We know that product management is a growing industry and there is plenty of available work in the field. So, why is it so hard to get a Product Manager job?
There are a number of skills and requirements that companies are looking for when hiring Product Managers. On top of that, the skills they are looking for require some experience.
Don’t let this get you down — the experience you are thinking you need may not be the only option. Job hunting for a Product Manager role takes a lot of work and some luck. Prepare yourself for the struggles ahead and trust that you can get there.
From start to finish, the process of becoming a Product Manager is not easy. Whether you are transitioning from another industry or starting your professional career, there are some obstacles you simply cannot escape. Rather than shy away from this career path or pretend it will be easy, you should prepare yourself for what’s to come.
Follow along with these 6 reasons (and how to overcome them) in this video:
6. Defining Product Management
Each company that you apply for will define the role of a Product Manager differently. The responsibilities and expectations will differ from one job description to the next depending on the industry and the company itself. This makes it difficult for applicants because you may see one Product Manager job description that matches your skills and experience perfectly and another that you don’t feel qualified for at all.
The best way to get around this is to diversify your skillset to match as many Product Manager jobs as possible. The major areas to focus on are technical skills, business skills, and interview skills.
5. Over-Saturated Market
According to Glassdoor, Product Manager was the 3rd best job in the United States for 2021. It’s clear that the job popularity is growing, which inevitably will make it harder to land a Product Manager job. The barrier to entry is high, so this makes the market very competitive.
One way to make yourself more competitive is to apply for more product management jobs than your competitor. The more resumes you submit the better your odds are of landing a job. You should apply to every Product Manager job you find and decide later if they are the right company for you. It is great to give yourself options.
Wondering why you would bother applying to companies if they’re not right for you? The simple answer is that job hunting is a skill. No skill can be improved without practice.
4. Gaining Experience
Only a select few colleges and universities offer courses and certifications in product management. It is still a relatively new field and academia has yet to catch up. Without the chance to boast a degree in the field, how is anyone expected to gain Product Manager experience?
There are other ways to gain Product Manager skills. For example, Product Gym teaches members all the practical skills they need to ace the Product Manager interview process and succeed on the job. Enrolling in our training program is a great way to expand your skillset and learn how to position your experience.
3. The Recruiter Hurdle
Before landing an interview, you have to pass the recruiter’s test. These days, most recruiters are using applicant tracking systems to scan resumes for authenticity and relevance. If your resume cannot make it through the system, you won’t have much luck landing an interview.
Luckily, there are plenty of Product Manager resume writing tips available. The key to getting your resume approved by the applicant tracking systems is to use keywords effectively, include quality content in your resume, and format it properly.
2. Rigorous Interview Process
The Product Manager interview process is a marathon for both the interviewer and the interviewee. Due to the high demand for Product Manager positions, companies are likely meeting with multiple candidates who are all qualified for the position. The interview is your time to make or break your chance at this job offer.
Preparation will give you the best odds when it comes to your Product Manager interview. Research the company ahead of time and learn what you can about the company’s culture. When a company is interviewing multiple qualified candidates, they are looking for the person who will fit in best with the team.
1. Emotional Setback
There is no doubt about it, landing a Product Manager position is hard. It is inevitable that you will face a good bit of rejection during your job hunt. Do not be quick to lose your confidence, you’re going to need that to nail your next interview. Keep in mind: product management is a hard job. You’ll need to check in with yourself and make sure you’re up for the challenge.
It is important to take care of your mind and spirit when you are facing near-constant rejection. You will find the job of your dreams with patience and persistence.
Why Is Product Management So Hard?
The reason why it is so hard to get a Product Manager job is that it takes such a diverse skill set to do the job well. Even once you land the job, your challenges aren’t over: being a Product Manager is a tough gig.
Perhaps the hardest part of being a Product Manager is the community-building aspect. A person can have all the qualifications and hard skills needed to be the best Product Manager to date, but without the ability to effectively build relationships across teams and with colleagues, they may never succeed.
Product Managers are responsible for the product’s development from start to finish. From engineering to marketing and everything in between, you need to communicate and support your whole team every step of the way. This is such a difficult part of being a Product Manager because you do not always have the time and expertise to help them while also balancing your own duties.
How to Overcome the Challenges and Become a Product Manager
Overcome the struggles of job hunting for a Product Manager role by getting some support and the training you need to succeed.
Get Product Management Career Coaching
All of the above challenges may seem overwhelming to tackle if you already have a day job occupying most of your time. Or maybe you just want some extra support on the difficult PM job hunt journey. That’s where a product management program comes in.
A product management program is a great way to acquire the realistic skills, techniques, and training needed to transition into a career in product management. A product management program like Product Gym’s also provides career coaching that includes goal setting and job hunting strategies. It’s a great all-in-one solution for people who want to make a career change.
Why Should You Work With a Career Coach?
Career coaches provide a range of services to help you navigate your career path as an aspiring or first-time Product Manager. Some of these services are tangible and easy to unpack, like reviewing your resume and providing pieces of strategic advice when it comes to interview questions and salary negotiation.
But product management career coaches can also help you in more hard-to-describe ways. For example, a career coach might guide you as you pinpoint which companies or industries you want to target as a Product Manager according to culture fit and what you’re passionate about. They can also help you build your confidence, crush imposter syndrome, and develop a growth mindset.
If you want to learn more about the ins and outs of Product Manager skills and job search tactics, get in touch with us! We’re offering free career coaching sessions with our in-house team of PM Recruiter experts. We’d love to hear from you.