So, you’re looking for a product management job. But, as you’ve probably discovered, using the general job boards like Monster, or even the job-search function on LinkedIn, is like shooting the ball from half-court: It’s a pretty low-percentage attempt.
And of course, that’s because everyone is searching these sites for their next jobs. Just look at the screenshot below from — I promise —the very first search result I clicked on after conducting a search on LinkedIn for a “product manager” job.
After just one day featured on LinkedIn, this product manager position had already been viewed nearly 3,000 times — and 350 people had already applied.
There’s got to be a better way. Yes, there is, and I’ll offer you some suggestions in a moment.
First, though, let me suggest something that might be even more important in your product management job hunt, and for your career over the long-term, than applying for positions.
Before Applying for Your Next Product Management Job: A Great Way to Spend 9 Minutes
Whether you’re just starting in product management or a seasoned product manager looking for a new challenge before you apply for your next PM role, why not first find out what you can learn about the other side of the process? In other words, why not first spend a little time learning how the experts advise businesses and executives on what to look for in a great product manager?
“Before you apply for your next product management role, research the other side of the process.”
This might sound like a detour on your hurried search for a new product management job. Still, it’s actually just the opposite: Learning how the leaders who hire product managers have been taught to screen for the most valuable PM skills and traits can give you a tremendous advantage when you do start applying for those jobs.
A great place to start is Ken Norton’s widely read 2005 essay, “How to Hire a Product Manager.” Norton is a longtime product lead who came out of Google, where he was in charge of such product initiatives as Google Docs and Calendar. Today he’s a partner at Google’s investment firm GV, which has funded and now oversees hundreds of portfolio companies, including Uber and Slack.
So the guy knows what he’s talking about when it comes to product management. And Norton’s famous How to Hire a Product Manager essay is a must-read to give you an edge in understanding what skills to develop or sharpen and what your hiring managers are likely to be looking for when they interview you for a PM role.
It’s really worth the nine-minute investment, which is how long Norton estimates it’ll take you to read his article.
3 Steps to Finding Product Management Jobs
Okay, now onto the places and tactics for finding your next product management job. Let’s start with Ken Norton himself.
1. Read Ken Norton’s Bringing the Doughnuts Newsletter
Norton’s newsletter bills itself as a “weekly digest of PM advice, useful links, and exclusive startup jobs you won’t find anywhere else.”
The jobs page on Norton’s newsletter lists current product-related positions available across various companies. Among the many dozens of open jobs listed on this page include product manager, senior product manager, director of product management, head of product, etc. Definitely worth bookmarking.
Also, the newsletter itself is worth adding to your weekly reading list because Norton consistently lives up to his promise to offer great advice and insight for product managers and other product leaders.
2. Join Slack Communities of Product Managers — Starting with ProductManagerHQ
Another great way to locate PM jobs that might not make it to the Monsters, CareerBuilders, and other general job boards out there is to look for positions posted (or merely discussed in forums) on PM-focused Slack channels.
“A great way to locate product management jobs is to look for positions posted in PM-focused Slack channels.”
The biggest and most prominent of the Slack communities for product managers is ProductManagerHQ (which, incidentally, counts Ken Norton among its thousands of members).
Among the many great resources for product managers, ProductManagerHQ also hosts a robust product management job board. A word of caution, though: Joining this Slack community and accessing its job board carries a one-time $25 fee for lifetime access. But it’s well worth the investment.
3. Monitor the Job Board at MindTheProduct
MindTheProduct describes itself as an international product community whose tens of thousands of members share their product management experiences, train together, and meet up at product conferences worldwide.
In addition to valuable PM blogs and other resources available at the community’s site, MindTheProduct also offers a job board that features dozens of current product management jobs.
Of course, MindTheProduct’s regular meetups and conferences worldwide are also great places to network and obtain leads on possible PM jobs. Check out their conference and meetups pages regularly.
Takeaways: Find a Product Management Job is About Communities
The theme in these suggestions, you’ve probably noticed, is finding product communities and developing relationships within those communities. Let those poor 350 applicants wait for a callback from the exhausted HR team that posted that PM job on LinkedIn.
If you follow the advice here, you’ll be taking a much more strategic, surgical approach — first learning what executives want to see in a great PM and then searching throughout the right communities for the latest opportunities.
Do you have any other advice for a job-searching product manager? Please share them in the comments below!