First-Time PMs: Can You Interview with No Experience?

interview with no experience

You do not need formal technical training or a computer science degree to be a successful Product Manager. In fact, you don’t even need prior product management experience. One way that you can land a Product Manager job interview with no experience is through an internal opening.

But, since you’re reading this, it is likely that an opportunity like that hasn’t been working out for you. Your second option is to start interviewing for Product Manager positions outside of your company

What Experience Do You Really Need?

First things first, you need to know that you can do this job with whatever experience you do have. At Product Gym we have helped people from all types of professional backgrounds land Product Manager jobs. The truth is, if you have organizational skills and a little bit of hustle, you can absolutely be a Product Manager. If you were given the opportunity, would you be able to  work, communicate, and manage stakeholder expectations? I am willing to bet in your favor because, whether you gained this experience in a product management position or not, these are skills that many people have developed over time. Make it less about product management experience and more about life experience that will make you a great Product Manager.

How Will You Find Job Openings?

If you were to ask twenty random Product Managers if they plan on remaining in their current position for the rest of their careers, they will likely say no. They are looking to grow into new positions over time just as you are looking to grow into a Product Management position today. Per this logic, there will always be openings as current Product Managers choose to explore other areas of work. It’s our human nature to challenge ourselves in our work and strive to move forward into something new. 

Where to Apply Without Experience?

You are most likely to add as a Product Manager in a company that is creating the products you use on a daily basis at your current job or in your personal life. For these companies, you have a unique perspective as a user. You know what works well for their target audience and you understand the problem they are working to solve. When you interview with no experience for these companies, you also bring your genuine passion for the product to the table.

For example, a lot of our members are coming from a finance background. In their finance jobs they use software products all day long. The best companies for them to apply to as a Product Manager without experience are the companies building those software products. That is not to say that you cannot venture outside of your current industry. However, you should always choose to apply to a company where you are personally familiar with the problem they are trying to solve. It should be a problem you’ve encountered or seen people struggle with. The more familiar you are with the target demographic of the product the better you will be as a Product Manager in that company. 

 

NEED TO BUCKLE DOWN ON INTERVIEW PREP? DOWNLOAD OUR INTERVIEW QUESTIONS GUIDE​

Use this downloadable resource as your cheat sheet for practicing every Product Manager interview question necessary to impress recruiters and ace your interview.​

 

You Are A Product Manager

Just because you haven’t gotten the official title yet does not mean you are not a Product Manager. About 85% of the people that are applying to these jobs don’t have the title or the background either. If they’re doing it, you can too! Have you ever solved a problem? You are a Product Manager. Do you know how to communicate effectively? You are a Product Manager. To nail that product management job interview with no experience in the role itself, you need to believe in yourself.

If you were thrown into a product management position tomorrow, I know you would figure it out. You know where to apply, now it’s time to structure your resume and schedule those interviews. If you need a bit more support, get in touch with us. Our instructors and career coaches can teach you how to present yourself like the worthy applicant you are. Schedule a free coaching call with us today and get one step closer to the Product Manager position of your dreams.

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