Product Manager Resume Advice – Make Connections

Here at PMMPC I get many emails that go something like this:

I’m trying to make the jump from being [insert role here] to Product Manager. I have an engineering degree and a few business classes. However, I’m not an MBA. How I can position myself to be competitive with MBA candidates?


You can’t dodge the MBA question by pulling a bag over your head

I’ve previously shared my thoughts on why I got my MBA so I want to focus today on the resume itself, and some ideas for making the best possible, truthful impression on your resume reader… even if you don’t have an MBA.

Disclaimer: You might be out of luck

I’m going to give you, frankly, some great advice in a couple paragraphs. But I’d be totally misleading you if I didn’t say this: If the hiring manager truly only wants MBAs, and you don’t have one, you’re likely out of luck.

But if that’s not the case…

Try a Practical Product Management seminar to supplement your experience with formal PM training.

Can’t afford formal training? Try a ProductCamp.

Marry the trainings above (which demonstrate a great interest in product management) to the work experience in your resume, and you’ll be on your way to building a compelling resume.

Next step: Connect your work experience to the stuff that really matters.

As a Product Manager, activity will not be your end goal.

Your job as a PM isn’t just to launch stuff, or execute programs, or field calls from customer service or sales.

Your job isn’t about looking busy.

So your resume shouldn’t just be a list of actions.

It’s the results that matter.

The biggest area of opportunity I see in most resumes is connecting the core activities you performed with the results achieved.

For example, say you earned an award for demonstrating leadership in a critical project. What challenges did you overcome? What skills did you employ? Why did your supervisors find your performance so noteworthy?

Or if you launched a new project, what was its goal? Did it succeed? Did it fail? What did you learn?

Here’s a fictional example

Disconnected activity bullet point from a resume…

  • On July 4th, stopped Doctor Octopus dead in his tracks.

That’s cool.

Nobody likes Doc Ock.

But let’s connect it to some results…

  • On July 4th, stopped Doctor Octopus from annihilating New York, saving millions of human lives and preventing millions of dollars in property damage. Took stunning pictures of the battle; sold pictures to Daily Bugle for $10,500, a personal best.

They’re both honest assessments of an activity.

But which makes more of an impression on you as a reader?

Connect your activities to the results you achieved, and you’ll get noticed. Regardless of whether Doc Ock is involved. Just don’t wear a bag over your head to the interview.

Keep the conversation going!

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Christopher Cummings

Blogs about product management. Loves Jesus, his family, comic books, video games, and giant robots. Occasionally crawls through mud and leaps over fire.

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