Want to learn how to write a product owner resume? Well, you’re in the right place!
So you want to be a product owner, and you’re compiling your resume. No doubt, you’re ambitious, organized, and ready to take on the world. Nevertheless, today’s job market is fierce. Regardless of how qualified you are, imposter syndrome abounds. It’s easy to feel like someone will always be a little better than you.
Well, here’s the secret. Even if you are the most qualified person in the world, qualifications alone don’t secure a job. First and foremost, you need to look good on paper.
You don’t have to be perfect to stand a fair chance as long as your resume is strong. A sparkling resume is the first crucial step. It gets your foot in the door, and it gives you a chance to allow others to witness your brilliance.
So, where do you begin? Many opt for a resume builder or draw from a generic template. Yet, these tools alone won’t set you apart. Everyone uses them.
That’s why we’ve compiled this product owner resume guide. This article explains what makes a product owner’s resume the best. Here are some of the key aspects of resume writing that we’ll cover:
- How to best share your skills
- How to articulate your work experience in a way that is relevant
- What sections to include in your resume
- How to keep your resume at the top of the pile
- What you should and shouldn’t incorporate into your resume
So throw out the traditional format. It’s time to update your resume for the digital age and beat the competition!
How to Write a Product Owner Resume
As a product owner, you wear many hats. You’re a Scrum master, a team liaison, and a stakeholder engager. As a result, there’s no doubt that you’re also a great communicator. The good news is that crafting a solid resume requires excellent communication. You’ve got this!
Like a persuasive email, a resume needs to pack a punch. It shouldn’t be wordy or too long and should be relevant to the job description. Instead, it should be compelling, clear, and concise.
Think about what you’re trying to do by writing a captivating resume. First and foremost, you need a hiring manager to give you the time of day. Potential employers spend hours rifling through resumes and opening PDFs and Word documents. What’s going to make them pause? What makes them linger a moment longer over yours?
The most surefire way to grab a hiring manager’s attention is to make your resume readable at a glance. Formatting and careful selection of what to include go a long way here. You should also be discerning about what to focus on.
Regarding that last point, consider what a hiring manager is looking for. What role do you need to fulfill? Why? From there, you gather together the most important things to mention.
As you do so, try not to gloss over essential skills and experiences. Nothing in your resume should come across as typical. If what your resume says is similar to what others say, no one lingers over it. Give your skills and experiences texture. Go beyond what to expect. Show them why your work has been significant.
What is the Best Product Owner Resume Format?
The key here is to maximize space. Make the layout of your resume captivating in and of itself. Of course, it shouldn’t be too flashy or complicated. Yet, bold titles and the use of white space to separate information work like a charm.
Think about where you’d want the eyes of project managers to land. Find a way to structure your page so that the good stuff draws them in.
Next, think about the order of appearance. There are a few ways to structure your resume in terms of format. Here are some examples:
- Reverse chronological order, in which you list experiences from most to least recent
- Functional, which prioritizes skills over experiences
- Combination or hybrid, a mixture of reverse chronological and functional formats
About ATS Compliance
Nowadays, you don’t only have to catch someone’s eye. You need to catch digital eyes. If you want to keep your resume in the running, you’ll need to make sure it’s ATS compliant. Otherwise, the employer tends to discard it at the first brush, and one reads it.
Why? What does ATS compliant mean?
ATS stands for applicant tracking system. In plain language, it’s a digital filtering system. Often, it runs based on a set of keywords. If your resume doesn’t adhere to the requirements of an ATS, it’s out.
The vast majority of Fortune 500 companies use this system. It’s a way of reducing hiring managers’ time sifting through application materials. Yet, it bars your resume from reaching anyone you want to see.
So how do you get around that? How do you keep your resume in the running?
For a resume to be ATS compliant, a product owner must optimize it to meet the criteria of an ATS. Using keywords is the simplest way to ensure your resume is compliant. Check the job description, and read over the brief. Now, think about what keywords you pull from that description. Try to incorporate them into your resume in an organic way.
A good move here is to consider the job requirements. Why not mention experiences the job calls for you to have had? This includes project management skills, for example. It requires specific qualifications, and you should consist of those then. Don’t leave this sort of information for a cover letter. Put it in your resume so that it stays within the system.
Keep in mind that a combination resume is ATS compliant. On the other hand, a functional resume is not. For that reason alone, the combination is in, and functional is out.
What Sections Should you put on Your Product Owner Resume?
You’ve got your format and keywords locked and loaded. Now, let’s consider the overall structure of your resume. Below, we focus on a few critical sections. We’ll also discuss what you might want to leave out.
Product Owner Professional Header
If you’ve made it through the ATS round, congratulations! Now, you’ll need to keep the attention of hiring managers. At this stage, professional headers are crucial. When your resume lands on your employer’s desk, it’s likely the first thing they’ll see.
