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How to Market Yourself as the Ultimate Product Manager

Are you struggling with your elevator pitch in Product Manager Interviews? Here's the ultimate guide for you to master the art of interviewing!
8 min read

You want to land the right Product Manager job. You want companies handing you out offers left and right. But more than all those things, you want to work at a company that is the right for you. 

After all, there is nothing worse than working for a company as a Product Manager that you don’t find inspiring. 

You are going to need to know how to market yourself as the ultimate Product Manager in order for you to secure an offer at the company of your dreams and here is the process. 

 

Start by Framing Your Story

 

You are the hero of your own story. When you land your Product Manager role, you are consistently going to hear this statement: Product Managers tell stories and to become a Product Manager, you need to learn to tell your story. 

Use this framework to craft your story:

 

First Step: The Setting/Flashback

This is where you set the scene by telling the recruiter the names of the companies that you worked at as well as a general overview of your most significant projects. 

Make it comprehensive, but not exhaustive, since you will get into more details in the next two sections. Note that in this section, you’re answering the what, when, and where of your professional background.

 

Use this Template:

I’m here now, I started {x} years ago when I was at {Company A}, mainly working on {Greatest/most important project you worked on}, supporting {the business division that you were working with}. 

I realized that I really enjoyed {the kind of function/work/business division you were passionate about at the time} and decided to pursue my passion at {Company B} as I saw more opportunity for growth there.” 

Slowly build the story to how you got where you are today.

 

Second Step: Rising Action

Go backward and talk about how you are currently doing product-related tasks and transition into how you got your current role. 

Then, talk about previous positions until you’ve exhausted any historic product relevancy. This section of your pitch focuses on answering the how. You should also include a simple KPI to indicate the success of your product. This way, you’ll show your interviewer that you have proven success at delivering products.

 

Use this Template:

“I’m currently working on {your current and/or most relevant project},    supporting {business division}. I work in a cross-functional team, which consists of {any kind of people, e.g., engineers, QA testers, business analysts, scrum master}, and orchestrate the product’s development end-to-end. 

My responsibilities include interviewing my clients and understanding their needs, documenting what clients said and sharing it with the rest of the team, and following agile principles to organize meetings to discuss requirements and check progress. 

We rolled out the first version of our product {time when the first version was released to customers}, and data coming from the customer suggests that {a key KPI} increased by {percentage or any other relevant unit of measurement}.”

 

Please Note:

We know everyone is coming from a different background, and there is no one size fits all solution. If your past experiences were more focused on a specific phase of product development, for instance, business requirements, be sure to add a couple more sentences to this template to demonstrate your experience. 

Make sure to establish a breadth of experience to prove that you got experience with the complete product pipeline.

 

Final Step: The Conflict/Climax

After you’ve given your backstory and built up your experience as a Product Manager, we reach the climax of your professional story, which reveals the reason you are leaving your current company. 

Tie this back to your initial pitch and remember, you are the hero, you are the protagonist. This section of the pitch should answer the why.

 

Use this Template:

“While I have learned a tremendous amount and gained incredible skills, I realized that I should be looking for more opportunities to get a chance to work with larger teams and broader projects. 

I now have the confidence that I could deliver products, and I believe it’s time for me to expand my horizons.”

Make sure you watch our video on how to answer the “Tell Me About Yourself” question on Product Manager interviews to learn more:

 

What to Watch Out For

This template should be the story that you should be comfortable with sharing in your first-round interviews. 

Does it sound like an elevator pitch to you? 

It should because this template is designed to showcase your previous accomplishments. Make sure to familiarize yourself with your story as much as possible. Your pitch shouldn’t take more than three minutes, and it should cover the main aspects of your Product Manager resume.

Confidence is key here. Product Managers are expected to describe and answer any questions regarding their products confidently. 

They need to have the ability to explain complex products in a couple of sentences and answer specific questions in greater detail, if necessary. Successful Product Managers know when to get into detail and when to remain broad. 

You should approach your pitch the same way, but the product, in this case, is your professional background. Pitch your product with confidence. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t give too much company context or rely on too much technical jargon. Instead, focus on yourself and your role. You should sound like a Product Manager, and you should use a product vocabulary.

 

6 Product Manager Terminology You Must Use in Your Story

 

Product vocabulary relates to the language and phrases used in product management. Here are some of the keywords:

  • Stakeholder consensus:  If you have worked with multiple people, you have done some kind of stakeholder consensus.
  • Customer empathy: Being close to the product’s end users. It could also mean being close to users in general of a product/platform you worked on and having to understand their pain points.
  • Cross-functional teams: A group of people with different functional expertise working towards a common goal. In most cases, a cross-functional team consists of a product owner/product manager, business analysts, engineers, data scientists, UI/UX designers.
  • Requirements and Documentation: It might sound like a tedious daily routine, but gathering requirements and documenting them is a critical skill that many, if not all, interviewers are looking for. Make sure that you include terminology related to requirements such as user stories, acceptance criteria, features, and epics.
  • Agile/Scrum Rituals: While there is no imperative for all teams to apply agile or scrum rituals, most interviewers would like to see some kind of daily routine practiced by Product Managers to know that they have a proven method of tracking progress. Daily standups, where members share their progress, impediments, daily goals, or sprint demos,  and the team presents its progress to the stakeholders, are some everyday rituals that every interviewer would like to hear about.
  • KPIs: KPI stands for key performance indicators, and as the name suggests, these indicators show how the product is doing. Different products have different KPIs, and you should be able to come up with at least two relevant KPIs for your story.

