The best resume templates aren't simply about fancy looks. They need to be sleek, but professional. Their layout needs to show off your value. Here's what will help.
“Program Manager? Oh, you mean a project manager.”
Bet you’ve heard that one before.
The average person and even many recruiters have zero understanding of your role.
How on earth are you supposed to put the sheer scale of complexity of your profession onto a program manager resume?
By the time you’re done with this guide, you’ll be ready to write an awe-inspiring resume. One that will make any recruiter sit up and take notice.
This guide will show you:
- A program manager resume example better than 9 out of 10 other samples.
- How to write a program manager resume that will land you more interviews.
- Tips and examples of how to put skills and achievements on your resume
- How to describe your experience on a resume for a program manager to get any job you want.
Want to save time and have your resume ready in 5 minutes? Try our resume builder. It’s fast and easy to use. Plus, you’ll get ready-made content to add with one click. See 20+ resume templates and create your resume here.
Sample resume made with our builder—See more templates and create your resume here.
Looking for other, similar jobs too? We've got specific guides, including:
- Project Manager Resume
- IT Project Manager Resume
- Construction Project Manager Resume
- Product Manager Resume
- Manager Resume
- Director of Operations Resume
- Operations Manager Resume
- Scrum Master Resume
- IT Director Resume
- Business Manager Resume
- Management Consultant Resume
Now let’s get with the program and write your resume.
What’s The Best Format For Your Program Manager Resume?
Generally speaking, a program manager is a coordinator of multiple projects. They supervise, organize, and ensure that those project goals align with company objectives.
Your role is complex. People don’t understand it. You need to make it clear and simple for the hiring manager.
The first step? Use the reverse-chronological resume format.
It’s well organized, like you, and focuses attention on your skills, strengths and experience. It’s also compatible with the ATS software most employers use to scan your application.
Speaking of employers.
How long do you think a recruiter spends on each resume?
According to a study by ‘The Ladders,’ it’s only seven seconds. And that’s why the right formatting is so important.
How about file format? Our advice. Save your program manager resume template as a PDF and keep the layout intact. If the hiring manager can’t read your resume, they definitely won’t hire you!
Pro Tip: While PDF resumes are best, check the job offer. Some employers specifically ask not to use PDF. Make sure your experienced program manager resumes don’t get rejected.
Take your formatting to the next level with this guide: Best Resume Format: Samples and Guide
Want to learn more expert hacks to make your resume sing? Our free checklist gives you everything you need for a job-winning resume:Resume Tips for 2020
Write the Perfect Program Manager Resume Objective or Summary
Remember those seven seconds we mentioned? They begin at the top of the page with an introductory statement, sometimes called resume profile.
It’s a short paragraph explaining why you are the best candidate and it takes the form of a summary or objective. Think about it as your elevator pitch. Get it right, and your resume will get much more eye time than the dreaded 7 secs.
So which resume profile to use, a program manager resume summary or a resume objective?
If you’re inexperienced and writing a resume for entry-level program manager then a resume objective is best. Career changers, and program managers entering a new sector all should use a resume objective, too.
A resume objective is a brief paragraph that describes your professional goals for the new job you’re seeking. It also gives a brief outline of the skills you’ve developed in your career to date.
For an experienced senior program manager resume, pick a resume summary. A summary functions as a brief description of your relevant program manager experience and skills.
It gives the hiring manager an overview without having to read your entire resume. That said, it should make them so impressed that they will read the rest of your resume.
Let’s use the example of an IT program manager resume.
Program Manager Resume Samples: Summaries
|Experienced IT program manager with a background in logistics and 10+ years of experience growing revenue for a Silicon Valley-based ecommerce firm. Completed all programs ahead of schedule with total budget savings of $7m. Cut data processing time by 50% by overseeing build of new cloud data infrastructure. Seeking to leverage leadership expertise as IT program manager for Ellipsum.|
|IT program manager with 10 years experience working in ecommerce. Results-driven with a strong interest in strategic management.|
See the difference? The first example is detail-rich and contains juicy achievement metrics to grab the recruiter’s eye.
The second? That doesn’t sell your skills at all.
Next, examples of program manager resume objectives.
Remember our project manager looking to step up their career? Objectives are for them.
