Remember this scene 👇 from the popular movie 3D which touched our hearts (Especially of those who faced initial job struggles).
In this scene Raju Rastogi (Sharman Joshi) attends a panel interview, they ask him regular questions for which he gives frank and straightforward answers.
They behave as if they are taken aback by his answers (to test him) Raju does not compromise with his newly acquired settled way of thinking (no fear attitude), the panel gets impressed and he manages to score the job.
However, this interview scene is a bit altered and is far away from reality, when it comes to attracting hypergrowth brands to hire you as a Product Manager.
It’s no surprise that Becoming a Product Manager has begun to show up on lists of the best, hottest, and most promising careers in India. But the first thing you should know is the competition is steep.
Moreover, the job applicants for product management positions are not just existing product managers but also aspiring product managers from diverse backgrounds such as software engineering, consulting Consumer research, and digital marketing UX designing.
So, the question arises...What should you do as a PM to rise above the competition and get your dream job?
That's where this post going to help you.
Tighten your seatbelt and grab a cup of coffee ( or Adrak wali chai") as you'll get a step-by-step process packed up with actionable insights into how you can become a magnet for a product management role.
Without further ado, let’s get started!
Building your Brand for getting a good PM role
1. Bare your product personality
One of the best ways to demonstrate your product personality is to show what you're like as a product manager in the public.
Remember: Product Managers are also produced. As an aspiring PM, make your digital presence. Read, Write, Share & talk a lot. And yeah: do ask questions, no matter how silly they are.
💡 Bonus tip: Start by sharing podcast notes, book key takeaways, interesting articles/blogs, your thoughts on new features on a popular app or talk about how you've made why you took a certain decision in your product.
Let me show a couple of examples of how you can do the same:
Example 1: Curating and sharing valuable Product management resources
Example 2: Sharing key takeaways from a Product management event
Example 3: Sharing Tips and advice on launching a product
Example 4: Performing a Product Teardown and Sharing it online
If you're not that active on Twitter, no worries, you could share interesting PM stuff on Linkedin or create a professional blog for the same. The idea is to pick and leverage that channel to show your product personality.
2. Build Connections
The next thing you should do is begin building relationships within a product community. Being surrounded by great Product Managers offer unique opportunities for learning, feedback, and yes... new jobs.
You can start by Interacting with product managers on any online channel by just spending 5 minutes/day through the 1-3-5 framework.
💡 Follow 1 Product manager.
Comment on 3 Posts.
Like 5 posts.
Isn't it simple and effective?
The idea is to ask for help, spark conversations and celebrate their wins so you can be a value to other product managers, building a stronger connections with them.
Building your mental strength
I can understand how physically and mentally exhausting the whole job search process could be.
You really need to be on top of your game for several hours at a time, experiencing a letdown after the interview, and then having to gear yourself up to do it all over again.
Below are two important things you can do to take control of your job search and mental strength:
- Don't let your physical health go
- Don't make it personal
1. Don't let your physical health go
It's been said that job searching is a marathon, not a sprint. A job search can potentially last months. Job seekers need to take care of their physical, emotional and spiritual needs and not let themselves get run down.
Experts recommend at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of moderate-intensity activity per week. That's 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week, broken down into 10-minute bursts if that's easier.
Keeping oneself physically healthy help has the potential to alleviate anxiety and improves your mood and motivation.
2. Don't make it personal
No one enjoys getting turned down for a PM job, and if you’ve done a lot of preparation for a role that you really wanted, it can be harder still to accept rejection.
One tip is to ensure that you’re taking what is happening and reframing it in a way that still leaves you with power.
So if you are getting rejected and you’re saying it means that you’re not good enough, how can you reframe that?
You can always reframe what is happening and step into taking ownership of what’s in your control. Because the truth of the matter is that we always have a choice in how we want to proceed.
Also, with the right mindset, you can turn the experience into a career development opportunity. Here’s how...
Ask for detailed feedback
- Thank the interviewer and be polite.
- Ask: What can I improve upon?
- Show appreciation.
Review and reflect
- What did I sense went well?
- What could I have done differently?
- Were there any questions you feel you could have answered better?
- Could you have worked harder to build rapport with your interviewer(s)?
- Accept the emotions you feel.
- See each setback as a challenge to grow.
- Make a list of your wins. and what went well during the interview.
