by Yong-Min Ree, MBA ’23
Whatever companies you are applying for, your resume is key to helping you get over the first hurdle in the recruiting process. Even if you have a stellar track record in other areas of business, you may not get the interview if your resume doesn’t effectively catch the attention of those hiring for PM roles. Here are three tips for packaging your resume when you don’t have prior PM experience:
- Highlight skillsets that are transferable to PM
The scope of a PM’s role is wide, but in most cases a PM should be able to exercise a) cross-functional leadership b) analytical skills c) empathy for customers. Demonstrate that you are capable of managing a team comprised of various functions, and emphasize which of your actions facilitated synergy among those people.
If you have worked for a client, elaborate on what you did to understand the needs of your client and how you went beyond the client’s expectations. The client does not always have to be an external client that gave you a consulting project. For example, if you were in an HR team, your ‘customers’ were the employees of the company. Think about what you did to satisfy the customers and how you discovered pain points. Even if you did not work as a PM, there is always a customer (those you needed to satisfy) and product (the deliverable) in the work that you did.
- Use keywords
Companies get thousands and thousands of resumes during recruiting season. Recruiters may only take a few seconds to decide whether your resume will move you to the next stage in the process. To catch the recruiters’ eye, include as many PM keywords as possible in your resume. Some of the popular keywords include: launch, pilot, A/B test, UI/UX, competitor analysis, pricing, strategy, develop, build. Make sure you have the keywords distributed throughout the resume. You can find more tips in the PM Club’s resources.
- Technical skills
What is great about Sloan is that you get to use a variety of tools through classes and sessions led professional clubs. If you have learned how to use PM tools, mention them in your skills section of the resume. The purpose is to demonstrate that you have used them, not that you are an expert. Some of the tools that you want to familiarize yourself with include:
- Project management tools: JIRA/confluence, Trello, Notion, etc.
- Design: Sketch, Figma, Adobe Illustrator, etc.
- Analytics: Google Analytics, Tableau, R, SQL, etc.
Another way to prove that you can be tech-savvy is to show your comfort with steep learning curves: elaborate on how you learned an unfamiliar domain in a short time, and how you delivered results. If you can sprinkle that experience with technical terms, that would be ideal. If you have ever worked in/directly with engineers, absolutely mention that in your resume, too.
My Top Recommended PM Recruiting Resources
- Decode and Conquer – Lewis C. Lin
- Cracking the PM Interview – Gayle Laakmaan McDowell, Jackie Bavaro
- a16z Podcast
- Y Combinator Podcast
- This is Product Management
- Inside Intercom
- The Product Podcast
Industry & Company Trends
- Blind: mobile app that provides anonymous forums for verified employees
- 6Pages: use code SLOAN458 and MIT email address to redeem complimentary 1-year subscription
- PM Club’s PM Recruiting Guidebook: contact PM Club for more info
- Tech Club’s Tech Recruiting Guidebook: contact Tech Club for more info
Product Case Interview Prep
- Exponent: free sign up with MIT email address
- Exponent YouTube channel
- RocketBlocks: discounted membership with MIT email address
- Daily Product Prep
General Interview Prep