Common Mistakes in TPM Resumes

Updated: Jul 11

A resume is the first impression that a candidate makes on a prospective employer. The value of a resume will never diminish even if we have LinkedIn or apply through our network. It is essentially a 1-page flier to sell yourself - to tell the world about why they should hire you. The effort (or the lack of it) comes across and tells a lot about a potential hire. One doesn’t need to get all fancy; in fact plain old boring is just fine as long as you let the content do the talking.

6 seconds is all you have to grab the attention of a prospective recruiter or hiring manager.

As a hiring manager, I have seen hundreds of badly written resumes with mistakes, typos, incorrect grammar and mundane details which distract from the content or leave a negative impression. Many good candidates do not make the cut because their resume doesn’t represent their work in the best possible way. Their resumes do not have powerful and relevant material that would make the hiring manager compelled to set up an interview and instead end up in the reject pile.

Here are some of the most common mistakes I have come across in TPM resumes and why they matter. A huge shout out to my recruiter friend Andrea Jajcanin for graciously sharing tips to grab attention and what recruiters look for in resumes.

Format & Language

  • Formatting inconsistently which distracts the reader from the core content.

  • Randomly bolded phrases and too many font styles

  • Fancy or colorful fonts, icons, boxes, tables etc

  • Using incorrect grammar and statement construction that demonstrate lack of good written communication skills

  • Random usage of past, present and future tense

  • Using Nouns, verbs or numbers inconsistently to start sentences

  • Using too many technical or domain specific jargon and acronyms without explanation which excludes non-experts.

  • Making resumes longer than 2 pages (1 page if you have <10 years experience) which shows inability to be clear and concise.

  • Sharing editable (.doc, .docx) resumes with recruiters and hiring managers. With different OSs (Mac, Windows…) editable documents usually get messed up in formatting or cannot be opened.

Core Content

  • Missing a clear objective for the reader to understand your desired role and why you are the right person for it

  • Failing to mention your unique selling proposition or what you bring to the table so prospective hiring managers understand your value.

  • Describing the program in too much detail and not providing enough space for your own contribution towards making that program successful

  • Lacking clear distinction between accomplishments and day to day responsibilities.

  • Failing to focus on the impact or results of the program and rather focusing on a bunch of activities performed.

  • “Conducted Standups”, “Created Jira tasks”, “Held weekly meetings”, “Wrote status reports”

  • Using weak language that trivializes the work performed instead of bringing out strengths.

  • “Facilitated”, “Coordinated”, “Took over”, “Helped”, “Supported”

  • Using too many subjective adjectives and adverbs instead of hard quantifiable data and objective language.

  • “Several”, “many”, “significantly”, “faster”, “much”, “extremely”

  • Adding irrelevant details about activities performed that are not a core part of the role.

  • “Interviewed many candidates”, “participated in recruiting events”

  • Using a LinkedIn profile in place of a proper resume or not providing resumes in a timely manner when requested.

Remember, recruiters scan a resume for an average of six seconds. They are looking for numbers, powerful language and relevant job titles before they decide if the resume should be passed on to hiring managers. Keeping it simple like using standard fonts - Arial or Times New Roman font without colors is always better. Hiring managers are looking for relevant experience and strong contributions to feel confident that a potential candidate can handle the complexity of the job.

Treat your resume as the foundation to your career ladder. If the first step is broken, how will you get to the next?

With the right effort, you can build a strong and powerful resume that makes the right first impression and will help you land interviews from your dream companies.

  • Are you still overwhelmed about how to write a powerful resume?

  • Do you feel like your resume is going into a black hole?

  • Are you still unclear why you are not getting calls from recruiters?

  • Are you trying to land your dream role in FAANG and other top tech companies?

  • Do you feel like you don’t have time to write out a customized resume for each job?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the questions above, then you can join my hands-on, interactive resume writing workshop specially designed for aspiring and existing TPMs. This is a live workshop with Q&A at the end to help answer questions regarding any specific situations you may be facing.

In this workshop, you will learn how to:

  • Write a powerful resume that represents your experience and showcases your achievements to set you apart from the competition and get you the job you want.

  • Create a framework to easily customize your resume according to job descriptions

  • Position yourself on LinkedIn to show up in recruiter searches.

Who is this for:

  • Anyone who is interested in becoming a TPM at FAANG/top tech companies.

  • Anyone who wants to increase the response rate from recruiters and get more interviews from the companies of their choice.

  • Anyone who is interested in the TPM role and wants to learn how to position themselves through a strong resume - engineers, project/program managers, operations managers.

Additional resources available to all registrants

  • Workshop pre-work template.

  • Formatted resume template.

  • Access to special promotions and discounts for future content


If you are feeling stuck in your role and want to get to the next level or if you are tired doing the same things over and over; then TPMify can help you with your career goals, achieve excellence and be the most sought after TPM. Contact Us to learn about our personalized career coaching services.

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