The best program manager resume’s highlight a candidate’s ability to work with various departments and lead strategic initiatives. That’s because program managers are the overseers of the entire lifecycle of their programs.
This is distinct from a product manager. The Program Manager Institute says the program manager can be thought of as a “super project manager” in that they manage all the projects with a business program.
When you look for a job, your program is your entire job search. A big part of that is the resume writing project. Use our free r esume examples and this guide full of resume tips help you to:
- What does a program manager do?
- How to write a program manager resume
- The best format for a program manager resume
- Highlighting the qualities that make you an excellent program manager in each section of your resume
- Making a professional visual impression.
Our overall guide to resume writing goes into detail and offers resume examples to get you started, but here you will find information targeted to your chosen career as a program manager.
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What does a program manager do?
Program managers are responsible for directing, coordinating, and improving the internal and external programs of an organization. They help to drive strategy and prepare and complete action plans to enhance productivity. Program managers monitor the progress of various projects and work to ensure that milestones of projects and those relating to overall program development are met.
As a program manager, you will also be responsible for managing the following:
- The projects’ budgets
- Coordination of all projects within the program
- Communication with and among stakeholders
- The use of resources
- The main program documentation.
How to write a program manager resume
What should you include in your program manager resume? The basic structure does not differ from any other resume. It should follow a standard format with the following sections:
- The resume header
- The resume summary (aka profile or personal statement)
- The employment history section
- The resume skills section
- The education section
Your job is to convince hiring managers that you are the right person for the job. Being a program manager requires great attention to detail as well as deep knowledge of the types of program you are managing. That’s a lot to get across in your program manager resume. How do you do that? By detailing the strongest examples from your work history and using vivid descriptive language, without crossing the line into bragging territory.
The best resume format for a program manager
Unless you have a great reason to do otherwise, you should organize your program manager resume using reverse chronological order. The goal of any resume is to make it easy for recruiters and Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to parse your experience and they both favor this format.
Many career paths can lead to a role as program manager. If your career has not taken a straight path, you may think about a hybrid resume format in which your skills have equal standing to your work history. This may also work if you have taken a sabbatical or have a gap in your career for another reason.
Resume summary example
The goal of the summary section of your program manager resume is to show off both your professional achievements and your personality … all in 3-5 sentences. If a recruiter is impressed with your credentials, they will definitely read this for more information.
Describe one or two of your career highlights that best illustrate the skills you will need in your targeted job. Use a sentence or two to explain why your professional demeanor makes you a great fit for the job. Try to strike the right tone between being too modest and overplaying your hand.
Innovative Program Manager with a proven track record of strategically guiding organizations to reach goals. Adept in overseeing the progress of operations and monitoring cross-company projects. Experienced in leading staff members and evaluating project progress to achieve timely results.
Employment history sample
The employment history section of your program manager resume takes up the bulk of your document, unless you are new to the job market – unlikely in this role. The goal here is to show a pattern of growth and achievement in your career.
How do you do that? Spend more of your precious space on your most current one or two jobs – the ones where you performed duties that make you a great candidate for the positions you are eyeing.
Use the CAR method in your bullet points to describe a Challenge, the Action you took to solve it, and your Results. Data and details make your case stronger.
The resume sample content below will give you a good starting point.
Program Manager at Deloitte Solutions, New York
March 2013 - Present
- Lead company projects and initiatives based on needs and goals.
- Oversee cross-company projects and evaluated performances.
- Lead risk and resource management initiatives.
- Create and distribute written reports for program directors.
Program Manager at Reel Solutions, New York
April 2009 - February 2013
- Helped to build and lead teams of problem-solvers and managers.
- Provided comprehensive program management for the company and oversaw remedial designs.
- Prepared proposals and cost estimates for projects.
- Managed project contracts and schedules.
- Led a strong support team conducive to the company's success.
Resume education example
Many program managers have earned bachelor’s degrees in a business field or another area as some employers may require a degree in the specific field in which you work. List all your academic achievements in the education section of your program manager resume.
Any honors or distinctions should be noted here as well. If you hold a degree higher than a bachelor’s, you may omit your high school diploma.
Master of Computer Science, NYU, New York
August 2007 - May 2009
Bachelor of Computer Science, New York University, New York
August 2003 - May 2007
CV skills example
The skills section of your program manager resume offers recruiters a quick way to see whether your abilities match the position they want to fill. You should offer a mix of hard, or technical and business, skills and soft skills and aim to list your higher level skills.
What soft competencies are highly desirable? According to the Project Management Institute:
- Big picture thinking
- Ability to sell the vision
- Negotiation and influence
- Conflict resolution
- Stakeholder management
- Analytical thinking
Beat the ATS
Analyze the job listing and make sure you match your attributes to the ones list. This keyword check will help you rank higher with the Applicant Tracking Systems that use algorithms to triage resumes.
Here is resume sample text you can draw from for your skills section.
- Performance Evaluation Skills
- Problem Solving Skills
- Program Management Techniques
- Excellent Communication Skills
- Leadership Skills
- Analytical Thinking Skills
Resume layout and design
Your position as a program manager requires great organization skills. Your program manager resume should echo those skills by being crispy organized with neat margins, legible fonts, and obvious section headings for easy reading.
Here are program manager resume design and formatting guidelines to follow to ensure you make a great first impression:
- Try choosing a sans serif type such as Arial or Calibri for display text and a serif type such as Garamond or Constantia for your descriptions. Or try the opposite.
- Allow your contact information to stand out, but avoid a profile picture
- Proofread carefully to avoid an spelling, grammatical, or punctuation errors
- Create white space by varying your line lengths
- If you spill over to a second page, try not to break up sections
The first data a recruiter will look for are your contact information, your current and previous job titles and employers, and your section headings. If they can’t find those, you greatly decrease your chances of getting that coveted interview.
Key takeaways for a program manager resume
- Choose a crisply organized resume format
- Wow recruiters with the highlights of your career in your profile
- Choose achievements in your employment history section that illustrate that you are already doing the job
- Match your skills to the job listing to get you past the ATS
- Take advantage of expertly-designed and tested resume templates and online builder tools such as ours.