As 2014 is fading into the distance, and the hope of 2015 shines brightly down on us, it’s a time to reflect on the last year and look ahead to what’s next yet to come.
For me, 2014 was a crazy time. A lot of changes and opportunities, but that’s for another post. The biggest part of 2014, though, was really diving into this world of design job seeking. I changed jobs in the middle of the year, joining a small, fashion startup, and then spent the last 6 months on the other side of the table, trying to hire for another designer on our team. I learned a lot from both experiences, as well as talking to dozens of people, including senior designers, hiring managers, and recruiters, about how a designer looking for the perfect job can curate a perfect portfolio, nail the interview, and ultimately find the perfect design role for their unique skills and interests.
So that was 2014. What’s in store for 2015?
It seems to me like all of this information that I’ve been gathering ought to be out in the wild. I didn’t learn about this in school and there are barely any decent resources online or in books. This is likely because of the rapidly changing landscape of the design industry today. A few years ago, companies and startups all knew they “needed" design, but many of them didn’t really understand why—or even what design is. That’s all different today. Now companies comprehend the value that good design can bring to their product and their company. Now designers are hot commodities: commanding salaries on par with their engineering counterparts, being involved much earlier in the product’s lifecycle, and getting a seat at the table for big, strategic decisions.
That’s great! But now that designers are in high demand, we can be much choosier about the companies we join and the roles we take. It also means that many more roles are being offered to designers to accommodate a wide range of skill sets and philosophies. However, since the need for designers and design specialists is a rather new one at this scale, a lot of the terminology and job descriptions haven’t quite caught up with the differentiation. In short, as the job seeker, you may not be right for every job even with the same job title! This is why doing your homework and making it crystal clear from your portfolio who you are and what you do (and do not do!)
Sound exhausting? I’m not going to lie to you; it’s no small task. But when you find the design role that fits you like a glove, it’ll all be totally worth it.
Next week, we’ll talk about what kind of work you want to do in 2015.
In weeks to come, we’ll cover everything from what to put in your portfolio to how to navigate a design exercise, and much, much more!
Now I want to hear from you. What has been the most challenging part of looking for a design job, either now or in the past? What resources do you wish were available or answers you wish you had about the process? What else are you wondering about or want me to talk about more?
PS: Do you know a designer who could benefit from this kind of material? We would both really appreciate it if you shared!