There comes a point in every designer’s life when it’s time to look for a new gig

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Photo of a woman in a baseball cap on a ledge looking out over a river between 2 mountains

That new position may be a promotion. It may be a hop to another company. It could be due to a downsize and a layoff. Or your role may have shifted into something you’re not passionate about, or that isn’t giving you the opportunity to grow professionally. Regardless of the reason, you can’t stay in the same role your entire life. (Well I guess you could, but where’s the fun in that?!)

When the time to jump strikes, and you’re ready to start searching, the job application process can be completely paralyzing.

Why? Because if you flip through designer job postings you’ll encounter bulletpoint requirements ranging from Graphic design to interaction design to front end development to user research to usability testing, IA and content strategy. What’s the result of this crazy range of requirements? Designers suddenly feel under qualified.

I had a chat tonight with someone who works at a huge corp. In the past year the person grew their design program from nothing to a fully functional design thinking focused org. This person is a legit rockstar.

Unfortunately their team was axed during a huge layoff, so this person was put in a position in which they could either accept a role building out a brand new product team in another division from scratch, including creating their entire design system, workflows and processes, or the person could take a few weeks severance and search for a new job.

This extremely experienced, incredible designer told me that they were feeling inadequate and not skilled enough to take the position. They also expressed feeling the same when they reviewed other job posts. I was STUNNED.

They said they didn’t have enough experience in all of the other areas of design to feel comfortable taking on the gig.

So here’s the thing. There are about 3 people in the entire design industry that are truly experts in every single area of design.

It’s crazy to expect that of any one human. If a company is looking for a single generalist who is an expert in every area of design, they’re nuts. At best people who specialize and have adequate knowledge in other areas will apply, and possibly kick out some rapid studying and learning to polish areas they’re weak in.

Experts in some areas of design with tons of experience in their specialty are feeling the same way that new and intermediate designers feel looking at new job descriptions.

Seeing all of those requirements tossed together makes a majority of people applying for the same jobs you’re looking at, even veterans, feel just as under qualified as you feel. Especially veterans who’ve been using older tech and languages. Don’t let it get you down.

If you’re really passionate about a gig with a wild job description, apply and then clarify the daylights out of the job requirements when you get into the interview.

Be clear about your existing skill set and the areas you hope to grow in during your interview.

Sometimes companies just rattle off a grocery list of buzzwords they’ve seen other companies use in their job requirements list without actually understanding what they mean.

Next up on the job application fear list: There will almost ALWAYS be something in the job requirements list that would push you professionally and that’s a GOOD thing. When you’re looking for a new job, don’t apply for a job doing only the things you’re amazing at.

If there is nothing in the job description that you’re a little uncomfortable with, you’re not applying for the right job.

Career progress takes professional growth opportunities.

If you’re always the most skilled designer in the room, you’ll never grow.

Apply for jobs that will help you reach your long term professional goals, not jobs that will only allow you to do the things you’re already extremely skilled at.

Last up, unfortunately for people in our industry, when you come into a company at an entry level salary, it can be nearly impossible to get an internal pay raise that matches your skill set once you’ve really grown professionally and gained more experience.

There are of course exceptions to this rule, but a majority of the time you need to job hop to land a raise that aligns with your enhanced skill set.

Obviously money is never the most important aspect of a job (unless you really need it), but being paid less than you’re worth is a garbage situation.

If you really like your team, give your company the opportunity to resolve the salary issue, but if they refuse, start searching for other opportunities.

The tech industry is a little weird in that job hopping is seen as normal behavior. A year or two at a company at the beginning of your career followed by a jump is the norm.

I could ramble on all night about this topic, but I’m going to wrap things up here.

Don’t get overwhelmed, just embrace the fact that you’ll never know everything there is to know about design — none of your peers ever will either.

It’s part of the fun of being a designer — you have to be firmly set in a lifetime leaner mindset to succeed.

