Parker, 28, has worked as a product manager for a small tech company for the past eight years. While her job hasn’t been affected by the pandemic, she’s eager to take on a new challenge and is looking to make the jump to a medium-sized tech company.
The pandemic has shifted Parker’s position to working from home, so she appreciates having interactions with her clients and product users. “My ideal position is one where I’m in constant communications with clients,” Parker writes. Her current role gives her a large amount of autonomy to solve problems as she sees fit, so she hopes to find a similar role where she can use her skills and experience to make decisions at work.
Parker would like to stay in the tech space and is aiming to secure a management role as a product lead in about five years time. “In 10 years or more, I hope to become the head of product where I can oversee the big picture and scope of products,” she says.
So we reached out to career coach Dr. Jonathan Tam and Jordanne Pavao, VP of product at the Toronto tech company Flybits, to review Parker’s resume and offer their feedback on her career progression.
What the career coach says
While Dr. Tam applauds Parker’s short, neat and clean résumé, he does have some tips to improve it. She should start by reorganizing the layout of her resume to follow the ‘Z’ format (top left to top right, bottom left to bottom right) which readers adopt when skimming. “I’d put the summary and skills in the top-left corner, which is the most prominent spot,” Dr. Tam explains. “Since Parker has worked for a few years already and is not a fresh grad, I’d move education to a less prominent spot, bottom left or right.”
The bullet points within Parker’s job descriptions could also be honed based on the jobs that she is applying for. “Identify and use the exact words for the hard and soft skills and experience in the job posting, then back it up with data,” Dr. Tam recommends. She should also pull out numbers showing evidence that she has the skills outlined in the position she’s applying for.
Her current job description can also be reduced to just three to five bullet points, according to Dr. Tam. Then she can use the extra space to add another section, such as volunteer or freelance experience, to highlight achievements relevant to her target job application that her formal work experience hasn’t covered.
What the industry expert says
While many tech companies went through layoffs and budget cuts during the early days of the pandemic, Ms. Pavao says that organizations are starting to hire again. “New product-management opportunities have also emerged as a result of new businesses that have grown out of changing market and business needs amid COVID-19,” she explains. “We’re looking at our current product-manager roles a little differently, putting a stronger emphasis on adaptability, self-starters and skill-set versatility to help us adapt to changing market conditions.” Like Dr. Tam, Ms. Pavao suggests reorganizing sections in order of importance, putting her summary first, followed by skills then education. She can use the summary to add in keywords pulled from the company’s website and the description of the role she’s applying for.
With her current experience, Ms. Pavao says that Parker needs more experience to qualify for a product-manager role at Flybits. She suggests looking for roles as an associate product manager or product manager at an SaaS company to bolster her résumé. She can also take courses, programs or workshops in modern product management. “It demonstrates passion, curiosity and commitment to product management, as well as personal accountability and investment toward skill development,” Ms. Pavao says.
While in-person networking opportunities are limited by COVID-19, Ms. Pavao recommends Parker join industry-specific online communities such as Mind the Product. “They regularly share job postings by region and have a great Slack community for product managers looking to develop and grow their skills,” she explains.
Parker can also use LinkedIn to connect with leaders in the product space. “Send a personalized Linkedin request to a product leader that you admire and want to stay connected with. It’s not guaranteed that they’ll add you back, but worth a try,” she says. “It’s a great way to optimize and curate your feed with learnings and insights from the best in the industry, and may just open up the door to start a dialogue about product management.”
The new résumé
Parker has revamped her resume with a few small but effective changes. She has rearranged the order of information to put her summary and skills at the top while moving education to the bottom. She has reduced the number of bullet points in her current job description, as Dr. Tam had recommended, but used the extra space to add summaries to her last two positions to create the consistency flagged by Ms. Pavao. Lastly, Parker has reworded some bullet points to focus more on how she solved problems and added more mentions of soft skills throughout her work experiences.
Interested in having your résumé reviewed?
E-mail us with your resume at email@example.com with ‘Résumé Review’ in the subject line and we’ll ask a career coach and an expert in your field to provide their feedback. E-mails without the correct subject line may not be answered. Names and some details are changed to protect the privacy of the persons profiled.
We’re especially interested in hearing from those who have had their employment impacted by COVID-19. On the flipside, if you’re a hiring manager interested in reaching out to the person profiled, we encourage you to contact us as well. You can find all our résumé reviews here.
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Published at Wed, 27 Jan 2021 10:00:00 +0000