Paco continues his guest post arc (see part 1), allowing the Cranky Product Manager to rest yet another day
Guest Post: A Short Guide to Being an Unemployed Product Manager – Part Two
In the previous installment, I blathered about how bad the job market is right now. Think Les Miserables except less French people and ten times the drama.
Your mileage may vary, especially depending on your location. But don’t be surprised if you don’t get a call-back about that PM job that seemed absolutely tailor-made for you. They may agree that you’re the exact candidate they’re looking for, it’s just that they might not want to fill the position anymore. Be patient, and when possible, talk directly to the recruiter to see if the position is still approved.
Learning to Drink Dirt
If the well for PM jobs has obviously run dry, you gotta change your plan and consider other positions. Personally, I recommend trying roles that are related to your current experience and I DON’T recommend trying to train for a completely new role. More on that later.
So, as a PM, what are some related roles you could look for?
1. Sales Engineer
2. Consulting as a Business Analyst
Yeah, you probably could fill a marketing, QA, or customer support position as well, but honestly, they’re not in-demand right now. These are the best bets in my book. Again, gotta think about jobs that are closer to the revenue stream. If you think you could work as a straight-up salesperson with a quota, go for it, but an SE role would take advantage of your technical aptitude better.
The Sales Engineer role is essentially what a PM does every time they parachute into a deal to fill-in all the technical details. You’re just doing that every day instead of once in a while, and you’re doing it for all sorts of customers, not just the big accounts. Shouldn’t be too hard. Plus, you get to be the Cranky Sales Engineer who pisses-off the Cranky PM ;)
If the Business Analyst route doesn’t seem obvious, this is a climate where companies are frequently outsourcing work to consultants rather than hiring full-time employees. It’s a much safer route for them because they can calculate a one-time cost to get a project completed.
And a Business Analyst is essentially a person who interviews customers, collects requirements, and writes specs. It’s a subset of what most PMs do anyway, so it should be an easy transition.
I did a gig as a BA for a major corporation just a little while ago, and it was actually fun! You get to talk to customers, cook-up insights, document them, and then you walk-away with a job well-done. Some other schmo has to worry about getting it resourced and implemented for a change :)
Any other positions you think a PM is a natural fit for? Brain surgeon you say? Bar bouncer you say? I see many little minds reading this with thought balloons that have “bounty hunter” written in them. What do YOU think? In the next installment, we’ll talk about ways to pimp yourself on paper, not the street corner.
Also in The Product Manager's Guide to Unemployment
- Guest Post: A Short Guide to Being an Unemployed Product Manager – Part One
- Guest Post: A Short Guide to Being an Unemployed Product Manager – Part Two
- Guest Post: A Short Guide to Being an Unemployed Product Manager, Part Three
- Guest Post: A Short Guide to Being an Unemployed Product Manager, Part Four