3 Tips from One Badass Job Seeker to Another

by Amy Lee Evans and Sophie Jasson-Holt

3 Minute Read

The Voices of Job Seekers Rise Up

In a recent blog, we explored what has changed or not changed for job seekers since the rise of the digital age. In this blog, we will feature the badass voices of job seekers, along with 3 key insights gleaned from our ongoing job seeking research.

We hope these job seekers’ stories and struggles will inspire you to put some bad-to-the-bone, ass-kicking spice into your own job search.  

“Am I doing the right thing? Am I not being persistent enough? Am I being too persistent? Am I turning people off? Am I not reaching out to the right people?” Badass Job Seeker

The job search can be overwhelming. You wonder which path to take and how to choose. 

We wanted to understand why the journey was so bumpy. So we carved out some quality time to hear awe-inspiring stories from you job seekers.

Meet Amelia, The Hopeful Job Seeker

We created a persona, a composite of all the job seekers we interviewed, and named her Amelia. Like all you job seekers, Amelia has some stuff to overcome, hurdles to jump, distances to travel; some shit-kicking to do.  

So, can you see a little bit of yourself in Amelia? She has a lot on her plate, but with a fiercer focus on these three areas we just know she can slay the job search dragon:

  1. Hone Your Story
  2. Networking
  3. Being Flexible

How did we come up with these three bad boys? We poured over Amelia’s journey map.  

Close Up View of Job Hunting Journey Map

Close Up View of Job Hunting Journey Map

Go ahead, we dare you to look at the detailed map. How do you match up? Do you feel like Amelia as you go through your journey?

A Drive-By of 3 Badass Opportunities

You can do so much to feel better on your journey. Let’s take a minute to talk about how to pour some rocket fuel into your job search.

Be True Blue – HONE YOUR STORY

"...If I can articulate my whole package correctly, then maybe I'm appealing to less people, but it will be a good fit." Badass Job Seeker

You job seekers kick off the job search with some prep work. You must get your shit kickers on. You're worried and may potentially feel lost. Obviously, you don’t have a job. Sure, you update your resume and your LinkedIn profile, but what about your larger than life story? A lot of you struggle with this one.

What Is Your Real Story?

Your story is your essence, that snowflake that is like no other, a kick-ass tattoo that draws others to you. You need to roll the story off your tongue to anybody and everybody. 

“Though you may be one of millions specializing in your field, you need to develop and nurture a one-of-a-kind point of differentiation.” [1]

Sounding More Like a Human

Say your story out loud. Share it with friends. Fix it. Write it. Every time you meet with people, tell it. Try it out again. Get it out there. Keep on refining it. 

"The whole point of branding is to sound like ourselves, not every other monkey in the barrel! You don't have to sound like a zombie...You can sound like a human." [2]

More About This Tip

And before you break out your plume de resistance, check out this personal branding masterpiece by Seth Price and Barry Feldman’s “The Road to Recognition.”

 

Be an Adventurer– NETWORKING

“Biggest stressors – Difficulty understanding the landscape, where to focus on, seems so broad...it takes a lot of effort to reach out.” Badass Job Seeker

We heard from job seekers loud and clear. Networking is your bread and butter. It’s not always easy to be thick skinned and put yourself out there.

“I've been faced with ageism, racism and sexism .” Badass Job Seeker

Yes, it takes an alligator skin to deal with discrimination. As an antidote, job seekers meet with friends and like-minded groups to heal battle wounds. “LinkedIn survey announced that 85% of jobs are found through networking.”[3] This statistic sends a powerful message – invest your effort in networking.

Networking is nothing but a fancy term for engaging with people. If you, like other job seekers, get anxious about networking, practice your wicked pitch with some friendlier folks at parties, school events, or at your favorite watering hole.

And as one job seeker so awesomely pointed out, you can network anytime and anywhere.

"Whoever I'm meeting for lunch or for dinner is someone who can help make a connection for me." Badass Job Seeker

More About This Tip

Before you attend an event, soak up some of Sandy Jones-Kaminski’s, “I’m at a Networking Event, Now What?”

 

Be a Yoga Rock Star -FLEXIBLE AND ALWAYS LEARNING

Some of the bad ass job seekers in our research didn’t always change strategies fast enough. But they did finally come around. 

“I would be on the internet from 7AM (looking for a job) ...until 7PM...That didn't get me anywhere. I realized I had to change." Badass Job Seeker

Many job seekers had the aha "I need to change" moment during the interview stage. The disappointment of no job offer often led to radical changes in direction.

●     Be flexible but also stand your ground

And when you go down a different road, you can meet new connections. Those powerful players, influencers of your tribe.

