Ask A Good Product Manager

Your product management questions answered

What should I look for in a product management job?

Posted on April 24, 2008 · 2 Comments

Question: What should I look for when searching for a product management job?

I am looking for a product management job. What should I look for when searching for a product manager position?

Answer from Gopal Shenoy of Product Management Tips: First of all, you need to decide on what kind of product management job you would enjoy.

  1. What size company do you want to work for — large, medium, small, startup?
  2. What kind of work culture do you thrive in — startup chaos or established process culture of established companies?
  3. What kind of products — B2B vs B2C, enterprise vs SMB, on-premise vs. on-demand (Saas) etc. ?
  4. What industry? Don’t assume that you will be restricted by the domain you are currently in — your skills could be portable to other domains.
  5. Where in the life cycle should the products be? Brand new concepts, products with initial traction, well established products, etc.

Once you honestly determine the answers for the above, then find out where you stand in having the skill sets for the product manager, and then go looking for your dream job. I have recently written about assessing a product manager’s skill set and also on job hunting tips based on my recent job searches. The links are given below:

State of you
Ten Job hunting tips for a product manager
Job hunting cheat sheet

One thing I would like to emphasize is that the size of the company in (1); not only does this dictate the company culture, but also dictates what kind of benefits you could get. Believe me, health care benefit costs now constitute probably the largest chunk that eats into your take home money. I personally have had to turn down offers because of this factor.

2 other answers so far ↓

  • Raj // Apr 28, 2008 at 6:01 pm

    I’d like to emphasize Gopal’s point #3.

    Enterprise vs SMB could determine how stressful the job is – depending on your personality.

    If you work for a small company (Gopal’s #1) that has a handful of Enterprise customers – those customers have enormous power over you. This could be good or bad depending who those customers are.

    I have some friends who work in such scenarios in Silicon Valley whose jobs are high stress due to constant fire-fighting, and the frequent “better implement this new feature we want or else…” demands – as those friends don’t have the personality that enjoys this type of work.

    Best wishes in your job hunt,
    Raj
    Accompa – Affordable requirements software for PMs

  • Brian Lawley // May 14, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    All excellent points. By the way, there is a list of PM Job hunting resources at http://www.280group.com/productmanagementjoblist.htm.

    Good luck!

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