Overview

As a Product Manager, you will assume responsibility for a team of production line employees. Not only that,  but you will be constantly on the lookout for new ideas, innovations and opportunities – both for increasing the profitability of your existing product line and for developing something new.

So, in essence, this is a threefold role – a Product Manager works with the people who make the products, the people who market the products and the people who buy the products. You must be as comfortable working the production line as you are in the board room presenting new ideas, so you will need a flexible and highly motivated personality alongside exceptional communication skills.

You will also need an understanding of budget management and efficiency as you will be accountable for making sure your products are made and delivered in the most cost efficient way.

In terms of job prospects, there are always opportunities out there – every company that makes a product of any kind requires a Product Manager – but you need sound experience, knowledge and qualifications to stand a good chance of securing a position.

Almost all employers would prefer a candidate with a relevant business degree, but experience will stand you in good stead too – so if Product Manager is your aspiration, then start out in Marketing or Production Line to accrue knowledge and understanding. Your resume will reflect managerial experience, marketing knowledge and an understanding of production lines and quality assurance.

Pay

Product manager compensation varies greatly, depending on the industry and the experience level of the candidates. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics has determined the 2015 median pay for product managers in advertising, promotions, and marketing,

Of course depending on whether you’re a software product manager, a hardware product manager, or a marketing product manager, median salaries can vary greatly. For example, pay scale.com, states that the median salary for product manager of an unspecified type, is around $80,000 per year. However, the variance in scale is quite large with some product managers making only around $50,000 dollars per year, others making upwards of $120,000+ per year.

Your compensation level will depend on your educational background, unique skills, your work experience, and the industry that you are working in.

Product Manager Salary Statistics

2016 Median Pay$124,850 per year
$60.03 per hour
Typical Entry-level EducationBachelor's degree
Work Experience in a Related OccupationOccasional but not required
On-the-job TrainingNone
Number of Jobs, 2016225,200
Job Outlook, 2014-2024+9%
Employment Change, 2014-2024+19,700
Sources: U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics & Payscale.com

Industry Forecast

The average industry growth forecast for product managers of the advertising and marketing type is around 9% which is quite a bit faster than the national average of all industries combined. Of course, if you are product manager for a company that engineers oil extraction technology for example, and gas prices go down internationally, your industry outlook could vary significantly.

General product managers, though, are essentially just managers encompassing all areas of business and  overlapping the scopes of specialized managers like human resources managers or operations managers. This flexibility is both a strength and weakness as it requires a wide variety skill sets but also  equips the candidate with experiences that can be used to advance the career further into higher manager positions for director positions within a company.

Given that current managers positions are spread across every industry throughout America, the growth rate will be largely dependent on the overall health of the economy and the number of companies that are expanding on an annual basis.

The prospects of the position are quite bright, as even during rougher times, companies usually want to keep management talent. They would rather lose entry-level workers then lose talented product managers.

Types of Product Managers

There is a whole variety of product managers, not only sorted by industry, but also based on specialization, education and experience level. For example, there are more entry-level positions like research manager, product consultant and product specialist.

There are more specialized titles such as product setup manager, product engineer, product to designer, product design consultant, and so forth. These types of product manager roles are more specific in terms of the daily functions and expectations.

One of the most common types of product manager is that of the marketing product manager. Even within this category, though, there are many types of product managers: public relations managers, marketing managers, marketing research consultants, marketing coordinators, and on and on.

Finally, there are senior level product management position such as vice president of product management, product management director, product management coordinator and gen. manager of product management.

As you can see, there are many types of product managers in different industries and for different experience levels. Don’t just label yourself a “product manager”, You want to be as specific as possible when writing your resume and applying for jobs.

The more specific you are, the more likely you are to be the unique and rare match that a company is seeking. Imagine if the company gets 1000 resumes a week, and they are all just for a product manager, but they are seeking a product manager of engineering, and you forgot to mention engineering in your resume title and email title. Your resume can very easily get buried and lost among thousands of other applicants for the position. Be sure to specialize; in doing so, you will differentiate yourself from the competition.

