How to transition from Professional Services to Product Management

Kavita Waldia



After having worked as a professional services consultant for 8+ years I realized that I while I loved working with customers to understand and solve their problems, many times I was limited by the capabilities of the product itself. In the value chain of product to customer, I was at the tail end of things. My passion was in building the product and I needed to move into product management. But as I started exploring opportunities, it dawned on me that for someone with the level of experience I had, there were not a lot of ways to shift to a product management role. Companies were looking for experience product managers or fresh college graduates.

Actions taken

To prepare myself for this transition, I started with the good old way of reading. I read blogs on product management to familiarize myself with the concepts, processes, methodologies and challenges. I spoke to some PMs to get an understanding of what a day in the life of a PM is like and what does the job function entail. I read through 1000s of interview questions and did mock interviews. I read sample resumes and then created my resume by framing my experience in a PM context. I realized that the work I did as a consultant was similar to how a PM works, except that I worked for a specific customer at a time. So when I wrote my resume I focused on what the hiring manager would be looking for – what did I build, what were the success metrics, what value proposition it provided to the end customer, and how did I measure those results. I started applying to internal job postings as well as applying outside through references provided by my network. Finally, I just went in for the interviews. I failed at a lot of those interviews before I finally succeeded!

Lessons learned

It was a slow process, and at times I was very dejected. But here's what I learnt –

  1. There is a lot of tribal knowledge available, so make use of it. There are amazing blogs made publicly available by some of the most well-known from the PM community. Make use of them. Even once you become a PM, don't stop reading and learning.
  2. Apply to as many job postings as you can. While network and references play a big role in the Silicon Valley, companies are looking at applications to make sure they don't miss out a good candidate. My first real PM job was based on a posting I applied to 6 months before I heard from them !
  3. There are no substitutes to the real test. So, don't be afraid of interviews and don't be afraid to fail.

Be notified about next articles from Kavita Waldia

Kavita Waldia

Connect and Learn with the Best Eng Leaders

We will send you a weekly newsletter with new mentors, circles, peer groups, content, webinars,bounties and free events.


HomeCircles1-on-1 MentorshipBounties

© 2024 Plato. All rights reserved

LoginSign up