Hi, I'm Jennifer from Entrylevel.
So Entrylevel helps you learn and get experience so that you can get hired.
Today, I'm joined by Christiana, one of EntryLevel's previous product management students.
So Christiana received a product management certificate with us and actually landed internships - an internship - one internship after our program.
So, Christiana, do you want to introduce yourself?
Thank you, Jennifer.
My name is Christiana.
I'm based out of the United Kingdom, and I need to mention that I'm a mother, I have a kid, and I'm
a wife because it's very relevant to my story.
And then I was interested EntryLevel. I had my training sometime in May this year, and, yeah, I just got an intern position, so that's all about me right now.
Thanks so much for sharing.
I can't wait to hear you share your story and inspire other product managers, because in the past, I actually talked with somebody who is also a mother, and she was kind of struggling with time management, so hopefully your story can help inspire her too, because I have so much respect for mothers and all that you do.
All right, so for the first question, tell us your story. What was your learning journey like?
Okay, I actually got interested in product management sometimes in May this year.
I had just put to bed in April, and I really wanted to start working, get back into the work field.
But I was thinking what work would suit me better? And I was interested in the tech industry, so I
think in my research about what particular field suits me, and that's how I came about EntryLevel.
I used to be enrolled with Ingressive for good, so, yeah, they sent me the email about the scholarship for EntryLevel and said I was qualified as part of those that should enroll, and that was how I applied for the position.
I just did that casually, not knowing what was in store for me, signing up the training. My baby was just barely a couple of months old, but I said, oh, let me give this a shot and see what will come out of it.
And then I registered, and I picked interest. So interesting learning modules you are outlined and get prepared for what's coming next, get to know what's upcoming and all that.
Even though I was a mother, I wouldn't - like it was quite challenging. So most of my learning time, one of the things I like EntryLevel about was that their learning times, they are flexible.
Like I said, okay, you have this time frame to do this and to do this. Now it depends on you to just plan yourself and know how to get that done. For me, most of the times I was learning was majorly at night, asleep.
It was a sacrifice on my end, but I just needed to do it.
And by the end of the six weeks, I saw that I kept up the time and I finished the training I was supposed to.
So that was how my learning with EntryLevel went, how it began and how it ended.
Okay, thanks so much for sharing.
So I was wondering, did you do any other learning about product management outside of EntryLevel?
Oh, yes, I did.
Sorry, I forgot to mention that before I registered EntryLevel, while I was doing my research on what tech field to major on, I went from Udemy to search on product management and I saw a course.
So I already started that. I took like one or two modules before registering for EntryLevel, so I had to pause that.
Now when I did my training with EntryLevel, it kind of gave me a foothold and a broader understanding and coupled with the fact that we're in group that were divided into teams.
So now after my learning with EntryLevel, I went back to my academic course. And then now when taking the course again, it made more sense to me I could now apply what I was learning in real life because of the experience EntryLevel gave to me.
So that was one. And then of course after Udemy, I've made use of a lot of resources out there. I've gone on YouTube because as I kept learning, I kept wanting to practice what I was learning. Okay.
So I went on YouTube. When I see something, I need to work on the case of rebuilding a portfolio and working on case studies, I want you to search on that. And then I'll see resources like that and I'll make use of them.
And then somebody mentioned to me one time about this group Prowess.com by Himanshu, which is like a platform for product managers where even if you're an aspiring product manager or an expert, you just get to meet people and match. You can do projects, you have access to my sources and all that.
So I joined Prowess and also learned quite a lot on the platform.
So these are the few learning resources I've used outside EntryLevel.
Can you send me the link to that?
Because I'll link it in the show notes and other people can use it.
Okay, yeah, I will send a link to Prowess.
So you mentioned that you learned all of this and I helped you with the job search process.
You landed an internship.
So I'm curious to hear how is the job search process like for you?
Sincerely, it was not easy because I was transitioning from a totally different field into product management.
