The One Obstacle People Face when Applying for PM Jobs

Landing a Product Manager job is hard for many people, and the reasons for such a situation varies based on every person.  However, there are common obstacles that befall many applicants and prospective hires.  Most of these are psychological, with many of these caused by inexperience from new Product Managers that recently made the transition over to the field or uneasiness by Product Managers of any background that are new to the job-hunting process.  We here at Product Gym will share those common obstacles while providing “solutions” or something that can at least combat your fears or insecurities. What is the main obstacle?

The main obstacle or roadblock plaguing applicants is a lack of clarity.

This obstacle(s) references many aspects. Prospective Product Managers don’t know what a Product Manager job entails and experienced Product Managers are unsure about what responsibilities they will have to take at various companies.  Some Product Managers are just unsure about what the hiring process will look like.  This obstacle will be broken down into:

Questions or phrases commonly said referring to the process of getting hired:

I understand the hiring game, but,

I don’t understand it’s processes or challenges to get hired,

I don’t know the hiring cycle or how it is relevant to them getting a job,

I don’t know who the major players in the process are, and what is at stake for who,

This is an unfair game.

Introspective questions or quotations referencing the applicant him/herself:

– I do not understand my challenges of getting hired,

– I feel like I focus far too much time on skills I don’t have and or what I can’t control,

– I do not understand my real strengths and weaknesses,

– How do I win the unfair game when it’s clearly skewed against my favor?


The main challenges for people looking for a job isn’t their relative lack of experience.  The main challenge is their lack of clarity about themselves and the job they’re applying for.  For that problem to go away, they’re going to have to learn more about themselves and the job that they want.  For the former, do a thorough self-analysis. Ask someone who is experienced in your field to diagnose a “scouting” report on you detailing those said strengths and weaknesses. 

It is impossible to find what your job will be like, for the latter. It is impossible to find what your job will be like. The job description is always changing and no one seems to have the same definition.  Every company will also have a different meaning of what a Product Manager is and what it is that they are responsible for.  Meanwhile, you can improve your relative understanding of the subject by reaching out to existing Product Managers and just ask questions.  There are Product Managers that are very willing to answer people’s questions relating to their work.

For the last quotation about winning the “unfair game,” the only way to do so is upsell your strengths. Eradicate any suspicion of your weaknesses from the conversation.  Be confident in your capabilities to do the job well.  That is because you are your best advocate.  Product management hiring recruiters are looking for reasons to not hire you.  You’re not doing yourself any favors if you discuss your weaknesses more than necessary.

Know Your Enemy

It’s important to know yourself as well as your enemy.  Your enemy is either ignorance (about the industry or about yourself) or lack of confidence.  It’s rarely about your skill set that is the problem; people will say their challenges are technical but in reality, it’s a lack of confidence that is holding them back.

Clarity revolving around a game plan, or a lack of one for some people, is really important.  It’s common to hear people saying they want to work at noteworthy companies like Google or Amazon without actually knowing the real reasons why they want to work there as well as (more importantly) how they will get hired.  How will you get hired at Google if you don’t know how Google hires people?

Outlining a specific, realistic, smart, and strategic game plan is crucial to landing a Product Management job.  Some people don’t know where to start or begin.  Some people don’t know what to do, and some people are just generally confused.  A roadmap that plans a clear beginning and a clear end creates clarity that gives you more organized mentally and psychologically while keeping your expectations in check.

Please schedule a call today or RSVP for our next event to see how Product Gym can help you land your next Product Manager job.

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