Transitioning from Sales/accounting to PM. I seek your opinions

I worked as a salesperson and account manager for two years in the tech industry, and I find that product management is interesting.

What steps should I take to assume this position? Do I directly apply for a PM position or just take an online certificate program that would give me the credentials I need to become a PM?

All inputs are appreciated.

Thanks in advance.


There are a few steps you can take to transition into a Product Management role:

  1. Gain an understanding of the role and responsibilities of a Product Manager by reading books, articles, and blogs on the topic, and talking to people in Product Management roles.
  2. Develop the skills that are important for Product Management, such as product development, market research, data analysis, and project management.
  3. Build a portfolio of work that demonstrates your ability to think strategically and lead product development. This could include any product development or marketing projects you have worked on in your current role, or any side projects you have undertaken.
  4. Network with people in Product Management roles and attend industry events to learn more about the field and make connections.
  5. Look for opportunities to gain experience in Product Management, such as internships or volunteer positions.
  6. Apply for Product Management roles and tailor your resume and cover letter to highlight your relevant skills and experience.
  7. Consider taking a certification course in product management, which can help boost your resume and give you a solid understanding of the field.

It is important to note that many companies also tend to look for candidates with a technical background in software development or engineering. If you have a background in a technical field or have experience working with software development teams, it may make your transition to a product management role easier.

Hope this helps you make a better decision.

Best of Luck.


I think it would be better for future reference, if you would try going through previous posts on the subject. There are already many excellent posts and discussions regarding this. I’m sure you’d definitely find many useful tips and advice on your query.

IMO it would be very helpful if you could take up a related online (or offline) course which would add some credentials to your resume, along with, you can start networking with already established PMs in the industry to know more about their work and day to day activities at work.


Discover a technique to start practicing product management in a practical setting. Without real-world experience, courses, books, etc., mean very nothing.

You were in sales, so I would try to capitalise on that. Early-stage firms sometimes struggle with sales, whereas the founder or someone else in leadership is typically responsible for product development.

You start assisting them with sales and start participating as much as you can with the product side. You will interact with clients a lot in your sales function, which is invaluable for product work. If the startup is successful, you can move into a full-time position in product development. Even if it isn’t, you’ll still learn a ton. No of how well the product does, the majority of product executives will look for experience when hiring PMs.


Thank you so much for such a detailed reply @MichaelYoffe. That was really very thoughtful of you. Every point mentioned is very useful. Shall try to follow them step by step.

@KaranTrivedi you are right, about practicing in real world scenario, but where can I find such setups or companies who would hire me just for practicing?


Both options can be valuable in transitioning into a Product Management role.

Applying for Product Management jobs allows you to gain real-world experience and can lead to a full-time position. However, it can be competitive to land a Product Management role without prior experience in the field.

On the other hand, completing an online certificate course in Product Management can provide you with a deeper understanding of the field and can help to demonstrate your interest and commitment to a career in Product Management. It can also help you understand the key concepts, frameworks and tools that are used in product management and give you an edge over other candidates who may not have this knowledge.

It is recommended that you consider both options and weigh their pros and cons to determine which is the best fit for your current situation and career goals. You can also work on both options simultaneously. While you apply for PM jobs, you can also do an online certificate course which will help you to be more proficient in PM concepts and skills, and also make you more competitive in the job market.


First, as this results in a change in job, be sure you are well aware of what a PM career entails. 3 brief ideas to aid in the process are as follows:

  • If you work for a product company, you can interact with your PM coworkers to learn about their daily activities. The best way to learn about the occupations is in this way.

  • Then I advise you to enroll in a PM course. Taking two or three courses won’t give you the information or expertise you need to start working at your next job right away. It aids in laying out the framework and comprehension of the profession. From there, you can decide whether or not your qualifications and personality fit the position.

  • Look for a mentor to guide you through the job change. They will ask you insightful questions that will help you learn more about the PM career and who you are.

If you decide to relocate after that, let’s say that you should get ready for your first PM job by:

  • Make use of your past experiences. You have more knowledge than you might believe. You might consider your prior employment in your present position and look at opportunities that may assist you succeed as a PM.

  • Put your PM abilities into practice by creating a real product and attempting to study the competition.

  • Join communities and follow seasoned PMs to increase the heat and your PM connections…

  • And once again, seek out a mentor.


I will support this. There are many opportunities and spaces in a startup. Sales (since they’re already talking to clients) may actually help shape the product because it’s often not formed or is deformed. I advise concentrating on the product’s sales and marketing aspects while gradually involving more engineers. Utilize your strengths in all you do, and have plans and teammates for your limitations.


This has my support. In a startup, there is a lot of room and opportunity. There are some excellent shared abilities between product management and sales. After all, creating a proposal for a new feature is selling, even if it is done internally (we need resource to do this thing).

In different companies, PM can mean different things. I’d suggest meeting for coffee with a few different PMs at the companies you’re interested in working for. Ask them questions to learn more about their position. Even better if the PM in question is employed for a company that hires PMs.


Agree to @KaranTrivedi and @Nathanendicott.

Yes, you should leverage your sales experience in your job search and application for Product Management roles. Sales and Product Management are closely related and many of the skills you have developed in your sales role are transferable to Product Management. For example, your sales experience may have given you a good understanding of customer needs and how to communicate effectively with customers and stakeholders.

You’re right that many early-stage startups struggle with sales, and having someone with a sales background on the product team can be valuable. Product Managers are often responsible for working with cross-functional teams to bring a product to market, and your sales experience can be an asset when it comes to understanding the target customer and identifying market opportunities.

You can highlight your sales experience in your resume, cover letter, and during interviews, and demonstrate how your skills and experience can be applied to Product Management roles. Also, you can show how your sales experience can help you to better understand the customer’s needs, and to work with sales teams to ensure that the product is meeting the customer’s needs and creating value for them.

In summary, your sales background can be a valuable asset when transitioning into a Product Management role, and you can leverage your experience to demonstrate your ability to understand customer needs and drive business growth.


Meeting with Product Managers from different companies and asking them questions about their job is a great way to gain a better understanding of the role and the industry. It can also help you to make connections and learn about potential job opportunities.

Here are a few tips for reaching out to Product Managers:

  1. Research potential contacts: Look for Product Managers at companies you are interested in working for and find their contact information. LinkedIn is a good place to start.
  2. Craft a compelling message: When reaching out to potential contacts, it is important to be clear and concise in your message. Explain who you are, why you are interested in Product Management, and what you hope to learn from the conversation.
  3. Be prepared with questions: Come up with a list of questions to ask the Product Managers you meet with, such as:
  • What are the biggest challenges you face in your role?
  • How do you prioritize which features to build?
  • How do you measure success for your product?
  • How does your role interact with other teams like engineering, design, and sales?
  1. Follow up: After the meeting, be sure to send a thank you note and keep in touch with the Product Manager. This will help to establish a relationship and keep you top of mind for future opportunities.

In summary, meeting with Product Managers can be a great way to gain insights into the role, industry, and potential job opportunities. It also shows your willingness to learn and network, which are valuable skills for any Product Manager.

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Wow!!! Thanks to each one of you for your wonderful inputs and insights. Each one is very important and useful to me. Really appreciate the efforts each one of you have taken to post your replies. You all have made my day and made me feel better relaxed and stress free. A BIG Thank you once again.