Hi, I’m Sam! I have been a product manager for years. Now I work as an industry mentor for the product, strategy, and operations track at Pathrise, where I help people land their dream job. Check out my article on product manager skills needed to get a great job.
Whether you have just finished college, a bootcamp or certificate course, or if you are looking to transition from a different role, looking for your first product management position can be difficult. Product managers have a lot of different responsibilities. Often they need to wear a few different hats in order to be successful.
Recruiters and hiring managers are looking to make sure that their new employee will provide impact and be an asset for the team. We have worked with many product managers to land their first role. A big part of this comes with gaining an understanding of the product manager skills needed.
Organization and leadership skills
Because product managers are often leading multiple teams in order to accomplish goals and meet deadlines, they need to be extremely organized. They can use various product management tools like Asana, Trello, and Jira. These help them make roadmaps, assign tasks, and maintain accountability for themselves and their teams.
As they interact with designers, developers, and stakeholders, product managers need to have strong interpersonal skills. They need to remain calm under pressure. Similarly, product managers need to know how to communicate with many different types of people and disseminate information for a variety of roles and reasons. Product managers also make a fair number of presentations, so comfort with public speaking is also important.
One of the main elements of managing the creation of a product is working with the design and development team. This is to ensure that what is being planned can feasibly be built and will accomplish the desired goal for the user. Often this means the product manager will create wireframes and mockups on their own and in collaboration with designers to lay the skeleton for the app, website, or product. Having the ability to know what looks good and what does not as well as knowledge of tools like Axure, Visio, and Creately will help product managers be successful in their role.
Beta testing, A/B testing, and user testing are all a large part of a product manager’s role. Sometimes working individually and sometimes alongside a data scientist, product managers must make sure that the websites and apps they create are used to achieve the desired result. Before launch, product managers lead beta tests with select users to see how they use the product. Then, they make suggestions for changes before launching officially. These metrics must be analyzed by the product manager and then distilled into tasks for the teams to complete. Platforms like Typeform, Google Analytics, and Hotjar help product managers survey users, see heatmaps, and understand the data.
A lot of strategy goes into product management. Those in this role must understand the market value of the product they are working on. That way, they can work with stakeholders to make early decisions about the goals and target audience. In addition, they need to look at the big picture when planning the tasks, budget, and deadlines. When the product is completed, they need to work with the marketing team to promote it to their target users. This can also include pricing, customer support, and coordinating the advertising.
Once you move forward in the processes, make sure you practice for your technical sessions. Use our list of product manager interview questions from top tech companies.
Pathrise is a career accelerator that works with people 1-on-1 so they can land their dream job in tech. If you want to work with our mentors 1-on-1 to help you land a great job in product management, become a Pathrise fellow.