Program Manager Resume - Samples & Guide for 2020

June 26
10 min read

As a program manager, you find solutions to problems.

The latest problem: writing a resume for that elusive program manager role.

Fortunately, you’ve come to the best place for the solution. 

This guide will show you:

  • A job-winning program manager resume example
  • How to create a program manager resume that hiring managers love
  • Industry-specific tips and tricks to make your resume stand out

To get you inspired, here’s a program manager resume example, which was built with our very own resume builder:

program manager resume

Now, keep reading to learn how to create a program manager resume that looks just as first-class as the above example!

How to Format a Program Manager Resume

You can’t create a winning program manager without having the formatting figured out. 

After all, the hiring manager is not going to want to hire a program manager who isn’t well-organised. 

Currently, the most common resume format is “reverse-chronological”, and for good reason as it shows your most recent successes first. As such, we’d recommend starting with this format.

Two more resume formats you could try are:

  • Functional Resume - This format focuses on what skills you have for the job, rather than your experience. It’s the best option if you are skill-strong but experience-poor. You may also want to use this format if you have gaps in your employment history.
  • Combination Resume - As the name suggests, a combination format cleverly combines is a mix between “Functional” and “Reverse-Chronological”, which means it focuses both on skills AND work experience. You can use a combination resume if you have a lot of work experience or changing industries.

Once you’ve decided on the format, you need to get your resume layout right.

Here’s what we recommend:

  • Margins - One-inch margins on all sides
  • Font - Pick a font that stands out, but not too much. 
  • Font Size - Use a font size of 11-12pt for normal text and 14-16pt for headers
  • Line Spacing - Use 1.0 or 1.15 line spacing
  • Resume Length - Stick to a 1-page limit. Having trouble fitting everything into one page? Check out these one-page resume templates.

Use a Program Manager Resume Template

As we’ve just mentioned, the formatting is important.

But even if you select the correct format, you need to use the correct tools for the job.

Why do we say this?

Well, if you’ve ever used Word to create a resume, you likely understand where we are coming from.

In short, you end up playing around with the formatting for longer than you spend writing the content!

Want to make your life easier? Use a program manager resume template.

What to Include in a Program Manager Resume

The main sections in a program manager resume are:

  • Contact Information
  • Work Experience
  • Portfolio
  • Education
  • Skills

However, we want your resume to stand out, so add these optional extras:

  • Awards & Certification
  • Projects
  • Languages
  • Interests & Hobbies

Now, we’re going to go through each of those sections, and explain how to write them.

Not sure which sections to use? Check out our guide to What to Put on a Resume.

How to Get Your Contact Information Right

Even if you ace everything in your resume, but mess up the contact section, you won’t be getting any interview invitations (due to your misspelled phone number).

For your contacts, include:

  • Full Name
  • Title - Keep this professional and specific to the role you’re applying for 
  • Phone Number - Check your phone number multiple times 
  • Email Address - Make sure to use a professional email address (firstname.lastname@gmail.com), not one from your childhood (mikethehero@gmail.com)
  • (Optional) Location - Applying for a job abroad? Mention your location

Correct Example:

  • Lauren Fakester - Program Manager. 101-358-6095. lfakester@gmail.com

Incorrect Example:

  • Lauren Fakester - Program Manager Whizz. 101-358-6095. laurenthecat@gmail.com

How to Write a Program Manager Resume Summary or Objective

The days of just arriving to an interview with a paper resume and a few references is over.

In fact, the market is now so competitive, that recruiters typically have 100s of resumes to get through.

But here’s the real shocker…

Recruiters spend less than 6 seconds reviewing each resume!

This means that you gave to impress the recruiter instantly; otherwise your resume won’t even be read.

Now, how can you do this?

The answer is simple: use a resume summary or objective.

In short, both resume summary and resume objective are short, snappy paragraphs that act as previews to the rest of your resume. 

But what is the difference between a resume summary and resume objective?

A resume summary is snappy paragraph that summarizes your best achievements.