So what should you include in your header? Here’s the complete list:
- Full name
- Job title (Product Owner)
- Phone number
- LinkedIn profile link
- A portfolio link, if applicable
- City of residence
- Email address
While you might feel tempted to include your full address, know that’s unnecessary. Sometimes, it’s best to leave it out in the interest of safety.
Give particular attention to that job title. It’s the most telling aspect of who you are in a hiring manager’s eyes. In short, keep it consistent with the title of the job itself. It’s a minor detail. Still, it’s the first clear indication of an alignment between you and the job you’re after. Don’t miss it, and don’t let hiring managers miss it either.
Work Experience Section and Examples
This next part is also central to a product owner’s resume. Your experience makes or breaks your selection success. Shape your experience in a way that’s appealing to hiring managers, as it’s one of the most decisive aspects of your resume.
When in doubt, start with your most recent experiences. Especially in an industry that requires technical skills, you’ll need to stay current. Often, your recent accomplishments are more up-to-date. They’ll better reflect today’s technologies and trends.
Also, think about which experiences won’t help you get the job. Consider the job description here. Think about what reads as most skill-building and professional. What shows your capabilities for this particular job? Pick the best experiences that clarify your strengths regarding the job requirements. Leave the rest behind.
The more experience you have, the easier this becomes. Show that you have a strong background no matter what. Make sure you make the connection between each experience and the job description clear. What aspects of a given experience dovetail with the expectations of this new job? Bring those aspects to the forefront.
In short, the way you describe your experiences matters as much as the experiences themselves. Use this moment to give hiring managers insight into what you’ve accomplished. Show them how it prepares you in unique ways for this particular position.
Be clear and concrete. At the same time, isolate critical points to keep things short. You’ll set yourself apart by striking the right balance between specificity and straightforwardness.
What to Include if You’re Starting out
Remember that a lot of experience isn’t worth much if it’s not well expressed. The way you portray your experiences matters. What you choose to mention as part of that portrayal is essential.
If this is your first product owner role, here are some ideas for what to mention to stand out:
- Problems you’ve experienced and solved
- Any benchmarks a team set for you in the past that you were able to meet
- Concrete measurements of your impact in previous roles
- Technical skills that set you apart, including software development, product owner skills, business analysis knowledge, and experience working with agile methodologies
Don’t underestimate yourself if you’re new to this. Especially if you’ve made a significant impact in a small time frame, you’re a promising employee! That’s what companies are looking for. Be clear about how you’ve delivered during your career, no matter how short. That distinguishes you, even from those with more experience.
What to Include if You’re a Long-time Product Owner
If you’ve been a product owner before and have years of experience, consider if it’s time for a change. If you’re taking your skills somewhere new, here’s your roadmap:
- Don’t list everything you’ve ever accomplished
- Select the most relevant of your experiences
- ATS compliance is the way to stand out
- Make sure your title is the same on all platforms, including LinkedIn
Sharing all of your experiences may seem like a wise move. After all, isn’t experience what gets you the job? Well, not always.
Hiring managers are after those who have the correct type of experience. When someone doesn’t have much time to spend with your resume, prioritize a few essential experiences. Think about the job description and select the accomplishments that speak to it the most. It shouldn’t take too long to see that you meet the requirements.
On top of this, highlight your most up-to-date experiences. If you’ve been in this business long, you’ll know that things change fast. It’s essential to show that you’re flexible. If you adapt to these changes well, you bring long-term prospects. Keep your resume current, fresh, and up to date!
Skills Section and Examples
A skills section on its own is a risky business. That’s because skills aren’t meaningful on their own. Opt for the show-don’t-tell technique. If you want a hiring manager’s trust, you must show them you’re capable.
We mean that you should show how your skills have particular ends. Those ends must match the job requirements. It’s this connection that makes your skills meaningful to a potential employer.
To do this, list your skills alongside your experiences. Having a separate skills section detaches those skills from their context. You want to do the opposite, mentioning the skills you gained through prior positions. Use bullet points to slot them in underneath each job description.
When brainstorming which skills to include, consider the following list:
- Software development life cycle knowledge
- Market research skills
- Agile methodologies knowledge, including experience with user stories
- Project management
- Product life cycle knowledge
- Knowledge of how to develop user stories and create user stories
- Business systems analysis experience
- Project planning
- Experience working with a development team
- Release planning
- Scrum product owner experience
- A proven track record
- Agile product development
- Business analysis experience
- Product roadmap development
- Experience working with customer satisfaction
- Time spent as a technical consultant
- Familiarity with Microsoft Office
- An understanding of key performance indicators
When put in context, these are the sorts of skills that distinguish you. Not every applicant has the same knowledge. The alchemy of our unique experiences is what makes us the perfect candidate. Do your best to capture the layers of your professional experience. After all, the way you present your skills matters.