Apply for jobs that will allow room for professional growth, not jobs you’re already an expert in.

Always push yourself. No one can move your career forward other than you, so own it.

If you’re willing to put in the time and hard work, the sky is the limit.

15 Tips To Help Your Application Stand Out

 

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Photo of a vibrant red leaf surrounded dead leaves by Nsey Benajah on Unsplash

I get asked often what it takes to have a standout application when you’re applying at InVision, and what traits recruiters look for since they’re hiring for remote job opportunities. The hiring process at InVision has changed GREATLY since I interviewed here. Back then we only had 50 employees, so my interview was a chat with the director that contacted me about the job, then a chat with 2 VP’s then a chat with Clark himself, which I’ll fully admit was incredible. He’s just as awesome to talk to 1:1 as he comes across in interviews.

So, since I don’t have anything to do with our hiring now, but I know it’s something the community is really interested in learning more about, I sat down with a couple of our recruiters and hiring managers to find out what they look for when they’re reviewing candidates. This is by no means a comprehensive list, and there are always differences in opinion, but these are some common themes that came up during the conversations.

Here are 15 tips to get you started:

  1. If you’re applying for a designer position, do not submit a hideous generic resume and CV.
    You’re a designer, use your skills to make your resume and CV stand out from the rest of the crowd.
  2. For the love of all things holy, don’t submit an export of your LinkedIn profile as your resume.
    I had no idea that was a thing, but it is. The team here is hardworking, driven, and proud of the work we turn out as a result. Half-assery in your resume and CV are a no. Lack of effort in even applying here is a surefire sign that this isn’t the company for you.
  3. Make sure your portfolio is up to date.
    Update it BEFORE submitting your application. Many people applying at InVision haven’t applied for a job in years, they’re just so excited about the company that they’re giving it a shot, even if they’re happy where they are. I love it. And I get it. I haven’t touched my portfolio in about 900 years either, but having an out of date hideous portfolio will get you axed immediately. Clean it up and show what you can really do. It’s your one chance to stand out and make a great first impression. Make your mark.
  4. Give recruiters and hiring managers access to view your resume and portfolio.
    This completely blows my mind, but sometimes people submit portfolio links that are password protected (no big deal, people sometimes don’t want their current companies to know they’re applying elsewhere), but then they DON’T PROVIDE THE PASSWORD. 😑 Our recruiters are sifting through 1000’s of resumes and portfolios, it would be horrible if you were cut because you forgot to send your password. And don’t get me wrong, if there is someone who seems like an absolutely perfect fit based on resume, they may still take the time to fire off an email asking for your PW, but if your application was on the fence, this will push it into the rejection pile.
  5. Sending a resume that isn’t tailored to the job description at all is not a good plan.
    Don’t include a bunch of random skills that aren’t applicable. Skilled in Microsoft Office? That’s awesome if you’re applying for a role that requires that skillset. But if you’re applying for a design position, it’s not something you need to list in your things I’m amazing at section. Think of the recruiter as someone looking for a needle in a haystack. If you want to be that needle, you need to make sure you shine way brighter than the rest so they can find you.
  6. If you have past work experience that seems like it doesn’t apply, MAKE it apply.
    Flipped burgers at a fast food joint? Add a line about how it increased your ability to manage customer expectations in a high paced, intense atmosphere. Your past work experience has made you into who you are today. Explain how in a way that is applicable to the job you’re applying for.
  7. Don’t send a resume that is 987349875 pages long.
    These recruiters are scanning. Sending a 12 page resume doesn’t make you look impressive, it makes it look like you have issues communicating concisely.
  8. Inject your personality into your resume, CV and portfolio.
    Who are you? Obviously you can’t write a novel, so SHOW who you are. Think of your portfolio and your resume as a reflection of yourself. When they look at it, make it seem like they’re looking at you.
  9. If you’ve been out of the workforce for a while so your projects aren’t recent, just explain that and show something you’ve worked on recently for fun in addition to your previous work.
    People have to leave the workforce for periods of time for a wide variety of reasons, it’s no big deal. Just make sure you’re representing yourself fully.
  10. If you worked on a project and it was terrible, don’t include it in your portfolio.
    You want to put your best foot forward. Your portfolio doesn’t need to contain every single project you’ve ever done, it needs to contain the best ones, that show what you can really do. Save talking about train wrecks for the interview process, since it’s often a question managers ask.
  11. In your cover letter, make it clear that you’re passionate about working here.
    If your cover letter sounds like a generic one you found on the internet, it will seem like you don’t actually want the job. Inject your personality, and tell why you think InVision is a great fit for you personally, and what we’re doing that excites you enough to make you want to join the team. What about the company mission resonates strongly with you?