Program Manager Objective: Sample
|An IT project manager with 5+ years of experience in leading Corporate Oracle ERP and OBIEE data warehouse initiatives within Waterfall and Agile framework. Improvements in data quality and retirement of obsolete data repositories led to improvements in reporting speed of 40% and resultant savings in human resource hours of $1M+. Looking to segue into an IT program manager role with Ellipsum and help deliver on improvements in closing process, financial decision support cost, account receivables cycle time and staff productivity.|
|Experienced project manager looking to step up to program manager level at Ellipsum.|
Again, world’s apart. The right example distils details of your skills and abilities into an eye-catching statement of intent.
Compare to the wrong example which is completely lacking in detail and measurable accomplishments.
How to Describe Your Program Manager Experience
What is program management experience?
So, the best program manager resume will focus on?
That’s right. Programs.
A successful program manager is an experienced program manager. Knowing how to illustrate that experience on your resume is key.
It isn’t just about listing your past jobs though. Make your examples relevant to the position you’re applying for. Use the job description you’re targeting as guidance.
It’s the hiring manager’s way of expressing their business goals that the new hire needs to help them achieve. Make yourself the solution to those challenges.
Whatever the job you’ve got to list previous positions and successes on your resume. You also need to showcase actual projects. How can you do both?
Here’s how to do it step by step, then we’ll show you some examples:
- List your experience in reverse-chronological order.
- For each job, list job title, company name, location and dates of employment.
- Use up to six bullet points for each, illustrating responsibilities and achievements.
- Tailor your resume to match the job description. It’s easy, start by looking at the job description. Then highlight the action words, key responsibilities and skills. These are your keywords.
- Use active voice e.g. “managed, created, implemented,” not passive voice e.g. “responsible for managing, creating, implementing.”
- Wherever possible use numbers to highlight your achievements. Metrics are attention grabbers.
Program Manager Resume Sample—Experience Section
January 2009‒April 2016
January 2009‒April 2016
The first example has the wow factor. Plenty of tasty tidbits to get the recruiter’s mouth watering.
The second? More like a half a pack of stale Doritos.
It’s worth repeating. In this job experience takes precedence. Especially for a senior program manager resume, experience reigns supreme.
Put a spotlight on it by showing off your big wins as a program manager.
Kick off by taking time out to list all the programs you’ve managed in the past.
Then return to it for every job application you make. Choose three to six past programs tailored to the job in question.
Pro Tip: Spice up this structure with resume action words. They’re a powerful way to improve your resume writing style.
What if you’re not an experienced program manager?
Read on. You can still write a top notch entry-level program manager resume.
Program Manager Experience Section—Without Experience
You lack experience. Let’s start by making a long list of relevant achievements.
What sorcery is this? How can you list experience you don’t have?
As an entry-level program manager you’re going to have project management experience.
The two roles have a lot of overlap. Remember? A program manager oversees multiple projects and multiple project teams.
To level up, you need to show consistently good project results. You also need to show leadership by introducing new techniques and sharing them across an organization.
Inexperienced applicants should follow the same steps outlined above.
Write a list of all the projects you’ve managed in the past. Really dig deep to pinpoint flagship successes and prove leadership ability. Here’s an example.
Technical Program Manager Resume Job Descriptions
Senior Technical Project Manager
January 2009‒April 2016
Technical Project Manager
January 2009‒April 2016
Taking the next step to becoming a program manager requires you to show top-notch project management experience.
The first example shows exactly that. The second will land your application in the trash.
When making a resume in our builder, drag & drop bullet points, skills, and auto-fill the boring stuff. Spell check? Check. Start building your resume here.
When you’re done, Zety’s resume builder will score your resume and tell you exactly how to make it better.
See this guide for great ideas on how to list accomplishments on your resume:Achievements in Resume: Sample List of Accomplishments & Guide
Experience is non-negotiable for program managers. Check out this detailed guide:How to Write Work Experience in Resume: Guide & Examples
Show Off Program Manager Skills on Your Resume
Program manager employers want to see a list of skills on your resume that match their needs.
Add this section immediately after your experience, then follow with your education. For a program manager resume skills take precedence.
Skills differ from formal qualifications. More often than not they are the abilities you’ve learned through experience.
Your program management skills will vary depending on field. Technical skills for an acquisition program manager resume differ from skills on an SAP program manager resume.
Either way, list hard and soft skills relevant to the job you’re applying for and you’ll have hiring managers putting you on speed dial.
Here’s a sample.
