Wondering how to “crack the code” for a career in Product Management? Whether you’re a newbie in the job market or transitioning from a different role, here are some tips from seasoned Product Managers.
Top 10 Pieces of Product Management Career Advice – By Kimberly Berls
As product managers, we all have lots of questions for those who have been in the biz for a long time. How did they break into product? How did they advance their career?
A product manager I (virtually) know asked these questions. She surveyed 30 product executives and senior product managers in the US.
I reviewed the findings from her survey and pulled out 10 nuggets of golden advice that all product managers should read.
1 – Transitioning within your current company is a great way to break into product management.
40% of product professional surveyed mentioned that while searching for their first PM role, transitioning within their current company was best.
2 – Seek out experienced product managers for help.
73% of product people interviewed said that they sought out more experienced PMs for advice. We should do this throughout our careers, not just during our first few years! Product managers can always learn from each other, which is why I always interview other PMs on the podcast.
3 – Be open to change.
Being open to learning and change was cited as a top trait for product managers.
Top Traits to Have as a Product Manager
4 – Lead through influence, and have confidence.
When asked ‘What did you wish you had known before becoming a product manager?’ the top two responses were ‘How to lead through influence’ and ‘Having confidence.’
5 – Get to know your stakeholders immediately when starting a new job.
‘Get to know stakeholders’ was the #1 answer to ‘What should a product manager do in her first 100 days.’
6 – Researching the company is the best way to prep for PM interviews.
Forget reading endless interviewing tactics online – focus on researching the company you’re interviewing with. 40% of execs and senior product managers surveyed recommended reading up on the company before an interview. Mock interviews were the second most popular method of interview preparation (30%).
7 – The best way to advance your career is to take on more responsibility.
Taking on more responsibility was the #1 answer for how to advance your product management career. Execs and product managers surveyed also advised to be a better leader, and learn new skills.
The Best Ways to Advance Your Product Career
8 – Skills proactively learned before moving into a product role are all over the map.
Design skills topped the list at 17%, with user research, analytical skills, and ‘learned the jargon’ all came in at close seconds, all at 11%.
9 – An MBA is not necessary.
A whopping 92% of executives and PMs interviewed responded that learning through experience is best.
10 – Practice, and be confident.
The top two nuggets of advice that experienced execs and senior PMs have for beginners? “Practice” (35%) and “Be Confident” (35%). There’s that confidence again – notice a pattern?
Advice to Aspiring Product Managers
Images courtesy of Product Popcorn
Kimberly Berls | Product Popcorn
Product manager, podcast host, tech enthusiast. If your snacks are missing in the office, I‘m the one who ate them. Product Popcorn unites product managers. It’s a place to share ideas via weekly podcast, blog, and social media. You’ll never be out of the loop again!
Interested in Product Management?
BPMA – Boston Product Management Association
Product Management Career Night & Networking
Tuesday, March 27, 2018 | 6:00 – 9:00pm | Free Event
Interested in starting or advancing your career in product management or product marketing? Ever wonder what the Boston Product Management Association (BPMA) can do for you?
Whether you’re a seasoned veteran, new to the field, or just curious about learning more, join us at this special FREE evening event where you can:
- Interact with the city’s top companies looking to hire product managers
- Network with a cross-section of successful product managers who will share their experiences and answer your questions
- Meet and mingle with a large group of Boston area product/marketing professionals
- Get advice on writing your resume by product managers
- Learn more about the fantastic programs that BPMA offers its members, such as the Career Center, Mentorship, and Workshops
- Join BPMA and find out about volunteer opportunities in the community
- Attend optional break-out sessions: Structured Networking and Mentorship
The Boston area product/marketing professional community is booming. Come and learn about career opportunities, the latest developments, and meet the leaders who are driving this growth!
Click here to register.