Let us be clear, landing a Product Manager job is challenging. Every week, we speak with 40+ aspiring Product Managers with technical backgrounds who are actively looking to make the transition, without positive results.
Product Management is the new “sexy” job in the Bay Area, and there are definitely key hiring trends and skills necessary for the pivot. If you are considering making the switch, you can’t miss these 5 tips to get your first Product Manager job.
1. Earn the respect of your technical team
Knowing how to code is essential to being a successful Product Manager at a software company in the US. Former Product Manager at Google, Ken Norton, says that they must have a technical background.
- If you don’t have a coding background, you’ll need to develop one ASAP. Start with this Programming for Non-Programmers course via One Month.
- If you are already a developer without any iOS experience and looking to join a mobile team, One Month also offers an iOS course to learn Swift and build apps.
Also, and most importantly, you’ll earn the respect of the development team that you will be leading.
2. Update your Resume to Highlight Side Projects
It takes recruiters 15–30 seconds to review your resume and decide if there is a potential fit. Resumes must be one page, or they will be thrown out immediately. Use your space wisely to focus on side projects you have led and prototypes you have built, as recruiters will already know your technical skills if you are a developer by background. Check out these 4 tips to writing a Product Manager resume.
3. Read and study Cracking the PM Interview
Before reaching out to companies, read Cracking the PM Interview for resume templates and advice on how to navigate the interview process and answer specific PM-related questions.
4. Leave your comfort zone and practice public speaking
Public speaking is difficult and intimidating for most people, especially for coders who typically have less outward-facing interactions. Find a meetup where you can practice presenting in front of a group. This will push you out of your comfort zone and give you a low-stakes opportunity to make mistakes, learn from them, and gain confidence speaking and presenting your ideas and projects. PM’s need to be able to communicate internally and externally, so practice this as much as you can.
5. Build Your Product Manager Job Pipeline
Networking and building a career pipeline will be the most important steps to take to land a Product Manager job. Go to coffee with co-workers, reach out to product peers at other companies, and focus on finding great mentors. Personal introductions to job listings are the key to starting the process and finding a new role. Even with the above tactics, you will still need an active job pipeline and strategy to be successful.
Finally, you need to trust yourself, understand why and what you are doing this for, manage your expectations, and push yourself because landing a Product Manager job can be very challenging. Since there is no perfect formula to land a role in Product Management, let us know if we can help you.
If you are interested in learning more about Product Management, we offer an 8-week part-time product management course in San Francisco.