We all know there are two components to landing a job: a good resumé to get an interview and then the interview itself. While there are tons and tons of resources out there for both of these things, I’m going to focus on resume writing tips specifically for creative project management roles and how you can set yourself up for success.
Here, we’ll dig specifically into resume writing. I’ve seen a lot of resumes that focus on the “what I did” because it’s a functional role, instead of “how I did it” or “why I did it” which shows value and critical thinking. Those that use the “how” and “why” usually land an interview. Allow me to explain.
It’s All in the Details
Let’s say you managed 10 projects at a time. How do you set yourself apart from the next project manager who also managed multiple jobs? It’s all about the details.
Instead of saying: Managed 10 projects simultaneously.
Say: Managed 10 projects simultaneously with varying timelines, deliverables and dependencies.
Here, you’re illustrating your ability to juggle projects.
Or, you could say: Time-managed over 10 projects daily by supporting the delivery of print ads, direct mail, digital banners, and social assets.
Here, you’re additionally showcasing the breadth of projects you’ve worked on.
Let’s do another one. Think about your function as a project manager. Let’s see if we can take a day-to-day responsibility and turn it into a resumé-positive.
Instead of saying: Managed stakeholders in other departments.
Say: Managed communications with stakeholders across three departments.
Here, you’re telling how you managed your stakeholders while showcasing that you worked with more than one cross-functional team.
Note: many job descriptions list “communication” as a key skill, and you’ve now worked that keyword into your resumé organically.
Instead of saying: Reviewed creative briefs.
Say: Proactively worked to review creative briefs, collect complete project information and identify roadblocks.
Here, you’ve given the “why” around reviewing creative briefs and are showing you can add value for the team.
The PAR Format
OK, now let’s look at a different format to also get at the “why” and “how.” It’s called PAR, or Problem-Action-Result, in which your bullet point uses this structure to demonstrate skills while highlighting achievements. A resumé is your chance to brag, but let’s make sure you’re bragging with purpose.
Looking at our last example, we’ve started to use the PAR system. You’ve shown that briefs are coming over incomplete (problem), so you’ve proactively reviewed them (action) to collect complete project information and identify roadblocks (result).
You could take this one step further and say: Proactively worked to review creative briefs, collect complete project information and identify roadblocks, thus setting up projects for successful ingestion.
Here, you’ve further identified the achievement (or result) of “setting up projects for successful ingestion.” This is a more complete PAR.
Let’s do another one.
Instead of saying: Coordinated cross-functional projects.
Say: Coordinated cross-functional projects to better align timelines and resources, thus increasing efficiency while mitigating blockers.
Here, cross-functional projects aren’t being considered holistically (problem) so you created visibility across these projects and aligned timelines and resources (action) to increase efficiency and mitigate blockers (result).
Instead of saying: Reviewed projects and sent weekly wrap-up emails to leadership.
Say: Proactively worked to improve the creative review process with leadership through thorough project documentation and consistent communication.
Here, the review process with leadership was broken (problem), you used project documentation and communication (action) to provide visibility and ensure projects were reviewed on a consistent basis (result).
You got this.
A couple others tips I will leave you with for resumé building:
Your resumé is your first impression with the hiring manager. Work to add details and PARs to show what value you can bring to the functional role of a project manager. Happy writing!
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