You’re reading an excerpt of Land Your Dream Design Job, a book by Dan Shilov. Filled with hard-won, personal insights, it is a comprehensive guide to landing a product design role in a startup, agency, or tech company, and covers the entire design interview process from beginning to end, for experienced and aspriring designers. Purchase the book to support the author and the ad-free Holloway reading experience. You get instant digital access, commentary and future updates, and a high-quality PDF download.

By the end of this phase, you’ll be a trustworthy, well-versed insider who’s up to speed on process, team, and the inner workings of the organization. Your challenge will be to keep this momentum going.

Key objectives for this phase:

  • Become efficient.

  • Amplify impact.

  • Reflect on your onboarding.

Become Efficient and Amplify Impact

As you’re working on projects and collaborating with your team and other teams, you’ll start to understand the best way to communicate (maybe it’s Slack or informal desk chats) and when to share the work. Continue finding, noting, and removing barriers that slow you (and the team) down.

  • Beyond efficiency, look to be effective. To make an impact, you’ll need to uncover the spirit of the intent (the true business need and the customer value), consistently deliver on the work, and amplify impact across the entire organization. Proper problem framing and understanding the full context of the situation will be key.

  • Learn company priorities. How far does the company plan? How does the organization react to bugs? By documenting and bringing up issues, you can get a better sense of how the company makes decisions, which in turn will help you properly frame your ideas.

  • Build allies. Lastly, don’t forget to continue building your relationships. Whether it’s informal coffee chats with your peers or skip-level meetings with your manager’s manager, understanding the struggles they’re facing and helping them will make you more successful.

Reflecting on Your Onboarding

As your third phase nears the end, do a final reflection:

  • How do you feel?

  • What went well?

  • What didn’t work as well as you expected?

Don’t forget to give onboarding feedback and help set the next designer up for success. This will make everyone’s experience so much better. Good luck on your first days on the job and beyond!

Additional Resources

If you’re interested in learning more, take a look at The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter by Michael Watkins. It was the original inspiration for this section and covers onboarding in depth. While it generally gives advice to set up managers for success when transitioning, many of the strategies are useful for individual contributors as well.

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