Design is hard. Finding the right job doesn’t have to be.

You’ve just found the most detailed guide ever written to landing a product design job. Understand what you want, build your portfolio, interview with confidence, and get the job that’s right for you.

  • 250-page online book
  • Digital access to this title in the Holloway Reader
  • Downloadable PDF for personal offline use
Length: 250 pages
Edition: e1.0.3
Last Updated: 2023-10-11
Language: English
ISBN (print):

Land Your Dream Design Job

A guide for product designers, from portfolio to interview to job offer

by Dan Shilov

Design is hard. Finding the right job doesn’t have to be.

As designers, we spend considerable effort in honing our craft and staying up to date on the latest design trends. Shouldn’t we apply the same rigor when we’re looking for that dream design job?

Land Your Dream Design Job is a comprehensive book about landing a product design role in a startup, agency, or tech company. It covers the entire design interview process from beginning to end, and will arm you with techniques and strategies to navigate the (at times) turbulent waters of job searching with confidence. This book will help guide you to a role that plays to your strengths while providing enough support for professional growth.

In this book by designer Dan Shilov, you’ll learn:

  • What skills are expected of designers
  • How to demonstrate those skills throughout the job search process
  • How to identify your next opportunity
  • How to target your job search process to stand out
  • How to build a stand-out portfolio and tailor it to your dream opportunity
  • The ins and outs of various design interview types from portfolio presentations, whiteboard challenges, app critiques, to take home design exercises and many others.

You’ll also find in-depth advice on how to apply beyond the job boards, and how to conduct due diligence, negotiate compensation, and accelerate onboarding to your new role.

As designers, getting feedback is critical to our work. From reviewing your performance to helping you do your own due diligence and negotiate salary, the book covers all the nitty gritty of landing your dream design job.

If you want to take control of your design career and your job search while saving time and moving with purpose—this book is for you!

Courtney NashEditor
About the Author
Dan Shilov
Dan Shilov is a product designer with over a decade of experience creating products for consumer and enterprise companies across web, mobile and wearable platforms. When he's not hard at work pushing pixels, he mentors designers and speaks at local design organizations. Over the course of his career he’s interviewed countless designers and design managers and seen them all struggle through various parts of the interview process. As a result, he’s been sharing his insights and documenting interview best practices to help designers put their best foot forward in order to land their dream job. Dan holds a master's degree in Human Computer Interaction from Carnegie Mellon University.

Featured Reviews

Land Your Dream Design Job is a timely bible for any designer who wants to break into the field. The book is filled with a variety of easy-to-understand principles, examples, tips, and tricks that uncover the ambiguous land of portfolio-building and design interviewing. Even better, you will learn how to define your career goals and pursue the job that's right for you. I highly recommend this book for any designers wanting to pursue their next ideal role.
Hang Le (Head of Design at HelloSign)
Dan's advice and insight into the design interview process is invaluable, particularly at a time when many companies are focused on the design of their products. His book breaks down the interview process into manageable and actionable components, and takes the mystery and confusion out of an often frustrating or scary experience.
Chris Shu (Design and Product Recruiter at Alto Pharmacy)
Dan has summed up the ins and outs of the design interview process, for any designer looking to crack the code on nailing a portfolio review. It’s also a must-read for any hiring manager or product designer involved in the interview process—If your team wants to win, you have to set your candidates up for success, and this book will help you do just that.
Zain Ali (Design, YCombinator)
Whether you’re a product designer at the beginning of your career or an experienced designer looking to refresh your portfolio and redefine your career goals, Land Your Dream Design Job is a comprehensive book that helps you approach your design career with intention. This book gives you full perspective on the whole interview process and challenges you with questions for self-reflection. You’ll learn new skills and principles that will enhance your career and help you move to the next level.
Julie Stanescu (Founder, Rethink)
Finding genuinely thoughtful and thorough insights on design interviewing is rare. Shilov's book is a gem that does that and more with a comprehensive yet pragmatic approach from career aspiration to job offer and beyond. Sage advice for both the early career designer and design veteran (and a refresher course for design managers hiring talent too!).
Melissa Hui (Founder, Context Leap)
Dream design jobs are hard to come by, and more competitive than ever. This book will equip you with methods that can help make getting your dream job a more sure thing.
Marissa Louie (Director of UX Design at Expedia)
Whether you’re new to the field or have been in the mix for a while, the prospect of finding a job in the design world can be anxiety inducing. With more and more organizations recognizing the value design practices can bring, the industry is evolving rapidly. The considerations for finding the best place and position for you can seem innumerable. This book can help. Dan has done an excellent job of not only organizing all of the things to think about, but providing structure and process to help readers think things through in an intuitive, approachable manner. I would recommend this book not just to job seekers, but also hiring managers and recruiters who want to design their hiring process in alignment with candidates’ experiences.
Adam Connor (Head of Experience Research & Design Elixir, Author of Discussing Design)
Whether you are a new designer or an established one, Shilov’s masterpiece is a step by step blueprint for success to literally landing your dream design job. Starting right from understanding the role, through navigating the design interview process till you ship your first project as a product designer; the book guides you through the ‘what’, ‘why,’ and ‘how’ of the journey. With abundant resources, frameworks, and anecdotes, Shilov distills his experience and expertise in an easy-to-consume format that’ll have you taking a lot of notes for your next play. An excellent read whether you have or have not landed your dream job!
Aniruddha Kadam (Product Design Manager, LinkedIn)

Table of Contents

Part I
The Modern Product Designer
Defining Your Ideal Role
Mapping Your Design Futures
Part II
Taking Action and Finding Opportunities
Building Your Portfolio
Applying for Roles
Networking Authentically
Part III
Preparing for Design Interviews
Final Interview Preparation
Presenting Your Portfolio: Crafting a Compelling Story
Portfolio Presentation: Public Speaking Tips
Behavioral Design Interviews
Part IV
Acing Design Exercises
Real-World Take-Home Design Exercise Solution
Acing the App Critique
App Critique in Action
Whiteboard Challenge
Whiteboarding Remotely
Part V
After the Interviews
Post-Interview Retro
Learning From Rejection
What to Do When You Get the Offer
Breaking Down Your Design Job Offer
Negotiating Compensation
Leaving Your Job on a High Note
Starting Your Job Strong
Land Well and Own Your Career
Appendix: Resources

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