Interested in learning how to write an amazing principal product manager resume? Well, you’re in the right place!
Principal product managers are in high demand in today’s job market. Their ability to show leadership and unite teams under a shared vision for new products makes them much sought after.
The marketplace is competitive, so your resume must stand out from your peers when applying for a principal product manager role.
This guide to writing a resume helps you stay one step ahead of your competitors and give you a head start when finding your dream role as a principal product manager.
Writing a Principal Product Manager Resume
Your resume is where you pitch yourself for the job. It’s your first opportunity to show why you should get the chance to interview for the role of principal product manager, so making a good impression counts.
Keeping your resume concise and relevant to the principal product manager role at the company you’re applying to works in your favor. It takes 10 seconds for a hiring manager to decide whether or not you’re a viable candidate for the vacancy of principal product manager.
And remember, writing your principal product manager resume is a prime opportunity to show off your written communication skills.
Your resume must be relevant to the company you’re applying to and its market. Therefore, before writing your resume, research your potential employer, discover their company vision and prime customers, and understand their market niche.
Then conduct market research to understand their place in the market, their competitors, and what makes them stand out in their industry.
Senior management looks for this understanding when reading your resume, so ensuring that everything in your CV is relevant to the principal product manager role you’re applying for is essential.
Understand your Audience
Use this user research when writing your resume to show that you understand your audience. Show the hiring senior management team that you know their aims, goals, and product strategy, and demonstrate how you fit into that vision.
The hiring manager is looking to evaluate your problem-solving skills and ability to lead product strategy and implement a product vision to ensure that your CV answers these questions.
Demonstrate the “How” As Well As the “What”
To stand out from your competitors, you need to highlight your professional experience applicable to the role of a principal product manager and use compelling examples that demonstrate this experience in your resume.
In short, don’t just provide a potential employer with “what” you’ve done in previous product management roles, but demonstrate “how” you did it and what the results were.
For example, instead of saying you “have a proven track record of managing product feature releases,” say that you “managed the release of a new product feature that led to a 20% increase in sales and 15% increase in customer satisfaction.”
This second example demonstrates the result of the action you took and the benefits provided to the company in increased sales and improved customer satisfaction.
Include specific examples in your resume and showcase how your work has helped internal and external customers.
Avoid Generalities and Sell Yourself
A common mistake made by individuals applying for principal product manager roles is that they use generalities and empty phrases that everyone uses.
For example, avoid phrases such as “excellent analytical skills,” “working on multiple product lines,” “collaborating with team members,” and “working in a high-paced environment.” The hiring manager sees these comments on every resume, and yours is going to join them in the recycling bin.
This is another golden opportunity for you to sell yourself to the senior leadership team at the hiring company by demonstrating that you understand what they’re looking for.
You should include things that:
- Demonstrates an understanding of product management principles
- Shows your ability to lead large product design projects
- Reveals knowledge of how to build business cases for new products
- Demonstrates your project management experience detailing your understanding of lean and agile methodologies
- Indicates how you implemented product strategy
- Shows your success in leading a product roadmap through the entire product lifecycle
- Reveals how you established quality control measures
- Demonstrates your communication skills in the leading of cross-functional teams
- Shows your experience in working with internal and external customers, including as a technical liaison
- Reveals a solid understanding of knowledge product owners require
What is the Best Format for a Principal Product Manager Resume?
The three best ways to write a principal product manager resume are:
- Reverse chronological order – This displays your work experience in chronological order with the most recent jobs first
- Combination – This is an ATS-compliant method of creating a product management resume
- Functional – This is a non-ATS-compliant way of building a resume.
Most Fortune 500 companies use Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) to scan resumes and discard those that aren’t worth taking forward. The ATS scans each resume and is programmed to find those that contain specified keywords.
This saves the hiring manager time and effort from having to go through hundreds of resumes themselves, many of which are cast to the side straight away.
The best way to ensure your product manager resume passes an ATS scan is to read the job description in detail and include any words and phrases applicable to the role you’re applying for.
In addition to helping your CV pass an ATS scan, it demonstrates to the hiring manager that you have read and understood the job description. This allows it to stand out from the competition.
What Sections Must be Included in Your Principal Product Manager Resume
Things you must include in your product manager resume include:
Principal Product Manager Resume Header
This section is for your personal details, including:
- Full Name
- Job Title (principal product manager)
- Contact telephone number
- Email address
- City and state
- LinkedIn profile
- Link to your online portfolio if you have one
This is the section where you begin to sell yourself and demonstrate why the hiring manager must interview you.
List your professional experience in descending order by date, starting with the most recent position, and only list roles that add value to the job you’re applying for.
