How to Land the Best Job as a Product Manager?

Written by Guest Author: Saurabh Tyagi

Many people want the title Product manager. It sounds and reads suave and impressive. However, the ambiguity surrounding this particular role and its responsibilities and no set defined academic requirements leads people to self-proclaim themselves as a product manager a tad too early in their career. Similarly, many recruiters also do not have complete understanding of the skills of a product manager and as a result companies tend to make hiring decisions based upon domain experience against quantifiable product management skills. Here are some tips to land the best product manager job.

Take product management training for best knowledge

If you want the best product management job, you should have the best knowledge as well. Real product managers drive the product vision, work with designers and engineers and everyone in between, analyze the performance of the features and make decisions. As the tasks involved are extensive it become imperative for the aspiring candidate to have either extensive experience or training in the commonly agreed upon industry standards for the practice of product management. When you get trained, it helps you gain an inside view of the prevalent practices, enhance the existing knowledge and network with similarly skilled professionals.

Read product management books

As a product manager, you will have to manage a range of diverse activities, departments, work on a number of tools and deal with a highly diverse set of professionals. Reading product management books will enable you to speak the language of those involved. Interviewer might even ask you about some extra resources that you follow in order to stay ahead of the curve and if you come out with a name or two of some of the famous product management books it will definitely add to your appeal as a prospective candidate.

Crack the Interview

With the responsibilities that a product manager handles, it’s no surprise that candidates are overwhelmed when preparing for interviews.  Sadly, there is no way you can bypass this critical step. The typical interviewer might test your design experience or analytical capabilities, your leadership skills or business acumen or just focus on the technical portion. You can never be too sure, thus, it is best to be prepared for everything.  Customer empathy is another important quality that CEOs seek in their product managers.  As Steven Sinofsky, the former President of Microsoft’s Windows division explains, “as a PM you are the voice of the customer so you have to really understand their point of view and context.”  Some of his favorite questions include

  • What was the last product you bought and why?

  • Describe your buying process and what influenced your buying decision.

Develop Connections and leverage them

Networking has always been one of the best ways to secure a job that you wouldn’t have been able to in normal circumstances. In this age of internet, networking has also assumed different notions, and has turned into more of a social networking phenomenon. LinkedIn has become the de-facto for reaching out and meeting new professionals of an industry.  

Joining the existing product management groups on this social network, and participating in the discussion or starting your own discussion is a good practice to make an impact.  For a real world perspective you can join a local product management association and participate in the events. You can show this participation in your resume and also cash in on the opportunities to establish professional connections. Such groups and associations are sometimes the first places that recruiters and companies search for candidates for product management jobs.

Highlight your achievements

Crafting the right resume is a critical part of any job search process. Make sure that you highlight the right sections in your resume as recruiters only scan a CV for six seconds according to a study. Achievements are one section that fits the criteria. Your new job application should highlight all that you have achieved in previous organizations and jobs, and how these achievements align with the new product manager job that you are applying to.

There are rarely any professionals who start their career as product manager. The majority of them start their career in different functions and after gaining necessary skills and experience, and making the right moves ultimately break into the PM roles.

About Saurabh Tyagi
Saurabh Tyagi is a career author with over 4 years of proven experience and expertise in writing article for various leading blogs and online publishing platforms. He is a technically sound person, equipped with the knowledge on various upcoming web technologies, including social media, product design, web design and development.  You can find him here
Saurabh Tyagi.

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This entry was posted in product management and tagged , by Jeremy Horn. Bookmark the permalink.

About Jeremy Horn

Jeremy Horn is an award-winning, product management veteran with 2 decades of experience leading and managing product teams. Jeremy has held various executive and advisory roles, from founder of several start-ups to driving diverse organizations in online services, consumer products, and wearables. As founder of The Product Group, he has created the largest product management meetup in the world and hosts the annual awarding of The Best Product Person. Accelerating the next evolution of product management, Jeremy acted as creator and instructor of the 10-week product management course at General Assembly and The New School, and mentoring at Women 2.0 and Lean Startup Machine (where is he also a judge). To see where Jeremy is now check him out at (1) http://linkedin.com/in/TheProductGuy and (2) http://TheProductGuy.com