The next question I’m usually asked is, “What kinds of traits do hiring managers look for?” Since I’m not a hiring manager I asked around to find out. These were the common theme:

  1. You need to be a self starter.
    Working at a fully distributed company means you have to be able to push YOURSELF forward. You’ll have a great team behind you as well, but there won’t be someone standing over your shoulder pushing you to get your work done at 100% quality. You need to have the personal drive to keep yourself accountable and on top of your game.
  2. You need to be able to ask for help when you need it.
    Again, there isn’t someone sitting next to you watching you struggle, if you get stuck, you need to be able to swallow your pride and reach out to someone for assistance. (This is something that is SO hard for me, both in my personal life and my professional life. Working remotely has really helped me grow in this area.)
  3. You need to have excellent written and verbal communication skills.
    Now, this one varies in weight depending on the role you’re applying for. I’m an introvert, but I’m able to communicate clearly and concisely when I’m writing. It’s a huge plus working at a company where a majority of our interaction happens over Slack, InVision, and in Zoom conference calls.
  4. You need to be a team player.
    At InVision our culture is one of supporting one another. It shows in everything from our team meetings, to the tools we use, to our charity donation matching, to the way the team comes together to support coworkers in crisis. A few examples: A co-worker lost her house in a fire, and within hours there was a GoFundMe set up by a teammate with InVision employees donating $, in addition to sending clothing and care packages. Two of our team members were stuck in Puerto Rico during the last major hurricane due to cancelled flights. Team members came together as a group to find passage for them to get out just before the storm hit, calling in favors from friends and family who work in the airline industry. My daughter ran into a really scary health issue last year, and a coworker immediately put together a GoFundMe to buy her an Apple Watch for fall monitoring. InVision just has a truly incredible, team oriented work culture. We work cross departmentally often. Sometimes people come from cut throat environments where they’re used to people having to throw knives to succeed. That’s not our thing. People here work hard to help each other succeed, and pitch in when help is needed. If you’re a “Me” person and not a “We” person, the company culture at InVision probably won’t be a good fit for you.

I hope these tips help, and that you decide to apply! You can check out our job listings and apply at http://www.InVisionApp.com/jobs

Don’t Just Decline Opportunities—Pay Them Forward

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Over the last few years I’ve been given incredible opportunities to contribute to all kinds of publications. Joining the team at InVision has opened so many doors for me—our incredible team is so supportive, and I’m grateful to all of them for all that they’ve done to help get me to this point in my career! (I’m looking at you Clark, Clair, Kristin, Leah, Stephen, and so many others!)

At one point I started to get overwhelmed with press requests coming in. I couldn’t keep up, but didn’t want to let anyone down by not contributing. I talked to my mentor about it, expressed how grateful I was, but how I was running out of hours in the day (and night).

He said something that SHOULD have been obvious and top of mind, but it wasn’t. I was so embroiled in stress over the thought of not being able to keep up when so many other people weren’t given these chances that it didn’t even cross my mind. He said:

“It’s awesome that you’re being asked to contribute in so many ways, but you’re only one person. Don’t feel guilty about having to turn these opportunities down. In fact, it’s a chance for you to share the opportunities with others. When you’re tapped out, it’s ok to pass them along to someone else in the company.”

