The gloom and doom about the state of the job market, the economy, and the political sphere are enough to send even the most optimistic job hunter over the edge these days. Well, friends, I am here to tell you to get back on track and to tune into what’s happening in your field. Today in Digital, hiring is what’s happening. Now that Q4 is here, it’s going to get a little nutty. Why?
The great standoff in Washington basically slowed the hiring process in August and much of September to a standstill. Our politicians are to blame, not the companies. Businesses did what they needed to do to survive — they were cautious, putting roles on hold and taking a wait-and-see attitude. But jobs are slowly getting reapproved, and we see conditions improving all around. Read More →
If you are going to interview job candidates, you should be able to answer this question, even if you never get asked it: “If you decide to offer me this job and I accept, take me through my first days and weeks on the job from A to Z.” Having the answer prepared ahead of time can head off a lot of painful employee turnover. [TLNT]
I became a user experience designer in 1999. Now, with over 12 years of experience, I consider myself a senior practitioner. I know many other designers with similar levels of experience. As a hiring manager, I see many resumes and meet a large number of designers in person. The overwhelming majority of them have less than five years’ experience. With business’s ever-increasing demand for user experience designers, the growing understanding and appreciation for the benefits of UX design, and the fact that the discipline is in its prime, why are there so few mid-level designers?
I define mid-level as someone with five to ten years of actual work experience. They are designers on the cusp of becoming managers or team leaders. They are designers who have explored several domains (commerce, social and financial services to name just three) and who have worked in a variety of environments. They are the designers you can bring on to a team and who can hit the ground running, asking mostly process and politics questions while delivering top-notch work. They are also, in most major cities, incredibly difficult to find. Read More →
Are you a perfectionist like me? If you aren’t, I can almost guarantee your company or boss would like you to be one. This is a shame, because perfectionism is probably the biggest roadblock to innovation that you will ever encounter. In fact, letting go of perfectionism, or as I like to call it, preciousness, is the key to unlocking your creative potential.
Over the years we’ve been taught that it’s unacceptable to try out new things that could potentially fail because they will:
A. Waste Time
B. Waste Money
C. Get You Fired
D. All of The Above
So we’ve gotten into the habit of working safely within our comfort zones in order to avoid creating anything that’s less than perfect. This is fine for just getting by, but terrible for moving forward. Read More →
We’d like to welcome Todd Cherches to the blog. As a co-founder of the BigBlueGumball training firm, he has a lot to say about ways to help your career through the power of visual thinking and learning. In his first post, he shows a simple tool you can create to help your job application break through the sea of text that floods hiring managers’ and recruiters’ in-boxes.
As we all know, the traditional resume is an important and essential part of the job search process — a way to efficiently tell your career history on a sheet of paper or two.
But after a hiring manager has sorted through thousands of resumes and interviewed hundreds of candidates, your text-based black and white resume can easily get lost in the crowd and buried in the pile (“I forget… who’s the guy who used to work for Disney and CBS?”).
This is why I recommend that you consider creating a visual bio or visual resume, a colorful, image-based version of your text resume. It’s a personal branding and marketing piece that you can take along on your interview, use as a visual roadmap to tell your story, and then leave behind. It will give you an opportunity to demonstrate your creativity and help you stand out from the crowd. Read More →
We have a full roster of classes planned for the fall semester at The Hired Guns Academy. Take a glance at the list below and choose the ones you need to get inspired; learn new, highly marketable skills; or shake up your career and take it in a new direction:
CFOs have reason to worry about social media, with pitfalls that include employees oversharing in public forums, the loss of confidential info, and increased exposure should an issue go into litigation. [Big Fat Finance Blog]
“In every creative person’s life, we arrive occasionally at a place where creativity stops flowing. For a while we’re happily riding a creative wave and then out of the blue—nothing. For a terrifying few hours (or days, or weeks), we think the next idea will never come. We become afraid that our ideas are not good enough and probably never really were good enough. At worst, some of us just give up completely.”–designer Peleg Top from the preface to my book, Unstuck: 52 Ways to Get (and Keep) Your Creativity Flowing
Does that sound familiar? It’s definitely a place I have found myself many times over the course of my 17 years as a creative professional. And while I always managed to find the way back to my creative path eventually, it took the unusual commitment of making a skull every day for a year to finally figure out some practical (and reproducible), ways for generating creative energy at a moment’s notice.
Since I can’t put you in a time machine and have you do your own yearlong project, I’ve created the Get Unstuck class as the next best thing. We’ll cover The Big Seven, a set of basic tools for stretching your creative muscles, which I learned during my own creative journey. And then we’ll put those tools into practice, with a hands-on exercise that will get your creative fires stoked and give you some experiences that you can apply to your own work right away.
There’s no need to wait for the muse of inspiration to show up once you learn to turn on your own creative tap. And this is the class that will give you the tools to you get (and keep) your creativity flowing.