Sample Resume Download

Below is a free, professionally written product manager sample resume that you can use for inspiration in crafting your own p.m. resume.

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How To Write Your Own

Product managers fall into the formulas that all resume writers need to take into consideration when writing their own resumes. This means same 1 inch margins on the sides, same 12 point font, same safe font selection like Times, Roman, or Ariel.

Depending on your experience level, the length of your resume will vary howeverIf you have less than 10 years of experience you really should be able to fit your product management resume to one page.

Share Skills & Software

You want to show your value is not looking, This entire you can improve the organization through your own organizational skills and management abilities. You want to identify your personal value to the company in quantitative terms, meaning in dollar figures or percentages whenever possible.

Likewise, you want to highlight your technical skills such as a specific software, or other types of productivity app knowledge such as using tools like Trello, Wrike and/or Asana.

Your educational background is quite important even though the product manager education histories can vary greatly from anything from economics to business administration to computer science or engineering and math.

Generally, you will want to find an industry that matches up with your educational history; you will need to include the university graduated from and your GPA if it was above 3.5.

As a manager, you need to “own” things; that means your resume should show how you initiated, created, or orchestrated initiatives that made positive impacts on the company. You want to do this by describing your leadership experience and how you use this to increase productivity.

Get Networking

Finally, as with all resumes, you want be sure your online presence matches your off-line presence, meaning your LinkedIn profile should reflect the skills and experiences listed on your resume.

LinkedIn is not terribly important for other industries; however, your product management role should show that you worked with teams of people. Having a well-connected LinkedIn profile with many different endorsements from team members Is a great addition to your application package.

Once you have completed writing your resume consider giving it to friends who work in similar management positions or similar industries to review. Getting multiple perspectives on resumes is a great way to find errors that you may not have otherwise noticed, no matter how many late night you have spent trying to perfect it.

Sample Bullet Points

Below are some professionally written bullet points specifically curated to be used on product management resumes. The bullet points reflect some of the key attributes mentioned above like being able to lead, organize, and orchestrate with the company’s best interests in mind.

Sample Product Manager Bullet Points

Task
Negotiate prices or terms of sales or service agreements.
Prepare and submit sales contracts for orders.
Visit establishments to evaluate needs or to promote product or service sales.
Maintain customer records, using automated systems.
Answer customers' questions about products, prices, availability, or credit terms.
Quote prices, credit terms, or other bid specifications.
Contact new or existing customers to discuss how specific products or services can meet their needs.
Emphasize product features based on analyses of customers' needs and on technical knowledge of product capabilities and limitations.
Compute customer's installation or production costs and estimate savings from new services, products, or equipment.
Select or assist customers in selecting products based on customer needs, product specifications, and applicable regulations.
Prepare sales presentations or proposals to explain product specifications or applications.
Complete expense reports, sales reports, or other paperwork.
Verify that delivery schedules meet project deadlines.
Identify prospective customers using business directories, leads from existing clients, participation in organizations, or trade show or conference attendance.
Inform customers of estimated delivery schedules, service contracts, warranties, or other information pertaining to purchased products.
Collaborate with colleagues to exchange information, such as selling strategies or marketing information.
Provide customers with ongoing technical support.
Advise customers on product usage to improve production.
Study documentation or other information for new scientific or technical products.
Stock or distribute resources, such as samples or promotional or educational materials.
Attend sales or trade meetings or read related publications to obtain information about market conditions, business trends, environmental regulations, or industry developments.
Sell service contracts for technical or scientific products.
Demonstrate the operation or use of technical or scientific products.
Provide feedback to product design teams so that products can be tailored to clients' needs.
Arrange for installation and testing of products or machinery.
Initiate sales campaigns to meet sales and production expectations.
Obtain building blueprints or specifications for use by engineering departments in bid preparations.
Verify accuracy of materials lists.
Verify customer credit ratings.
Appraise equipment to determine contract terms or trade-in values.
Consult with engineers regarding technical problems with products.
Sell technical and scientific products that are environmentally sound or designed for environmental remediation.
Visit establishments, such as pharmacies, to determine product sales.
Present information to customers about the energy efficiency or environmental impact of scientific or technical products.
Inform customers about issues related to responsible use and disposal of products, such as waste reduction or product or byproduct recycling or disposal.
Research and convey information to customers about tax benefits or government rebates associated with energy-efficient scientific or technical products, such as solar panels.

