Job Search Guide: Product Management and Software Engineering
Updated June 30, 2023
A career in product management or software engineering can be engaging, competitive and incredibly diverse. The opportunity to work on complex problems that reach both niche markets and mass audiences is exciting to many job candidates.
The resources in this guide will help you find, apply to, interview for, and get the tech job that’s right for you. If you have questions that aren’t answered by this guide, get in touch with our helpful support team. You can find them on Facebook, at @IndeedSupport on Twitter and at indeed.com/help.
You can determine whether to pursue a product management and software engineering role by analyzing transferable tech skills and researching companies and roles within the industry.
When writing your resume for a product management and software engineering role, try highlighting your qualifications related to information technology and development.
Consider preparing for your interviews by forming answers to common questions and showcasing your willingness to stay up-to-date on industry trends.
Deciding to make a change
Everyone’s job search begins differently. It’s deeply personal and only you can know when searching for a job feels right.
In product management and engineering roles, as in many occupations, the frequency of job changes depends on the person. When you feel ready to make a change, it’s important to get specific about the job you want next. This will help you focus your search and enable you to confidently prepare your applications and answer interview questions.
Take stock of what you’ve accomplished in your career so far, your personal aspirations, and where you want to be next so you can identify the right opportunities.
Think about the skills you feel most confident in and those attributes that make you unique.
If you don’t have much work experience or much experience in tech, consider any roles you’ve had in your community or school, volunteer work you’ve done, and other experiences where you applied the skills this industry relies on.
Before you begin your job search, review your social media profiles and check your privacy settings. Potential employers may look at these pages.
Researching jobs and employers
The course of your career can be significantly shaped by the employers you work with. As you begin your job search, you’ll want to learn how much you can expect to be paid in different jobs or locations. You’ll also want to assess leadership, company culture and benefits and equity at different organizations.
Exploring salary trends on Indeed
Salary trends on Indeed come from over 450 million data points. Enter a job title and you’ll see the job’s salary range and the average salary at popular companies. You can get the national trend or select individual states and cities.
The salary data on Indeed come from multiple sources. For each job title, you’ll see a summary of how many data points comprise the estimate. You’ll also see the date range for these data and when the information was last updated.
Start by creating a target list of employers you’d like to work with and visit their Company Page . You’ll be able to see reviews from current and former employees, CEO ratings, and information specific to the hiring and interview process.
From an Indeed Company Page, you can choose to “follow” that employer to get email updates when they post new jobs.
You can also visit a company’s social media pages to learn more about the day-to-day of their business. Search for recent news articles about the company so you’re up to date on the latest developments. Reach out via email to people you know who work at the companies on your target list. In these conversations, come prepared with specific questions. For example:
How did you find your job at this company?
How would you recommend I learn more about what jobs are available here and whether I’m a good fit?
What is your favorite thing about working here? What are the downsides?
What advancement opportunities exist at the company?
What is your relationship with your supervisor or manager like?
I’ve seen a job that interests me, what is your referral process like? Would you be open to referring me?
Some important etiquette to keep in mind: Never expect that a contact at a company can guarantee you a job. Put the responsibility on yourself to learn as much as you can from them and to turn the information they give you into actions. Thank them for their time in-person and follow up with a thank you email. If you’re meeting them in person for coffee or lunch, you should offer to pay.
Searching for jobs
It is to your benefit to approach job search methodically. Your Indeed account is one way to stay organized. You can save the jobs that interest you, adjust your alert settings and keep track of responses from employers. Users with an Indeed account are 22% more likely to get a positive response from employers when they apply.
The jobs you save will appear on your My Jobs page so you can return to them when you’re ready to apply. You can login into your account at secure.indeed.com or from the Indeed Job Search app. Here are some other ways to organize your search:
Set up job alerts so you’ll get email updates with new jobs that fit your criteria. You’ll be among the first to see fresh job listings.
Use advanced search techniques to narrow in on the right job. You can search for specific companies or job titles by adding “company:” or “title:” to your search.
Use filters to refine your search. If you’re using the Indeed Job Search app , enter the job you’re looking for and then select “Find Jobs.” Your job search results will display on the following page. To add filters, select the “Filter” button. From there, you can set your search distance, job type (full-time, part-time, contract etc.), and experience level. Select “Update” to save your filters. You can update these settings at any time during your search. If you’re searching on a desktop, filters will appear on the left side of your search results page.
Be on the lookout for suspicious jobs
At Indeed, we work to proactively identify and remove predatory content from search results. Above all, protect your personal information, never accept money for work you have not done, and do not perform any financial transactions on behalf of a potential employer.
If you find a job posting that you believe is fraudulent, contact Indeed immediately to report the listing.
Writing your resume
The next step in your job search is to create or update your resume. The purpose of a resume is to present your most relevant experiences and qualifications in an easy-to-digest format.
To decide what’s most relevant, focus on listing out the accomplishments that relate directly to the work you’d like to do in your next job. When describing your work experience, you can follow a sentence structure that begins with a strong action verb followed by a specific accomplishment. If applicable, end each sentence with a quantifiable result.
For example, a product manager might write, “Launched a new API for a social marketing product that resulted in a +40% revenue growth.”
Following the same format, a mobile developer might write, “Developed an automated asynchronous Android J-Unit (Maven) testing application that resulted in a 30% reduction in dev and testing time.”
Can you see how both candidates included a metric that quantifies their accomplishments? In many cases, this kind of detail goes a long way to differentiate your resume from the rest.