The education section doesn’t need to document your entire history, either. Again, focus on what’s relevant. Is there anything in which the job description wants you to have a background? If so, highlight those aspects of your educational experience.
For example, don’t write, “Bachelor’s Degree in Business.” Instead, pinpoint some classes you took or what your thesis focused on. Those details, if relevant, show the significance of your education. Shine a spotlight on these details to mark the parallels between your education and the job description.
What’s the point of all your experience? What’s the purpose of education?
It’s to turn you into someone who delivers as a product owner. You must have made your background mean something about your professional experience. Your accomplishments are, therefore, of great significance to an employer.
When sharing your accomplishments, do so in a way that conveys them well. If you have figures to quantify the ways you’ve impacted businesses, include them. If not, be clear about how your accomplishments were meaningful. Potential employers want to see the practical outcome of your achievements.
Like achievements, certifications give product owner resumes an extra kick. If you want to set yourself apart, certifications are the seal of approval you’re looking for. What’s more, they indicate that you’re attentive and willing to grow. You’re self-nurturing for the sake of your professional success. Any company is proud to have the qualities of a product owner.
Do you already have a couple of certifications to share? If not, you might be willing to get certified to make yourself more appealing as a product owner. Either way, here’s a list of certifications that improves your product owner resume:
- Certified business analysis professional
- Certified professional resume writer
- Scrum Alliance Certified Scrum product owner
- PMI Agile-Certified Practitioner
- Certified ScrumMaster
- Certified SAFe® Product Owner/Product Manager
Project management requires talking to people. That goes without saying. In today’s world, knowing additional languages expands possibilities. It allows you to engage with international clients rarely. That communicative ability sets you apart as a product owner.
Companies in today’s globalized world are gunning for a diverse client base. They build their products for a global audience. So be sure to list your languages and label your proficiency in-depth. Here are the proficiencies to choose from:
- Elementary proficiency
- Limited working proficiency
- Professional working proficiency
- Full professional working proficiency
- Native/bilingual proficiency
Be honest about what level you’re at. That way, your resume matches your abilities when you need to use your language skills.
Product Owner job Application Experience
When your resume is ready to go, where should you apply? What are the best sites to use to apply for a job as a product owner? Here’s our list:
As you choose which companies to apply to, think about where your skills are relevant. Is project management or agile methodologies in your arsenal? Consider companies that use agile, in which you’d be an agile product owner.
Also, don’t underestimate the importance of networking. Sometimes, all you need is for someone to put you in touch with the person you’d like to work with. Introductions make a hiring manager recognize your name and pay attention. Another person’s willingness to put their name on the line for you also shows your professional value.
Product Owner Resume Tips
We’ve boiled the resume-building process down to these four tips:
- Make your cover letters unique every time
Cover letters are pivotal. Make sure you spend time on each one you submit. Tailor your cover letter carefully to each job.
It may seem easier to use the same template with minor adjustments. However, this is an opportunity to share the narrative of your experience. Doing so confirms your alignment with a position. Plus, it’s a direct way to highlight your resume. Strengthening one strengthens the other.
- Keep your resume fresh
Like cover letters, it’s essential to keep your resume up-to-date. Adapt it for each job application if necessary. Make sure your resume matches the job requirements as much as possible.
- Edit and proofread your resume
Details matter. If you’re a product owner, being attentive to detail matters too. Put your best foot forward and ensure there aren’t any errors in your resume. In a way, your resume is a sample of your work. So make sure you provide a robust sample!
Product Owner Resume Example
Summary and Recap
Writing a resume is no easy feat. As this article has made clear, there’s much to consider. Below is a quick recap of the main points we’ve covered:
- Keep things relevant
- Use a reverse timeline as much as possible
- Make sure your resume is ATS compliant
- Edit, edit, edit
Additionally, here are some common buzzwords to avoid including on a resume. If you need to have them, give them context:
- The ability to liaise well with others
- Being a people person
- Working with stakeholders
- Collaborating well with a variety of teams
- The ability to work well in a fast-paced environment
Alternatives to these skills that are worth including are:
- Website creation or management experience
- Designing product information
- Project leadership skills
- Experience working with development teams
- Software development skills
It’s feasible to list a lot more, but know that a goldmine is in the details. Draw hiring managers in with solid titles and relevant work experience. Keep them there by establishing a sense of the link between your skills and the job description.
If you feel overwhelmed, remember it’s possible to edit your way to perfection. It’s typical that the first draft of your resume is not one you’re comfortable submitting. So, at first, start to write and let things flow. Afterward, refer to this article and check things off one at a time as you edit. We hope it helps!
Now, go and finalize those applications. A great resume is the cherry on top. You’ve got this!