Hello, future Product Owners! And all who are now seeking new enthusiastic ideas about PO’s responsibilities and duties.
But, very often it’s hard to find really satisfying job as a freshly new Product Owner. And this adventure can be fun, exciting and very rewarding. Being able to look back on a successful project and think, „Look at what I helped the team create“ is very satisfying. But, how do you get the first job as a Product Owner if you don’t yet have experience?
Try with these tips:
#1 Look for opportunities with your current employer first
In many cases, an excellent first step is to find opportunities to practice at least small parts of agility within your current employer. For example, on a project that isn’t fully ready for agile or isn’t interested in such a big change, try some of the following:
- Introduce the idea of iterations or sprints;
- Begin conducting daily scrums;
- Periodically demonstrate finished functionality to stakeholders;
- Conduct periodic meetings (retrospectives) to find ways to improve collaboration and teamwork.
Introducing small changes like these benefits the projects and give you the opportunity to call out those experiences on your resume and LinkedIn profile.
#2 Boost your skills
Think of this, what skills do you have and find challenging for your PO’s career? Do you have a good knowledge of foreign languages? Technical skills? Do you have any extra informal education? Any Course in time and stress management? Or assertive communication? Those are extra points in your resume and there will be someone who’ll appreciate that.
#3 Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate
While sprinting, and while regularly delivering done product increments, the most important thing for you to do as a Product Owner is to keep collaborating with your Scrum Team and your stakeholders. Support the Development Team by hosting refinement sessions, explaining the product vision, goals, roadmap and Product Backlog items. Support them by making items small, clear and valuable. Support them in gathering feedback from customers and users.
#4 Get Certified
Earning a credential that is recognized indicates two things: a certain base level of knowledge and, more importantly, a willingness to learn and invest in oneself. Carefully choose certifying bodies – many could actually harm your chances of getting a job. You need to have in mind that not all certificates are globally recognized, so wisely choose the right one. Knocking on the right door is half business done.
#5 Don’t forget to Network!
It’s often said that most jobs are found through one’s personal networking. And certainly, part of a successful job search (especially when moving into a new field) requires a good dose of luck — being in the right place at the right time.
If networking is necessary when searching for a job like the one you already have, it’s even more important when changing into a completely new role like that of a Product Owner. Be sure all your friends and former colleagues know the type of position you’re looking for. But also, do as much networking as you can in local interests or user groups.
#6 Look for Volunteer opportunities
If you can’t find opportunities to introduce small bits of agility within your current employer, consider looking for volunteer opportunities to do so.
This could be a regional, national or international non-profit whose cause you care about. Or it could be as close by as a child’s school, youth sports team, or your church. Get creative and find ways to gain experience anywhere in any way you can. We believe you know at least a handful of people who struggled to get that first position who sought out volunteer opportunities and then leveraged that experience into a full-time Product Owner position.
…and the most important
#7 Be patient
What’s helped you land a position as a Product Owner? Please share your thoughts, especially if you were once an inexperienced Product Owner seeking the right position. Also, if you’ve decided to be an exceptional Scrum Master, you can find here good guidelines for starting your career.
It’s never too late for proper education. Especially in Scrum. As we said, choose wisely, because amazing Petri Heiramo will hold a Certified Scrum Product Owner Course on 15th and 16th April during the whole new Spring season 2021!
Are you excited as we are?