How to make a jump from customer service to product manager?

Hi everyone,

I’ve been working in customer/community service for a few years now and I’d like to try a different position. In my early days, I was working as a community manager and because it was a community of thousands of online workers delivering their tasks, it entailed a lot of project management and with this stakeholder management. Which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Then, I gradually started doing more support roles, which to this day I like, but I don’t love and it’s not as exciting as what I was doing before (seeing the progress of the deliveries, talking to stakeholders, managing expectations, growing communities asap because there were not enough workers, etc). And I was hoping I could get back to project management disguised as product management because it’s something I’ve always been curious about from seeing colleagues.

Do you have any advice for someone wanting to do such a transition? What skills should I learn and what kind of (entry-level?) positions should I be looking for?

Thanks!

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Wow our career paths sound very much the same! I’ve also spent a lot of time in customer support roles, and before I got my first product role I was a community manager for an association. You’re right, a lot of those soft skills are directly transferable.

Two things got me my first product role:

  1. I took a six month user experience bootcamp. I learned A LOT about crafting digital experiences, user research, journey maps, storyboards, market research, etc. I was able to put together a portfolio site of projects I completed with the bootcamp as well as a real project I implemented at work as a community manager that had real results. I of course did the bootcamp for an actual career in UX, so I was surprised that the only interview I got was for a PM role. But I happily accepted the PM job I was offered.

  2. Personality. They said they liked my personality. In the interview they felt my positivity and confidence in my presentation was a good cultural fit.

Everyone’s career path will be different, and doing a UX bootcamp may or may not the the best idea for you. I should mention I was hired at the Associate level, so it is entry-level and I’m being mentored by the senior manager.

While my experience in customer service helped, gaining the knowledge of building digital experiences and the typical deliverables that come with it, combined with being a good cultural fit got me my first PM role.

Best of luck to you!

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