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Landing Your First Job as Product Manager

Product Managers are increasingly in demand.  The term product manager is not new, but the way that technology companies are using this term more consistently in their job titles is something that is a new and a more recent phenomenon.

So how do you land your first job as a Product Manager?

 

Landing Your First Job as Product Manager

Product managers come from all walks of life and previous careers.  It isn't until the last few years that product managers have a more specific path with courses and accreditations that have the path laid out for you.

Most product managers don't come from a cookie cutter career path.  I know some that come from marketing, sales while most product managers I know have migrated from their days are an individual contributor as an engineer, software developer, code, designer.

Typically, having a technical background isn't necessary and as you read from the rest our Advice column that most of product management is to learn on the fly, make decisions with incomplete information sometimes and not always know everything.  That's the true life of a product manager and no two product managers are alike in their knowledge and their experience.

Also product management jobs often don't fall in any particular industry.  As you know and it's been said that "software is eating the world...".  With that, software, digital products pervades every industry and so software tools and solutions are needed almost in every single industry.

 

Finding your edge to land your first job as product manager

So while the roles of product management are inter-industry, that means that to land your first job means you need to find your edge in terms of subject matter.

Product management roles for example can be a SaaS software company for dentists.  If you had experience in working in a dental office as a clerk, that would be a great place to put your experiences, however small, to better understand the business/industry for this product management role.

In fact, I would argue that product managers who have experience doing hands-on, and understand the administrative side of any business (such as someone who worked as a secretary at a dental office) has a unique perspective.  The reason is because the people you are building this digital solution for are the people who do the administrative work!

Any experience and even the most insignificant experience can work in your favour to land your first job as a product manager.  This is an important part of the tripartite: understanding your users.

Be sure to talk about your experience working at entry-level jobs, a volunteer work in the industry to show your specific knowledge.