t jump from your current role to qualifications you gained at college and then back to your previous experience. Make the document flow in a logical order.
- Be Yourself
Your resume is an extension of your professional brand. Use it to paint a picture of what you are like as a leader and project manager. It should reflect what you are about and what you bring to your career.
This is easier to do than you might imagine. Simply start from scratch and don’t copy the text from anyone else’s resume PLEASE! Be inspired by samples and examples, but make your resume your own.
- Showcase Your Certificates
Make space on your resume for the qualifications you have gained throughout your career. However, be sensible about what you include on the list. As we covered in the point about tailoring above, if you’re going for an IT role they probably aren’t that interested in the marketing certificate you got 5 years ago.
Some qualifications may give you the edge for certain roles, and show the breadth of business knowledge that you have. Some – especially the ones gained a long time ago – are best left off.
Courses that didn’t result in a certificate, but gave you useful and relevant skills can also be included.
If you are in doubt about what qualifications to include on your resume speak to a professional staffing advisor who can help you shape this section to your advantage.
- Include Keywords
Today, the first step of getting your resume in front of a hiring manager is most likely having it processed by a computer. Your resume will be uploaded into an HR system. It’s often the only way to deal with the volume of applications to various roles in large companies.
Your resume should not be a long list of keywords but where it is prudent, include terms that will pop on a database search. Talk about your projects, stakeholders, team, change management, business cases and other things. the point here is not to pepper your resume with so many keywords that it doesn’t read well to the human eye but to avoid the industry jargon and terminology specific to your company that might make it hard for a search engine to work out what you do.
Working with a professional staffing agency to help you find your perfect role is one-way to maximize your opportunity for that interview. When human eyes are prioritizing and reading your resume, you’ve got less chance of it being lost in the database.