Program Manager Resume Summary Example

  • Experienced program manager with a strong background in Information Technology. 5+ years of experience driving continuous improvement in all aspects of the program, while always being on budget. Motivated to use my skills as IT program manager to support Company X’s targets. 

On the other hand, a resume objective is a 2-4 sentence snapshot of your professional goals and aspirations.

Program Manager Resume Objective Example

Motivated assistant program manager looking to step up to program manager at Software Company X. Experienced with helping my manager to improve the closing process, financial decisions account receivables cycle time, and staff productivity.

But which one should a program manager pick? 

As a rule of thumb, experienced program managers should go for a summary, whereas students or those changing careers should go for an objective.

How to Make Your Program Manager Work Experience Stand Out

When going for a program management position, your work experience is the most important section in your resume.

Sure, your design skills are super important, but so is your professional experience. Here’s how to structure your work experience section:

  • Position name
  • Company Name
  • Dates
  • Responsibilities & Achievements

Here is what it looks like in practice:

Program Manager

SpaceIT

02/2018 - 04/20202

  • Created detailed road maps, plans, schedules to complete every project on time
  • Analysis of financial and statistical data reduced operational costs by 12%
  • Used team management skills to keep the team motivated, which increased productivity by 8%

To really stand out, you should focus on achievements, not on every daily task.

Instead of saying:

“Financial analysis”

Go for:

“Analysis of financial and statistical data reduced operational costs by 12%”

Notice the difference between the two?

The first statement is very generic, whereas the second statement is more specific . 

Essentially, the key here is to make the hiring manager aware of how valuable you are as an employee.

What if You Don’t Have Work Experience?

Maybe you’re a recent university graduate looking for your first program manager job?

Or maybe, you have experience in the field, but not in a management position?

Whichever the case might be, there are options!

One of the best options is to show a portfolio of your work.

Don’t worry if you don’t already have one, here are several ways to build a portfolio (and even get paid for it):

  • Pick up some relevant freelance gigs on UpWork or other similar websites.
  • Start you own project, and then manage it to success

If you’re a recent graduate, you might want to check out our guide on how to make a student resume!

Use Action Words to Make Your Program Manager Resume POP!

The hiring manager will come across the same exact words as they flick through the pile resumes on the desk. Words like…

“Responsible for”

“Created”

“Worked in”

And since you want your program manager resume to stand out, we’d recommend avoiding them as much as possible.

Instead, use some of these power words to make your responsibilities and achievements stand out from the other applicants:

  • Conceptualized
  • Designed
  • Devised
  • Determined
  • Drafted
  • Initiated
  • Launched
  • Originated
  • Spearheaded
  • Formulated
  • Introduced

How to List Education Correctly

It’s now time to talk about your education. 

Simply list your history in the following format:

  • Degree Type & Major
  • University Name
  • Years Studied
  • GPA, Honours, Courses, and anything else you might want to add

In practice, it should look like this:

B.A. in Business Management

Boston State University

2012-2016

  • Relevant Courses: Marketing Strategy, Project Management, Supply Chain Management, Managerial Decimal Making, Leadership
  • GPA: 3.8

Before we moving on, it’s time to answer some of the most frequent questions we get about education on a resume:

What if I still have yet to finished college?

  • Even if you’re still learning your craft, you should still mention the years studied.

Should I include my high school education?

  • Only when someone doesn’t have a higher education. The hiring manager won’t care about your high school education if you have a management degree.

What is more important, education or experience?

  • Relevant work experience always comes out on top! 

Still have some questions? Check out our guide on how to list education on a resume.

Top 10 Skills for a Program Manager Resume

Hiring managers want to know that you have the required skills for the job.

But even if you have the required skills, you still need to remember to write them down.

Need some inspiration?

