You should apply to every PM position available in the market to land your dream job. We know what you’re thinking: That’s exactly what all Product Manager job searching advice tells you not to do. But stick with us and we’ll explain why cherry-picking the roles you apply for is jeopardizing your job search.
You are cherry-picking jobs if you find yourself asking these questions while assessing the opportunities you apply for:
- Where is this company located?
- Is this company in my preferred location?
- Does the role fit me in terms of the experience and qualifications required?
This is not the approach to take if you want to land your next Product Manager job in the shortest amount of time, for the most amount of money, and at the best companies. Here are the four main reasons we encourage our members to apply to every PM position on job boards.
A common mistake a lot of Product Managers make in their job search is spending hours and hours researching for the perfect role before they decide to go ahead and apply. This approach is like hunting for clams on the seaside, and two to three hours of research usually yields only one or two ideal positions.
Doing this is hurting your job search in two ways. For one, regardless of how much time and energy you spend customizing and conducting research on the company, there is no guarantee you will receive an interview. It may sound harsh, but there are just so many candidates that are applying to Product Manager roles right now that you might not even be a viable candidate for the position you believe you are perfect for. The competition may have edged you out of that role while you ignored other jobs where you stood a better chance.
Another reason is time. 80% of the roles posted on job boards are not urgent to hire, meaning the time you invest towards customizing your resume to perfection may yield little results within the timeframe you are looking at. We’ve seen Product Gym candidates still being contacted by companies they applied to long after they already landed a PM position they love — up to nine months prior!
If you have the time to wait because you are not looking to change jobs quickly, then by all means apply only for your ideal product management position. But if you want to move as soon as possible you’re going to need to drive as many interviews onto your pipeline as possible. Taking the time to research for a small number of roles does not necessarily lead to a higher quantity of interviews.
2. There Is More to a Company Than What You Find on the Internet
People apply for PM positions based on the value the company will add to their resume or LinkedIn profile because they believe it will set them up for a better job in the future. That’s the wrong way to approach job hunting.
Regardless of your first impression of the company you are considering applying to, you have no way of knowing whether or not you will like the team you will work with. In every company, there will be people that love their current work environment and people who hate it.
A lot of our members at Product Gym are people looking to make a switch from investment banking who have worked in companies such as Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, and other big management consulting firms. We always ask them about their work history: Is it as bad or as brutal as people make it out to be? Is the culture really that toxic? The common response is that it depends on the team. A good team and team leader contribute to a meaningful and fulfilling job, but if you are not so lucky every day is a living nightmare.
It doesn’t matter if you get a product management position at Google, Facebook, or Airbnb. It doesn’t matter if it’s the coolest company or it’s the most exciting brand new startup: You cannot outperform bad leadership.
On the other hand, many of our members go on to companies they had previously never heard of, but who they love working for now. It’s common for people to change their attitudes about a company very quickly once they start working there. You might fall in love with the product, the people, and the culture.
Job hunting is a numbers game. The more interview requests you get, the higher the chances of securing a PM position. But this is easier said than done, and there are going to be days when it is draining and the rejection will make you want to quit. In fact, a big percentage of Americans find their job utterly uninspiring, unfulfilling, and unengaging, but they stay because they don’t want to put themselves through the emotional roller coaster that comes with job hunting.
Applying for all product management positions means more interview requests come in which goes a long way in boosting your confidence. Simply getting another interview request in your inbox will lift your spirits and soften the blow of the inevitable rejection and ghosting that comes with job hunting.
Go ahead. You can reject the companies later if you don’t want to work there, but at least it lets you know that you are a valuable candidate and that esteem boost will keep you going.
When you’re actively looking for a new PM position, you’re not improving your core competency. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve been a product manager for six minutes, six months, or six years, interviewing for a job and ultimately doing the job are two different things. Interviewing is about convincing the people hiring for the position that you are the best person for the team, not that you can do the job.
You can be a rockstar, hands down one of the best Product Managers ever, and still not land the job. Why? Because you did not show the interviewer that you are the right person to lead this team.
Focus on the process and treat every interview as an opportunity to improve your interview game. More practice rounds will make you a better interviewer, as you will become accustomed to the stress and awkward situations you face while interviewing. It will be a great opportunity to fine-tune your elevator pitch and your answers to the commonly asked questions.
If you’re averaging 1.5 interviews a month, you’re not going to be better at interviewing. Our members average 10 to 22 product manager interviews a week. Looking at our members, we notice a significantly higher level of confidence in the members who interview more often.
Struggling to Apply at Volume? Work with a Career Coach
If you’re struggling to keep up with applying for all the Product Manager positions available, career coaches like the ones at Product Gym can help you develop a strategic approach to improve your confidence and ease your application process.
Career coaches provide a range of services to help you navigate the gruelling Product Manager application process as an aspiring or first-time Product Manager. Some of these services are tangible and easy to unpack, like reviewing your resume and cover letter before you submit them and providing pieces of strategic advice when it comes to preparing for interview questions and salary negotiation.
But product management interview coaches can also help you in more hard-to-describe ways. For example, an interview coach might help you recognize red flags in the interview and navigate which companies you do and don’t want to pursue based on culture fit. They can also help you build your confidence, crush imposter syndrome, and develop a growth mindset. Our goal is to help our members land a Product Manager job they love, and succeed in their day-to-day as a PM. All in all, an interview coach will help ensure you make the absolute best impression possible on your interviewer.
Not Convinced? Talk to Us
Watch our co-founder and former PM recruiter Rich explain this concept of interviewing more in the video below:
If you still don’t think you should spend your time on jobs you don’t want, book a call with us. We’ll have you convinced and transform the way you look at product management job hunting in just 25 minutes!