In this call, we talk to David, a management consultant, who is looking to make the leap from management consulting to product management. We discuss best practices and discover that landing this job is more of a numbers game plus consistency.
Product Gym: What’s stopping you from making the leap from management consulting to Product Management?
David: For example, in management consulting, you aren’t too invested in the end result of what you put into it and it gets to some people, including myself – you get a sense that you may be good at something, but you are not putting your full authentic self into something. You know you can be great at something instead of just “good” are doing and the problem is with consulting, you can’t really see that what you’ve done has succeeded or gone anywhere.
David: What if I am not too confident that I have the skills needed to become a Product Manager?
Product Gym: When I talk to management consultants, most come from name brand firms – the challenge is to get them to understand that you can’t get the experience for Product Management until you actually get a Product Manager job. You won’t be able to get any relevant Product Management experience until you land a Product Management job. Here are the most important things to know:
Are you branding yourself like a Product Manager on your LinkedIn or resume?
How well do you interview for this position? You need to get practice by interviewing with smaller companies. You need to give these companies what they want (Ex. revenue/influence)
You need to convey how you can add value to another person (Head of Product, etc) – you will not get this job if you don’t – adding value is more important than the skills needed to be a Product Manager
David: Which students are the most successful at Product Gym?
Product Gym: The people that do best in this program (the ones who land a job in the shortest amount of time, get the highest offers, interview with the coolest companies) – through and through are coming from a sales background. The reason for that is that they understand that this is a funnel you are revving up. They understand how to go out there and add value. It’s not about what you want, it’s about what the other person (interviewing you) wants.
Product Gym: So, David, what are the major hurdles in your way right now?
David: The branding part. I’m not sure how to make it look like I look like a Product Manager or think like a Product Manager, especially since some of my experience isn’t 100% relevant. I understand that I need to revamp my resume and LinkedIn and position myself as a Product Manager, however.
David: Do you think I should build a side project to get a job as a Product Manager?
Product Gym: It’s stupid to build a side project because if you are building one, you aren’t interviewing. The game you are engaged in to get a Product Manager job is interviewing. You aren’t doing that with a side project, except wasting your time.
Is the project increasing the number of your interviews or the quality of your interviews? No. You aren’t generating more interviews. The secret to getting a Product Management job is being able to convey the value you can bring to the problem that is keeping everybody on that team up at night. With a side project, you aren’t having a conversation about the problem they are hiring a person to come in and solve.
David: What about the onsite interviews?
Product Gym: As for the onsite, people come into the program already interviewing for roles and they simply get ambushed in the onsite. Generating more interviews will allow that to work itself out. We’ve had people that thought they really wanted to work at these companies until they got on-site. Once they go onsite, they realize they don’t want to work there. This is why you need to cast a large net. Until you get the offer, you don’t have the power to decide whether or not you want to work there. More applications = more interviews = more offers. Focus on the sheer numbers rather than anything else.
Don’t feel entitled about getting the job because you have to make a sale, and close to an offer. You have to be bringing your A-Game. If you recorded your interviews, ask yourself “Would you actually hire yourself?”.
David: What about those people who got onsite and weren’t sure they wanted to work there, but received an offer? Do you recommend they take the offer?
Product Gym: No. If you take the offer at a place you don’t want to work at, you’ll be back on the job hunt. That’s why the numbers game is so important. If you can’t generate funnels, you’ll get stuck doing you don’t want. People are stuck at jobs they don’t like because they don’t enjoy job hunting and don’t understand how to generate more interviews. That’s why they’ll be stuck there. Our students are averaging 6-22 interviews per week. By generating these numbers, we can consistently build that funnel out. The problem is, when people start getting more on-site, they lose momentum with phone screens. Our people at Product Gym don’t stop interviewing until they get the job. Take control of your own life by creating abundance. Many people hold themselves mentally and emotionally hostage when getting this job, but the reality is, the final decision isn’t in your control. But what you can control is; Resume, LinkedIn, Cover Letter, Positions Applying to, Being Consistent & treating this like PM.
David: What are the biggest challenges facing product teams right now?
Product Gym: The biggest challenges facing product teams right now are all business related. Do we have the right roadmap? Are our features making an impact? Are we making money? NONE of their challenges have to do with wireframing, for example as that won’t add anything to the revenue. So, instead of focusing on yourself “I can wireframe”, focus on what SOMEONE else wants “I can help solve your revenue problem”. Focus on the other person/company during all of your interviews. Selfishness is not a good trait of a Product Manager. By having clear expectations about this process leads to less disappointment. In addition, getting the job is harder than doing the actual Product Manager job.