Here are some of the most common and desirable program manager skills:

Hard Skills for a Program Manager

  • System Engineering
  • Database Design
  • ROI Analyses 
  • Budgeting
  • Project Scheduling

Soft Skills for a Program Manager

  • Communication
  • Team Building
  • Leadership
  • Time Management
  • Stress Tolerance

Pro Tip:

  • Even though they are useful for your role as program manager, we’d recommend not listing too many soft skills. You see, as they are harder to back up, applicants are all listing the same in-demand soft skills. It is better to highlight these skills in the education section.

Looking for a more comprehensive list? Here’s a mega-list of 100+ must-have skills.

Other Resume Sections You Can Include

Before you call it a day, is your resume the best it can be?

Is there anything else you can add?

Well, yes. 

Adding any of the following sections can be the difference between getting the job or not.

Awards & Certifications

Did you win a competition during your studies?

Have you completed any courses on Coursera?

Whatever the case, be sure to mention any awards or certifications in your resume.

Awards & Certificates

  • Awarded with SpaceIT’s “Best Manager of 2018”
  • “Learning How to Learn” - Coursera Certificate]

Projects

Are you passionate about managing projects?

Well, fantastic! That’s exactly what the hiring manages wants to hear.

And the best way to show off your passion is with your own project.

Whether you managed a university project or have your own side-hustle, the hiring manager wants to know more.

Here is the type of projects you could mention:

  • Managing your own business project
  • University project where you lead a team project

Languages

Now, chances are that you won’t be required to know multiple languages.

However, no one can argue with the fact that knowing multiple languages is an impressive skill, even if it has nothing to do with the program manager position you’re applying for.

As such, feel free to add a language section if you have space.

Make sure to split the languages by proficiency:

  • Native
  • Fluent
  • Proficient
  • Intermediate
  • Basic

Interests & Hobbies

Now, you might be thinking, “what does my passion for dancing have to do with my profession as a program manager?”

Well, not a lot, but it does relate to who you are as a person.

Program managers have a role that requires excellent communication skills.

As such, it can be pay to show that you have hobbies and are a social person.

Not sure which hobbies & interests you want to mention? We have a guide for that!

Match Your Cover Letter with Your Resume

If you want your application to stand out, you need to go the extra mile. 

The most efficient way to stand out is by writing a convincing cover letter.

They show the recruiter that you’re passionate about being a manager for this company. 

In a way, it makes the company feel special. 

With that said, you need to write the cover letter in the correct way.

First, you need to get the structure right. Here’s how to do that:

Here’s the content your cover letter should contain:

Contact Details

Your full name, profession, email, phone number, location, website (or Behance / Dribble)

Hiring Manager’s Contact Information

Full name, position, location, email.

Opening Paragraph

Start with a strong introduction that hooks the hiring manager. In this short paragraph, you should mention:

  • The program manager position you’re applying for
  • The summary of your experiences and achievements 

The Body

Once your introduction has the hiring manager hooked, can write about the rest of your background. Some of the points you can mention in the body are:

  • Why you want to work for this specific company
  • Anything you know or like about the company’s culture/values
  • What are your top skills and how are they relevant for the job
  • Your experience working in similar industries or positions

Closing Paragraph

This is where you:

  • Wrap up your key message
  • Thank the hiring manager for reading
  • End with a call to action. Something similar to, “I’d love to discuss more about how my experience as an X can help the company with Y”

Formal Salutations

Use a formal closing, such as “Best regards” or “Sincerely.”

Follow the instructions above to create a cover letter that gets results! However, if you need further support, we’ve got you covered with your step-by-step guide on how to write a cover letter.

Key Takeaways

Congrats!

You’ve made it to the end of our guide. By now, you should have a great understanding of how to create a program manager resume.

But before you go, let’s sum everything up:

  • Choose the right formatting for your program manager resume, which we believe is reverse-chronological format. Then follow the best practices for the layout.
  • Catch the recruiters attention with a short and precise summary or objective 
  • In your work experience section, highlight your achievements, not just your responsibilities.
  • Spend time building a portfolio section – this section can really make a difference Match your program manager resume with a convincing cover letter.

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