Getting your first Product Management job

A curation of resources and my observations

It’s a hot market for product management jobs in India right now. Well, not nearly as hot as it is for software engineering, but it’s not too far behind.

Though the internet is filled with resources for Product Managers, most of them are not that useful (yet) if you’re just looking to get your first job offer. I’ve observed that there are many PM aspirants who seek help to make sense of this chaotic overload of information or lack of the right information. This post is an attempt to offer such help.

Where to begin?

The best place to start is by reading Cracking the PM Interview because it answers a lot of questions you already have and tells you many things that you’re probably not even thinking about yet. If you’re unsure, watch this 1-hour video from the author of the book, Gayle, that covers highlights of what the book has in more detail.

You can also join PM communities that you can join for free to meet PMs and many fellow PM aspirants virtually: The Product Folks and Creators of Products. Both of these are really active on Slack, where you can find crowdsources good reads, event announcements, and sometimes job opportunities too.

Another great free resource you can utilize is LinkedIn! Check out profiles of Product Managers at companies that you’re interested in joining and see how they got there. Some may have joined through MBA placement, some through internal role change, and others through a job switch. You could also try to connect with them to know more about it. Did they get a referral through a friend or alumni network, was it their ex-boss who helped them in making this move, or did they just shoot a cold email to the founder or product head?

While this is not an exhaustive list of all the resources a PM aspirant could use, that wasn’t my goal either. All of these are directions in which you could go to learn and discover even more useful resources that I can’t possibly list in one post.

How to get a shortlist?

Best resumes get the shortlist. As simple as that. Keep working on your resume as your get it reviewed by PM mentors, aspirants, and friends till you aren’t able to find any more scope of improvement.

If you didn’t get the call from a recruiter, don’t lose heart. It’s not necessary that there is anything wrong with how you presented your profile. There may be factors beyond your control in the immediate term e.g. where you went to college, where you worked till now, what role you’ve been in, etc. Keep in mind that there are no points for efficiency in this game - no one keeps track of how many jobs you had to apply for to get your first job offer except you. The more you apply, the higher the likelihood that your resume gets picked by someone somewhere.

How to perform well in a PM interview?

The best way to perform well in a PM interview is to prepare for it with mock interviews. Here are a few channels that publish mock interview videos: Exponent, The Product Folks.

Another way to prepare is to go through StellarPeers and see the various categories of questions that can be asked. With this structure, I felt the prep became less overwhelming because I knew there are only this many types of questions that get asked.

Lastly, every time you appear for an interview, try to note down the questions and how you responded after it asap. Analyzing the opportunities where you can improve further is the best way to get better with intent and not leaving it to chance and time.

Crossed the bridge?

If you have already landed your first PM offer, and need help in deciding which one to choose, you can hit me up on LinkedIn/Twitter and I’d be happy to talk to you.

If you have recently started your first PM job and need tips to get the best out of your first year, you can message me on LinkedIn/Twitter. I’d be happy to chat!