More About This Tip

And when you realize it’s time for a change, pick up Liz Ryan's Reinvention Roadmap

 

Soon You Will Break Through Your Job Search Glass Ceiling

But until then, keep on telling your badass story, making coffee dates with your sizzling hot network and taking the time to flex your ideas, your plan, and your career.

In our next blog, we will share insights from a seasoned recruiter to hear her take on the job search.

But before you go...

You should like, comment or share this article.

 

About the Writers

Amy Lee Evans

I’m a product experience leader and digital consultant. I’m passionate about user experiences and empowering teams to succeed. I’m also a foodie at heart. When I’m baking, I love to experiment with recipes to see how small changes can make a big difference. I also carry this thinking into my work life.

Sophie Jasson-Holt

I’m a digital and content marketing consultant, business strategist, service designer and builder of teams. I love tackling big problems to help drive your sales, product, and project initiatives. I am also a chef and a recent graduate of culinary school and Salesforce training. I see where cooking, business, marketing and process intersect and love to think and write about it. 

 

[1] The Road to Recognition. Seth Price, Barry Feldman. 2017

[2] How to Write a Human-Voiced Resume - https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140626010712-52594-how-to-write-a-human-voiced-resume

[3] New Survey Reveals 85% of All Jobs are Filled Via Networking - https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/new-survey-reveals-85-all-jobs-filled-via-networking-lou-adler   

Has Job Hunting Always Looked Like This?

By Amy Lee Evans and Sophie Jasson-Holt 

3 Minute Read 

Tackling the Job Hunter’s Journey

Job hunting is hard, complex and frustrating. Because we don’t have a crystal ball, we decided to understand why. We knew it wouldn’t be easy. It’s a problem as big as the night sky. We were up for the challenge.   

How did we begin? We spoke with struggling job hunters and recruiters, people on the frontlines who are looking for work and for talent. We are thrilled to serve up what we learned. We have been baking this bread for a while. It’s ready to be savored.  

We are writing a series of blogs to blast these ideas to the world. This first installation in our blog series will focus on two things: how we did the research and peek into the past to see what has changed or not changed in the job hunting universe.   

Why We Took on The Job Hunter’s Journey

We have 15+ years' experience as tech professionals. We’ve been around the block. And we are also on the job market. We felt a seismic shift in our own personal job hunting adventures. Something was different. But, what was it? In our research, here are some of the mysteries we attempted to unravel:   

  • What has changed in the job search and what hasn’t?  
  • What are some of the most common job hunting mistakes? 
  • How do job hunters recover from job search missteps?  

How We Did It? 

We were unafraid to make mistakes. We had a thirst to learn something new, saw a topic we liked and plunged into it. Our design thinking process went like this: 

A Stroll through the Evolution of Job Hunting

It was fun doing the process. And we had some amazing brainstorming sessions talking about the insights from the interviews we had. And then we remembered that not so long ago we used to do a lot more stuff with our hands. We flipped the pages of classified ads to find jobs. We used printers for resumes and burned through a lot of trees, but loved the soft linen touch of the paper.

The Internet circa 1990’s. Like we said, job hunting was once simpler than it is today. Believe us, we lived through it. In the 90’s, job hunting was all about people power, face-to-face connections. When you hand-delivered a resume, you met someone and got the chance to check out the office.  

At the same time, job boards were breaking through the early days of the Internet. You could now post a resume with just the click of a button. But face-to-face networking, like having coffee with a friend was still the magic ticket to your next job.  

The Internet circa 2000’s. Digital was fast becoming a part of our day to day, giving us more online choices. The good news. You could email your resume to more job sites. The not so good news. You weren’t the only one emailing your resume. “In 2008, recruiters received more than 75 resumes for each open position.” [1] What did not change? Tapping into the power of your face-face network, getting out and meeting people.  

 

Digital Serves Up Tons of Job Options

The Internet circa 2017. Today we are online all the time. Recruiters receive 250 resumes per job. [2] Social communities blur our personal and professional lives. You need to be a wizard of all things digital. And don’t forget your personal brand. Why? So you can sell yourself in 7 seconds or less online or at your next meetup. You must also find people online and offline who will hire you. Influencers. Door openers. Updating the two-dimensional resume just won’t do.  

Co-Founder of Placester, Frederick Townes sums it up nicely, “To be successful in the long term, you need to have a digital destination — a website” [3]

So Many Jobs Sites, So Little Time

Job sites have grown astronomically. We pulled together a snapshot of the job site market to show how overwhelming it can feel.   

All these choices can really make your head spin. “I need to update LinkedIn first. No, wait I just got an alert from Indeed. I need to add topics to my editorial calendar. Will I get hired with only 480 followers on Instagram? This is too much, I need a break.”

