APM Map 🗺️ Issue #4: On real friends & fake interviews

APM Map 🗺️ is your one-stop destination for navigating your APM recruiting journey. The site is *live* at apmmap.co, and the APM Map newsletter will run weekly this fall, spotlighting incredible APM recruiting resources & mentors along the way.

In today’s issue:

  • 🧘🏻‍♀️ Mindfulness by Mima: On crossing paths

  • 🗺️ The Journey: Community ←→ Mock Interviews

    • Mima’s Philosophy

    • Featured Resources

  • 🌏 Community Partner: Exponent (ft. an exclusive surprise for the APM Map Community ✨)

  • 👩🏻‍💻 APM Map Mentor Spotlights: Joel Montano & Lisa Huang-North

Hey friends - hope you have been taking lots of care ❤️

Recruiting can feel incredibly lonely. From reading up on interview prep to reading those first few lines of a much anticipated email, it can sometimes feel like you’re on this path all alone. And in many ways, you are — this is your path after all.

However, as you walk further down your path, you’ll likely soon discover that your path crosses with many others. For example, when you signed up for the APM Map newsletter, your path crossed with mine — a recruiting journey & a recruiting reflection. Maybe next week, you’ll sign up to do a mock interview and absolutely vibe with your partner — and you both will be a dynamic duo for the weeks to come. Maybe next year, you, like me, will be taking time to give back to the aspiring PM community, and your path will cross with others once again.

Life is not linear, and there will be many mountains to climb, and many paths to walk. Some journeys are meant to be solo, and some are meant to be shared. In my experience, recruiting season is a little easier when you share it with others — via community building, mock interviews, and being honest about your fears, successes, rejections, or growth.

Today, we’ll chat about what it means to find & build community through recruiting season, and how you can leverage it to tackle the best and scariest thing about recruiting season: mock interviews.

Until then, you’ll always have me, APM Map, and a really supportive & cute penguin.

If you want to chat more about rejection & resilience, or need a pep talk before that big upcoming interview, DM me on Twitter! And yes, I will be using new chibird gifs to cheer you on each week ☺️

🗺️ The Journey: Community ←→ Mock Interviews

Ok, so community is great. But how do you find it? And perhaps even more importantly, how do you make real friends via fake interviews?

💡 Mima’s Philosophy

  1. Your current mock partners are your future friends. True story: I met two of my favorite PM power women via mock interviews in Lewis Lin’s Slack community. Back in May, we worked on this coffee chat initiative together, and they have been some of the kindest, most supportive people in my life (despite never having met each other IRL) — through recruiting and beyond. Half of the APM Map mentors were also people I mocked with, and now that we are all doing big & amazing things, I’m so lucky to have connected with them early on. Cherish these connections now (& maybe thank some of your mock partners after recruiting season!) — they could be some of your future best friends.

  2. Collaboration > Competition, always. Re: above point, the less you think about interview prep as “competition” amongst your fellow students and the more about collaborating on 1) creative & insightful answers to difficult interview questions 2) getting through the ups & downs of recruiting season (a support system is critical) and 3) planting seeds for future friendships to blossom … not only will your recruiting season be more enjoyable, but you will be channeling the ultimate PM spirit - the team player.

  3. Mocks, mocks, & more mocks. I did 80+ mock interviews, and wouldn’t have landed the offers that I did without all of that practice. In many ways, mock interviews were some of the hardest things I did (I still remember some incredibly embarrassing mock interviews I did early on) and some of the best things I did (acing a mock interview gave me the self confidence that I could get through APM recruiting, and land the PM role of my dreams). You will fail your first 5-10 mock interviews, and that’s ok. You will get better with time and practice. As my Kindergarten classroom motto always stated: if at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again! (what I would give to go back to Kindergarten rn …)

📚 Featured Resources

  1. Looking to join a supportive community of aspiring Product Managers? Join Product Buds — the PM community I wish existed a year ago!

  2. Looking to find partners to do mock interviews with? Check out Lewis Lin’s Slack Community, Subtle Asian PM (SAPM) FB Group, and StellarPeers.

    • I used Lewis Lin’s Slack Community & SAPM religiously last year, and met some of my best friends now via those communities. Highly recommend!

  3. Looking for early career professional growth, community, referrals, & mentorship? Check out Ladder (formerly Remote Students) & request to join this awesome community today!

  4. Looking for current PMs to be your mentors? Check out Sherpa, and sign up for a coffee chat!

  5. Looking to take your mock interviews to the next level? Check out Exponent, where you’ll be able to join an exclusive Slack community, & do mock interviews with people who have also taken Exponent courses!

  6. Looking to meet other amazing people in tech and beyond? I started using Twitter again back in August after not touching it for 4+ years, and have since virtually connected with so many amazing women in tech, & more! I generally think Twitter is more authentic than LinkedIn, but both are good communities to be in tune with when doing recruiting.

