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How to Write a Resume for Project Managers – Part II (#2 in the series How to Write a Resume for Project Managers)
By Diane Ellis

Previously, we looked at the key information you must include on your project management resume. In part 2 of this series, we’ll look at the best way to present that information.

How long should a resume be?

If you want to retain someone’s interest, your resume should be no longer than three to five pages.

Lay out and Presentation

The best advice is “keep it simple”. Font style should be easy to read like 11 point Times New Roman or Arial.

Bold for headings is easier to read than bold and underline (overkill). Use bullet points for emphasis if you want, but just one type.

Presentation

Do:

  • Use good quality white or off-white paper.
  • Type it and use a common and easily read font.
  • Make sure it is well laid out and easy to read.
  • Be consistent in format and style.
  • Use page numbers (except on the front page) and staple together.
  • Check and recheck spelling, grammar and clarity.

Don’t:

  • Use a tiny font size or lines of italic.
  • Use clip art.
  • Include a photograph of yourself
  • Use coloured paper (it won’t fax or photocopy clearly).
  • Trust your computer spell check.

Different Resume Formats

  • Chronological format

    The chronological resume is the most commonly used way of structuring your information. It lists your work experience and achievements in each job, beginning with the most recent and working backwards.

  • Functional format

    The functional resume groups your work experiences according to your skills and abilities rather than specific positions.

  • Hybrid format

    The hybrid format highlights your strengths by placing your skills, experience and abilities at the beginning, and a chronologically ordered list of experience toward the end.

How to know which style to use

Each of the resume styles contains much of the information presented earlier. Which style you use will depend on your unique circumstances. Here are some typical job seeking scenarios and the style that best suits that situation.

  • The most relevant work experience was not the most recent.

    The hybrid resume is best because it orders according to skills and experience but still has the dates.

  • I’m changing industries.

    The hybrid resume is the best because it can highlight the transferable skills that are relevant to the position.

  • I’m changing companies within the same industry.

    The chronological resume is the best as it shows a career path clearly and shows that you are career-minded.

  • I want to move into a related industry. For example: banking into finance.

    The hybrid resume is best because it can showcase the preferred job skills rather than particular industry experience.

  • I want to return to a previous role eg, a technical person that entered management but wanted to go back to being technical.

    The hybrid resume is best because it can showcase the preferred job skills rather than the most recent job.

  • I’m re-entering the workforce.

    The functional or hybrid resume is perfect because it draws on and emphasises the skills and experience the person may have picked up while not working or before leaving the workforce.

  • I’ve been in the same job for years and I’m scared the employer will think I’m unambitious or unmotivated.

    The hybrid resume is the best in this situation because it focuses on the skills learnt rather that the jobs over a time period.

  • I tend to jump around a lot between jobs.

    The functional or hybrid resume will ‘package’ the transferable skills of this person.

Remember, a well written, well presented resume may just get you in the door ahead of the other candidates, so it’s worth putting some time and effort into it. Hopefully these articles will assist you in putting together your “killer resume”.

Diane Ellis has been a Project and Program Manager for over 25 years, and has recently released a new simple guide to project management called Project Management Made Easy. You can learn more about Diane and her new book, as well as sign up for a free course on Troubleshooting the Most Common Challenges Project Managers Face, at http://www.ManageThatProject.com

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