Is 2022 the year you’ve decided to land your dream job in Product Management?
Whether you’re working to land your very first job or you’re vying for a career change, the job hunting struggle is real.
We’ve broken the mess of job hunting down into 7 simple (but by no means easy) steps. There’s no sugar-coating it, job hunting is hard work. But done right, it can be made significantly easier and get you your dream job as quickly as possible.
Step 1: Think About Your Dream Job
It’s 2022, and we’re not settling for less when it comes to our dream jobs anymore! Make this the year that you get the job you really want.
That being said, you have to be realistic. If you’ve only been working as a Product Manager for a year, that Director of Product job at Google might be a little out of reach. So you need to find the best possible job that matches your skill set.
If you’re already working in Product but you’re looking for a change, think about some of the things that your current job lacks. Do you want something more challenging, or are you looking for something less hectic? Maybe you’re not that interested in the industry you’re working in, or you want to switch to something you’re very passionate about.
If you’re not yet working in Product, think about some of the things that are important to you in the workplace. Are you keen to move to a fully remote job, or are you looking for something that gives you the opportunity to work in an office?
Make a list of companies that you think could give you your dream job, and get in touch with some Product people already working there. See if someone is available to answer some general questions about what it’s like to work there. Not only will this help you to figure out if the company is as right for you as it seems, but it’ll put you on their radar.
Step 2: Identify Areas For Learning
Throughout your job search, you’ll see jobs that look amazing, but that you don’t feel confident applying for because of knowledge gaps. Don’t use this as simply an excuse not to apply, but make note of what you’re missing. Sitting around waiting for those knowledge or skills gaps to fill themselves isn’t going to help you, and it’s not going to make your job search any easier.
Weighing up your options, figure out whether it makes more sense to put 100% of your energy into job hunting or whether you can afford to slow down to focus more on education. Sure, you could start a regular new job next month. Or you could take a year to train yourself in the skills you need, and land your dream job at the end of the year.
(You don’t need a whole year to train yourself in the skills you’re missing. You could get certified as a Product Manager, Product Leader, or Product Executive in a couple of months, or you could focus your energy on some micro-certifications within a few weeks.)
Step 3: Polish Your Resume
Once you’ve understood your skillset and the jobs you want to go for, it’s time to polish your resume. You should have several different versions of your resume, one for each industry/company type that you’re applying to. For example, if you’re splitting your applications between B2C SaaS products, and B2B hardware products, you’ll need to display slightly different skills.
If there’s a job you really want, you should ideally have one version of your resume tailored precisely to it.
Need help? Check out: 4 Tips to Write a Product Manager Resume Recruiters Will Notice + Examples
You might also be interested in: How to Leverage Your Side Hustle to Build a Winning PM Resume
Step 4: Find Networking Opportunities
The best way to find new opportunities is through networking. While the pandemic has changed the way this happens, there’s no stopping the professional world from turning!
There may currently be in-person meetups and conferences that you feel comfortable attending, or there may not be. If you’d rather keep things online, there are plenty of options.
First, you could join an online conference, like #ProductCon for Product Management or one that serves the niche you’re working in. It’s a great way to connect with people who are interested in the same things as you. Even if you don’t immediately meet a recruiter at your dream company, you may meet someone who can introduce you to them.
Step 5: Practice Your Interview Skills
While you’re looking for the right job, it’s important not to let your interview skills slip. You never know when you could land an important interview, and it’d be a shame to arrive unprepared.
Start by looking around at what previous interviewees had to say about their experience with the companies you’re most interested in. It’ll be helpful to be aware of what kind of interview you’re in for, even before it’s guaranteed.
Keep up to date with the most commonly asked interview questions, and understand why they’re asking you those questions. Prepare your answers and keep them in mind for when you need them in the future.
You could also try to find mock interviews. These will help you get some valuable experience and feedback. It’ll also help you to feel more confident and prepared when it finally comes to the real deal.
It may feel like a lot. Learning new skills, hunting for jobs, tweaking resumes, and practicing the interview, all while dealing with your day job. But if it lands you the job of your dreams, then it’ll all be worth it.
Step 6: Follow Up With Recruiters
Throughout your job hunt, you’ll probably be in touch with a lot of recruiters. Whether they’re people you meet at a networking event, or someone you shoot a resume off to without knowing more than their name. Either way, recruiters are going to be your best friends on the road to getting hired.
So it’s strange that the recruiter/job-hunter relationship is one of the most neglected. If you have a conversation with a recruiter, don’t be afraid to keep in touch with them. If you get part of the way through the interview process and it doesn’t work out, make sure you follow up with the recruiter. If you got good vibes from the company and it was a case of ‘sorry, just not this time’ rather than a hard ‘no’, it’s important to stay on their radar.
Make sure the recruiter knows that you’re still keen to work with them, and that you’d like to be invited to interview for any positions opening in the near future.
Step 7: Build Something For Yourself
If you’re interested in playing the long game, the best way to get your first Product Management job is to build something for yourself. A side project/side hustle is a great way to practice the PM skills you’ve picked up and show off your entrepreneurship.
Luckily, we’ve got everything you need to get started. Check out our Side Hustle for Product Managers micro-certification.