Remember, getting turned down from a job happens to everyone, the most important thing is what you learn from the experience.
Drafting winning resume
When you’re thinking about taking a new step in your career, your resume’s probably high on your mind.
The question is: How will you set yourself apart from other candidates?
No fear, this section is designed to answer your above question.
We'll help you build your product manager resume that stands out to recruiters and adequately communicates your skills and experience.
1. Stick to One page
Recruiters do read your full resume. They just skim and do a 15 - 30 second "spot check" of your resume. When your resume is too long, it just takes your best stuff and dilutes it with more mediocre content.
To cut it down, remember the purpose of it—it’s not to showcase everything you’ve ever done, but rather to show that you have the background, skills and experience for the job at hand.
2. Use the STAR method to create a winning resume
STAR is an acronym for ‘Situation, Task, Activity, Result’, and each CV example of your previous work experience should ideally include a sentence or two about each of these words. The below graphic would explain you STAR method in brief 👇
3. Customize your resume for every role
Many employers use software called applicant tracking systems (ATS) to filter resumes based on the requirements of the role. If you want to pass this initial electronic screen, your professional resume needs to be tailored for a specific position. Here's what can you about it:
- Make a list of repeated keywords and phrases used in the job description.
- Tailor your skills to match the key terms in the job description.
- Highlight your key skills on the top third of the resume.
Also, remember to make up more space by skipping the experience that is non-relevant or is too far from the past.
💡 Bonus tip: Use screener tools like Jobscan.co or Skillsyncer.com to reverse engineer the resume to fit the role.
Setting up for Success during PM Interview
First of all congratulations on making till this far! This section would be important So please be attentive because we'd flood you with some interesting insight and advice on your interview success!
1. Introducing yourself in less than 3 minutes
Honestly, there is no one-size-fits-all answer as you don't, really know what the interviewer trying to get at.
However, Your answer to this sets the tone for the rest of the interview, as the interviewer develops their first opinion and assumptions about you.
- Go in reverse chronological order and spend 50% of your time on recent experience
- Answer the question, "Why are you sitting here being interviewed today?"
- Discuss past achievements and what you are now looking for.
- Not selling yourself and your accomplishments.
- Just Parroting back the bullet points on a resume to the Interviewer.
- Not planning the response in advance, making this Answer up on the Spot.
💡 Template for Introducing yourself
Hey I'm <<Your Name>>, I was a product manager most recently with <<Company name>>
<<Introduce your recent company, mention credible metrics, funding, revenue etc. services in 1-2 lines>>
I was working on <<Describe the project you were working on, your responsibility and results you delivered in 2-3 lines>>
<<Talk about your past experiences, Responsibilities and achievements>>
Read our full guide on Cracking a Product Management Interview:
2. Engage the Panel with storytelling
Your goal in an interview is to connect with the interviewer in a profoundly human way, transcending the information of your resume to give them a sense of what makes you tick and what they can expect of you. Storytelling in interviews is a great way to do just that.
Highlighting below some tips on ensuring how to use stories to deliver the right messages and have the impact you want them to have
- Be Vulnerable and specific
- Don’t hesitate to talk openly and candidly about your past failures.
- Prepare a story showing your Competent skills and making that desired impression.
Let me show you an example of how to make this advice actionable.
There are a few select phrases that no job seeker wants to hear in an interview. One of them is,
Tell me about a time when…
Don't be afraid of questions starting from this phrase. Instead, Use this as an opportunity to tell a story of your accomplishment to impress the interviewer.
Assuming you've prepared for these questions, your story would look something like this:
💡 Template of Using Story in your Product Management Interview
<<Start by describing what was the situation or the problem>>
<< Describe what was your responsibility. What did you do to achieve the task? Did you work off your own initiative, or did you follow guidelines accurately and successfully? >>
<<What was the end result? How did they contribute to the success of your organization or the smooth running of the workplace?>>
That’s it for today. We have given you the complete, step-by-step, process and action points on becoming a magnet for PM opportunities!
In the end, your goal of applying the above-suggested strategies is to leave a lasting impression on Recruiters looking for PMs + make it incredibly easy for your PM connections to want to refer you once you apply for a role.
Remember, It's about developing the right skill sets and putting yourself in the right position to take advantage of an opportunity. Good luck!