Why your product management job search is not working

Shobhit Chugh
4 min readJan 9, 2022


Photo by Yogendra Singh on Unsplash

So, did you land your dream job?

This is the one question that frustrates and irks my clients most.

They have been working hard to land that dream role, but they have still not found it or accepted something because they were ready to give up.

And that dream stopped right there.

While this might happen for many reasons, there are five most common.

I am going to walk you through them in this article.

#1 You are not clear about what you want

At Intentional Product Manager, we've worked with hundreds of product managers and aspiring product managers and found that the majority come in confused about what they want and what is most important to them in a job search. They want it all — higher pay, better stock options, an easier commute, to have a more significant impact, etc. I'm not saying that it's impossible to get all of these things, but when you chase after every last thing, you are far more likely to lose focus and end up with nothing.

Instead, take some time and think about what you value the most, and optimize your search to reflect those values. When you do this, your approach changes, and how you position yourself changes, and you are far more likely to find yourself in a position that allows you and your skillset to shine.

It all begins with having a clear understanding of what you want, what is it that you truly value.

#2 Pretending you are not actively looking

Photo by R.D. Smith on Unsplash

Don’t leave your job search to chance and don’t fear rejection, rejection is a natural part of life.

Over and over again, I see product managers pretending they are not actively looking and just waiting for recruiters to reach out to them. Relying on something like a LinkedIn profile and passively waiting for recruiters to find you is, quite simply, a terrible, terrible strategy. You should be actively going after your target and not just seeing what happens to show up on your doorstep. Keep in mind that recruiters just want to fill a role; they will not be looking out for your interests. They will offer you the lowest hanging fruit, and you will not get the position you genuinely deserve.

Furthermore, you must have confidence and stop hiding behind the "not really looking" excuse. If you are going through the effort of preparing and interviewing, you are putting in most of the action anyway, so you may as well clarify what you want and then go and start to apply to the RIGHT companies that will give you what you REALLY want.

Be confident in yourself, because, when you put in the effort, you WILL succeed.

#3 Treating your job search as a "check the box" exercise

When you treat your job search as a check the box exercise, you assume that you must check off all the qualities listed in a job description to qualify or be considered. Most job descriptions present an "ideal" candidate that, generally speaking, does not exist. When you try to match it line for line, you forget your strengths and spikes.

Any job search is about telling your story and building confidence in the hiring manager that you are the right candidate for the role.

Stop pretending that it’s a check the box exercise. Start inspiring your interviewers and hiring managers, and get the job that you truly deserve.

#4 You lack confidence in yourself

Confidence is the missing piece in so many job interviews. Confidence significantly increases your likability and candidacy; it helps you think more creatively about answering interviewer questions and improves the quality of those answers.

Confidence sends a clear signal to the interviewer that you are worthy, you are self-assured, and you deserve to be there.

When you aren't confident in yourself, it shows in your interview, and it can completely change how an interviewer sees you. Do they like you? Can they see themselves working with you? Interviewers are making these judgments subconsciously, all the time. This is why one of the first things I coach my clients is their mindset and confidence. There is a strategy and a psychology aspect for anything you want to achieve in life. You can't train one effectively without the other.

#5 You don't get the feedback that you deserve

Photo by Brecht Denil on Unsplash

Imagine you are driving a car.

Which car is it?

If you are like me, it's a Tesla Model Y :).

Now, what if I covered that center screen?

You will not have a GPS. You will not know how fast you are going. You will lack any ability to adjust your mirrors, the air conditioning, and so on.

This approach is how most people drive their job search.

They have no feedback. Instead, these people are just trying to land a new role and hoping it works.

And hope is a terrible strategy.

So when you go out for that new job, get the feedback so that every step of the way you know what it is you need to fix and know without a shadow of doubt that it is resolved, so you can confidently move forward in your search.

If you liked the blog post, you would love my free workshop, “5 Steps our Product Manager Clients Take to Land Their Dream Job, Increase Their Salary by 200%+, and Accelerate Their Career.” Go ahead, enroll now!



Shobhit Chugh

Founder at Intentional Product Manager (http://www.intentionalproductmanager.com). Product @Google, @Tamr, @Lattice_Engines, @Adaptly. Worked at @McKinsey