Before I landed this internship, I had applied to over 50 different positions and even at the point
I was feeling something was wrong with my application.
And of course EntryLevel was very helpful. They sent a material where you could use to give you an idea on how to write your CV, send a recommendation letter if you've been needing one. But it was two notes. Very easy, I must say.
And in fact, one of the ways the way I finally landed my business position was not the application.
It was by connection, so to say.
So I forgot to mention, I don't know if this is part of a learning resource. One of the things also did that help me was trying to reach out to people who were within my field, telling them, oh, this is what I've done. This is what I've learned in my portfolio. I'm looking for intern positions. Do you have any? Can you recommend me?
So they got to see what I've done, which was the work I did in EntryLevel. And they say, oh, I tried to put some work for you with some friends. Let me know what you could offer.
So one of them spoke to me, spoke to one of her friends who had a startup. Check out this lady and see what she has done and see if she'll be a great resource to you. So he looked at my CV and felt, oh, wow, the work that. I did, would like to work with me.
So this was very instrumental to my landing position. I reached out to mentors, so to say, okay, so that was how I got this position.
As far as this particular one, I was sharing my story on LinkedIn and two employers contacted me from LinkedIn and of course, thank you again to EntryLevel for the resource they shared on how to create an optimized profile on LinkedIn, because that helped me.
As soon as I optimized my profile on LinkedIn, I had two employers who reached out to me saying, okay, so I was open to this and this and this, and they would like to employ me.
And by then, I had already gotten this intern position. Yes. So I told them I was already interned in some way, and they said, okay, that's fine. About two of them. Like that.
Wait, so you actually had people reaching out to you asking you to work?
Wow, that's amazing.
So that LinkedIn resource, were you talking about the one that was in the job search kit as part of the premium package or like a LinkedIn event
There's an email EntryLevel sent me saying, like a Zoom meeting, a class on LinkedIn optimization.
So you attended that one?
Yes, I did.
Because I was there.
My coworker Ayush was the one who led it, and it was such a good event.
So I'm so happy to hear that you helped it helped you, because I know Ayush would be super happy. He put a lot of work into that workshop. That's awesome.
I know it can be kind of hard for people to use LinkedIn to leverage it because I think a lot of them, since they're transitioning into a completely different field in tech, it's hard to make connections, you don't have that existing network.
So do you have any tips on how to reach out to all these mentors that you've reached out to?
Okay, for instance, most of the people I reached out to in this field are people I didn't know from anywhere.
I just met them on LinkedIn.
So I set up my profile. I started sharing my stories there on the wall.
How I got into EntryLevel, how my interest of product management started, the work I've been doing my learning with.
I was just documenting my story and I was looking for people who are already in my field.
So I'll type on the search, you know, product management, product managers, a lot of tons of information about people who come up. I go through that profile, I look at what they are doing, who they are, what they are, and I feel, oh, I like to be like this person. I love what this person is doing.
And then I send them a connection request.
I was very surprised of them were accepting my invites. They were accepting to connect with me.
This lady - she's a Nigerian. Oluwatobi Otokiti. She's actually an authority in product management. I sent her a connection invite and she accepted it. And she was like, she's happy to connect with me.
So I was surprised that it worked.
So that was how I got to build a lot of contacts around product management.
And yet I don't forget Prowess. It helped as well.
Some persons profile I saw on the platform that was on Prowess, I went on LinkedIn search for them. I tried connecting on Prowess. I like to be in your space. They accepted and these people don't know me from anywhere.
But then I find myself asking them questions about product management. They answer me, they give me responses.
So that's how I've been building my connection so far.
So when you're connecting with them, do you leave a note based on what you see in their profile?
Yeah, I leave a note.
I leave a note introducing myself shortly and saying, well, look to connect with them.
So what do you usually say for why you want to connect?
Is it tailored to their profile?
I said something like, hi their name, I am so so and so.
I just transferred to into product management recently and I came across your profile and you come across as a huge inspiration to me. I would love to be in your space.