🌏 Community Partner: Exponent

Each week, this section will be dedicated to spotlighting one of our awesome community partners. Our goal is to bring you as many freebies, discounts, & more to make the interview prep process more equitable & financially accessible. This week, 50% of all proceeds that APM Map makes off of Exponent signups will be donated to the Loveland Foundation / 50% will go towards covering website maintenance costs & compensating Engineering work. If you have any questions and/or concerns about our community partnerships, or are looking to build a partnership with us, DM Michelle on Twitter!

  • What: Exponent is the premier destination for all things PM interview prep (& more!). Founded by Stephen Cognetta, a former Google APM, Exponent’s PM Interview Prep course has 50 interactive lessons, 15+ hours of video instruction, access to a community for mock interviews, and more.

  • Musings by Mima:

    • When I was recruiting last year, I honestly wish I had signed up for Exponent. I had so many friends who had, who told me that the mock interviews they did via the Exponent Slack community were always high quality, and the course itself was great value. However, as a stubborn college student, I convinced myself that $80/month was too much, and powered through recruiting the hard way.

    • The APM Map team recently chatted with Stephen @ Exponent, and we are so excited to share that together, APM Map x Exponent are offering a 20% discount on all Exponent courses (!!). We know that most of the APM Map community is college students, so we are so grateful to Stephen for making this possible. If you have any questions, DM Michelle on Twitter!

    • However, we know that for many students, this is still a lot of money. So don’t worry, we will always make sure there are free alternatives:

      • 1) Check out the Exponent YouTube Channel. I watched EVERY single mock interview on this channel last year and they were phenomenal. In a couple weeks, I’ll actually be featured on the channel for a mock interview I recently did with Stephen … is this the start of my inevitable YouTuber career? I sure hope so 😂

      • 2) Check out APM Map, & find resources to build your own plan. In many ways, APM Map is the gym with all of the weight lifting machines, and Stephen is your personal trainer. Is it possible to figure out how all the machines work on your own and get super fit? Absolutely. Is it terrifying and do I still not really know how to use a squat machine? Also yes. Is it easier to have a personal trainer who will help guide you through the gym, and help you achieve your fitness goals? Absolutely. It will cost some $$ — but it’s good to know that the opportunity exists!

  • How do I get my APM Map 20% discount? Visit this link, and sign up!

    • If you do sign up via our APM Map link, 50% of all proceeds will go to the Loveland Foundation, which provide free therapy & mental health resources to Black women and girls ❤️

👩🏻‍💻 APM Map Mentor Spotlights

Each week, this section will be dedicated to spotlighting the awesome work that our APM Map mentors are doing. This week, we’re so excited to feature Joel Montano & Lisa Huang-North ❤️

Meet Joel Montano, Incoming PM @ Microsoft & Venture Operations @ Envision Accelerator

  • Curious what was Joel’s Path to PM? Check out his recommended resources for PM interview prep here 🗺️

  • Wondering what Joel is thinking about next? Check out his awesome work at Envision Accelerator, the first virtual student-led, student-built accelerator - helping diverse founders build their companies. Just in their first cohort, founders landed meetings with partners like Sequoia & Founder’s Fund, raised angel rounds, and some are even in the process of applying to the next YC batch (!!)

    • Are you an experienced PM (2+ years of experience) looking to mentor founders or angel invest? Reach out to Joel on Twitter or shoot him an email (joel@envisionaccelerator.com) to chat about next steps.

    • Want to learn more? Check out their website and follow them on Twitter!

  • Think Joel is as incredible as we do and want to stay in touch? Follow him on Twitter!

Meet Lisa Huang-North, Product Lead @ Planet & Founder @ 5 Week Aspiring Product Manager

  • Curious what was Lisa’s Path to PM? Check out her recommended resources for PM interview prep here 🗺️

  • Wondering what Lisa is thinking about next? Lisa is building 5 week Aspiring Product Manager (APM), a collaborative learning community where people from around the world can learn & build together at $0 cost ! 🛠 🌿

    • The mission of 5 week APM is to democratize access to Product Management training for everyone - regardless of their financial situation.

    • Interested? Sign up for the waitlist here

  • Think Lisa is as amazing as we do and want to stay in touch? Follow her on Twitter & connect with her on LinkedIn!

Here’s to finding your own path ✨

Jeff & Michelle @ APM Map


🗺️ If you’re loving APM Map and want to support us, please feel free to share the website (apmmap.co) and/or this newsletter, or buy us a coffee. If you have any questions about APM Map or APM Recruiting, DM Michelle on Twitter!

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Hey! We’re Jeff & Michelle — the creators behind APM Map, and we’re rooting for you this recruiting season. If you want to check out our other side projects, Jeff writes about navigating life as a first-gen college graduate @ Second Gen & Michelle writes about the intersection of tech + self care / community care / structural care @ Tech Care. Thanks for joining us on our journey. :’)