The lightbulb went off in my head, my stress level rapidly declined, and from that point forward, I started passing along opportunities to coworkers as they came through. It was so much fun being able to help insanely talented people who sit back and quietly kick major ass at their jobs every single day get their names out there.

One of the first PR reps I ever worked with, Leah, told me once that her favorite part about her job was having the opportunity to help people launch and grow their careers through press channels they wouldn’t otherwise have had access too. She is not only insanely talented, she’s an amazing human as well.

Contributing a post, guest starring on a podcast, speaking at a conference, or contributing quotes to a publication can change the entire trajectory of a person’s career. (It certainly did mine!)

So, what’s my point here? This mentality applies to all kinds of situations, not just press related ones. Asked to work on a big project but can’t contribute? Is there a mega talented, super driven junior designer who you know would crush it? Pass their name along. Get a call out at a major meeting for something you worked on with a team? Follow up with a “this wouldn’t have been possible without XY & Z”. Something that takes 2 seconds and seems incredibly small to you may be a huge stepping stone for someone else.

If you’re a person who is regularly given channels to push your career forward, give someone who might not have access to those opportunities a chance to shine. Don’t just decline an opportunity—pay it forward if you can.

People Who Get Hired Don’t Get Hired

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Photo by David Werbrouck on Unsplash

Recently a number of my friends in the industry have been applying for new jobs. Some get those jobs, and some don’t, but they’re all insanely talented.

I noticed a trend in the people that got the jobs. They had all been shot down in the past.

A majority of people don’t get every single job they apply for. In fact, I’ve never met a single person in my life who got every job they applied for over the course of their career. I’m sure they exist in small pockets of the universe, but it’s extraordinarily uncommon. Little known fact, I didn’t get the first job I applied for at InVision. 3 months later an incredible opportunity opened up here that I was a much better fit for, and I got a “call back” to reinterview.

When you get shot down, don’t burn bridges. Don’t go on a social media rampage. Don’t give up on your dream. And most importantly, don’t pretend it doesn’t hurt.

It drives me crazy when people are upset about getting a rejection letter, and others tell them to suck it up and just learn from it, and use that rejection to motivate them to move forward. Is the second half good advice? Absolutely. But the first part is garbage.

Don’t just “suck it up” when you’re rejected—let yourself be upset. Feel devastated for a bit. Just don’t get stuck in that state and let it consume you.

Questioning your skillset and your abilities is an absolutely, 100% human response to rejection. Don’t feel like you’re all alone in that feeling. Millions of other people ALSO didn’t get a job they really wanted that day and feel the same way you do, whether they show it and/or admit it or not.

Get that feeling out of your system, THEN pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and move forward. Don’t feel like a weirdo for being upset and hurt, and feeling less confident than you did prior to receiving that rejection letter. Own it. Everyone goes through it. But the ones who are successful keep moving.

Once you get through the feeling like garbage stage, THEN move on to the “what can I learn from this” stage. Shoot the company an email and see if they have any feedback. Many of them aren’t able to respond to a majority of applicant followup emails due to the sheer volume of applications they receive, so don’t feel bad if you don’t hear back. But other companies can respond, and appreciate you requesting that feedback.

There are some situations where not getting through to the next hiring round is due to something completely random/out of your control, that has nothing to do with your skillset. For example:

  1. Some companies use automated check lists that scan resumes to check for keywords to get them through the first application round to the “speak to a real human” round. Make sure that your resume is customized to very specifically align with the job description of the job you’re applying for.
  2. You may be OVER qualified for the job. Some companies know after a glance at your resume that they could never afford you.
  3. Titles can trip you up. As a freelancer, adding “CEO of XYZ” may seem like something that will give you a leg up in the hiring process, but it can get you instantly axed as a candidate if you’re applying for a mid level or managerial position.
  4. The company may be posting the position as a legal requirement, but already have someone internal in mind for the gig.
  5. They may only hire people with referrals, and if you don’t know someone internal you have no chance. Lame, but it happens.
  6. They did a terrible job creating the job description, and the skills listed and terms they used aren’t actually what they’re looking for. This happens way more often than you’d expect.

