Tips on landing a mid product designer job |

IT-блоги Tips on landing a mid product designer job

UX Planet 5 июля 2022 г. Erika Michielon

A few things I wished I knew before spending 3.5+ months as a job seeker.

You made up your mind. Today is the day you will start looking for a new job as a product designer. What should you expect?

Let’s start with some numbers from my 106 days long journey to find a job in Ireland as a mid product designer (transitioning from UX).

Chart with some numbers from my journey

On average I applied for a position every other day. 33% of applications received a positive response, 23% got a negative one, while 44% didn’t get any.

I am not sure how to look at these numbers, but at the end of the day I can say that the process was pretty draining but successful, so here is what I wished I knew before spending 3.5 months as a job seeker.

Cv and portfolio preparation

There are dozens of great articles about resume and portfolio preparation, so I won’t get into the nitty gritty details of that, but I’ll list a few key takeaways:

  • A pdf file is usually all you need. Having an online presence is useful, but if you don’t have time to build a website, no worries. The great majority of application forms will ask you to upload your CV and portfolio files, or links (which might well be to a pdf in a Drive folder).
  • Mind the ATS. Especially used by big companies, the Application Tracking Systems are softwares HR departments use to automatically filter applications. If you don’t know about them you might not even notice they are there. Look at the URL of the application page, if you see a name which is not the one of the company you’re applying to (like Greenhouse, Workable, Lever, or Personio) you might be applying through one of those. Sometimes you can also find the same name in the footer after the words “powered by”.
    It’s particularly important to know about them, because to pass their screening and get your application in the hands of a human, you’ll need to carefully tailor your resume to the job description and to the ATS limitations (fonts, columns, graphics, etc…). The ATS can be set to sort the CVs according to numerous parameters, like the correspondence between your job title and the one in the job post, or the amount of desired keywords showing up in your resume. You can find lots of articles with strategies on how to best approach them.
  • Consider using templates. If you don’t have much time and don’t want to waste hours re-writing your resume and portfolio over and over (as I did — not worthy), start from a template, you’ll find plenty online (Figma community, Google doc), and in your laptop (Pages, Word).
  • Show your process. This is probably the most common suggestion for any UX/product designer, and for good reason. Your visual skills can leave people in awe, but your design decisions (which are based on a strong rationale, right?) need to clearly emerge from your case studies.

Here is a couple of YouTube channels I personally consider a gold mine for designers, with plenty of videos for job seeker:

Applying for open roles: explore the paths less traveled

When looking for positions to apply to, you can rely on the usual suspects like LinkedIn and Indeed, but you can also explore less crowded routes like design communities and Slack groups which have a dedicated job channel. Chances are you’ll find less competition there and more opportunities (on-site and remote). Here are some of them:

Open the position on LinkedIn

If you would like to have jobs coming to you, set your LinkedIn status on “open to work” and you’ll get your inbox flooded with messages from recruiters (at least in Ireland).
The frequency of messages was pretty shocking to me. I kept track of 106 calendar days, so on average I got 1 new recruiter reaching out every other day.

Here are some numbers I collected. Consider that my LinkedIn page was complete, but I was not publishing posts or doing anything to draw attention to my profile:

Chart with some numbers about my experience with recruiters

The majority of recruiters were not in-house, but they were consultants working for recruitment agencies, which apparently are quite popular in Ireland.

From my experience this is a double-edged sword. On one hand, they might provide opportunities that are not publicly disclosed, and they can get you on a fast track, skipping the ATS and putting your CV in the hands of decision makers. On the other hand, they can be quite time consuming and high maintenance (answering messages, reading their job posts, following up, agreeing on the introductory call, etc…).

I noticed that sometimes they might know the in-house HR of companies with open roles, even if they are not working with them. Therefore, if you are interested in a job but can’t find who to write to, try asking to recruiting companies, chances are they can point you to the right person.

Interviewing: questions to ask during the interviews and red flags to look for

When you finally get the chance to start the hiring process with a company, you can expect to go through several steps, depending on their preferences. In general, you might have to pass around 5 stages:

  • Introductory interview (with HR or hiring manager)
  • Interview with senior designer/s
  • Design challenge/s (live or at home)
  • Interview with design manager/principal (or other stakeholders)
  • Interview with the team

Usually in every stage there will be some time devoted to your questions. This is (probably) your only chance to investigate the behind the scenes of what you are getting yourself into. You want to make the most of it. Here are a few questions that might come in handy:

  • What’s the company culture like?
    (unless it’s an early stage startup, they’d better have a well defined internal culture)
  • What’s the company roadmap?
    (again, they’d better have one)
  • What’s a typical day?
  • Are there flexible hours? Or is it 9 to 5?
    (being in the tech field and after a pandemic, not providing flexible hours is a red flag to me, but you do you)
  • How’s the workload? Do you ever work on weekends?
    (it might sound like a direct question, but it’s better to find this out earlier than later)
  • How do you manage working in different time zones?
    (for global companies, you want to know if you’re expected to work very early or very late)
  • How do you facilitate team bonding?
  • Is there some dedicated time for learning?
    (uncommon, but extra points if they do)
  • How is the team structured? Are there UX researchers, UI designers? How many other UX/product designers? What’s their seniority? How long have they been working there?
    (to understand the organization design maturity and the tasks you should expect for your role)
  • How is the design team perceived within the company?
    (again, design maturity)
  • What’s the relationship like between managers, designers and developers?
  • What is your typical workflow?
  • Do you use data/metrics to inform decisions?
  • Do you have a design system in place?
  • How is internal communication?
    (communication is hard, many companies struggle with it, you’d better find out how well they are doing on this front)
  • According to you, what are the pros and cons of working there?
  • What are the biggest challenges you face? What would you change?
  • On which project would I be involved in?
  • What do you expect from me in the first few months?
  • How many people are you looking for?
  • Why are you hiring new people?
    (it might sound like a direct question and they probably won’t tell you that working there sucks, but it might still be interesting to ask)
  • How will the interviewing process proceed and how long does it usually last?
    (you want to know how many steps to expect to avoid surprises. I spent 3 months with one company, only to find out I was still halfway through)
  • Do you have any reservations on my application? Any weak points you think I might have?
  • Is there anything you think I should know?

Negotiating: You can negotiate both salary and benefits

You’re done with interviewing and you received an offer. Congrats! Now keep in mind that you don’t have to accept it right away, you can always negotiate, both the salary and the benefits.

Best of luck!

Tips on landing a mid product designer job was originally published in UX Planet on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Источник: UX Planet

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