Please accept my connect request.
It was as simple as that.
And the response saying, oh, happy to connect with you. And that was it.
I think that's a great tip.
One other thing I would add is to continue that relationship after you've connected. Because sometimes I think I connect with people and then the conversation stops there.
So you ask them questions, right?
It's great to hear that people are answering your questions and they accept your connection requests.
Hopefully these tips can help some of you who are listening and watching.
Now, I'm curious about your portfolio and how you landed a job.
Was it your portfolio of work that helped with the internship or was it something else?
My portfolio was not what helped per se.
But they were quite impressed that I've been able to put up something like this because in the portfolio it showed that I was able to conduct user interviews.
I was able to do market research.
I was able to do even though what I worked on was not what the company does.
But having those cues and showing how I use them in the portfolio kind of give them an impression that.
Okay. Even if I don't fit into what they do. I could learn based on what I have done in the past.
Okay, that makes sense.
So, like, the primary thing that helped you was the connections and then after that, maybe showing that you can learn you've done some things in the past that can transfer over.
So you kind of went a little bit into what you did after EntryLevel.
Was there anything that you wanted to elaborate on?
Yeah, I just wanted to say that EntryLevel is good because it kind of gave me the exposure to what lies in store for me in this field. And EntryLevel is quite helpful to send resources as to how to start building your CV, how to write it, how to do this, how to do that. They are quite, very helpful.
I just want to mention that it is not enough.
I just mentioned the whole other resources I had to use.
I did a lot of Google searches, lots of YouTube, especially when it comes to the point of job application. I applied to over 50. And none of this seems to be working. And you're asking yourself, what am I doing wrong? So it made me do a lot of research outside what I got to learn from EntryLevel.
So EntryLevel kind of gave me the foothold, like the footstool, that kind of helped me. And then I did a lot of research on my own to get to where I was.
So EntryLevel is the eye opener for me so to say. But then I did a lot of personal work on my own to get to where I am right now.
Yeah, that's amazing.
I think a lot of people think that you need one program to hand hold you through the whole process. But what you have shown is that you still need to take the initiative and put in the work by yourself because that's actually what companies are looking for.
They're not looking to train somebody for the entire time they're working. They're looking for somebody who can go out there and do something, do the research themselves.
And you've already demonstrated that and it paid off, which is good.
So you mentioned YouTube.
I'm wondering, do you have any YouTuber recommendations or video channels that you can recommend?
This channel product gym, based on whatever I was searching on for time, there were different
people who had content on that. But this channel particularly Product Gym they were quite helpful because they turn out different. You just get something you are looking for as regards products on their channel and they are quite explanatory.
So that was one of the channels that helped me so much.
Product Gene like g-e-n-e?
Gym like g-y-m.
Oh, got it.
Okay, I will link that in the show notes for everybody.
Okay, so just a few more questions.
I was wondering about the job application again.
Do you have any tips other than you've already shared?
One of the tips I learned, which have not really worked for me because actually stop applying when I got this job was when you apply for a company, when you're applying for a job, you don't just use one filler CV.
Like you might want to go the extra effort of checking what the company wants particularly and seeing how to align that in your CV and then go step further to check for the company online, check their website, check with their head of talent, head of operations.
You can try to connect to such persons on LinkedIn. I did a couple of times try to search for who is the head of talent. They are maybe head of operations, who's the head of products, things like that.
And then search them out on LinkedIn and send a connection notes. Yeah, it can help them notice one as well. So yeah, that was one of the things I was also applying when I was actively job hunting.
I think that's a really good tip because you can connect with the recruiters and then if you don't get the job this time, maybe there will be another offer that you can get.
Okay, so the last question I have for you today is what advice do you have for other students?
So think of this as other EntryLevel students who maybe you were in their shoes back in May.
What advice would you give them based on your experience?
The only advice I'll give you is that when you say you want to do this, my job is product management.
