In the face of globalization, the world has become a huge marketplace, which implies that it will only keep expanding. Businesses, therefore, are constantly looking for ways to enhance their products and services, launch new innovations and applications and enter new markets.
Guess who helps them achieve this? Yes, it’s a team of product developers, researchers, managers, and marketers. But there's something special about a product manager because this is the role that holds the plan together – as a product manager, you will do the all-encompassing work.
Nevertheless, it's a competitive field, and you need to work on possessing the edge that will help you make the cut. If you are a product manager looking for ways to enhance your career path, you've reached the right place.
Here are some insights into the job description of a product manager and how you can build a strong résumé that will make it hard for recruiters to ignore. So, if you're eyeing that dream product manager job, and are planning to apply to your dream companies, read till the end.
Who are Product Managers?
Product managers are jugglers who have mastered the art of putting together a roadmap for a product or service, and they're constantly juggling between product design, marketing, and development teams, and monitoring the performance of the roadmap. That is the job description of a product manager in a nutshell. You identify the needs of the targeted customers and come up with a plan to fulfill these needs.
While popular opinion leads you to believe that product managers are generalists and do not specialize in a particular niche, let us show you how this perception is inaccurate.
Product managers can have their fields of specialization, but this doesn't limit their versatility. There can be a technical product manager, a design product manager, a business product manager, a digital product manager, and the list goes on.
Career Path of a Product Manager:
The career of a product manager is fulfilling in terms of skills, growth and also lucrative since professionals like you have been in demand for the last five years or so.
You can pursue your graduation in any subject of interest and then go on to do an MBA (Master of Business Administration) from a recognized college/university. The placement procedures from most colleges are quite impressive, and you can land a pretty decent job right after you graduate, or sometimes even before you graduate.
For example, you pursued your graduation in Engineering or IT, followed by an MBA. This opens the door to several technical/IT companies that want to infuse young blood into their organizations.
You can perhaps start your journey as an intern, where the company provides you with training. You then proceed to become an assistant technical product manager. Several years down the line, when you have established yourself as an excellent product manager, you can take on the role of a senior product manager in the technical field.
When you prove yourself as an industry expert, your chances of becoming the director of a product substantially increase. Evidently, product management has an exceptional growth trajectory.
Product Manager’s Roles and Responsibilities:
Donald R. Lehmann, a person of the American Marketing Association, has enumerated several duties and responsibilities in one of his books, some of which are listed below:
- A product manager is responsible for planning activities related to the product and product line; thus, it is your job to analyze the market, including customers, competitors, and the external environment. This then translates into marketing objectives for the product followed by marketing strategies.
- Moreover, you must get your company to support these marketing programs, i.e., Internal Marketing. And this requires your involvement right from research & development, manufacturing, and product-line extensions to finance and delivery. This makes you the central node of communication for every department.
- You position a product in the minds of prospective buyers by not only influencing them but also highlighting the most appealing features of a product. This has led Geoffrey Moore in “Crossing the Chasm,” to call Positioning the single largest influence on the buying decision.
- Product managers also determine a product’s lifecycle and what would be the next best step for its growth. You guide the product through all its stages of launching, growth, maturity, and, sadly, even its decline and exit.
Now that we know the job description of a product manager, let us delve into how you can make your résumé stand out.
In any good résumé, you will find these headings:
- Personal Details: This is where you introduce yourself; therefore, this comes in the beginning. For a cleaner look, you might want to place it on either one of the corners of the page, either left or right and avoid making it too long.
- Add only what is necessary- full name, address, contact number, and email address.
- You can add a couple of lines describing yourself under “About Me.”
- You can also add your LinkedIn profile or website link (if any) here, as it will give a more detailed review to the recruiter.
- Educational Qualifications: Here, you list details of your academic record, including relevant certificate courses that might help you stand out.
- It is not important to show how well you scored; instead, you can highlight the subjects or points that are relevant to the job description you are applying for.
- For example, if the job is seeking someone to launch and manage their apps, you can highlight it in this fashion:
HGFZ Graduate Center
Master’s in project management | Jan 2013 - Dec 2015
- Studied project planning, coordination, and ethics
- Worked with various startups on launching new apps and services
- Internships and Work Experience: This is a crucial section that helps the employer evaluate your suitability for the job role of a product manager. So, take your time while writing this section.