So what I’m trying to say is this: Not getting a job you really want is terrible—everyone goes through it at some point in their life, typically many times. And it’s going to hurt (a lot) regardless of the reason. But don’t throw in the towel when it happens. I knew a person who applied for 125 jobs over the course of 3 months before being offered a position. Giving up is the ONLY way to 100% guarantee that you’ll never end up in the career you truly want.

Just work hard and push ahead, even if it’s a millimeter at a time. Even if you hit a rough patch, run into people trying to block your path, or trip yourself up with a poor life choice, you ALWAYS have the option to get up, brush yourself off, and keep moving forward in the direction you want to go.

The Career Building Power of “No”

I was chatting with some friends this week, and we got on the topic of how hard it can be to fire clients.

I mean, they’re giving you their money, and you obviously want to keep a strong freelance following and your good reputation.

Here’s the thing. Keeping a client who is a holy nightmare to work with is counter productive on soooo many levels.

Give yourself full permission to fire terrible clients, guilt free.

If you’re considering firing them, one or more of the following are probably true:

#1 They suck as human beings.

#2 They’re taking advantage of you by trying to make you feel guilty about your fees/the amount of time it takes to finish their project.

#3 They’re the actual worst at communicating, which means you’re wasting time you could be working on other projects waiting for them to respond/wrestling decisions from them.

#4 They’re paying you late/refusing to pay for something you’ve already completed.

#5 You’re just not vibing, and it’s frustrating both you and the client in a big way.

Toxic clients are detrimental to ALL of your design work—not just the work you’re doing for that one client.

If any of these issues are occurring, give yourself 1000% permission to fire them, guilt free. Why? The stress they’re adding to your life is taking away from the other awesome clients you’re working with. They’re negatively affecting the quality of ALL of your work, not just the work you’re doing for them.

Keeping a toxic client will not have a positive impact on your career.

Choosing to keep a toxic client around to “keep your good name” isn’t going to have that effect. The rest of your work back sliding is going to damage your reputation, and there’s a high chance that they’re not going to recommend you to their peers anyway after the fact.

It’s always ok to respectfully fire awful clients.

When firing a client needs to happen, don’t just tell them to take a long leap off a short pier — have an open and honest conversation about your concerns.

Sometimes that conversation on it’s own will resolve the issues you’re encountering. If it doesn’t, tell them that you’re sorry, but they’ll need to find a designer who will better fit their needs for the remainder of the project and issue a refund for any project work you haven’t completed yet. That way you’re not “blaming them” for the issue, and you’re not saying you refuse to work with jerks. You’re just peacefully parting ways.

Fear of bad press isn’t worth destroying your sanity and your career.

Even if they rage out and try to blast your reputation afterward, there is a good chance that others in the industry will already be aware of how awful they are to work with. And if people aren’t aware, they will be when they see the client publicly blasting someone. Consider it a public service if that happens. Other designers will know to steer clear. The benefit of removing the negativity from your life is worth the gamble regardless.

Sometimes you can finish the current project and just gracefully decline additional work with the tried and true, “I apologize, but I won’t be able to take on this new project.” You don’t have to make up excuses, you don’t have to lie about a huge workload (especially since you’ll be looking for additional work), it’s ok to just say no.

Don’t get me wrong, you need to pay your bills. And you’ll always have clients that are difficult, it’s just part of being a freelancer.

But you need to know where you draw the line between difficult and toxic (and that line will be different for every freelancer). ID that line and stick to it. Saying “no” and firing awful clients will save both your sanity and the quality of your work (and your career) long term.

