I have gone from tech studies to research and project management in NTUA Labs, to entrepreneurship in Greece, I read many hype books about “building amazing products”, and took an MBA and PhD. Then I felt the need to go into a job that could have an impact on innovation, and I found out that the role of a Product Manager would be ideal for me. So I tried to find a PM job in Greece, but I crashed hard. Not many options and most of the companies dropped my resume.
This was back in 2017, and fortunately, some things have changed since then, but some others are the same. So, here you can find some tips on how you can land your first Product Management job.
Step 1 - Preparation
There are many free courses about Product Management. Go through that material to understand the basics. A nice course you can find is here.
Look on Twitter for Product Managers that share knowledge. @Shreyas and @Lenny are some of the most popular ones.
Start reading Product books. Cracking the PM Interview is a good way to start, but then you should expand your reading list. There are many lists you can find online, I will share periodically mine as well.
If you are not from a tech background, try to take some courses online about web technologies and mobile applications. Download some top-performing mobile apps, and try to understand what you like in the apps, and why each application is differently designed (eg Uber compared with Facebook).
Step 2 - Your first hit
Go through the job board fromto meet the Greek startup ecosystem.
Look for Associate Product Manager positions first, then junior positions. Don’t raise the bar too early.
Forget or de-prioritize well-known companies, like e-food, Workable, Beat, where the competition will be higher. Go for startups you may not know yet. Also, a startup is about people, so you can find the co-founders and ask for a more casual meeting, or attend an event they talk and make an entry.
If you still want to aim high, make a list of the companies you wouldn’t like to join, and start applying to them to prepare. When you feel ready, apply for the jobs you like.
Don’t expect to get a huge salary, your priority is to start your Product career track. Currently, with 1-2 years of Product experience, you can easily find your next opportunity in a Greek company.
Your plan B - Look for a PO position
Landing a Product Owner position is an option. In that case, you may need a certification (next bullet). You shouldn’t stay much in that role unless you like this career path. But you will get valuable knowledge on delivery and working with teams.
A Scrum/Agile certification may signal your hiring company that your onboarding will not take much time to onboard you and train you. Don’t spend much time, money, and effort on certifications.
You should attend meetups and events in your city, to meet and talk with people working for Product companies and startups. Talk to them, and ask them what their expectations are for a candidate to land their company.
If you are tired of trying to enter Product Management, you may want to enter another position, like Marketing, Sales, or Operations. It’s not easy to convert after you have entered a company, because if you are good your manager may want to keep you on their team, but if they fear losing you they may agree with that.
Your plan C - Leave Greece with a return ticket
Look for positions in Europe. Berlin, Amsterdam, and Paris are some nice hubs. The job market is short, there are many companies that would invest in young candidates.
Set a return date. Return back to Greece with experiences, and the first opportunity to have an impact. Don’t forget that you couldn’t make it to Greece, mainly because there was no market. Don’t be bitter about that, try to change it and be part of the solution, you should help the Greek market grow.
We are all part of the Greek ecosystem. Let’s try to help each other. You will find it interesting when working with Greek Product Teams, what you can definitely say is how passionate and hard-working they are.
I hope that these tips help. If you have any specific questions, you can always drop me a tweet.
Nice and relevant article Joseph, congrats!