Getting a first-round interview for your dream product management job IS possible.
Learn what it takes in my new blog post that features a success story for my client, Claire, who’s the Director of Product Management at a start-up.
Less than 24 hours after submitting her application for her DREAM job, Claire had her first product manager interview scheduled! 🎉
BTW, Claire is not her real name. I’ve given her an alias to protect her privacy.
Her story is too good not to share.
Here’s how Claire was able to land a first-round interview quickly.
If you follow these five steps, you too can land more first-round interviews faster than you might imagine.
1. Define your DREAM product management job
Claire and I have worked together for over a year now. I’ve met with her periodically to guide her through career planning, building a product roadmap, and optimizing release planning.
Having clarity on her dream role made it very easy to identify the perfect job when I saw the posting on the Women in Product Instagram feed.
If you’re not following them, I encourage you to do so!
It’s important to know your values so that you can target companies and roles where the values are aligned. In a recent post about being a successful product manager, I talked about this.
Getting a job where your values are aligned will help you achieve professional success and personal satisfaction. These are critical factors that many people lack in their current positions.
2. Focus on quality, not quantity, when applying for product management jobs
Applying to dozens if not hundreds of Product Management roles is an exercise in futility and a BAD return on your investment of time and energy.
Instead, you must get clear on your DREAM product management role and only apply to the positions that genuinely resonate with you.
The other advantage to focusing on fewer opportunities is that you can use the extra time to network and talk to people who might help you get your foot in the door. Believe it or not, job seekers have more success finding employment through networking.
So if you’ve been submitting your resume and not getting the results you are hoping for, that’s a signal you need to focus on fewer, high-quality opportunities.
3. Have your Product Manager resume updated and ready to go.
Because Claire has kept her resume up to date, she was able to act quickly when the perfect job did appear.
She knew what her most recent accomplishments were and was able to update her resume in a matter of minutes.
The lesson here is not to wait around to work on your resume. If you’ve been procrastinating, update your resume today so that you can act quickly when your dream product management role opens up.
If you need help updating your resume, check out my in-depth The Product Manager Resume Guide & Checklist. This 11-page guide will help you quickly create a resume that will not only get through the ATS gatekeepers it allows you to highlight your accomplishments in a measurable, impactful way.
4. Tailor your resume and cover letter for the role.
There is a LOT of debate on the topic of whether or not it’s worth tailoring your resume.
I’m a big proponent of doing so, and here’s why.
Most companies use Applicant Tracking Software, which applies a machine-learning algorithm to decide if each applicant is a good match for the position.
The algorithms typically factor in keyword matching to approve or reject each applicant. If your application makes it through this ‘gatekeeper’ process, it will rank your application against everyone else who’s applied.
Tailoring your resume will help you avoid being rejected and rank higher so that you are more likely to receive a request for a first-round interview.
Most people avoid tailoring their resume because they think it takes too long. This is a big misconception.
Tailoring your resume does not take a lot of time.
I helped Claire craft the perfect resume and cover letter in less than an hour.
You don’t have to spend a ton of time tailoring your resume and cover letter. The main thing is to pay attention to the keywords in the job description and incorporate them strategically.
Her first-round interview is in just a few days. I’m so excited to see how things go, and I’m confident that she will crush it because of two things:
First, Claire knows that this role is ideal because of the values alignment. The hiring manager will undoubtedly see how much value she can bring to the company.
Second, she will exude confidence based on this knowledge. A confident mindset is an essential factor in moving forward in the interview process. If you struggle with confidence, check out this article on how to beat Imposter’s Syndrome. It affects LOTS of product managers.
5. Work with a coach
Claire invested in a product management coach to advance her career.
She hired me to coach her through a variety of product management challenges. Her goal has always been to advance her career.
By hiring a coach with industry expertise, you can better understand what is holding you back from achieving your career goals.
If you would like help from an experienced Product Management Coach like me, I’d love to chat with you. I specialize in helping product managers of all levels identify their ideal roles. I also help them create compelling resumes that land more interviews (and job offers)! Click here to request a coaching consultation call to learn more about how we can work together to create YOUR dream product management career.