How to write a product manager CV in 10 steps (with example)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 30 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Searching for product manager jobs can reveal many opportunities. In such a saturated market, it's important to make a strong first impression on a hiring manager, which can be challenging for both experienced product managers and new entrants to the industry. Knowing how to ensure that your CV is compelling, honest and reflective of your skills can boost your employability. In this article, we explore 10 tips for writing a product manager CV to help you be successful.

How to write a product manager CV

It's important to focus on building your product manager CV in a way that works best for you. The standard online template for a product manager CV keeps things clean, simple and effective. Depending on the company you're applying for, there may be some ways you can impress further. Consider revisiting this list once you finish your first draft:

1. Tell a story

When writing a CV, it's important to remember that the end goal is to secure an interview. The most compelling way to make your professional and educational experience stand out is by laying out a compelling timeline and a history that explains exactly why you're here. Product managers don't come from any one background in particular, which means your unique narrative may be of interest to the hiring manager. For example, the modules you took at university related to product management or the project that you enjoyed the most in the last year.

Related: Product manager interview questions (with sample answers)

2. Highlight your achievements

In an industry that changes with every new piece of technology, the more recent your work experience is, the more relevant an employer is likely to find it. Structuring your CV to reflect that is a simple but effective way of ensuring the most relevant information is included. Structure your CV in reverse chronological order to ensure that the reader sees what you're doing presently to demonstrate an aptitude for their role.

Even if you have years of experience in impressive organisations, it's still a good idea to show what your most recent experience is first. This is because the methods that you used years ago may no longer be relevant after so many technological innovations.

3. Play to your audience

Your list of accomplishments is likely long and varied, so it is very important to make sure you're tailoring your CV to the specific job application. If someone is seeking a product manager who is highly skilled in HTML for example, ensure your focus is on that, not just your experience with JavaScript. It's worth remembering that the majority of job applications are now at least semi-automated, so aim for your CV to filter through the algorithm as well. The easiest way to achieve this is by including keywords from the job description throughout your CV, such as:

  • JavaScript

  • leadership skills

  • life cycle management

  • presentation

  • product vision

  • product design and launch

  • project management

  • strategy

  • SWOT

  • UX design

  • user interface/ UI

  • value proposition

4. Focus on the big picture

A CV is not a standalone method for getting a job. It's a short introduction to what you're capable of and the first step to an interview. When drafting, try and think of some follow-up questions you may have based on your experience, making sure you're including enough detail on the page to be relevant.

After you have your first draft completed, consider sharing it with a friend or mentor and asking them for any follow-up questions they would have. They may catch mistakes you've overlooked or edit out extra sections. If there are no questions, you may have included too much information, but if there are too many then add in some more. Around three to five questions for a one page CV is a good number to aim for.

Related: Product manager skills: 15 essential hard and soft skills to develop

5. Provide figures

Including relevant data on your CV is a useful way to demonstrate your accomplishments. Consider the following example:

• Led development for a successful new writing product.

• Led the development of a product that enables writers to check their grammar as they write. This grew to 200,000 daily users in the first six months.

The second sentence is much more compelling because it's specific. Including some deliberate metrics highlights to potential employers that you're able to deliver value in a quantifiable manner. Make sure every point you mention includes the action you took, the outcome it led to and a figure to demonstrate that. For example, instead of saying you were responsible for meeting revenue targets, you could say you were responsible for meeting 120% of revenue targets over three years.

6. Include a summary

Including summaries or objectives on a CV is an invaluable opportunity to tailor your experience to the relevant job description. Whilst it's good to keep your CV as concise as possible, including a two to three sentence introduction enables you to tell a story and gain the recipient's attention quickly. For an experienced product manager, a summary is a useful place to highlight trends across your career and how you're looking to move forward.

It is helpful to be specific and compare your aspirations to the description on offer. For a new entrant to product management, this introduction is an opportunity to explain what inspires you about the industry and the specific job. You can use this to demonstrate your passion and interest in the area and highlight some of your transferable skills.

7. Remember the basics

The main thing to remember is that it's important to make every word an important addition to the page. Unless you have over 15 years of experience and are aiming for an expert role, it's best to aim for your CV to be one or two A4 sides in length. There are lots of great templates available that can help with this, but remembering this prompts you to leave things out that aren't directly relevant to the specific job you're applying for.

A useful structure for drafting may be to start with your relevant technical skills, move on to your experiences and education. As a product manager, your technical ability is imperative, so consider putting your key skills in a box running down one side of the page so they really stand out.

8. Plan the planning

A lack of professional experience is not a firm barrier to a career in product management. There are many online courses available to upskill yourself for free or books you can read to help you gather inspiration. You also may be able to find further online links to opportunities and resources. Another option to consider is taking on some freelance work.

If your professional CV is sparse, you may be able to gather relevant experience and exposure through writing for blogs or attending conferences. It's useful to look outside of traditional avenues for gaining relevant skills, as this not only provides you with content for your CV, but it can make you stand out as a candidate too.

Related: Project manager interview questions with answers

9. Consider your format

Product managers are at the hub of the digital economy, so think about some ways you can highlight that. A creative option could be to create a personal website that showcases any previous work you have done, or freelance projects you have completed.

This website may become a selling point in itself, allowing you to demonstrate your technical and design capabilities with a full list of your work experience. Having a personal website can enable you to diversify your career, encouraging solicitation of freelance work and full-time opportunities. Ensure you're considering the companies you're applying to before you put in that additional effort, as they may prefer that you stick to a simple PDF format.

10. Be authentic

Finally, the most important tip in drafting your CV and really standing out is to be yourself. Include some information that demonstrates what makes you unique outside of being an excellent product manager. It's useful to select hobbies or activities that rely on similar skill sets, so consider including a reference to an app you're working on or maybe that you're a fan of escape rooms, as these highlight your problem-solving skills under pressure.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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