A product manager often wears many hats. For starters, a product manager is tasked with leading a cross-functional team that develops or improves a product, while dictating its strategy, roadmap and features. But that’s not all.
They can also be involved with the marketing, forecasting, profit and losses of the product. Therefore, they must have a deep understanding of the market and target audience for the product in order to develop a successful plan.
Clearly, there are a lot of aspects to product management, aspects that can be difficult to narrow down and describe. Given this abundance, which knowledge areas should you emphasize most on your product manager resume to help you stand out from the pack?
Essentials for Your Product Manager Resume
Regardless of which specific product manager title you’re applying for, a resume will be required. You’ll have to create one that highlights relevant skills and experience, and speaks to the needs of your employer. To help you do so, we created a list of the seven areas that every product manager resume should emphasize.
1. Interpersonal Skills
A product manager interfaces with a lot of different groups, both inside and outside of the organization. They lead cross-functional teams and must have fluency with engineers and marketers—people who often act as if they speak different languages. If you can show how your communication skills have allowed you to share your product vision with everyone effectively, you’ll be that much closer to getting hired.
2. Strategic Thinking
Your job is to chaperon a product from inception to market. To do so requires a thorough analysis of the product and the market. You must then take that research and data, and use it to build a strategy for maneuvering from one point to another. That means knowing how long things will take and how to make the most of the market cycle. Show how you’ve used strategy in the past to work effectively.
3. Analytical Skills
Hand in glove with strategic thinking is the ability to analyze data to make the right decision at the right time. This isn’t a soft skill, but one that shows you’ve worked with data and can crunch the numbers. Show how you have used data to create solutions with that work with your overall strategy.
4. UX Experience
A product manager can’t get bogged down in only process. As important as it is to coordinate all the teams working to create the product (and as easy as it can be to get lost in the weeds of market research), the customer is always king. Without having one’s sights set on the customer and their needs, the product is likely to fail, even if everything goes according to schedule and budget.
If you have a background in user experience, make sure to highlight it on your resume. If not, show that you’re aware of its importance and what you’ve done that comes closest to it.
This is one of those hard-to-define skills. There’s no piece of paper that says you’re a leader: you must prove it, and that’s done with experience. Whatever leadership qualities you have, tag them to real-life work experiences that show how you have motivated teams, made tough decisions and communicated product visions clearly.
This can be through moderating meetings at a previous job, to taking the initiative on a project and leading it through to a successful end. Whatever it is, make sure it stands out on your resume.
A product manager works on many things at once, and there will come a time when they cannot all be completed. Something must give in order to meet all the objectives of a project. So, what goes? That’s prioritizing—knowing what is essential, what’s important and what can be left until later or abandoned.
Show how you were able to break it down a lot of work into what had to get done by the end of the day, what could wait until tomorrow and what wasn’t really that important. No matter your background, you’ve likely prioritized at some point. This is the place to show it.
7. Organizational Skills
As a product manager you’ll be responsible for many things, and it’ll be easy for some of them to fall through the cracks. Organization means that you’re able to track everything you need. It’s about hitting deadlines, allocating resources and just keeping the product on track. Organization is something that is used in almost every business venture, so whether you have or don’t have product management experience, you can point out this skill on your resume.
Statistics and Current Job Market for Product Managers
Before you step into that interview with your polished product manager resume, let’s get a bit of context. The salary for a product manager can vary depending on experience and location. The rate ranges from $78,000 to $154,000, with the national average in the United States hovering around $114,000.
Data from LinkedIn places product manager among the most promising jobs and in-demand skills of 2018, and there’s little sign that it’s changing in the coming years. Job openings, in terms of year-to-year growth, are up 30 percent and product manager receives a career advancement score of eight out of 10, meaning there is potential for growth.
Related: Product Manager vs. Project Manager — What’s the Difference?
Education & Skills
In terms of education, a product manager position will usually require at least a bachelor’s degree in business or a related field. But educational background can vary greatly depending on the employer and the type of product they are creating.
If you’re looking to become a product manager, focus on classes in marketing, communications, economics, advertising and statistics. This will help build the foundation you need to start your career. But most product managers, regardless of their educational background, get on-the-job training that is tailored to the product features.
However, there are some skills that are required of every product manager. Some of those skills are hard to define, such as leadership and communication. Others are more specific, such as being organized and having good research skills, knowing time management and proficiency with software tools.
As for industries, the field is wide open. Any company making a product will likely want a product manager. There are other fields, though, that are emerging or might not be as obvious, such as the Internet of Things (IoT). According to researchers at Gartner, there will be 20 billion devices introduced and adopted in their sector by 2020.
But there are also established industries that need product managers that might not be on everyone’s mind. According to healthaffairs.org, healthcare spending is estimated to account for a fifth of the U.S. economy by 2025, so it’s a growing and well-funded industry. With the Affordable Care Act in the sights of some politicians and healthcare in general a topic in the upcoming presidential election, opportunities abound.
Banking and finance is another traditional industry with ample room for supporting new product managers. There’s money to play with, of course, and innovation coming as the market changes. And speaking of changing markets, entertainment is in flux, and product managers can help companies figure out how to adopt their products to this changing landscape.
While there is no universally accepted certification for product management, there are workshops and formal courses of study with certification, such as the Association of International Product Marketing and Management. There are MBA programs, too, but all of these require a commitment of time and money, and they might not even make you a more viable candidate.
Good luck with your product manager resume and the job search. Once you land that product management position, you’ll need the right tools to get the job done. ProjectManager.com is a cloud-based project management software with the features you want, such as real-time dashboard and online Gantt charts. Start your new job on the right foot. Try our software for 30-days with this free trial.