Contribution: Women in Tech Share Positive Experiences and Advice for Landing a Great Gig

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Lately there have been a lot of blog posts outlining stories of battles women have won to represent themselves in the technology industry, and hurdles they’ve overcome to fight for gender equality in the workplace.

What there aren’t many of, though, are posts explaining that not every company puts those hurdles in the way or makes those battles necessary.

Continue Reading…

Startup Years = Dog Years

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We were in a meeting recently and someone made a comment about startup years being like dog years. Definitely an accurate statement!

If you analyze the progress made by a successful fast growth startup in sales & revenue, feature additions & product growth, and staffing additions, each year is often equivalent to about a decade (or more) of large corporation progress.

One of the biggest thrills of working for a startup is the breakneck pace. It’s not for the faint of heart, but man is it ever a fun ride!

Work-Life Balance: Workaholic Designer Edition

workaholicI’m a workaholic. Finding a solid work-life balance has been a lifelong battle for me. My brain never shuts off, and I have a really hard time pulling myself away from something I’m passionate about. And it seems to be a REALLY common trait among designers, both the guys and women I’ve talked to in the industry. We work extremely hard, and that’s great… as long as we also take time to enjoy the fruits of that hard work.

I will NEVER forget the day my daughter walked into my office and asked me if we could play, and I snapped back, “I’m working overtime right now so you can have your toys and video games! Please stop interrupting me!”

Her face fell and her eyes welled up with tears, and she said very quietly, “I don’t care about those things. I care about spending time with you.”

And then my heart shattered into a million pieces and I took a step back. I asked myself 3 tough questions in that moment and thought they may help another workaholic realign in the future.

Workaholic Reset Questions

1. Why am I working overtime?

The answer? Because I wanted to. I didn’t NEED the money. It wasn’t going to make or break my financial situation. It would mean more cash in my savings account, which is fine and good, but I didn’t NEED the cash. There was a time in my life when I was working 3 jobs to survive and the OT was absolutely necessary, but that wasn’t the case at this point in my career. We were fine financially—I had worked my ass off for many, many years to get to that point. But I still had that lingering voice in the back of my mind telling me that I had to work myself into an early grave to live comfortably. It simply isn’t true.

2. Is the project I’m working on more important than my kid?

Obviously not. The reason I’m working is to provide an awesome life for my kiddo. Putting in crazy, uneccesary hours and missing her childhood was robbing her of one of the most important parts of that awesome life—quality time spent with a parent.

3. Will the entire project burst into flames if I step away for 15 minutes to play with my kid?

No. No, it won’t. Tight deadline? Still no.

As you’re pouring your heart and soul into your projects, don’t forget to keep some on tap to actually enjoy life. Spend time with family and friends. Life is short and kids grow up really, really fast.

Is adding some extra cash to your retirement fund really worth letting life completely pass you by?

The Art of Avoiding Soul Sucking Design Jobs

I get to chat with quite a few designers and UX pros in my digital and real life wanderings. One thing I find fascinating, is that job titles across teams are so bizarrely fluid.

Every once in a while I stumble across teams with matching titles, but upon further digging I discover that the titles mean completely different things in the 2 organizations.

So lets take a look at this.

Part 1: Why aren’t there set standards for job titles in the design & UX industries?

This is one of the most bizarre aspects of working as a UX pro or a designer. Pull up a job board, and search designer. You’ll get hundreds of hits. As a designer, this will fill you with glee… until you start reading the job descriptions and you realize that only about a quarter of them align with your skill set.

Some common descriptions?

  • Designer = Strictly A Graphic Designer.
  • Designer = Strictly An Interaction Designer.
  • Designer = Strictly A Front End Developer.
  • Designer = UX Pro with research, content strategy, IA or a variety of other specialty backgrounds
  • Designer = Generalist who can handle 3 or 4 of the above skills in various combinations

What the what is up with this giant rift of job title understanding? It’s a mess. Even designers argue about what their job titles “really mean.”

