One of the first things noticed in a product manager resume is the style of the narratives adopted to convey a particular experience and its subsequent results. The ability to master this art of corporate story telling has the potential to land a job that requires a mix of both hard and soft skills. While it is fairly clear that a job like product management entails a strong command over technical and similar skills, not much light is shed on the gravity of soft skills. Soft skills have more to do with just improving your manner of speaking; they are critically relevant to a Product Manager (PM). Let’s look at why soft skills are indispensable tools in your arsenal.
In simple words, soft skills are personal attributes required for a successful run as a PM. It includes everything between communication, active listening skills, and instilling motivation to time management, critical thinking, and creative thinking. As a novice or experienced PM, you’re aware of the wide array of job responsibilities presented on your work desk. Whether it involves market research or team review, your soft skills enable you to operate smoothly. This applies to every industry globally. Let’s simulate an ideal day of Product Management here:You just had a successful launch. Now, you’re ready to build an innovative product to combat Problem X, which is frequently incurred by your target audience.
Via communication and market survey, right? This is one aspect of soft skill dictating the way things unfold in your favor. As part of the thinking for the next idea, your creative juices will give you some clarity, which will help you during the briefing sessions with design/engineering and business teams. Again, soft skills in-use. While this sounds easy, it’s not really the case. Unless you strike the motivation to fire the zeal within your team members or share a cordial relationship with them, you will face a tough time to crack the nut.
While a PM acts as the backbone for running a successful organization, it is important to augment everybody else’s efforts equally. But how do you encourage this activity in a fast-paced work environment?
Feedback sessions are essential for organizational and personal growth. And we can’t stress this enough.While your team is qualified to do their jobs well, they are no robots. As humans, we appreciate people who value our opinions. Leverage this tendency. Conduct short sessions individually and collectively to learn new opinions on existing and upcoming project developments. Make your team feel valued. We promise the results will be worth the time and effort.
Set realistic deadlines. Map your goals. Strategize your path. And be flexible. It is important to push yourself to excel, along with maintaining flexibility. As a team leader, you’re in-charge of 1000s of responsibilities in one day. Uncertainty will arise. You need to prepare yourself and your team for such challenges. If done regularly, these mini efforts can prove substantial results in the form of higher productivity and better results. Remember: You’re building a product to solve your consumer’s challenges. This is only possible when the challenges between you and your teamwork are taken care of.
We understand that this question arises as a result of the reiteration of the importance of soft skills mentioned above. However, it is imperative to learn that nobody can ‘teach’ you these skills.Anybody who claims they can teach this is simply fooling your gullibility. However, there is an alternative to this situation. Enrolling in the best product owner certification classes introduces you to real-world resources and challenges. Case studies, templates, and other resources from these courses challenge your critical reasoning, creative abilities, time management skills, and work ethic, amongst other relevant soft skills.
To help you develop confidence and expertise in your communication strategy, you also need to establish a connection and grow your network. Networking is an essential soft skill for a PM. You will realize this when the scope of your operations expands. To layout a brief description, imagine the following scenario: You’re in the quest for some scarce product information. Your ally in some other field may have it. Now, how do you get a hold of it?Simply by asking for it? No. Building your relationship to a point where you can ask for favors? Yes! While this is a very micro example to outline networking advantages, its implications are wide-spread.
So far, we have discussed the importance of soft skills in product management. But how do you highlight this in a resume? It doesn’t make sense to write sentences such as “Led a team of …”, “Set weekly goals to…”, etc. The majority of product management applications reflect these grave errors.However, if you’re a PM who wants to beat these misconceptions, here’s presenting an important and untapped tip for you:
As a PM, your skills revolve around solving challenges, creating innovation, and making different people work under the same roof. Showcase this in your resume. Including data points to substantiate their claims is a key aspect that many applicants overlook. Use numbers and timelines to demonstrate your success. Create a storyline with challenges and highlight your contribution statistics to convince the hiring manager about your professional credibility. While there is no set template recommended for this field, the underlying theme of your resume should be able to communicate these points to the hiring manager.
Nobody is born as a soft skill specialist. It’s a learning process. Since there are no fixed rules and regulations to define the norms, leverage this flexibility to your personality. Don’t give in to the pressures. The success of mastering these skills is to be yourself.