For more resume tips, explore:
Use Indeed Resume to fill in your experience and enable employers to find you. There are 100 million resumes on Indeed. 2 Recruiters search this database for candidates who could be a good fit for their company. Once your resume is on Indeed, you can also apply to jobs quickly.
With Indeed Resume, you can set your resume to “Public,” which enables employers to get in touch with you about new jobs (although your name and other personal information will not be visible). Or, you can set your resume to “Private,” if you’d prefer to not be contacted by employers.
You can also choose to upload an existing resume or create one directly on Indeed. If you upload a resume, you’ll want to review the formatting to make sure your information has been entered correctly. Indeed Resume formats your resume so that is can be shared with employers on mobile, tablets, and desktop.
You can download this document once you save it on Indeed. And, you can use your resume to apply for many jobs on mobile and desktop.
You won’t be prompted to apply for every job with your Indeed Resume. But because you can download it as a file, you can print it or attach it to job applications that allow attachments.
Writing a cover letter
Including a cover letter is a traditional part of a job application that is not always necessary these days. As you go through your search, evaluate each job individually to determine if you need a cover letter.
In most cases, the purpose of a cover letter is to introduce yourself to a potential employer. You can use a cover letter to call out significant achievements, address gaps in your resume, or explain why you’re attracted to this job and organization.
Sometimes employers may ask you to answer a specific question in a cover letter. If you come across a job description or application like this, make sure you follow the writing prompt closely. Employers include a prompt like this to assess your attention to detail and written communication skills.
For more tips on writing a cover letter, explore:
Applying for jobs
Before you apply to any job, give your resume a final review. At this stage, you want to make sure it’s the best representation of you and doesn’t contain any typos or misspellings. You may want to ask a friend or family member to review to for you.
Apply on any device
Today, mobile job applications are the norm. In fact, 60% of all job search on Indeed takes place on smartphones. 3 With Indeed, you can search for and apply to jobs on any device.
Job applications may look different for each potential employer. Follow the application instructions within the job description you’ve clicked on. For some jobs, you’ll be able to attach your Indeed Resume and for others, you’ll be prompted to upload your resume as an attachment.
Some employers do not have mobile-friendly applications but if you’re logged in to your Indeed account , you can save a job from your phone and apply to it on a desktop computer later. You can see your saved jobs by going to your My Jobs page within your account.
Submitting your application
Once you’ve filled in an application, submit it. It is highly unlikely that you will be able to edit your job application once it has been submitted, so be sure that you’ve completed it to your satisfaction before taking that final step.
An important part of a successful job search is casting a wide net. Job search is hard work, and consistently applying is a part of that effort. It’s helpful to set goals for yourself—how many jobs do you want to apply to each day or week? As you meet your application goals, think of a way to reward yourself.
Your Indeed account is a hub for your entire job search. You can refer back to the jobs you’ve saved and keep tabs on the status of each job you’ve applied to. You can also see recommended next steps for your applications.
Waiting for a response
An inevitable part of any job search is waiting for employers to get back to you. Some employers may send you an email confirming that they received your application and will be in touch if they want to move forward. Others may not get back to you at all.
[ Read more: What to Do If You Aren’t Hearing Back From Employers ]
How long should you wait to hear back before moving on? There is no standard answer to this question. The amount of time it takes to review a job application varies for each job and company.
While you’re waiting to hear back, it’s important to continue your job search. Keep researching new opportunities and applying to jobs. Set up job alerts and follow your dream employer’s Company Page to get updates when new jobs are posted. And don’t forget the power of face-to-face interactions: Take a friend, mentor, or family member to coffee and ask them about their career path—you might be surprised by what you learn and how it inspires you. Stay active in your community to make new connections.
It’s crucial to make an impact in your interviews by showcasing your accomplishments and expertise.
Prepare for your interviews by blocking off time to practice. Try to find an hour per day or a few hours over the weekend. As you practice, your company research will come in handy. Check the Q&A sections of Indeed Company Pages to see what others have said about their interview experiences.
Keep in mind that interviews, even technical ones, are not tests. Rather than memorizing answers to common questions, practice how you’ll approach an answer. In general, employers want to hire people who work through tough situations when there aren’t easy answers. They will be interested in your thought process and the conversation you carry on as you work through a question.
Bring at least five printed copies of your resume. Find out the names and titles of the people you’ll be interviewing with.
Study up on salary trends at indeed.com/salaries so you’re prepared to talk about compensation.
For more interview tips, explore:
Starting a new job
You’ve made it through the search and landed the job, congratulations! We’d love to hear your story—share it on I Got a Job .
What to expect on your first day will vary from company to company. At this stage, you should have a line of communication open with your new employer and should ask any questions you have about the job.
For many people, keeping an eye on new job opportunities is a part of continuous career development, even once you’ve found a new job. In fact, 92% of top performers say they search for jobs at least a few times each year. 5 Remember that you can continue to manage your email job alerts from your Indeed account , pausing them or changing how often you receive them.
1 Indeed job seeker study conducted by Decipher/FocusVision (Base: employed adults, N=2,678)
2 Indeed data
3 Indeed data
4 Indeed employer study conducted by Decipher/FocusVision (Base: all respondents, N=1000)
5 Indeed job seeker study conducted by Decipher/FocusVision (Base: employed adults self-identifying as being recognized for top performer attributes, N=1,805)
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