Career Objectives & Professional Summaries

For candidates with 10 years or less of work experience, you want to use a career objective at the top of your resume, which you will customize for each application you send out. The career objective should be specific for each individual job description as you want to reflect the key attributes the employer is seeking at the very beginning of your own resume in a succinct and direct manner.

If you are a more senior-level applicant with more than 10 years of experience, you can forgo the career objective and instead include a professional summary at the top of your resume. Professional summaries are little bit longer than career objectives as they obviously have to summarize little bit longer of a career history.

Professional summaries can actually also be a combination of a small paragraph and a select few bullet points listing key skills that define you as a veteran product manager. Do not over do it, though, in terms of length, as this is still just the introduction to your resume and the goal is to impress and get the reader to read the rest of the resume which should then seal the deal.

Additional Skills & Certifications

Things you want to reflect  include any additional skill sets besides technical skills, like software and technical abilities. Include more rarefied skill sets that really differentiate leaders from followers.

This includes things like leadership skills, the ability to influence and delegate tasks to coworkers, the ability to initiate cross team cooperation on products, and the ability to make tough decisions and solve problems in a timely and cost-effective way.

You can also include classic slate negotiation skills, conflict resolution skills, flexibility, and other personal skills that will help you perform well for any company under high-pressure and strict deadlines.

You may want to get a certified product management certification. These can be obtained through online courses from a variety of different online universities and specialists groups and organizations. Work experience and track record, though, are much more important than any sort of certification you can get online, and employers know it.If you do not have a degree, consider going back to school to obtain something like an associates degree. Such classes may be taken at night and having that diploma and really boosts how much you can earn annually as a product manager.

Useful Skills to Include

Below are a set of useful skills, like those mentioned above, that you can include on your own resume. They may be sprinkled throughout your experience bullet points as well. Again, while these are professionally written,  you will still want to write your own unique set of skills to suit your specific experiences as a manager.

Useful Product Manager Skills

SkillSkill Description
SpeakingTalking to others to convey information effectively.
PersuasionPersuading others to change their minds or behavior.
Active ListeningGiving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
NegotiationBringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
Social PerceptivenessBeing aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Reading ComprehensionUnderstanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Service OrientationActively looking for ways to help people.
CoordinationAdjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
Active LearningUnderstanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
WritingCommunicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Critical ThinkingUsing logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Complex Problem SolvingIdentifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
MonitoringMonitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Judgment and Decision MakingConsidering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Time ManagementManaging one's own time and the time of others.
MathematicsUsing mathematics to solve problems.
InstructingTeaching others how to do something.
Systems AnalysisDetermining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
Learning StrategiesSelecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
Management of Financial ResourcesDetermining how money will be spent to get the work done, and accounting for these expenditures.
Management of Personnel ResourcesMotivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.
Management of Material ResourcesObtaining and seeing to the appropriate use of equipment, facilities, and materials needed to do certain work.
Operations AnalysisAnalyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.
Systems EvaluationIdentifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
Technology DesignGenerating or adapting equipment and technology to serve user needs.
ProgrammingWriting computer programs for various purposes.
Operation and ControlControlling operations of equipment or systems.
Operation MonitoringWatching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Quality Control AnalysisConducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
Equipment SelectionDetermining the kind of tools and equipment needed to do a job.
ScienceUsing scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
InstallationInstalling equipment, machines, wiring, or programs to meet specifications.
Equipment MaintenancePerforming routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
TroubleshootingDetermining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
RepairingRepairing machines or systems using the needed tools.

Additional Resources