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Product Manager, have you built your Portfolio?

How to a PM can build its Portfolio? A fun challenge for all of us.

A portfolio is a compilation of work samples and professional documentation that provides proof of your accomplishments or examples of your work. It can be a physical book or binder that organizes samples of your work or an online portfolio with electronic files.

Ok, and so what? I had the same question too. But all that changed in 2020 with the pandemic. Many great professionals were lay-off, and all of us were going crazy and worried about paying the next bill. And we knew that we would need to compete with each other.

A few months ago, I started to mentor a few newbie Product Owner (PO) who are still suffering to find their next challenge, and I kept listening to the same old complaints that I had when I was starting my career.

So, I joined forces with Luciana Pereira, a fantastic HR professional, seasonal and tech-savvy for her realm, to build an open-portfolio template.

What is the real problem to be solved?

Why does a Product Manager need a portfolio? Pretty simple, to showcase their experience. Easy to say than done, a PM is not a developer or designer with Github, Behance, and others to showcase their knowledge.

And what are the PM challenges anyway? You can read this article to recap. Before you jump to any conclusion, first of all, let exercise the whys?

  1. What is your career moment?
  2. Unemployed?
  3. Are you looking for a new culture? Why? Why?
  4. Are you looking for a salary increase? Why? Why?
  5. Are you looking for a senior position? Why? Why?
  6. Are you looking for a complete career change? Why? Why?

According to Luciana Pereira, your career moment is the most important before you decide to build or update your portfolio. According to her:

“Your portfolio should represent where you want to go, not just where you are, let alone where you’ve been.”

Where does everyone go wrong?

We chatted with more than twenty HR recruiters to understand their perceptions. A few learnings:

  1. Portfolios with too many sparkles and BS information;
  2. Keep simple, tell a short story.
  3. How can I trust your information? Social proof is the way.
  4. What are you looking for next?
  5. How can I sell you to the hiring manager?

We were getting great information about the person recruiter they are looking for, how to sell, how competitive this market is, etc.

We had two main insights:

  1. Product Managers don’t treat themselves as a PRODUCT.
  2. It is your first sell for a recruiter. They are likely not to read your entire portfolio, but they are more likely to read something than the hiring manager.

Be your BEST product

This process was a journey to my memory lane when I built my startup, ClickSitter. But that is a different story, for a new article.

So far were established:

  • The problem to be solved,
  • Persona,
  • Goal (get the recruiter to reach out).

Treat the recruiter as your early-adopter user. Let’s get into the selling realm. Do you not like it? I don’t care, buckle up and swallow this frog.

I built a template to help you. It can be mixed and matched for any moment of your career. The portfolio has five main components (sections):

  1. Profile: The first section to showcase you.
  2. TrustMe: Social proof, display the companies that hired you before.
  3. Recommendation: Social evidence, copy your recommendations from your LinkedIn page. DON’T LIE.
  4. Popular Posts: You don’t have any posts to share? Don’t worry, replace for cases, projects, etc.
  5. Experience: You don’t need to show everything; the last five years are more than enough.

Basic profile

Profile picture: You. You don’t feel comfortable with it, don’t worry. You can use a memoji, but nothing offensive.

Video: Recruiter can be in the range of 22 to 50 years old, so a video could be an option to help you get their attention. It’s not mandatory.

Description: Tell more about yourself in this section — this is your chance to shine and keep the visitor scrolling down to your page. Share your proudest accomplishments, complex projects. Treat yourself as a product, and find the market-fit works to describe you. Be Careful not to repeat the information you share in the following sections.

Quick look on the template

Tips from Luciana Pereira for this section:

  1. Please don’t use more than 200 words in this section. No one has time and patience to read it. 184 is a magical number based on Luciana’s expertise.
  2. If you’re unsure what to include, I like to recommend the Past/Present/Future structure. Discuss how you started your career (past), what you’re doing right now (present), and what you’re looking forward to in the future!
  3. Please, please, please, and please. Don’t use ineffective buzzwords and cliches like ‘team player,’ ‘hard-working,’ or ‘self-starter.’ These are overused and vague and reduce the impact of your profile.

Choose a background image that matches you, and most importantly, the stats on the left side. Use it wisely.

Let’s get started. Take a look at the template here, and you can use my code; the link is in the template. We hope that the article helps you with your next step. Feel free to comment here, and don’t forget to share with your friends.

If you don’t know how to code, don’t worry. I promise you will learn something new and there is no need for coding knowledge to use this template. Check this step-by-step instruction here.

I will explore the technical learnings I had by applying:

  • Nextjs
  • Typescript
  • Tailwind CSS
  • Netlify

In the following article. Follow me to keep tune.

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Taric Andrade

Taric Andrade

Entrepreneurial minded, passionate for tech, driven by intellectual curiosity — curating knowledge to solve problems and create change.

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