Program Manager Skills for a Resume: Examples
The right way is to choose the skills you include straight from the job description. Then read between the lines and add in other skills that fit the employer’s needs.
Below is a list of program manager skills just for reference. Remember: never go generic like the second example.
Program Manager Skills Examples
- Communication skills
- Leadership abilities
- Conceptual skills
- Interpersonal skills
- Project management skills
- Time management
- Problem solving
Supercharge your skills section with our comprehensive guide: Resume Skill List: Examples of Skills to Put on a Resume
Highlight Your Education
If experience is key for a program manager resume then your education can be an afterthought right?
Not so fast.
While education isn’t a recruiter’s main focus, it can still help get you the job.
Make sure to include:
- College name and location
- Years in school
- Degree obtained
Just like in the example below:
Program Manager Resume Sample: Education Section
University of California, Los Angeles, CA
What’s more, don’t neglect those hard-earned certifications.
In a specialized role like program manager professional certifications can be make or break.
Get more hints and tips in our guide:How to Put Education on Resume: Tips and Examples.
Show Your PM Power with a Certification Section
Got a list of certifications as long as your arm? Create a certification section on your program management resume.
As always, create and maintain a list of all your certifications.
Then tailor the certifications you include to fit the description for each new application.
At this level a PMP is important. But other certifications from the Project Management Institute like a PMI-ACP, PfMP, or PMI-ACP can make you really stand out.
Non-PMI certifications might seem irrelevant. But there are some that you really need to include.
Think Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), CompTIA Project+, OSHA, or construction management.
Here’s how to add them your resume:
Certifications Section in a Program Manager Resume
In short, include certifications that match the job requirements. Applying to a construction firm? List your OSHA and construction management certifications.
Learn the intricacies of adding certificates and licenses to your resume, in our guide: How to List Certifications and Licenses on a Resume: Examples and Tips
Add Other Sections to Seal the Deal
You’re not done yet. You can still add extra value to this program.
Do this by going the extra mile and adding value with an additional section.
Think of those incredible achievements you haven’t included yet. The eye-catching enticements that will make your resume stand head and shoulders above the rest.
Think awards, industry publications or guest speaker appearances. In fact, there are plenty of optional extras you can add. Remember to keep it relevant and you’ll be set. Here’s what you can add:
- Awards and Honors
- Volunteer Work
- Hobbies and interests
- Extra Curricular Activities
Now let’s put theory into practice.
Sample “Extra” Section for a Program Management Resume
Awards and Accolades
The first example? Laser-focussed on the job. The second, vague and irrelevant.
If you need insight into other items to put in your perfect program manager resume? Read our guide: What to Put on a Resume To Make It Perfect
Top It off with a Program Manager Cover Letter
Now your resume is perfect. Do you even need a cover letter?
In general, including a cover letter is contentious. For some employers they’re a must-have. For others, they couldn’t care less.
For a highly skilled and competitive position like program manager though, you should make the effort.
It’s a powerful way of focussing the recruiter’s attention on that perfect resume.
Remember to keep your program manager cover letter concise. You have one page to introduce yourself in such a compelling way that the hiring manager is desperate to read your resume.
Then nail the cover letter opening paragraph. You’ve got to hook the reader like a fish and reel them in to that finely crafted resume.
Remember it’s not a bragging contest, show what you have to offer the employer. Be the solution to their problems.
Explain why you want this job. Then for the finishing touch, end your cover letter with a call to action asking for a meeting or a phone call.
The perfect cover letter matching the perfect resume gives you a razor-sharp edge to cut through the competition.
You can write it in our cover letter builder. Here’s a sample:
Plus, a great cover letter that matches your resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here. Here's what it may look like:
Want to know more? Here's How to Write a Cover Letter
You have to play it smart to write a program manager resume that’ll get you hired.
Stick to the guidelines we’ve discussed and you’ll be set. Here’s a reminder.
How to write a program manager resume:
- Get the layout and formatting of your program manager resume right and get the eye time you deserve.
- Grab their attention with a powerful summary/objective and prove your worth with relevant experience.
- Tailor your resume job experience section to the job posting for more impact.
- Highlight your skills and education then seal the deal with additional info.
- Whet their appetite with a perfect cover letter to match your perfect program manager resume.
Got questions on how to write an incredible program manager resume? Not sure how to even start your resume for program manager? Let’s chat below in the comments. We’ll be happy to reply. Thanks for reading!