Relate Specific Points in Your Resume

 

Find a specific example that you can apply to your background and professional history, mix in some product vocabulary, and you’ll start to sound like a Product Manager on these calls. Interviewers will look at your resume and pick specific points for you to elaborate on. 

Look at your resume and craft your story. 

Then, develop your pitch and have your product vocabulary ready.

Use This Template:

  • Now let’s think about a specific case. 
  • Imagine you’re an Email Account Manager applying for a Product Manager role. 
  • How can you use this product vocabulary specific to your background? 
  • How is this related to the product at all? 
  • How do you transition this into product management
  • What’s your reason for leaving?

 

Here are some approaches:

 

“Identified key product-marketing opportunities = Led flagship team for brand utilizing our people-based marketing capabilities.”

So you identified an area that could have been utilizing something, but using what? People-based marketing capabilitiesGreat, you’ve found a product-marketing opportunity—the product than could be the team. So you created the product, which in this case is the team, to market your brand.

It doesn’t specifically have to be a software product, in this case, because you are transitioning.

You are building up the story to the point that you are a Product Manager.

“Managed and maintained partnerships.”

This means you were extremely client facing and had direct customer interactions, where you were documenting feedback, documenting the customer pain points, leveraging products, and data to hit KPIs

What are the KPIs? Maximizing revenueWhat were the tools used? Email inventory.

“Directly implementing HTML.”

You were working with engineering for the implementation of these products.

“Acted as the lead contact for the director.”

Perhaps that means that you managed other people who come to the director, and you had to balance and prioritize different interests.

Using the Product Manager terminology and forming a cohesive speech can be tough. Here’s a full video tutorial on using the right keywords to create the ultimate Product Manager elevator speech:

 

Template: 

So the pitch here is: 

“I worked at {Company}, where I was identifying key product-marketing opportunities

Here, I managed and maintained partnerships that we had with our current clients, so I was extremely customer-facing and had direct customer interactions with representatives of {client companies} where the core KPI to hit was maximizing revenue.”

Here, you’ve crafted the story of being a Product Manager.

Start by saying, “In my product role, or as a product owner/manager/strategist, I owned {these products}.” 

If you’re not comfortable saying you own products, take a product or project that you can speak naturally and make something that you can break down into detail when you are asked for examples. If you choose a product that is not software or something that you didn’t own completely, that’s fine too.

Pick an area of the product development life-cycle which you were responsible for. Walk the recruiter through precisely what you did. Focus on ideation and discovery. “I did {this}.” 

If you can walk through an entire part of the development life-cycle of the product, even better. For the next part of the life-cycle, “I did this for {another product}.” The critical point is to communicate competency and sound like a Product Manager

Remember to use product vocabulary because many first-round calls are recruiters utilizing a checklist. You must hit these key areas to make the second round.

These keywords are so essential to your pitch and interview that we require all of our members to master them even before starting the Product Gym program. Here’s a sneak peak of our Week 0 homework:

 

 

Make the Connection

 

Draw from a specific instance in your background to support areas of your resume that connect to product management responsibilities. Here are some common questions and ways you might approach answers during a Product Manager interview.

What have you done to document and gather requirements?

It is an essential attribute for a Product Manager: being able to document and write requirements from the business stakeholders and communicate that to the engineers.

How do you manage different stakeholders you have to work with?

Either different stakeholders, you have to work with directly, peripherally, or just email once in a while.

Have you worked in Agile or managed “sprints”? 

Sprints don’t always need to be applied to engineering and can be used to teams such as marketing to coordinate their marketing activities. Also, Agile is done differently in many different organizations so you can be flexible in how you apply this to your experience too. 

For example, “At {Company}, our sprints were organized in a three-week cycle. We don’t believe in rigid cycles, but we do this instead…” The point of a sprint is to produce something usable within a short timeframe, get feedback, learn from it, and implement improvements to its next iteration.

Have you ever defined, met, or exceeded KPIs and OKRs?

These are essential objectives and determining success from them. Look up other job descriptions and ask yourself, “Have I done this in any capacity at all?”

Generic descriptions are easy, but you must find specific examples in your background to support when you prepare for first or second round calls.

At the end of this exercise, you may be surprised to find that you were a Product Manager all along.

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Check out our free training on how to write the best Product Manager resume!

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How to Market Yourself as the Ultimate Product Manager

Are you struggling with your elevator pitch in Product Manager Interviews? Here's the ultimate guide for you to master the art of interviewing!

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