Looking for a new job, especially in competitive sectors such as UX & Design, can be a long and stressful process. As a perfectionist, I like to always be prepared when it’s time to board a challenging project.
These are some points & steps I can recommend:
- Follow a proper process.
- Use the right tools.
- Remember who you are and what you want.
- And last but not least: keep the right state of mind 🙂
The first two points were addressed in Part I of this article, where I outlined my process and listed several tools & resources I find really useful.
In this second part, I want to focus on the last two points, that you will have to remember when you start going to the interviews.
1.Figure out what you really want and what you don’t want
Once you have your CV and portfolio ready, you may want to dive in and start applying ASAP to all those glittering new positions. If you are anxious like me, to “maximize your chances” you may be tempted to send your CV to each and every job offer that may be somewhat related to what you are looking for. Tempting as it may seem, I advise you to do the opposite.
Better than sending your CV carelessly to everywhere, take a little time to figure out what you really want. Sit with a sheet of paper and make notes on what you do want to get in your new job and, more importantly, what you want to avoid.
Here are some examples of the questions you can address:
- Are you looking for a job where you can learn from an established team? Or do you want to start a new team from scratch and lead?
- What industries would you like to work in, and which ones would you absolutely hate?
- What about commuting? Which is the maximum time you are willing to travel every day to get to your job?
- What perks are a must for you? Home-working? Flexible schedule? Free lunch? Family health plan?
Those are only some examples of what I was considering, but the things you care about may be really different. The main point here is to find your “non-negotiable” conditions and also some “nice-to-haves”. This will also give you a guide on the questions to ask during the interviews.
If you’re having trouble finding your own questions, start thinking about what your actual job is lacking and what motivates you to change. If you’re looking for your first job, ask some friends or contacts about the conditions and perks of their jobs to get some clues on what you may want.
Once you have figured out those conditions you will be able to focus your efforts on a few carefully chosen positions and tailor your application for each of them. You will get better results and save your time and energy for the ones that really matter.
2.Think about what makes you unique
When preparing your cover letter or even when presenting yourself at interviews is vital to have a clear vision of what your unique talents are.
Why should the company of your dreams pick you? What will you bring to the table that no one else can?
Recruiters and managers will certainly ask you this, so you should have your answers ready.
But how to discover them? Here are a few pointers:
Remember your History
Think about your work background & education. Look for that special quality that won’t be that common in the industry. Have you followed a unique education path, like being a self-taught designer? Have you studied another career that can be relevant? (even if it’s not finished). Do you know how to code? Are you a talented artist, like an illustrator, painter, ceramist? Do you run workshops? Speak several languages? Have a leading role in a Design community? And so on.
Review your success stories
Think about your main successes (and failures!) and what they say about you. During the interviews, you will be asked about those stories, so you must have some of them prepared.
When you are thinking about them, not only describe what happened but also focus on what kind of person these events reveal you as. For example: if you successfully completed a very challenging project, you can talk about how you learned to work under pressure, how now you’re able to lead a team or to be a team player or how you can manage to be resilient and positive at all times…
If you struggle thinking about your special qualities you can always ask around. Ask your peers at work or at the university, your managers, your human resources friend, etc. How do they perceive you? Which do they think is your stronger quality and what should you improve?
Once you have everything you can (re)write your story in the best possible light. For example, in my case, I talk about how I’m a self-taught designer with a degree in Marketing, know how to code websites and speak three languages.
Tip: If you need more help, check this great article that can guide you through defining your personal brand.
3. Be positive and patient
The last point is probably the most important. It does not involve a process or a long to-do list, it’s only a state of mind.
When you have been going to interviews for some time, and especially when you have already gone to those companies you absolutely dream to work in, it’s normal to start feeling impatient and anxious.
If you don’t receive an answer quickly (and believe me, most companies take their time) you may start to wonder if they are going to answer at all, and you can start getting nervous and thinking if your dream job will ever come true. When you feel like this, there’s only one thing to do:
STOP, BREATHE, and TRUST.
If you have followed the steps in this article and you have prepared your application carefully then you have already done all you need to do. It’s out of your hands now.
Believe that life (or the universe, or god, or who/whatever you believe in) will bring results. The seeds have already been planted, now is the time to wait for them to grow, and send them good & loving vibes. Remember that you don’t know what may be brewing right now… your great opportunity may be just around the corner!
This ends the last part of my article. I hope it helped you feel more confident and ready for your job search. Good luck and stay positive!!!