For example, suppose you had a job on the local supermarket fish counter while studying at university. In that case, this has no relevance to the role of a principal product manager, so do not include it.
Indeed, some of the experience you’ve built up as part of a product management team in other roles may not apply to the position you’re applying for, even though it is related to the product management area.
For example, if some of your experience specializes in software development, but you’re applying for a role in the aviation industry, be aware not to include examples that are too software-focused.
Be specific about how your experience adds value to the hiring manager, make it easy for them to understand why you want this role, and keep your work experience examples concise, clear, and relevant to the product manager job you’re applying for.
The critical information that must be included in the work experience section is:
- Your job title
- How long were you in that role?
- What experience did you gain in that position that is important for the job you’re applying for?
- Do you have previous experience as a principal product manager?
This last point is essential, in particular, if you spent time deputizing for a principal product manager or a temporary secondment. This experience gives you an advantage over contenders without expertise.
Junior Product Management Examples
Thinking about your previous experience in the product management world is well worthwhile.
Even if your first experience in a junior role as part of a product management team came more than a decade ago, some expertise gained during that time applies to your application for a principal product manager.
This is an excellent opportunity to showcase your proactive nature from the beginning of your career and provide examples of taking the initiative and exceeding expectations.
Be sure to include:
- How you displayed problem-solving skills
- The results of your actions
- The targets set by the team and how you exceeded these expectations
- Software and tools that you gained experience in using
Good examples are those in which your actions led to increased revenue, product improvements, or excellent customer feedback—displaying the positive impact you made on your product management team and their outputs from the earliest opportunity display your ambition and desire to climb the career ladder through professional growth.
These are winning qualities that hiring managers look for in resumes throughout a candidate’s career.
Senior Product Management Examples
If you’re applying for a Senior Product Management role, some of the experience gained in more junior roles can be overlooked in your resume. However, experience gained in working alongside senior leadership, internal and external customers, and examples of where you’ve shown leadership must be included.
This shows that you are willing to step up, even in junior roles, and go beyond what was expected of you in a junior position.
Think about the following:
- Write down your successes and accomplishments in more junior roles and select those that apply to the Senior Product Management role for your product manager resume. Discard those that do not apply.
- Ensure your resume is ATS-compliant
- Keep your job title consistent with your LinkedIn profile
As with any resume, relevancy is critical. Each role’s requirements differ, so tailor your product manager resume according to the needs of each role. However, you must include certain things for your resume to get through the sift:
- Number of direct reports you manage
- Which product management methodologies do you have experience using (e.g., Agile, Scrum, Kanban)
- How has your work impacted revenue
- Which collaborative tools do you have experience using (e.g., Micro, Figma)
- Relevant certifications and qualifications
- Examples of competitive analysis and market research and how it’s benefitted your product management delivery
- How do you scope projects and deliver against deadlines and meet customer satisfaction
Listing Product Management Skills
Many applicants make the mistake of listing their product management skills in a separate section of their principal product manager resume. Listing words in bullet points under the heading “key skills” does not impact the hiring manager.
List your crucial product management skills as a bullet point under each role in your product manager resume and ensure you include context. Remember, you have a single page within which to convince the hiring manager that you’re the candidate to solve their needs, so every single point counts.
Examples of how to list skills that you can contextualize to underline the impact you’ve had include:
- Stakeholder management – how your product management strategy has improved customer satisfaction
- Onboarding new team members – how your induction program has increased staff retention rates
- Product management strategy – how you have implemented a product strategy that meets the end user’s product vision
- Continuous Improvement – how your use of Agile methodologies has delivered tangible efficiencies and improvements to the product roadmap
Don’t be afraid to blow your own trumpet and sell yourself. Use persuasive language to underline your skills and achievements to show how indispensable you are.
Listing Product Management Education and Qualifications
Noting your educational achievements is essential. It shows potential employers that you’re a forward-thinking individual who wants to get ahead and achieve in your career.
Once again, relevancy is critical. Listing educational achievements and certifications that don’t apply to product management isn’t going to push your case for the job.
If you majored in History of Art at university, this isn’t something that adds to your unique value proposition. So, don’t waste space on your principal product manager resume by including it.
Instead, focus on certifications and qualifications that add value to your application as a principal product manager. Showing a hunger for constant learning and personal development helps you stand out from your peers when the hiring manager reviews the list of CVs.
Include any recognized product management qualifications. For example, the AIPMM Certified Product Management Credential by the Association of International Product Management and Marketing (AIPMM), is one of the world’s largest product management organizations.
The benefits of international recognized professional qualifications, such as the AIPMM credential, are that they build confidence in your credentials as a principal product manager and open up the possibility of working overseas.