Any other course with EntryLevel, just be single minded. You can have a lot of distractions, especially when you are trying to transition, even be struggling to decide if this is the best for you, if this is what you want to do, a lot of things could be distracting you.
One of the advice I like to give is to be single focus.
Each of those courses are great.
Each of those sectors are wonderful.
To just sit and concentrate on them. Then you've got tons of work to do. It used to be very difficult for me when I started even writing my CV, how to construct things, how to right way.
But looking back now, a lot of things are easier for me today. Like even in the field where I'm interning now.
How to draw a roadmap.
How to do a product backlog.
Basically very difficult when I started. Like but then I just discovered that it gets easier with time as we keep practicing.
As you keep doing it, it just becomes part of you and then enjoy what you do.
So it could be very difficult in the beginning, but you don't give up at that point. Like I said, I was a mother, so it was very strenuous for me. Maybe was just a little like a month, two months old then. So you could imagine the stress it had on me, but I was determined. But then today it's not as stressful as it used to be. And then I enjoyed the dividends.
So, yeah, that's just the best I can say about that.
That's really good advice. Thank you so much for sharing.
I know a lot of people. The learning journey, the job search journey, it seems so hard. You feel like there's never going to be an end to it.
And your advice just shows and your experience shows that it will pay off.
Thank you so much for sharing.
I found you through LinkedIn, actually.
You posted your story. You talked about how EntryLevel, you did a product management program with us and they got an internship. So you were sharing your wins. That's something I love to see.
And you mentioned LinkedIn a lot throughout our call. And I was wondering, is it okay for people to reach out to you on LinkedIn? Leave a connection note, if they have questions for you?
Yeah, I'll be glad to connect with them on LinkedIn.
So I will be sure to link to your profile in the show notes.
Just to wrap up this call, I wanted to give you a chance. Is there any other things you want to mention that you feel is important before we end the call?
I don't know if this is relevant, but let me just also mention that when you're transitioning careers, it's really not easy. It could take a while before one lands a job. It's not as easy as they make it sound out there.
And when I was even going to those YouTube videos to make it look like, oh, once your CV is like this, you are going to land the job. Once you structure this like this, you are going to learn a job like the job application and job landing is where the job is.
It could take as long as six months, one year.
What matters is consistency.
Keep updating, keep upgrading yourself, keep learning and keep applying. Don't apply apathetically (?). So don't say, oh, I've been applying for two months. I've been applying for three months. Nobody go back to me or I'm tired.
No, it takes consistency and ruggedness if you really mean - basically you are transitioning, a lot of companies, they just put out those job opportunities, but they really don't want to take beginners. So it now lies on you to really just keep doing what you're doing, keep putting yourself out there.
It might take a while, but it will surely come.
Thank you so much.
I feel like that's a harsh truth that not a lot of people talk about. They just say, oh, you have to do your resume, your LinkedIn, and it can be easy. But even like your story, you said you connected with a lot of people on LinkedIn. It sounds easy, but you are saying that it's a lot of work.
So real life is about patience and consistency and that's something that I feel like you don't often get to see promoted online.
Thank you so much for sharing that insight.
Just to close off this call, I just want to say the product management program that Christiana took is on entrylevel.net. So entrylevel.net is where you can take the program to get a good foundation on product management.
I will be linking all of this in the show notes, so don't worry if you missed any links.
So thanks for listening, everyone, and good luck in your learning and your job search journey.
Just stay consistent.
Thank you for having me, Jennifer.
Thank you, everyone, for listening.
Finding an entry-level job is hard, but did you know you can have companies reaching out to YOU for jobs?
That's what happened to Christiana after she optimized her LinkedIn profile.
Listen to her story to hear:
Template connection note for LinkedIn:
Hi <insert name here>, I am <insert 1 sentence about yourself>.
I just transferred to into <insert field> recently and I came across your profile. I love your content, especially when you shared <insert thing from their profile here>. I would love to connect and learn more from you.