6. Get on the Market

Learn how to apply a job hunting strategy

Overview

Now you’re ready to get on the market! You might have some trepidation, but just like rolling out an A/B test for a feature, you’ll never know if you’re competitive until you get some data. We’ll cover how to structure a job hunting strategy to maximize your chances.

Focus on Your Niche

Earlier in this starter pack, we discussed figuring out a potential product niche for yourself. Now’s the time to apply it. Search for companies with jobs that fit your criteria and score them based on how well they fit your criteria (e.g. high, medium, or low).

Prep Your Resume

There's nothing special about a product manager resume. The best practices for all resumes apply. Keep it in a clean format, one page, and legible. Don't write objectives (if you apply to a PM role, they know you want to be a PM) and don't write a summary unless you have >5 years of working experience. Write your bullet points using the STAR method and take extra care to highlight how you expressed a product capability.

Write Cover Letters for High Fit Positions

Take the time to write a cover letter for companies where you think there is high fit. Read their website and take note of how they talk about their product. If possible, use the product and take note of how you think it solves the user problem. Put together a cover letter that describes your interest, your background, how you understand their problem, and the things you liked about the product.

For companies that are low fit, it may not be worth your time to write a cover letter. Use your best judgement. A well thought out cover letter is ideal, but time consuming. At a certain point it’s better to optimize for more exposure. A poorly written and generic cover letter is worse than not sending one.

Track Your Progress

Keep track of your progress and note how many companies you applied to in each category. Track progress through the recruiting funnel. Update it as you get results and take stock after some data points.

Was your impression correct? Did you actually make it further with high fit companies? If not, it may be a sign that something is off.  For example, perhaps the competition is too high in that category or you don’t have strong enough proof of your capabilities. List some hypotheses, make the changes, and try testing again.

Iterate, Iterate, Iterate

The job hunt can be long and stressful. The average runway to find a new job is 6 months, even for an experienced individual. Don’t be discouraged by rejections (recruiting is first a process of elimination) but do try to get feedback to inform how you can improve your chances. Think of yourself as a product and keep iterating to find the right opportunity.

Checklist

  • Focus on your niche
  • Track your progress
  • Iterate based on market feedback
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