Other applicable certifications that boost your employability as a principal product manager include:
- Professional Certified Marketer (PCM)
- Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO)
- Project Management Professional (PMP)
- Master Project Manager (MPM)
- Certified Product Manager (CPM)
Include the date the certification was completed to highlight your commitment to personal and professional growth throughout your career.
Listing Product Management Achievements
As crucial as product management qualifications are and are essential, the part of your principal product manager resume that persuades a hiring manager to offer you an interview is how you stand out from the other candidates.
The likelihood is that your professional experience and qualifications are similar to many other applicants. So, showing you have a proven track record of implementing a successful product roadmap requires proof.
For every bullet point on your product manager resume that displays a skill, include a numerical metric that shows the value of your work.
There are several measures to use to show your value and positive impact:
- Improved revenue generation
- Increased staff retention
- Fewer support requests
- Reduced number of product bugs
It’s easy to slip into banal generalities like “proven track record in working with cross-functional teams to deliver a successful product roadmap.” but this offers no insight into the tangible impact your collaborative nature delivered to the hiring manager.
Think about how you have demonstrated success in product rollouts. What value did you add to your team and company? Can you quantify this in a way that jumps off the page?
There are many ways to demonstrate your value; make sure you pick the right ones.
- Managed a product release that delivered 20% more revenue than expected and led to $3 million in new orders from the end user
- Delivered continuous improvements to the product roadmap through Agile processes that created $450,000 savings over 12 months while increasing margin by 15%
- Created a new onboarding strategy for new starters that led to a 50% increase in staff retention rates over three years
There are some simple steps to deliver an excellent principal product manager resume that grabs any potential employer’s attention.
Take the time to write a separate cover letter for each principal product manager role you apply for. Tailor each one to speak to the hiring manager you’ve sent it to. Doing this creates a positive first impression on your prospective employer.
Tell them why you want to work for their company, what sets you apart from the competition, and demonstrate the research you’ve undertaken on them. It also underlines your excellent communication skills and ability to work with people.
Keep Your Principal Product Manager Resume Updated
No two job descriptions are the same. Two jobs with the same title vary depending on the required experience and appropriate responsibilities.
It’s a good idea to tailor your principal product manager resume to the job you want and, when applying to multiple positions, adjust it to meet the description of each one.
For example, requirements for a principal product manager role at a software development company differ from those of the same job title at an engineering manufacturing firm. Tweaking your resume to match the specific industry requirements of the different roles helps your application progress.
Applicants who spend time ensuring their cover letters and resumes are personalized for each job role receive more positive attention from hiring managers.
Proofread Before Submitting
As obvious as it sounds, many candidates send resumes without taking the time to proofread. Ask someone trustworthy to look through it and point out any obvious spelling errors or anything that doesn’t make sense. Ask them to check that it remains relevant to the role you’re applying for.
In addition, run your principal product manager resume through a grammar and spell check. Glaring and apparent errors are reasons enough for rejecting your CV before the hiring manager has taken the time to take in your undoubted experience and skillset for the role.
There are equal benefits to avoiding these common pitfalls that many people fall into when creating a resume.
Things not do with your principal product manager resume include:
Don’t Write a Resume Summary
Many candidates begin their resume with a summary, or personal statement, at the top of the page.
Your principal product manager resume summarizes your relevant professional experience for the role of a principal product manager.
You have a page to wow the hiring manager, don’t waste a paragraph worth of space with an unnecessary summary of a summary.
Don’t Include a Headshot
A headshot is another aspect that appears in resumes from time to time and offers nothing more than wasted space on your CV.
It offers the hiring manager no context regarding your product management experience, nor does it add any other value to the hiring process. If they want to find out what you like, a simple LinkedIn or Google search gives them the answer.
Don’t Include Old Experience
By the time you find yourself applying for a principal product manager role, you’ll have been a member of a product management team for many years.
While some of your junior experience applies to the role you’re applying for, most of it won’t be. Methodologies and software have moved on during these years, and hiring managers are interested in the value you’ve added in recent times.
Highlight where you are now in your product management journey rather than six years ago.
Writing a principal product manager’s resume is a daunting task. Selling yourself is a difficult skill to perfect. However, following these simple steps go a long way to making your CV stand out during the sift and takes you through to the next stage of the recruitment process.
- Keep relevancy in mind. Don’t be tempted to include experience or skills that don’t add value to your application.
- Bear in mind the KISS model (Keep It Short and Simple). Be concise and keep your resume to one page.
- Use the right keywords to pass an ATS check.
- Proofread your resume before submitting your application.
It takes time to perfect an ideal principal product manager resume, but once you get that call inviting you to interview, the investment has paid off.