“When it comes to building your brand, it’s a jungle out there. There’s so much to manage in today’s always connected universe.” [4]

Job Hunting Has Changed Over Time           

So what is the key take away from this little peek down memory lane? Job hunting is more complex than it used to be. 

“Technologies have made life easier, but also complicated our world." [5]

What is the source of complexity?

  • Lost in a sea of millions of online candidates
  • Sucked into a vortex of social, personal website and resume management
  • Never ending quest to master online personal brand

The good news. Face to face networking still counts for something.

In our next blog, we will share insights, really get into the nitty gritty, from the job hunters we interviewed. If you enjoyed this piece please feel free to like, comment or share it. 

About the Writers

Amy Lee Evans

I’m a product experience leader and digital consultant. I’m passionate about user experiences and empowering teams to succeed. I’m also a foodie at heart. When I’m baking, I love to experiment with recipes to see how small changes can make a big difference. I also carry this thinking into my work life.

Sophie Jasson-Holt

I’m a digital and content marketing consultant, business strategist, and builder of teams. I love tackling big problems to help drive your sales, product, program and project initiatives. I am also a chef and a recent graduate of culinary school and Salesforce training. I see where cooking, business, marketing and process intersect and love to think and write about it.

 

[1] 2008 CareerBuilder.com survey   

[2] 11 Interesting Hiring Statistics You Should Know

[3] The Road to Recognition, Seth Price and Barry Feldman. IdeaPress Publishing

[4] The Road to Recognition, Seth Price and Barry Feldman. IdeaPress Publishing. Author of Surviving Your Serengeti, Stefan Swanepoel.   

[5] Philosophy of Technology and Design: Shaping the Relations Between Humans and Technologies

Taste Your Way to a Better Digital Strategy

by Amy Lee Evans and Sophie Jasson-Holt

3 minute read

In an accelerated world, digital strategies must evolve to be more flexible, responsive and relevant. Business leaders cannot afford to either create or consume long-winded strategy decks or overly academic business blueprints.

On the Road to Becoming More Nimble

Businesses need to co-create strategies with internal teams and then to validate the strategy with users. A continuous feedback loop from users is a critical part of an evolving digital strategy. It’s akin to a chef and a sous-chef strategically concocting a menu, refining it by testing and tweaking until it is ready for prime time.

So what, you may ask, does this have to do with digital strategy?

Chefs and Digital Strategists — Connoisseurs of Happy Experiences

Chefs and digital strategists set the direction for menus or digital initiatives. Both rely on teams and continuous customer feedback so they can deliver delicious experiences. A digital strategy, like a menu, has a higher rate of success when it is tasted and tweaked. Effective digital strategies and winning recipes do not sit on a shelves gathering dust. They are constantly evolving.

Why Digital Strategies Must Evolve

So what exactly is the definition of a Digital Strategy? “Strategy is setting a direction, sequencing resources and making commitments.” But why is the creation of a digital strategy often riddled with potholes? Sometimes it can be as simple as not having a common language for the term “digital strategy”. Sharon Panelo, founder of Remote Strategist Club, describes her experiences with some clients:

Orders Keep Coming and Coming

Change is a constant in today’s market. Time windows for delivering products or services are shorter and shorter. Often businesses create strategies using longer timelines that assume more static market conditions.

Strategies mirror fiscal calendars tracking yearly and quarterly milestones but fail to account for weekly or daily changes. Often too much time is spent planning and creating a beautiful strategy and not enough time building (tasting and adjusting) and deploying the strategy. A more agile strategy offers the potential to absorb the flood of changes pouring in from a variety of data sources.

The Digital Strategy Orbit, People at the Center

Digital strategies need to evolve to respond to the gravitational pull of social orbits. An orbit starts and grows when people connect. People gravitate towards others who share similar interests or use similar products/services. Humans love the herd. The influence of others can shift people's online behaviors and norms. This puts people at the center. Digital strategies must anticipate and swiftly respond to these shifts. Using qualitative research to uncover people’s motivations can be very helpful.

Disruption Fuels the Pressure Cooker

Customers are being fiercely pulled in many directions and probably away from your product’s orbit. The disruption economy has arrived. AirBnB and Uber are the most well known examples of behemoth disrupters to the global economy. The taxi industry in San Francisco is a shadow of what it once was less than 5 years ago. This begs the question—could a more responsive strategy have prevented its demise? We believe so.

More compelling reasons to create a responsive digital strategy:

How to Harness the Flow of a Digital Strategy

So how can business leaders and digital strategists respond to the tide of constant change? Start small, co-create to engage different perspectives, embrace change and build an environment that rewards collaboration and experimentation.

