Guest Post: Your First Product Management Job

A couple people at this year’s Product Camp Melbourne suggested topics around getting into product management, getting hired into their first product management job and wanting to know more about the role. We combined them all into one session, got a few people to be on the panel (which morphed into a round table discussion) and away we went.

One of the attendees, Darren Duarte, has provided the following session notes:

A morning round-table session had a great turnout from people wanting to get into Product Management and those wishing to share their experiences. It was a natural two way conversation from both perspectives.

Getting into the role – perspective from someone who has hired:
The first step in the recruitment process – getting through HR or a recruitment consultant – is the most difficult. To have the best chance of getting through this 1st stage, your resume & cover letter should focus on the transferable skills & experiences which are similar to Product Management responsibilities. Your resume should also tell the reader what value you can bring.

Building your network through events like Product Camp and Product Anonymous makes it easier through this first stage. It also shows you are interested in learning.

Many hiring managers know that Product Managers come from diverse backgrounds and that’s ok (e.g. Coding, Business, Science, Project Management, Engineering, etc.). Experiences doesn’t necessarily need to come from the same industry.

Words of wisdom from the group:
One person was previously a Project Manager who identified gaps in tasks that needed to be done in the organisation. They naturally went ahead & completed those tasks. It was only later that they realised they were doing a Product Management role. Having worked in the organisation and previously done the work meant becoming a ‘product manager’ didn’t feel to different.

Others have completed short courses in Product Management – either at Brainmates or General Assembly.

Maybe you have identified the need for a Product Manager in your organisation? If so, have a conversation with management about the value the product manager role brings to the organisation. When structuring a new Product Management position in an organisation, it should be at the right level of influence to support the products.

Thanks to Amanda Ralph, Chris Duncan, Marie Phillips, Liz Blink and all others who contributed to the conversation.