Oct 17, 2023

How To Get Started In Product Management By Marily Nika

Dr. Marily Nika is an AI product management whiz. She teaches two related courses at Maven and has given us crucial tips to help you get started in the field.

Based in San Francisco, Dr. Marily Nika is an AI Product Lead at Meta Reality Labs. She also worked at Google as an AR/VR Product Lead for ten years. On top of that, Marily was an Executive Fellow at Harvard Business School, has been on Tedx Talks three times, and earned her Ph.D. in machine learning.
Marily has many other accolades to her name. She won the Woman of the Year Award in 2018 and the 2015 Women in Science and Engineering Influence Award.
Furthermore, Marily teaches two deep-dive AI product management courses at Maven and has essential tips to kickstart your success in the field. 

6 Essential Tips to Kickstart Your Success as a PM.

Getting a role in product management or as a product lead can be exceptionally challenging. It’s even more difficult in AI product management, given the complexity of the related tech (e.g., machine learning and generative AI).
Below, we’re extrapolating Dr. Nika’s tips to give you a crucial leg up in landing a role in the field:
Understand The Role Of a Product Manager. 
  • A primary issue candidates encounter is misunderstanding the product manager role. It’s impossible to tailor a resume or CV to these positions without a firm grasp of what product management entails.
  • Perform due diligence and read about product management and the many related responsibilities.
Get Experience By Creating And Launching Product Prototypes:
  • This is the building phase of your journey towards becoming an AI PM.
  • Software engineers have a–somewhat–more straightforward path to gaining experience. They can partake in hackathons and create prototypes. They can also develop websites and portfolios with their work to convey their passion for bringing products to life.
  • Conversely, those adjacent to product management can ask their company if they can spend 20% of their time working on creative ideas. Or you can request to collaborate with/support a product leader within the organization. Clarify that you won’t neglect other responsibilities of your role but are willing to put in the extra work to diversify your skillset.
Level up Your Storytelling Skills:
  • An AI PM must be able to communicate complicated concepts to people with a minimal grasp of technology, necessitating strong storytelling skills.
  • Hone your storytelling abilities by explaining your profession to someone who doesn’t understand your role. 
  • As you grow more comfortable with your explanation, you’ll increase your chances of flourishing during interviews for your role as an AI product lead.
Revamp Your Online and Offline CV:
  • Before applying, a complete online revamp is vital. Everything matters.
  • For instance, update your LinkedIn profile with a new photo. Also, attach media for every job you’ve done. 
  • Provide information for everything you’ve been building, communicating everything you’ve created in your prior role. E.g., have you helped the team shift and launch anything? Have you introduced new ideas or prototypes? Did you attend any hackathons?
  • Showcase your creative side on your online profile.
  • Offline resumes should look good and be simple. Note that hiring managers don’t have time to read anything longer than two pages.
  • Your offline CV should correspond with your online profile but provide more information. Add hyperlinks and use a template. 
Show Recruiters Online You're Available:
  • LinkedIn has a feature that tells recruiters you’re looking for a new role.
  • You can specify the jobs you’re seeking and your preferred location. From there, your profile will turn up in recruiters’ search results as they search for ideal candidates. 
  • Also, apply for all feasible roles as an AI product lead. Don’t be picky.
Get Interview Training
  • Did you know that your leeway for making a good first impression during a job interview is seven seconds? Furthermore, you’re competing with an average of 118 other candidates when interviewing for a new role. On top of that, nearly 40% of interviewees make an underwhelming first impression due to poor voice quality, low confidence, and not smiling.
  • The above reasons illustrate how crucial it is to get interview training.
  • Start by asking the recruiter to walk you through the interview process, including how many steps there’ll be, who you’ll talk to, and what’s expected of you.
  • Ask for a mock interview or sample questions. Recruiters will help you in whatever way possible because they want you to succeed.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask your recruiter for the necessary preparation time. When facing pushback, try to negotiate. The more time you can get, the better you can prepare. 
  • Do mock interviews with friends and colleagues. You’ll get more comfortable as you keep doing them. 
  • Actual job interviews are part of job interview training. You’ll likely fail–which is part of the process. Use the lessons from these “failures” and apply them to your proceeding interviews. Consider starting with companies you aren’t in love with so that getting rejected is not too demoralizing.   

Develop Advanced Product Manager Skills.

Artificial intelligence–in and of itself–has many barriers to entry as a profession if you lack the correct guidance. The same goes for product management. Combine the two together, and there grows a pressing need for every potential leg up through certifications and independent skill development.
Dr. Marily Nika’s two AI product management courses are thorough, engaging, and filled with information that’ll supercharge your career. Learn more about her at ‌https://marily.substack.com. Or, you can check her out on one of her many podcast appearances.
Maven offers the best product management courses and frameworks in all facets of the field. We’re passionate about fostering engaging learning environments with high-level experts and like-minded people.
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