In Conclusion

We believe that digital strategists, like chefs, need to taste as they go. A strategy that evolves through a series of short bursts can absorb many of the digital shocks and disruptive forces in a global, digitized economy. An evolving strategy unfolds confidently, fearless in the face of user, consumer and stakeholder feedback. If people love Mexican Bouillabaisse they get Mexican Bouillabaisse. If they don’t love it then it’s dropped from the menu and replaced with Veracruz fish soup.

If you enjoyed this piece please feel free to like, comment or share it.

About the Authors

Amy Lee Evans

I’m a creative team leader and digital consultant. I’m passionate about user experiences and empowering teams to succeed. I’m also a foodie at heart. When I’m baking, I love to experiment with recipes to see how small changes can make a big difference. I also carry this thinking into my work life.

Sophie Jasson-Holt

I’m a digital and content marketing consultant, business strategist, process nerd and builder of teams. I love tackling big problems to help drive your sales, product, program and project initiatives. I am also a chef and a recent graduate of culinary school and Salesforce training. I see where cooking, business, marketing and process intersect and love to think and write about it.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

1 - https://www.accenture.com/us-en/blogs/blogs-digital-what-is-digital-strategy

2 - https://hbr.org/2017/01/a-good-digital-strategy-creates-a-gravitational-pull

3- http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/strategy-and-corporate-finance/our-insights/how-digital-is-changing-strategy

How Agile Gives Designers a Seat at the Table

By Amy Lee Evans and Sophie Jasson-Holt

3 minute read

Designers Feel the Heat

Does your design job feel like you are working in a hot kitchen? Tickets come flying in and pile up quickly. Chaos soon ensues. Design team work streams and professional kitchens share similar demands – deliver high quality and do it fast. Professional kitchens use a brigade system to efficiently deliver pristine plates in a fast-paced environment.

What is a brigade system? What does it have to do with design teams?

The brigade system was invented by Escoffier in the late 19th century and is still used in most restaurants today. It is based on a military structure and establishes roles and workflow in professional kitchens. Agile is a kind of modern brigade system for design teams and also establishes roles and workflow for digital product teams.

Missing the Mark

One of the worst outcomes in a restaurant is when a customer returns a plate of food. Like in design, one of the worst outcomes is when the creative misses the mark. This wastes time, resources and leads to unhappy teams. Agile helps to reduce this outcome.

Agile can infuse order into chaos. And now with a more predictable workflow, design teams can innovate more relevant designs for customers and buyers. More innovation leads to more success and to happier design teams.

A River of Changes Breaks the Bank

Many designers work in an environment where requests are ad-hoc, tracked via email, and not managed or prioritized. Where changes are like an open spigot, leaving no time to concept and reflect on the end-to-end customer journey. This can be maddening, inefficient, and can negatively impact the bottom line.

Before Agile

In our experience we noticed some common themes for unhappy design teams.

After Agile

When introducing agile processes to a design team, we noticed a few key actions that helped us grow and take charge of the design requests flowing from various channels. 

And since a picture is worth a thousand words we sketched a typical 2-week sprint, with key events and benefits for a design team.

Two-Week Design Sprint

 

Please use it as a guideline for crafting your own agile design process. For a deeper dive into Agile.

Prime Your Palate with this Amuse Bouche

What is an Amuse Bouche? A playful palette cleanser served during a meal. Adopting agile can seem foreign. Stop and try something different. Take a walk on the wild side. In our experience adopting agile for designers can be a game changer.

With the right process, stress levels plummet and team performance rises. As Jay Vidyarthi says “The consistent clockwork of a stable and repeating design process has also helped us create and maintain a human-centered design culture at Muse.”

When we are more efficient, we realize the valuable gift of extra time, a rare commodity in today’s workplace. More time generates greater opportunities for innovation and exploration. Much like the winning strategies of the kitchen brigade team, design teams can improve workflow using the right mix of agile and can happily march towards success without fighting fires.

Let Amy or Sophie know if you are planning an agile design process. We are happy to answer any of your questions.

 

About the Authors

Amy Lee Evans

I’m a creative team leader and digital consultant. I’m passionate about user experiences and empowering teams to succeed. I’m also a foodie at heart. When I’m baking, I love to experiment with recipes to see how small changes can make a big difference. I also carry this thinking into my work life.

Sophie Jasson-Holt

I’m a digital and content marketing consultant, process nerd and builder of teams. I love tackling big problems who can help you with your sales, product, program and project initiatives. I am also a Chef and a recent graduate of culinary school. I see where cooking, marketing and process intersect and love to write about it.