Finding a great product owner that can navigate the culture of an organization while delivering a quality product on a budget can be challenging. Regardless of whether the product owner will be responsible for software or a service, the key is focusing on the right skills to separate the extraordinary from the ordinary. Here are 5 skills to look for on resumes to spot a truly great product owner:


A product owner that achieves results must be a skilled communicator. This requires the product owner to not only communicate with their team, but also across departments and to leadership in order to build or maintain support for the product. Think about the following when attempting to evaluate the communication skills of a product owner candidate:

  • Making connections. A candidate that illustrate achievements where they create links between the big and small parts of a product reflects a strong ability to make the business case for any product.
  • Managing backlog. Conveying delays or timelines strategically can help manage expectations of the impacted business people. Look for achievements where the product owner has developed communication strategies surrounding the product.
  • Synthesizing technical information. A skilled communicator can translate even the most technical information in a way that a business person can not only understand but can support. An overly technical resume should certainly be a red flag to any hiring manager.


Collaboration is an essential skill for any product owner that delivers. Product owners responsible for software and services alike must collaborate across departments in order to achieve the results sought. This means that a great product owner will have examples of things like the following on their resume:

  • Cross-functional team experience. Working on cross-functional teams means that the product owner candidate knows what it takes to collaborate across departments to achieve a common goal.
  • Able to build buy-in. A product owner who can successfully build buy-in from leadership or non-technical people is capable of collaborating to achieve results. A resume that includes a few details about things like reporting strategies, budget approvals, or managing up can go a long way.
  • Multiple product or feature responsibility. Anyone who can manage responsibility for multiple products or features knows how to effectively collaborate to achieve results.


Product owners are fundamentally responsible for leading the product team. An extraordinary product owner is first and foremost a leader that the team looks to for direction – regardless of whether that person has a technical background. To spot these leadership skills, consider looking for things like the following on resumes of product owner candidates:

  • Budget ownership. Experience formulating, executing, and meeting a budget means that the product owner has been given the ultimate financial responsibility to deliver.
  • Numbers. Illustrating things like the number of direct reports, the size of the product team, the budget, or features with specific numbers provides important scope to the candidate’s experience.
  • Deadline driven. Successful product owners are driven by deadlines to achieve the desired results while managing the backlog. Candidates that include details about specific product deadlines, examples of when deadlines were beaten, or information about they helped manage competing deadlines are most likely highly skilled leaders.


Software and non-technology product owners must be capable of consistently advocating for their products. This means that not only must great product owners be capable communicators, but that they must know how to use these skills to advocate for their product in a variety of settings with a range of audiences. Here are a few ways to spot the resume of a product owner that is capable of successfully advocating:

  • Saying no. Staying in line with the vision means that the product owner will have to say no to many people in order to complete the business requirements on time.
  • Receiving what is asked for. A product owner that includes details on their resume about times where they have obtained what they asked for (i.e. more money, more features, more time, etc.) means that they know how to advocate.
  • Designing a business case. A product owner that has responsibility for developing the business case of a product fundamentally must advocate their position repeatedly whenever they must present it.
  • Product map. Product owners that have held responsibility for executing a product map must consistently advocate to everyone involved – from development to finance to executive leadership in order to stick to the plan.


Product owners must be capable of delivering on the vision and product map with relentless diligence. An extraordinary product owner is capable of stepping in to pick up the slack or otherwise driving additional resources as needed. Regardless of whether it is a software product owner or not, there are ways to spot a product owner that is capable of executing details while keeping the big picture in sight:

  • Strong writing skills. A well-crafted resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile is the first impression of any product owner candidate. A big red flag should go up to any hiring manager that is looking at a resume riddled with spelling, grammar, or formatting errors.
  • Important details. The ability to identify relevant details on a resume or in an interview when conveying a point is essential. A candidate that can’t deliver this information or that gets lost in the weeds is likely not strong with executing details of a product when it counts most.
  • Focus. A product owner candidate that can reflect focus on their message and how they approach the application to the position has created the right first impression. The key is in determining whether that person stays true to their focused message throughout the hiring process.

Need help finding a great product owner? Or, are you a product owner that needs help finding your next challenge? The experienced recruiters at the Contingent Plan are always connecting qualified product owners with the right employers. Contact us to get started today!


With years of experience in the job acquisition field, Kathy has delivered exceptional service by providing in-depth knowledge about recruiting qualified employees, and crafting the perfect resume. The Contingent Plan comprises a team of expert recruiters, resume writers, and outplacement experts—all ready to help you! Read Kathy’s blogs, and discover simple tricks and tips to help you land the job of your dreams.