Should I apply for PM roles if I have zero experience?

Should I still apply for roles that require 2-3 years of PM experience when I have zero?

And if by luck I get an interview, how do I prove myself?

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Yes. Don’t let that be a blocker. They may post that as a requirement just to weed out all the 5+ years folks. This sounds like they want entry level or early years exp. they may be flexible with that and say well he has the demonstrated skills we need a likable person and they can shadow a senior PM.

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@Ahmad, That makes sense. Thanks for replying. I guess its better to try and find out than not try at all. I was feeling demotivated with all these experience requirements. I’ll take your advice and give it a shot.

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Doesn’t make sense. I can understand if you say “they require 5 years and I have 3, or even 2” but you have zero experience? Doesn’t make sense. IMO

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Some of the best jobs I’ve had, including my current one, I scored because I had the courage to email the company and pitch how I could help them. They weren’t even looking, I just presented myself, my skills, what I could bring to the table… .and boom, done. I’ve now been here 3 years and it’s amazing.

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100%. Worst case scenario is you get rejected, mid case scenario is you get interview practice, and best case is you get a job so nothing to lose.

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In my opinion it’s a complete waste of time, you’ll get filtered out quickly. It’s more effective to get in touch with the hiring manager for those positions, if you manage to talk to them and they like you well enough they might let you interview or create a lower position (like associate) to get you in the door. Remember that applying for a job gets you in front of recruiters which have WAY less discretionality than the hiring manager.

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@Michael, I don’t think this is true necessarily. I recently applied for and got a first round interview for a job from which I was ultimately rejected, and the guy they hired has a decade of experience at Director of Product level. I literally had 3 months of actual PM experience at all and they still thought I was worth talking to. You never know until you try.

(it’s worth noting this particular job posting had no explicit year of requirement component but they clearly wanted someone much, much more experience than I obviously was)

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I got a job as Product Manager with zero PM experience, they were asking for 5 to 7. I got the job because I had sales and application experience with the product. So I would say yes, you should apply and explain how you will apply your current experience to the PM position.

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So I’m fresh out of university and had worked at this huge company for 6 months, doing market research. I did user research, worked with quantitative data and interviewed customers to get their feedback. I worked with the product team for one project where I interviewed these set of target groups who used our company app frequently, I liked how I was being involved in listening to customers and how they wish they wanted that feature. Also, I want to apply my creativity in wireframing. I want to make apps better than they were before. I want to be involved in making decisions on where to take company products to the next level. That’s primarily why I am interested in the product.

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You have six months experience in your first job post uni. That’s going to be an uphill battle for you at this point, BUT, it’s worth your time to start interviewing for practice. Interviewing is an essential skill in your career, and it’s a skill most people don’t develop well. Good interviewing skills put you head and shoulders above most other candidates that have experience.

  • you want to be able to describe times you’ve worked closely with engineers
  • you want to give examples of doing market research and defined KPIs
  • you want to give examples of times where you’ve created a list of to-do items, and how you prioritized what gets done first, and why
  • you want to give examples of influencing colleagues in your company to do something
  • you want to give examples of where you’ve had to tell people ‘no’
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@MichaelYoffe, I haven’t done any on the list except the market research part. I guess getting rejected a few times will give me a knack of the interview process. Appreciate your input. Thanks.

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Yes, go ahead and apply anyway and go through phone screens. Put yourself in positions where you’re working with cross functional teams, especially engineering who are going to be your closest stakeholders. Don’t wait for others to do it, show initiative.

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As a hungry, motivated PM candidate, I would say “yes”, don’t let it stop you.

As someone who has hired before, I would say “don’t waste my time”. I’ve written the job post and know that I want an experienced PM so I don’t have to hold your hand at every turn.

In general, I recommend being judicious about which roles you’re applying to, so if the role is definitely what you want, then go for it. Otherwise, save your energy for the “hell yeah” openings.