Far and away the most common question I get is: How do you find a product job?
Stop looking at job boards.
Stop rearranging bullets on your resume.
Stop being the 412th person to apply to a job posting. It’s a waste of time.
You need to start thinking about yourself as if you were a product.
What does that mean?
Well, let’s review, what do product managers do?
- We identify a market,
- we learn as much as we can about our customers, particularly their pain points,
- we compare those needs with our company’s core competencies, and
- we develop solutions to meet those needs.
In doing so, we pay special attention to competitors so that we can ensure that our solutions are differentiated and competitive.
You need to use this same approach when looking for a job.
Remember, in this case, you are the product. Rather than blindly sending your resume around, hoping to find product-market fit, instead start by identifying your market.
Just as we don’t build products for anyone and everyone, don’t apply to any and every job. The first step is to identify a group of companies where you’ll have the best chance of product-market fit, where you can be of most value.
From there, do your research.
Learn as much as you can about your customer (your target companies) and their pain points (why do they need you?). And then work on the ideal solution – you!
How can you best position yourself to be the solution they need?
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Teresa is VP of Products, Aftercollege. She says, “I’m a product consultant and coach who works with early-stage companies helping them translate their big ideas into great products. My focus is on helping product managers be better at what they do by sharing knowledge, building know-how, and refining practice.
“Professionally, I’ve worked as an interaction designer, a user researcher, and in a variety of product management roles from an individual contributor to a vice president. I was also the CEO of a social media startup that dabbled in social recruiting and higher education.”
Email producttalk at teresatorres dot com.
On twitter: @ttorres http://www.twitter.com/ttorres
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