Interview Tips- Product Manager

Getting hired as a PM is challenging but if done smartly with patience, it really isn't that hard.  You need to keep a few things in mind during your job search, and you will end up feeling much better about your progress- so keep reading. On a lighter note- if your recruiter asks you too many questions, learn how to defend your work ๐Ÿ˜‰

How to build a Resume?

  • Keep it simple , concise (use bullet points) and ideally ONE page long. Remember nobody reads it, they SKIM it in <30 seconds.

  • Pay attention on presenting interesting stuff about yourself articulately. Example- awards, fellowships, scholarships, internships should stand apart.

  • Emphasize on your technical/analytical capabilities, leadership and creativity.

  • Use KEYWORDS relevant to product management (example- UX design, Agile Project Management, Data Analytics etc) on your resume. Usually companies automate the process of resume selection by shortlisting the resumes based on keywords. 

  • This sample resume(if opened in word doc, can see comments) is a good example of a resume for a data analyst job. Another great article on how to make your resume more readable and interesting.

Which positions to apply to and how?

  • Explore 'Product Manager' positions online. For example- on Glassdoor, LinkedIn, your school portal, Indeed etc. 

  • Make a list of around 30-50 jobs that interest you.

  • Make a list of the main skills/tools that most jobs need (keywords).

  • If you know those skills/tools, make sure to add those keywords to your resume.

  • Be smart about assessing your skills. For example, if you are good at using Pencil for UI design and your favorite job needs Balsamiq, don't lose hope. Watch some Balsamiq tutorials online to get familiar and then add that to your resume.๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Some jobs need a cover letter. Write a concise letter (<250 words) highlighting your achievements, skills, passion, work ex- highlights and reasons for why you fit the specific company's culture. Don't spend much time on it.

 

Note: If you have NO or VERY LITTLE work experience (school projects, internships, work experience, research etc), you need to be realistic about your expectations. You won't get a PM job easily- you will need to slowly transition. You can start with internships, volunteer, part-time or contractor positions mostly at startups or small companies. Good roles to look for before transitioning to PM are Product Analyst, Associate PM, Business Analyst etc

How to increase the odds of getting an interview call?

  • Start early. Keep at-least 45 to 60 days aside for your job search. The earlier the better.

  • Apply more. The more you apply, the odds of getting at-least an interview call increase. Apply to at least 30. Most job applications are fairly quick and easy. Based on our experience so far, Glassdoor applications are pretty effective- so don't miss those.

  • Find friends/acquaintances to refer you. If you know someone in a company you want to work for, reach out to them and request a referral. Buy them lunch or something. Sometimes product meet ups and events work- so try going to those (don't spend too much money or time on events though- find your balance).

  • Don't EVER feel dejected. Don't get dejected. There are more applicants than there are jobs. So you might get rejected several times. Moreover, recruitment processes can be pretty random and some of those suck. So don't beat yourself over rejection- just keep trying and learning. This Princeton Professor's resume might give you some motivation ๐Ÿ˜Ž ๐Ÿ˜Ž ๐Ÿ˜Ž

If selected for an interview, how to prepare for it?

  • Know your resume inside, out. Make sure you can defend your work experience/projects in detail. 

  • Every interview begins with a cliche question- "Tell me about yourself". So be prepared to answer that in less than a minute.

  • Be a product enthusiast, build good general knowledge about the tech industry and showcase your passion for building products to employers. Techcrunch, Recode etc are some good resources to stay updated. 

  • Research about the company, get a sense of their culture so that you can explain why you want to work for them.

  • If you know who your interviewer is, look them up online. Be informed. It helps to know common interests, affiliations etc to have a more interesting conversation.

  • Steer the interview and stay calm. Try to take the interview in the direction you favor. Talk about projects you are most confident about and ask logical questions to steer the conversation.

  • Be yourself! Being pretentious to impress strangers can be stressful and futile. Focus on your interests and strengths.

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