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What not to include in a Project Manager Resume?
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What not to include in a Project Manager Resume?
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There are a lot of do's and don'ts when generating a resume, but specifically for Project Managers I would suggest to be especially careful.

Most of the times PMs are in a management level and you want to give that impression when someone is reading your resume.

Don't you want to effectively show al your relevant achievements in a nice format and well worded way?

What should you do?
What should you NOT do?

Comments...
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1 reply by Eric Jones PMP, MBA
Aug 06, 2018 9:50 AM
Eric Jones PMP, MBA
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I thnk it is important to structure the bullets of your resume to read like an appraisal. It should read as follows:

" Led a ($$$ dollar value / number of people...if you have it) effort,(Project name/Project to improve/implement....) resulting in ...(Don't just say delivered under budget and on time))

State the overall organization improvement if you have measured it or cost savings / time savings." The important thing is to stay away from status quo and show organizational impact, project management efficiencies as a result of, cost savings...etc.
Use action words to start every bullet and stay away from words like provided or responsible for. Use your resume to show impact in a measurable, specific way.

Example: Led the of analysis of emerging net-centric technologies to determine the operational impact of new technologies fielded on [Organization Name] networks resulting in the integration of a groundbreaking data distribution system that saved the [Organization Name] over $1.2 million annually in ongoing cost to manage manual processes.
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1. Cut the crap! :) just clearly show your Most Relevant Experiences/Achievements.
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1 reply by Eric Simms
Mar 21, 2017 8:55 AM
Eric Simms
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Please give an example of what you define as 'crap' in a PM resume.
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Mar 21, 2017 8:29 AM
Replying to George Lewis
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1. Cut the crap! :) just clearly show your Most Relevant Experiences/Achievements.
Please give an example of what you define as 'crap' in a PM resume.
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1 reply by George Lewis
Mar 21, 2017 10:07 AM
George Lewis
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Eric - I'll let others answer this, but it is clear that not everything is needed in your resume... It wouldn't make sense to add all certificates received during your work life.... I mean certificates not certifications.
Network:225



What not to include in a project manager resume?

"I screwed up an important project that cost my organization millions of dollars, and now I need a job."
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2 replies by Edward Daniels and George Lewis
Mar 21, 2017 10:09 AM
George Lewis
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Wade - you're correct!

Which makes me ask, would you include a project failure in your resume?
Mar 23, 2017 10:00 AM
Edward Daniels
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Hi Wade,
You said "I screwed up an important project that cost my organization millions of dollars, and now I need a job." I don't have much to go on but have you looked at being a consultant? I don't know what happened or why you think you screwed up an important project. There should be checks and balances, along with reporting that should have indicated the project is not going as planned. If you can answer the questions below (5Ws and H) -
What happened?
Who is involved?
Where did it take place?
When did it take place?
Why did that happen?
How did you screw up?
This is not about shifting blame, but you may just realize that you didn't screw up at all. As PM, we should be aware that we have stakeholders to help us wade through the shallow and deep waters of every project, it isn't about just directing the teams. It is about engaging everyone, if there is any risk, no matter how low the probability is, we should add it to the risk register and communicate it. The plug may be pulled on a project if the business case no longer supports it, that is not project failure. It is actually smart, we all know and remember the saying "Penny-wise, Pound-foolish". How many times do we really figure that into our projects?
Network:11368



In alignment with Wade's comment, highlight the achievements and if suitable, add figures to back up the statements. Thus, what not to include? Bald statements that look like a copy/paste from a resume template.
Network:10164



Mar 21, 2017 8:55 AM
Replying to Eric Simms
...
Please give an example of what you define as 'crap' in a PM resume.
Eric - I'll let others answer this, but it is clear that not everything is needed in your resume... It wouldn't make sense to add all certificates received during your work life.... I mean certificates not certifications.
Network:10164



Mar 21, 2017 9:09 AM
Replying to Wade Harshman
...
What not to include in a project manager resume?

"I screwed up an important project that cost my organization millions of dollars, and now I need a job."
Wade - you're correct!

Which makes me ask, would you include a project failure in your resume?
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1 reply by Florent BIGUEUR
Mar 23, 2017 12:26 PM
Florent BIGUEUR
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Most of the recruiters check the timeline in your resume. How do you justify the time if you spent 3 years on project that do not appear in your resume ?

As my point of view, if it is a recent experience, it is better to put it in the resume, explain the failure and what you have learned from this (do not put responsability on others).

However, I agree with view on too old or not relevant experiences for the job targeted.
Network:10164



Would anyone include a project failure in your resume? this is a tricky one...
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1 reply by Edward Daniels
Mar 23, 2017 9:48 AM
Edward Daniels
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Hi George,
It is not tricky at all. Let's employ statistics here, except your project failures are statiscally significant, why bother? I mean if you have been involved in say 10 projects and 1 of them failed, i would say 90% success rate is an A and you should bring up what you learned from the failed project. Now if you have a 60% failure rate, that is statistically very significant and we as PMs are supposed to be ethical and truthful in all our dealings. While you are not encouraged to list them on your resume, when interviewing you are supposed to bring it up and i would respect someone who presents it in a way that they have learnt something. For example, you can explain how the organization responded to the 60% failure rate. Many organizations have measurement standards that are just a little askwed, so a 60% failure rate may be a tad higher than the actual. So to everyone, you are not doing anyone favors when you list project failures. You are supposed to have learnt something useful from them to bring to future projects or employers.
Network:791



I wouldn't include a failure in my resume, but I would be prepared to talk about it during the interview; the question will most likely come up.
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2 replies by LORI WILSON and Wade Harshman
Mar 21, 2017 11:40 AM
Wade Harshman
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I agree with Aaron. How you deal with a project failure and what you learn from it are interesting conversations, but you'll never have those conversations if your résumé fails to get you an interview. Your space is so limited, you need to focus on your achievements, not your difficulties.
Mar 23, 2017 12:41 PM
LORI WILSON
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I agree with Aaron's recommendation not to include a failure in your resume, but be prepared to talk about it. You can definitely refer to what you learned from a failed project experience and how you are more prepared and knowledgeable to help companies avoid future project failures.
Network:2869



You'll be asked in an interview about projects that didn't go to plan, so no need to focus on them in the resume. The most important thing is to be truthful. Embellishments are an invitation to investigate, so make sure everything you include will be corroborated by your supervisors and coworkers.

There is nothing wrong with focusing on your most successful projects, but be sure to give credit where it is due. If you worked with a great team of developers or subcontractors, make sure that is communicated.

When you are asked about projects that were challenging, make sure not to come across as shifting responsibility to anyone but yourself. If you are the PM, the buck stops with you.
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1 reply by Tara Bachman
Mar 21, 2017 1:54 PM
Tara Bachman
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As an interviewer, when we ask about a project that failed or didn't go as planned the worst answer we hear is, "I've never been on a failed project," or "I'm lucky enough to have never been on a failed project." That tells me that you haven't managed complex, large projects. It also tells me that you likely don't understand the definition of "failed." Just because a project produced deliverables, does not mean it was a successful project from the organization or PMO perspective.
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