Many budding graduates are dreaming for a perfect career in product management. According to experts, a single clear path is not what makes a successful product manager. Infact, this specific role calls for a complete understanding of product building.
The role and responsibilities of a product manager are extremely well-defined in any organization, which is why you probably won’t land a product manager position fresh out of college. Most fresh graduates would likely get an associate or junior product manager role if not a business analyst designation, which is most common. This means you would be working closely with product managers even if you don’t actually get to run the teams and manage complete processes like running a team and building products. Successful product managers are known to begin their career paths with research, coordination and similar duties which are integral parts of developing good products.
In order to familiarize yourself with how different types of industries actually work when it comes to product management, you can take the consulting route, which includes short periods spent working in a number of companies. This provides you with a diverse and holistic understanding of how different companies in different industries work, which in turn allows you to better understand how various kinds of products are built and the behind-the-scenes of how those companies offer services to their customers.
In case you have a specific company or sphere in mind where you want to work, it is recommended to first get any type of job in that space which will ensure value addition to your knowledge of the product itself. The job you apply for must be reasonably close to the product, such as implementation, customer support or sales as opposed to accounting. By the time you get an opportunity to actually become a product manager, you will be quite familiar with the product and you might even have a couple of ideas along the way for presenting to your team.
Most candidates often pose the question: what makes a successful product manager? There is no clear answer, but you need to do your best to make sure that people around you know about your interest in product management. These can be people within or outside your company including friends of friends and even connections on LinkedIn. Aspiring product managers are willing to ask questions and learn more about what successful product managers do in order to clearly understand what is required. This also helps you use your own pre-built projects and experience as a credibility boost which compensates for your lack of hands-on experience on the job.