Lots of rhetoric paints small businesses as places that effortlessly bubble over with new ideas and lots of growth, but few small businesses are really that innovative, says a new study from the University of Chicago: they “start small and stay small.” [Slate]
“Hunting for UX talent is nothing short of finding a needle in a haystack,” writes the recruiter Addison Carpenter at UX Booth. “… job boards aren’t working and UXers are bad at marketing themselves.” (But not all candidates agree! Read the comments, too.)
We’re proud to announce that Hired Guns pals Adelaide Lancaster’s and Amy Abrams’s new book, The Big Enough Company, comes out from Portfolio tomorrow. Their guidebook was written to help small business owners navigate the challenges that come up when they try to run the kind of company they want to run, at the size and level of complexity that makes sense to them. The bottom line is that despite what some experts imply, there’s no one size that’s a perfect match for every entrepreneur out there.
To find out more, check out the book trailer below — and look for more from us about the book and its authors over the next few weeks.
Amazon, Yelp, and Priceline are drowning in fake reviews, causing an “arms race” between those trying to game the system and those hoping to make sure that online reviews actually mean something. [NYT]
We feel a fever coming on: a billboard for the bio-thriller Contagion was built from bacteria and fungi. [The Frisky]
In this new series, experienced speaker, teacher, and consultant Joel Schwartzberg breaks down for us the best ways to improve your presentation skills, whether you’re still in school, in mid-career, or in upper management.
With just over a year before the next presidential election, we’re about to be deluged with political debates, speeches, pontification, and more passionate punditry than any human not employed by Fox News or MSNBC can stand. But whether those speakers are conservative, progressive, or somewhere in the middle (or just trying to be) their goals are always the same: to make their points clearly, concisely, effectively, memorably, convincingly, and credibly.
And that should be your goal, too. Whether you’re speaking in front of a vast audience or a prospective employer, you want to make your own points clearly, concisely, effectively, memorably, convincingly and credibly.
In this blog and in my upcoming Hired Guns Academy course, we’ll be looking at ways to do just
that. But for now, while there’s so much speech-making all around you, it’s a good idea to examine how politicians do it. Remember two things: One, good speakers aren’t born; they’re trained. Two, when it comes to strong public presentations, how you say it as important (if not more important) than what you’re saying. Read More →
Studies have shown that low job satisfaction may cost companies as much as “$300 billion in lost productivity annually,” write the researchers Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer in the New York Times. “Promoting workers’ well-being isn’t just ethical; it makes economic sense,” they argue.
“Copyright troll” Righthaven has been lying low for the past couple months, presumably because judge after judge has ruled against them (and, implicitly, its business model). [Wired]
To sweeten the pot, Diane will be making free “mini-neighborhood maps” — letter-sized cut-paper versions of your nabe, with your home address at the center. Here’s a sample of her work: a detail from her intricate, hand-cut map of Brooklyn neighborhoods:
Welcome to part 3 of The Hired Guns book club, which covers chapters 8 through 10 of Todd Henry’s The Accidental Creative. This week’s section is about helping you keep hitting your “creative rhythm” by showing you how to tie together the practices that were covered earlier.
In the video below, Todd talks about the use of “checkpoints”—periodic check-ins you schedule with yourself to ensure that all the practices you started are still working. It’s also a time to see if there are any new practices you need to add to your routine. Hint: it’s not about deciding whether or not to take on a new organization system you’ve happened to hear about—it’s about thinking about all the new projects on the horizon and figuring out to make sure you have enough time and energy to accomplish everything that’s important, in your personal as well as professional life.
After you check out Todd’s video, you can post questions for him on Twitter, in the comments below, or on our Facebook page. He’ll be checking in from time to time, and he’d love to hear what you have to say!
Next week, on Monday, September 12, Todd will wrap up the book club by answering any questions you may have, and also talk about ways to extend the lessons in his book.
If you get fired, it’s important to get used to answering the questions it will raise in future job interviews: “You’ve got to be comfortable with that question. Ask yourself that question in a mirror 15 different ways and be comfortable with the response and turn it into a learning experience and a positive response for the person who wants to hire you,” says the recruiter Debbie Millhouse in the Charlotte Observer.
Good Gun Profile:
Are you an experienced UX hiring manager or recruiter? Want to help some talent get a leg up—and maybe get first crack at some promising workers? Ideally, NYC UPA is looking for people with at least 10 years of experience—enough time to know your way around an acronym and be comfortable estimating salaries and other aspects of typical UX jobs.
It’s going to be clear to candidates asking for a take on their resumes that you’re there to help, so don’t worry about getting cranky follow-up emails. That said, you’ll be able to reach out to anyone you think might be a good fit for a current or future job.
This is a great way to get your name (and the name of your company) out there and to connect with a deep pool of UX talent. It’s also a proactive way to help keep your industry productive and engaged. Interested? Email Jennifer Pugh at The Hired Guns.
We’ve built The Hired Guns to help the digital creative class expand their potential far beyond the 9-to-5, bringing their expertise to companies in unexpected and exciting ways and guiding their careers through transitions from freelance gigs to fulltime jobs and back again.
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