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5 Simple Steps for Product Management Job Hunting

We’re well into the second half of the year 2021. The grip of the pandemic is loosening, and it is time for you to actually own these big promises you’ve been making to yourself about what you’ll do when things “return to normal”. Were you planning to dive into product management job hunting now that the world is reopening? Yes, it’s a difficult journey, but it is not impossible. After reading this article, you’ll know exactly what to do to crush the product management job hunt and how to do it. Let’s get started.

1. Identifying Your Goal

This should be the first thing you do for any problem or challenge you want to tackle. What’s your goal when it comes to product management job hunting? Is this going to be your first Product Manager role? Or are you already a seasoned Product Manager who wants more responsibilities and more compensation?

Before you take any action, think really hard about what you want to do. Write down solid and quantifiable goals. If you’re struggling with goal setting, here’s a useful framework for you. It’s called SMART.

SMART Goal Setting

  • Specific: Make your goal specific, so you know how to get there. Here are some examples of specific goals for you to get started with:
    • “I want to get a job at a FAANG company”: This may be an ambitious goal (for those of you who don’t know what FAANG is, acronym stands for Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google), but it is still specific.
    • “I want to make 200K this year”: You are going for the rewards and that’s great! You either have to prove to your higher-ups that you are worth the investment or seek other opportunities that are willing to pay you that amount.
  • Measurable: Make your goal quantifiable, so that you know when you reached your goal. Let’s use our previous example.
    • “I want to get a job at a FAANG company”: This is pretty straightforward. If you got the Google offer (or an offer from another FAANG company), then you are all set!
  • Attainable: This is where you have to have some real, no nonsense conversation with yourself. Can you actually make that goal happen? Is a FAANG offer a realistic stretch for you? If you’re new to the industry and product management job hunting, keep in mind that you will likely need some product management experience under your belt before you can make that happen.
  • Realistic: If your goal is not attainable, review your goals and make them more realistic and less ambitious. Yes, it sounds bad, but trust us, having a goal that is less ambitious but more realistic is better than having an unrealistic goal that you will never achieve.
  • Time: Associate a time frame for your goal. You cannot spend your whole life working towards a single goal, so go ahead and set a time limit or a due date for this goal.

After you think about your goals, also think about why you want to achieve them. Does a Product Manager title sound cool? Or do you want to have a role that has more responsibilities or is more tech-centered? While we respect everyone’s motivations behind their goals, please make sure that you’re setting these goals not to impress anyone else but yourself.

Need a bit more advice on how to make your product management job hunting game plan and set your goals? Our career coaches are offering free 20 minute coaching sessions — we’d love to answer any questions you have and help you lay out a plan to achieve your goals. Schedule a call with us for your free session.

2. Identifying Your Roadblocks

This is the step where you think and determine what exactly prevented you from achieving your goals previously. These are all the roadblocks and steps that keep your goals pending. Let’s think about some specific examples.

During our webinars and consultations, we often encounter people who tell us that they are stuck trying to get more interviews. In general, they tell us that they count themselves lucky if they have one interview call a month. The roadblock is booking more interviews. Most of the time, when they join our program and rebrand themselves using our proven technique, they end up getting at least three calls a week.

After this step, the roadblocks keep on changing. Many of our members complain about how they land more interviews, but fail to deliver the perfect branded pitch: the roadblock here is a struggle to market themselves. Product Gym is there for them to teach the techniques to help them channel their inner Product Managers.

Found yourself stuck at interviewing and can’t pass through that first/second/third/fourth round of interview? Or maybe you’re stumped by a case study question that you have no idea how to tackle. Our curriuclum goes over interview and case study prep in detail so that you’ll have all the tools you need to ace every round of the interview and close the offer.

Pro tip: If you are struggling to think about the specific roadblocks that prevent you from achieving your goals, think about what keeps you up on Sunday night. Many times, people refer to their #SundayScaries as the reason why they schedule a call with us; it is no surprise for us to have the highest number of consultation calls on Mondays!

3. Diagnosing the Root Cause of the Problem(s)

Why are these problems happening to you? Try to think about what might have caused them. With years of experience in career building and branding, we have seen numerous times where the root cause of the problem is the following:

  • Confidence: Many of our members get really discouraged when they fail their very first phone screens or see that a job “requires” at least 4-5 years of experience. These kinds of small failures make a really huge dent on our members’ confidence in the beginning. Don’t let these small things get in your way.
  • Procrastination: Having a goal and thinking about how you want to achieve it is great, but it will still amount to nothing if you don’t put in the work. You have to sacrifice some of your chill time to get what you want.

To prevent discouragement and procrastination from getting in the way of achieving your goals, find an accountability buddy that spurs you on and gives you moral support, even when the going gets tough.

That’s where the Product Gym community can come in!

You can find an accountability buddy within our supportive community. They could be someone who is looking to make the transition to product management, just like you, or they could be someone who has already gotten a Product Manager role. Holding yourself accountable to your goals with an accountability partner will keep you on track to achieving them.

Side note: Yes, we know that applying to jobs and interviewing while having a full-time job is very difficult. But trust us, most of our members who got their Product Manager offer accomplished this while they were working rigorous jobs — we’re talking about investment banking or software engineering levels. It can be done!

  • No attack plan: Having the goal and the drive is great, but you’ll get nowhere if you don’t have a good attack plan.

4. Designing a Plan or To-Do List

This is where we come in! We know for a fact that it is extremely challenging to have a solid attack plan without full exposure or knowledge of the job-hunting game out there. And yes, the game is savage. Everyone is overqualified, everyone comes from an impressive background. Yes, there is every possible reason for you to feel like you are already behind.

But you know what? A very small percentage of people out there know what to do and have the confidence to actually do it. Schedule a call with us to join that highly desirable minority and you’ll get your dream job in no time!

At Product Gym, we teach you how to optimize your profile to boost your credibility and professional branding, and give you our tried-and-tested application strategy to score those interviews. We also show you how to ace every single question in your Product Manager interview, from behavioral and technical questions to case studies and salary negotiation. Furthermore, we cover all the technical fundamentals and business fundamentals that every Product Manager needs to know.

Our tried-and-tested game plan has our members scoring 3-5 new Product Manager job offers in as little as 45 days!

5. Executing the Plan

You got the goals and the plan ready to go. Now you have to embrace the fact that you actually have to do it. Yes, this means less fun time and more hustle, but what is life without the feeling of accomplishment? Shake off your laziness and fears, and run the marathon of your life! We will be here with you to hold you accountable for the progress you make during this marathon. Start applying to these product management jobs today.

We are not joking — if you decide to work with us, we will check in with you on a daily basis to get the number of applications you’ve submitted and the number of interviews you scheduled. We are a no B.S. team, so get ready to embrace some toughness. This gym will give you all the muscles you need to dominate the product management job hunting game.