Build PM experience before you get the job

January 3, 2024
Product & Growth

You want to become a product manager, but you don’t have any product management experience. Sounds familiar? 

You’re not alone. Many aspiring PMs face this chicken-and-egg dilemma: how can you get a PM job without PM experience, and how can you get PM experience without a PM job? Don’t worry, there is a way out of this loop. In this newsletter, I’ll share some tips and tricks on how to build your PM skills and portfolio before you land your dream PM role. 

Whether you’re currently working in a different field, looking for a career change, or just starting out, these strategies will help you showcase your potential as a product manager.

1️⃣ Finding PM Scope in your current role 🔍

If you already have a job, chances are you can find some opportunities to practice product management within your current role. You don’t have to be in a technical or design-related position to do this. You can apply the PM mindset and skills to any project or problem you encounter in your work.

For example, you can:

  • Identify and validate customer needs and pain points
  • Define and prioritize the scope and requirements of a solution
  • Communicate and collaborate with stakeholders and cross-functional teams
  • Test and iterate on your assumptions and hypotheses

Measure and evaluate the impact and outcomes of your work. By doing these things, you can gain exposure to the product development process and learn from experienced PMs in your company. You can also build your network and reputation as a product-savvy professional who can deliver value to customers and stakeholders.

2️⃣ Internal Transition 🔄

Another option to get PM experience is transitioning to a product role within your current company. This can be easier than applying for a PM job at a different company, since you already have the advantage of knowing the product, the market, the customers, and the culture of your organization.
To make a successful internal transition, you need to: 

  • Express your interest and intention to become a PM to your manager and the product team
  • Showcase your PM skills and achievements in your current role
  • Seek mentorship and guidance from existing PMs in your company
  • Look for openings or opportunities to join or shadow a product team
  • Prepare and practice for the internal PM interview
    An internal transition can be a great way to kickstart your PM career, as you can leverage your existing knowledge and relationships to prove your value and fit as a product manager. 

3️⃣ Side Projects

If you don’t have the opportunity or the desire to transition to a product role within your current company, you can still get PM experience by working on side projects outside of your work. Side projects are a great way to showcase your passion, creativity, and initiative as a product manager. They can also help you build your portfolio, network, and personal brand.

4️⃣ Use No-Code tools to build a product

One of the easiest and fastest ways to build a product is to use no-code tools. No-code tools are platforms or applications that allow you to create websites, apps, or software without writing any code. They are designed to be user-friendly, intuitive, and flexible, so you can focus on the product vision, design, and functionality, rather than the technical details.

Some of the most popular no-code tools are: 

  • Webflow: a web design and development tool that lets you create responsive and interactive websites using a drag-and-drop interface
  • Bubble: a web app builder that lets you create complex and dynamic web applications using a visual programming language

Using no-code tools, you can build a product from scratch or improve an existing one, without having to learn how to code or hire a developer. You can also test and validate your product idea, prototype, and MVP (minimum viable product) with real users and get feedback and data to iterate and improve your product.

5️⃣ Build your own product

Another way to work on a side project is to build your own product from scratch. This can be a more challenging and time-consuming option, but also a more rewarding and fulfilling one. Building your own product gives you the opportunity to identify and solve a real problem that you or others face and express your creativity and originality in designing and developing a product. It can also be a great way to demonstrate your PM skills and potential to future employers, as well as to build something that you’re proud of and passionate about.

6️⃣ Join a product community

Another way to build product management experience is to join a product community where you can learn from and network with other product enthusiasts. There are many online and offline platforms where you can find product-related events, meetups, hackathons, and mentorship programs. These are great opportunities to expand your knowledge, sharpen your skills, and connect with potential employers or collaborators. For instance, in our Growthschool Product Community, we help aspiring Product managers upskill, learn from Industry experts, and connect with other aspiring and working PMs to land their dream jobs. 


If you’re missing a skill, build it. This will help you grow in your current scope as a product manager or transition into the field. Do this by finding scope in your current role or by building a small side project. Stretch your scope at work to touch the core responsibilities of a product manager. Make sure to keep crushing it in your current role! Spend time building with no-code tools and taking projects to market.

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