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Visualise your dream job 🔮
Stick with me - this is not some manifest scam. Plus: a little New Year's gift from me to you.
Hi there - hope you started the new year well! For this first post of 2023 I want to talk about a topic that might be on the agenda of a lot of my readers: jobsearch.
If you’re looking to switch jobs or find that first UX job this year, I want to share my jobsearch strategy with you. Now what I’m gonna tell you may sound a bit esoteric, but please stick with me - I promise it’s not a manifest scam.
It’s not a Secret, it’s a strategy
If you grew up in early 2000s like me, you might remember the hype around the book “The Secret”. This book talks about a method where your thoughts can change your life. Through positive thoughts you can manifest anything you want. “Positive energy attracts positive things” kinda mindset.
Personally, I don’t really rock with the whole “manifesting" movement. I believe big achievements in our life don’t come out of manifesting, but out of hard work, luck and privilege. However, there’s something that this movement preaches and that really helped me reach my goals and that is….
In terms of my career (or anything in my life, really) I aim to get a really clear picture of what I want. Especially when I’m searching for a job I take some time to visualise my dream job. Why? Not because I believe just thinking about my dream job will get me there, but because taking my time to figure out what I really want gives me focus.
In my experience, focus is one the main components of a successful job search. I’ve heard many stories of aspiring designers who applied to hundreds of jobs with no success. This may be due to the competitive market, but if you’re still not successful after a year of searching for jobs it’s likely because you’re lacking focus. A lot of UX beginners believe a jobsearch is a numbers game and apply to any job opening they find.
That kind of looks like this…
See the problem with this? It’s shooting everywhere in the hope you hit something. The result is oftentimes disappointing and it takes a lot of time, energy and resources. What you want is your jobsearch to look more like this…
A focused effort to hit the right spot - in as few tries as possible. One way to do that is through visualising what that bullseye looks like. When you know what you want (and don’t want), you can invest your energy in steps that bring you closer to that goal.
This may feel very counterproductive at first. I’ve also treated a jobsearch as a numbers game in the past. It’s hard to be patient and not apply to any job you see, out of fear that you might be ‘too late’ or there might not be other opportunities in the future.
Prompts to visualise your dreamjob
Before I start building my portfolio and searching for a job, I take stock of my current situation.
What do I like about my current job?
What don’t I like about my current job?
What skills and expertise do I already have?
What would I like to do more of? What gives me energy?
What do I not want to do anymore? What takes energy?
How much do I earn?
After I figured out where I’m at, I start thinking about where I want to go.
What kind of industries would I like to work at?
What kind of responsibilities would I like to have?
Where would I like to work?
How would my workday look like?
How many hours/week would I work?
How much money would I want to make?
What are my colleagues like?
I really try to get into the details as much as I can. It helps to write down your ideal workday from start to finish. How do you wake up? What are you working on? What do you do after work? If you’re really motivated, go ahead and sketch/collage your ideal job so you have a picture of where you want to go. The goal here is to get a really clear picture and allow yourself to dream big. This is not the time to think about ‘what ifs’ and ‘that’s impossible’.
This strategy helped me get a job at Zalando where I currently work as a Senior Product Designer. Before working at Zalando, I had a short stint at a service design studio that turned out to be a mismatch. When I accepted that job position, I was already looking for a job for more than 6 months. I didn’t have any focus in my jobsearch. I just wanted ‘something new’. I learned my lesson from that experience and with my next jobsearch I tried to get as much clarity as I could on what kind of job I was looking for. Now, you might not get this right on the first go. Even at Zalando it took an internal change to really get to the right place. Visualising your dreamjob is a continuous practice and one that I’m also still learning to master.
Whenever I do this exercise, I feel an interesting mix of excitement and nervousness. I get excited thinking about this future scenario, but it also scares me when I think about all the steps I have to take to get there. Even if I don’t end up at my dreamjob (is there something like a dreamjob? Some might say no) I still get (closer) to a job that fits me with because I could rule out all the opportunities that would not make a good fit.
Now that you know where and how you want to work, what kind of roles you’re looking for and how much you hope to earn with all of that, it’s easier to focus your jobsearch. Yes, a lot of jobs will now no longer be relevant. It might feel strange to limit yourself so much. Instead of spending hours applying to jobs that aren’t a good fit anyway, you can now invest that extra time in refining your portfolio and jobsearch. Take your time to read up on the companies you want to work at and write coverletters that fit the role.
💝 A little gift from me to you: UX Clinic
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how I can provide mentorsessions and advice in the best and most accessible way possible. I decided to dedicate a part of my newsletter to you.
I want to start a UX clinic where I answer one of your questions in every newsletter. This can be anything: from careergrowth to the best workshop facilitation tips. If you’re a subscriber from UX.Reflection and you’re facing a concrete UX or career challenge, comment or reply to this newsletter. Before you do so, please check my FAQs - your question might already be answered!
I’ll be sharing your question and my answer publicly in these newsletters, so others can also learn from it. Keep this in mind when you send in your question.
If you know someone else that might profit from this, please let them know about this newsletter. That would also help me a lot!
Good luck! If you want, share your visualisation sketches with me - I’d love to see them!
Until next time,