People go to Med School to become a doctor and Law School to become a lawyer, but what do they do to become a product manager? You might think you go to business school, but that’s probably not the best way to get into software product management. Here are four different ways to land your first PM Job.If you’re still in college (or recently graduated)
Write up your résumé
and head to your school’s career fair to chat with the recruiters. Companies like Google, Microsoft, and Facebook are always hiring new grad product managers, and it never hurts to ask the other companies if they’ve got openings as well.
If you’re majoring or minoring in computer science and have a good GPA you can probably get an phone screen just by handing over your resume. Otherwise, spend some time chatting with the people at the booth about your interest in the role and why you think your background will be a good match.If you’re an expert in your area
Use that expertise to start in a specialized PM role where your experience will be valuable. At the Product Management Fast-Track Meetup
, We heard about a person who had started as a fraud analyst. When the fraud team grew and needed a PM, that person was a natural choice.
At that same meetup, Emily Hsiao shared how she used her background in investment banking and expertise in writing business cases to move into product management where she would analyze the market with that same rigor.If your team needs a PM
Just start performing the PM role. Cara Meverden started as a Technical Account Manager, when she realized that there was a big opportunity in improving the reporting tools her team used. She stepped up and started acting as the de facto product manager. Once she had been doing the job for a while, it was easy to move officially into the role. If none of those apply
If none of the earlier methods will work for you, there’s still an approach that’s entirely within your own power - start a side project where you can show off your skills. You can try building a web site or mobile app. Pick something you’re passionate about and start planning and building it.
Once you’ve made good progress with your side project, add it to your resume and apply for a PM job. As you meet with people, talk about how you built your app and the choices you made. You’ve just created PM experience for yourself!Like this? Follow The Art of Product Management and Jackie Bavaro (jackiebo) on Twitter