3 mistakes to avoid in a Product Manager Resume

I have been reviewing tens of resumes lately as I have been looking to hire a product manager in my group at Care.com. Here are some patterns that I have noticed that makes me to quickly move on to the next resume:

  1. Buzzwords: When I read “Builds and manages relationship with customers to smooth transition from legacy, fragmented business processes and systems to streamlined global product development processes enabled by enterprise technology implementation that improve efficiency of new product delivery and sustaining engineering“, I have no idea what you are talking about and I move on very quickly to the next resume.
  2. No quantitative metrics: If I see no metrics or results achieved based on what you have done, I get no sense of whether your efforts were successful or not. Instead of saying “Launched a customer visit program for direct reports”, add more meat and metrics. Tell me what happened as a result. Instead, it is more useful to read something along the lines of “Developed an on-site customer visit program for direct reports that resulted in 200 visits/year. Improved understanding of customer product design needs resulted in launch of 5 new products in 2 years for the machine design and consumer design vertical segments.” It gives me context and also a better understanding of your accomplishments. However, never make things up, hiring managers will be able to sniff things out very easily. Trust me, I have seen candidates lie on their resume and it has come out within 5 minutes into the interview.
  3. No white space: Your resume is so full of text with minimal spacing, I as a reader have trouble focusing on something in your resume. It becomes a lot harder to read your resume. Presentation matters, readability matters. You want to stand out, make it easier for the hiring manager to read. Ask yourself this question – “Does my resume highlight my key achievements that will make the hiring manager want to pick up the phone and call me?” You do not have to put in everything you have ever done in your resume, what you want are your key achievements. The nitty gritty details can come in during the interview (if you think it is relevant to mention them). A good friend of mine, who has been a VP of marketing at many companies gave me a good rule of thumb – “1 page of resume for every decade of your experience”.

Thoughts? Comments? What are your experiences as a hiring manager?

Related articles:

  1. 10 job hunting tips for a product manager
  2. 8 traits of good managers
  3. 7 tips to survive a layoff

5 thoughts on “3 mistakes to avoid in a Product Manager Resume”

  1. ^Applying for PM jobs. Point1: Agree. Point2: Agree. Point3: oooooo, While I get the readability thing, it’s in direct opposition to most advice out there saying you should optimize for ATS, and not readability. There certainly can be a middle ground, but I think it’s an incomplete point without directions that take both of these into account.

    Also, I think 1-page::7-years is standard now. Possibly compliments of our ATS world as well?

  2. Hello Gopal,
    I came across your blog recently while searching for product management.
    I’m a student at MITs System Design and Management program. I am planning to transition from product development to product management roles .
    It would be great if I could meet you over a cup of coffee some time to ask for some advice on getting my foot on the door.
    I live in Cambridge and and can come to meet you anywhere near Boston

    Looking forward to hearing from you.


  3. Particularly crucial for Web Product: keep in mind that a resume is our first impression of your product sense (this IS a product that you’re releasing, after all. It just happens to be about you!). If your resume is a boring corporate-style template that everyone else from your business school uses, I’m going to assume that your product imagination is equally uninspired.

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