A good product manager is someone who can see ‘patterns’ very well. It means that in a given market place, you can see a ‘unsolved problem’ or ‘unfulfilled need’ and you have the passion to build a solution that will address the marketplace as a whole and not just the individual constituents. Add to that some good writing, prototyping, user experience, marketing and team skills – you will have the necessary recipe to do product management.
In enterprise software companies, many Product Managers come in typically with functional or domain expertise. So having that would help if you are looking in the enterprise software market.
Also many come with Consulting background. This typically exposes them to problems businesses face or unfulfilled needs in a consumer marketplace. That experience to understand it and propose building a solution is another way to get into product management.
One can also move into product management via ‘doing things’. Go build a product, an app or a site. Use that experience and sell why a potential employer should consider you for a job in product management.
As for me – I came into product management by accident rather than design, I came in with the consulting and technology experience mixed with functional expertise, so while at consulting I was solving similar problems for a wide variety of industries and that led to a product company looking to design products and serve a market with similar solutions.
Learn from what others have to say on this topic – How do you get your first product management job?