- Give brief descriptions of the role you played and the projects that you managed.
- Use statistics and figures wherever possible- this brings a sense of credibility to what you are saying.
West Abc | Oct 2019 – Present
- Conducted day-to-day project coordination and implementation across multiple teams
- Collected data on the underperformance of the product and proactively intervened to increase the monthly subscription base by 5%
- Identified portfolio performance drivers, including mix shifts, and growth/underwriting opportunities.
- Created functional and technical applications according to the needs of the organization
Senior UX Designer
Pixel Hive | Jan 2015 - Sept 2019
- Managed complex projects from their ideation to launch
- Collaborated with other designers and developers in determining the loopholes and addressing them
- Analyzed industry trends and competitor actions.
- Came up with positioning strategies to break away from the traditional PLC
- Skill Summary: This section can help your recruiter identify the desired skills you possess and how you can add value to their company. Here, you can highlight your skill set that fits the job opening, not only as a Product Manager but also as an outstanding worker, because let me remind you, your job is all-encompassing.
Skills Summary (Some examples)
- Project Management
- Budgeting and Cost Analysis
- Enterprise Resource Planning
- Software Development
- Google Analytics
- Staff and User Training
- Microsoft Excel
- Agile Development
- Awards & Achievements: Do not shy away from bringing the spotlight to any awards or achievements that you might have accomplished. Some consider this “boasting”, but remember, it’s not boasting if they are facts. This section may highlight that you are good at what you do and support your claims through such recognitions. It also shows your zeal to only get better at what you do.
- Most Outstanding Employee of the Year, Pixel Hive (2018)
- Best Mobile App Design, HGFZ Graduate Center (2015)
- Design Awards, Cliffmoor College (2013)
- Other personal skills: In this section, perhaps you can highlight other skills, depending on the job description and other factors.
For example, you can list your language fluency, depending on the job location and multilingual needs of the company. This might be an added advantage for the employer, which they might or might not have explicitly mentioned.
Some Points you Need to Remember While Crafting your Resume
- Keep it as short and crisp as possible since it is not an essay.
- Only include relevant details and not everything. You can first chart out all the points on a blank page, analyze them, and then decide what should go on your resume.
- Make it easy to navigate and use simple words. Not an essay, remember?
- As mentioned earlier, use numbers and statistics to portray your credibility. For example, “Managed to cut down production costs by 15% through identification of loopholes in the production process and increase the efficiency of the assembly line while maintaining the product quality”.
- Once you have done this, go through your resume several times to make sure there are no errors, grammatical or spelling mistakes, and that the placements of all the sections are aligned perfectly. You would not want your resume to look like this:
Now that we know how to build an appealing Product Manager Resume, let us look at why companies need Product Managers.
Product Managers are the ones who survey the market and identify customer needs and formulate a rational product concept that can cater to those needs.
- They not only coordinate with the engineers and developers of UX, but they also balance customer feedback and problem-solving.
- They suggest alterations to the product to meet local conditions or preferences. For instance, McDonald’s adapted to the needs of the Indian market by introducing its potato-based food products. They had to modify the whole value chain, including the procurement of resources.
- Assessing the ripe time for launching a product and even its development cycle are tasks of a Product Manager. Recently, Microsoft announced that it plans to adopt two new strategies for introducing new features and updates- first, a triennial engineering cycle for major big-bang kind of launches, and second, rolling out of new features at crucial “Moments” in a year. Who do you think makes these key decisions? No points for guessing…a Product Manager!
- Product Managers build the core product, realize the need for an augmented product based on suitable cost alignment and transform it into a Potential product- they lead the INNOVATION in a company.
- They predict the success of an advertising campaign and team up with the Public-relations team to build the brand image using strategies that might appear insignificant at first glances, such as, how a product is packaged, what is written on it, and the materials used to make the packaging.
- They manage a product portfolio by identifying risks, streamlining resource allocation, assessing current levels of success, and ultimately aligning the product with the long-term strategic goals of the business.
It is not hard to see how product managers have comprehensive overarching roles and responsibilities. So, hone your skill set, pay attention to details, and keep an eye on your competitors.
Get on this enthralling journey by building an attractive resume, get that job and catapult your career to reach crazy heights!