The worst part is that companies without previous design experience (Believe it or not, those companies still exist. Seriously) don’t know how to explain what they want, even during interviews.

This moves me along to part 2.

Part 2: Why do design jobs sometimes turn into black hole, toxic, soul sucking work environments?

So lets say you go in to an interview, and the company rep tells you that they’re looking for a graphic designer. You’re pumped and you dive in.

After about 3 months you want to dive out… a 5 story window. Why? Because what the company described as graphic design is actually light graphic design mixed with tons of interaction design and front end development. And when you try to explain that you don’t have experience with front end dev or interaction design, they get frustrated and claim that you misrepresented yourself during the interview. They say you’re a designer, so you should be able to do all of the things. So you find yourself scrambling around nights and weekends trying to cram 10 years of front end dev & interaction design knowledge into 2 weeks so you can keep your job. (Feel free to apply for other jobs at this point if you discover that you aren’t at all passionate about the other surprise job expectations. As designers, passion drives us to creating extraordinary things. Being forced to do things you aren’t even remotely passionate about can be soul crushing.)

Part 3: How do you avoid landing in a situation like the one described above?

Knowing how to ask the right questions during your interview can help. When a company says they are looking for a designer, ask clarifying questions to make 100% sure that they know what they’re actually looking for.

1. Will this job require me to make graphics in a program like Photoshop or Sketch?

2. Will I need to create wireframes or workflow diagrams in a program like Azure?

3. Will I need to know how to develop front end code?

4. Will I be conducting any research with your clients?

5. Will I be in charge of creating product prototypes?

6. Will I be expected to build (develop) the products I design? (Seriously, this happens.)

You can ask about a million additional clarifying questions, but those are just a few to get you started.

I know this may sound obvious for some people, but folks who are just entering the design field sometimes assume that companies know what they are looking for when they interview for design positions, and unfortunately that isn’t always the case. If the person who is interviewing you says they aren’t 100% sure what the job will entail, you may want to dodge the bullet.

If you have found yourself in one of these tragic situations in the past, don’t feel like it’s your fault. Between the confusion around titles and companies not always having a firm grasp of what they’re looking for, even the most seasoned designers can end up in an interview/job that doesn’t apply to their skill set.

In Conclusion: Ask

To sum things up, don’t be a afraid to ask in depth questions during your interview. It can save you AND the company months of frustration. And, if you ask all the right questions and still end up in a position where the company is flinging bizarre requests at you that are out of your range of skills (and you aren’t being given time to master them and/or you have exactly zero interest in adding the random skills to your professional skill set), don’t be afraid to exit stage left and apply for other jobs.

Women Outnumber Men In Our Product Design Team

“So wait… you have more women than men in your product design team?”

“Yep. Why do you ask?”

“Well, that’s just really unique!”

Before I attended my first conference, I legit didn’t realize that it was considered “unique” to have more women than men on a product design team. And honestly, for the longest time I didn’t even notice it.

We have 2 female mobile & web engineers/architects (one of whom is a manager & a product design genius, the other is an API addict), and 3 female product designers.

We have 3 men on our team, 2 engineers/architects & a fab VP.

Why am I mentioning this? I’m not going to go off on a weird rant about lack of opportunity for women in this industry, because I legitimately haven’t experienced it here. Our ratio of women to men is 5:3. It’s just a true statement about the gender make up of our team. Skill wise we’re nailing 100% awesome.

What I AM going to say is if you are a woman who has worked in an environment where the ratio of men to women was vastly off balance and made you uncomfortable, know that there are design teams out there that are more equally balanced, or in our case tipped the other way.  Don’t just toss out a “oh well, it’s this way everywhere,” because it’s really not at all.

Both the women and the men I work with are crazy talented and are just generally awesome human beings. More men than women or more women than men isn’t a thing here. It’s a – get the most talented group of people possible on this team to make amazing products – thing… as it should be everywhere.