Project Management Resumes present a unique set
of challenges, particularly if you've been in a role with multiple
simultaneous projects, or a number of (relatively) short-term
initiatives. The tendency to want to include everything is
understandable - but can be a strategic mistake. I've had client
resumes cross my desk that are 6, 8, or even 10 pages long - and
that's just not a good idea.
So how do you select the most useful information to make your
PM resume stand out?Here are a few suggestions. The first decision
point is based on your background. Have you done multiple contracts
for one company, or have you been independent for much of your
career? In this article I'll address long tenure consulting or
project management gigs. I'll discuss best practices for
independent consultant resumes in a future article.
1. Order the Projects by Results
It's always a good idea to put the "wow" achievements first -
in any resume. In a project based career, this means highlighting
the initiatives that produced major results - for your firm, and
for the client. Think about which projects have produced the
greatest business value - and lead with those. This will
immediately create the impression of achievement that you need to
make your resume stand out in the hiring authority's mind.
2. Omit Similar Projects
In any PM career, many projects are more or less similar. Pick
the most important project demonstrating a given skill set, and
omit the rest. Reading through 5, 10, or more nearly identical
projects will do little beyond try the reader's patience. Trust me.
As a former recruiter, that's not a great idea with a resume.
3. Use the CAR Format
The CAR Format - Challenge, Action, Results can be a great way
to break up a complex, technical PM resume, and highlight the main
points of each initiative. Think about the specific challenge for
each project - increasing efficiency, cutting cost, decreasing time
to market, for example. Then discuss your specific actions to
address that challenge. Finally, bullet the results, and (if
possible) quantify what the project delivered.
4. Don't Date the Projects within one
Often, people assume that in a chronological resume, projects
must be presented in reverse chronological order, with dates for
each. But it's really not necessary. The chronology you need is
already there for the actual jobs. This gives flexibility to
position the projects most effectively.
5. Use Formatting to Clarify Projects
This can often be as simple as indenting project paragraphs to
make projects visually clear to the reader. But whatever approach
you use, be sure to make the projects stand out as separate
initiatives in one position.