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If applying for project manager job, what are the best practices to highlight my previous/current managed projects and what project management skills to be highlighted in my resume?

How those projects / skills better arranged and highlighted in attractive, simple and to the point way?

Should I mention projects name, scope, total spent time, number of members per project? What kind of information that's catchy to interviewer/employer?

  • 1
    What is the job description of the position you are apply for? – Mark Phillips Sep 6 '12 at 15:34
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One thing I've done is to highlight what I've done/led in each project phase (Initiation, Planning, Execution, Monitor/Control, Close-Out). This was suggested to me by a professional recruiter that was helping me out in applying to a large aviation firm as a PM. I used the same approach to get my foot in the door with my current employer (large financial company), so it worked at least once :-)

But take this with a grain of salt as what works will vary by employer and by position.

Example layout:

Project Manager, Company X (2007-Present). Managed approximately 25 pharmaceutical development projects ranging in value from $150,000 to $3.5 million with durations of between 6 and 18 months. Deployed project management skills based on PRINCE2 and PMP standards, including:

  • Project Initiation - business case development, project product definition, product breakdown structure development, contract development, key resource identification
  • Project Planning - feasibility assessments, detailed business case development, project scheduling and budgeting, risk planning, communications planning, definition of acceptance criteria for deliverables

etc...

  • Hi Doug, can you also cover how to arrange this on the resume? As it stands, this is more a helpful comment to the question than a Stack Exchange answer, which should cover the entire question. You could also explain why you think your answer is correct. Please consider making an edit to improve this, or remove it and add this as a comment to the question. For more information, see Real Questions Have Answers. Good luck! :) – jmort253 Sep 6 '12 at 14:48
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    Thanks for the feedback. Hope the edits address your concerns. – Doug B Sep 6 '12 at 17:41
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One of the most important things that upper management wants in a front-line manager is that they bring projects in on-time and on-budget. If you have any wins like that in your history, you want to try to highlight those.

If you managed a budget, that's worth highlighting.

If the projects you managed were technically complex or were complicated because of the distribution of personnel, highlight that.

If you interfaced with executive-level management, that's worth mentioning.

If you managed more than 5-6 people at a time or more than 2-3 projects at a time, discuss that.

If you had to manage conflicting personalities or manage through difficult morale issues and you did so successfully, highlight that.

If you were responsible from integrating input from people who were not developers per se (UX folks, users, etc.), discuss that.

In addition, if you want to tailor your resume for specific jobs, look at those jobs and determine what skills they are looking for and list the commonalities in your background.

  • I would probably not mention conflicting personalities unless I had at least 20 people to manage... And I would be very cautious about morale issues: do you really want these to be known outside the company? – Xavier Nodet Sep 6 '12 at 21:49
  • You wouldn't want to bring it up if you were the conflicting personality or you were the cause of the morale problems, but if you have successfully dealt with those kinds of problems then they are worth discussing. I took over my first management position during a time when morale was in the tank and I took a number of concrete steps to improve things and keep people from leaving. I was successful and it's worth noting. I also had a problem developer who was rankling other team members. I dealt with that. Managing is not all architecture, budgeting, and scheduling. – Kent Sep 6 '12 at 21:56
  • I agree with you. My point was more about the fact that these issues should not become public. So I would mention them in an interview, but probably not on a resume. – Xavier Nodet Sep 8 '12 at 23:26
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It's not a real answer, but I would add or mention a project which wasn't successful. It is a bit unorthodox, but you can tell them what you would do differently. With this approach your interview partner can learn more about on how you think and improve your projects and yourself. I have been doing job interviews, and after the 10th success story it starts to get boring and usually the "interesting" details come to light when it is too late.

I would appreciate the courage bringing up a fail story, and I learnt much more about a person who talked about how he or she failed and came back and did things differently the next time.

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How extense your resume must be wil depend a lot on the culture of the country or company you are sending the resume. Sometimes, employer, begin and end date, your position will be enough to make it to an interview where you will be able to provide more detail. Other times, you will need a more complete description of your position, as Doug B has mentioned. I would only keep in mind here, keeping the detail to the point and do not try to cut and paste the whole Pmbok.

I would only add a list of customers or sectors if confidentiality does not allow you to mention your customers. In some industries and sectors, the technologies involved are also important as the PM will act as technical lead or will have to demonstrate technical knowledge in front of the customer.

I think it's always more important to pay more attention to the cover letter, where you will be able to focus your effort to adddress the key points mentioned on the job posting.

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