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How to Get Into the Google APM Program

The Associate Product Manager Program at Google is one of the best, and most competitive, paths to a successful career as a PM. This article outlines the application process and provides key tips to help you stand out.

Posted February 3, 2023

What is the Google APM Program?

The Google APM (Associate Product Manager) program is a two-year rotational program that provides recent graduates and early-career professionals with the opportunity to learn from experienced product managers at Google. As an APM, you'll work on real products, gain hands-on experience, and develop the skills you need to become a successful product manager.

Who is eligible to apply?

To be eligible for the program, you'll need to have a bachelor's degree in a technical area such as computer science, engineering, or a related field. You should also be able to demonstrate strong analytical and problem-solving skills as well as excellent communication and collaboration abilities. These requirements are designed to ensure that APMs have the traits necessary to succeed in the program and as product managers.

The Google APM Program: Application Steps

The Google Associate Product Manager program is a highly sought-after opportunity for aspiring PMs. If you're interested in pursuing a career in product management and want to learn from some of the best in the business, this program is a great place to start.

Here is a step-by-step guide to applying to the program.

First, it's important to understand what APM programs are and what they entail. These programs almost always target those who are new to the world of product management, especially recent graduates. The field in general involves overseeing the development and lifecycle of a product, from ideation to market research, design, development, and launch. APMs typically support more senior product managers in conducting research, gathering feedback, and defining product requirements. These programs are great for receiving on-the-job training and mentorship.

If you meet the eligibility requirements, the next step is to apply to the program. Google typically opens applications for the APM program in the fall. Keep an eye out on the official website and LinkedIn for announcements and apply as soon as they open. When you apply, you'll need to submit a resume, transcripts, and a cover letter. In your cover letter, be sure to highlight your relevant experience and skills, as well as your passion for product management.

Once you've submitted your application, the next step is to pass the initial screening process. This typically involves a phone call with a current Google Product Manager. If you pass the initial screening, you'll be invited to complete a written assessment and participate in the next round of interviews.

During the on-site interviews, you'll be evaluated on your technical skills, problem-solving abilities, and communication skills. Questions will fall into one of six areas: product insight, strategic insight, analytical ability, craft and execution, cross-functional collaboration, and Googleyness and Leadership. You'll also be asked to demonstrate your knowledge of product management and your passion for the field. Be prepared to discuss your experience, interests, and goals, and be sure to show enthusiasm and excitement for the APM program.

If you're successful in the on-site interviews, you'll be offered a spot in the APM program. Congratulations! The next step is to accept the offer and start your journey as an APM. As an APM, you'll work on real products, learn from experienced product managers, and develop the skills you need to become a successful PM.

Tips for the Google APM Program Application

On its official page for the APM program, Google offers a number of tips. They are: show empathy, communicate effectively, improve and iterate, manage your time, practice, and have fun. Here are a few additional ways that you can stand out during the application and interview process:

  1. Understand Google as a company and its product – Your research for every product management interview should be tailored to that company. You’re applying to work directly on their product, and you should understand what that entails.
  2. Showcase experience that is relevant to the job – Many people that apply to this program won’t have explicit product management experience; however, you can still show the development of relevant skills in other roles. For example, did you work on a startup or start your own company? That experience will directly benefit you in PM positions.
  3. Reach out to current or former employees – The best way to learn about what a job entails or what a company is like is to speak to someone who’s actually been there. Network with Google employees to learn about what it’s like to be a Google APM. This will help you demonstrate real enthusiasm for the opportunity.
  4. Use data to support your points – Not only will this show that you understand the importance of data in product management, it will also make your answers more convincing.
  5. Ask thoughtful questions – Remember, when you’re interviewing you’re simulating what it would actually be like to work with you. As an APM, you will be working closely with a team of peers to make impactful decisions. Don’t be afraid to collaborate and challenge existing assumptions.

Final Note

The Google APM program is a fantastic opportunity for aspiring PMs. If you're interested in pursuing a career in product management and want to learn from titans of industry, the APM program is a great place to start.

The best way to land a top product management role is to work one-on-one with a coach. Below are some of our top coaches with PM experience at top companies; browse all of them here.

Here are a few resources you may find helpful as you network, research, and prep for interviews.

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