editione1.0.2Updated February 27, 2023
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.
This book takes the approach of covering the product design job search process from beginning to end. It’s meant to be your guide throughout the process, from when you first start thinking about where you want to go all the way to how you can create your new job and get up to speed quickly—and it’s chock-full of tips in-between.
You don’t have to read the book from cover to cover. In fact I encourage you to skip around. Go to the sections that are the most relevant to you now or where you need the most help.
Part I: The Modern Product Designer. Before firing up that portfolio, it helps to first understand who you are as a designer. We’ll look into the skills and traits of today’s product designers. We’ll also do a detailed breakdown of key job characteristics you should consider for your next role. By defining your ideal role upfront, you’ll be able to tailor your application thus increasing your chances of landing the dream job.
Part II: Taking Action and Finding Opportunities. We’ll build on the previous section by uncovering your superpowers, which will lay the groundwork for your pitch. You’ll use your pitch across various channels to communicate your unique competitive advantage as a designer. I’ll show you how you can tailor your portfolio to practically speak to your strengths. Lastly, we’ll cover several strategies for how to apply to roles.
Part III: Preparing for Design Interviews. You’ll get to know how to speak the language of people you’ll be interviewing with, whether it’s engineers, researchers, or product managers. By knowing what to expect, you’ll be able to interview confidently. Lastly, you’ll learn how to use storytelling and public speaking techniques to make your portfolio presentation stand out.
Part IV: Acing Design Exercises. Design interviews are sometimes known for their notorious exercises: the app critique, the whiteboard challenge, and the take-home assignment. Many have stumped an experienced designer. But fear not! In this section, we’ll cover everything you need to know about them. Aside from sharing frameworks that will help you solve any challenge in your path I’ve also included detailed solutions and walkthroughs.
Part V: After the Interviews. No design process is complete without feedback, and interviewing is no exception. In this part, we’ll cover the actions you should take after an interview to improve your performance. We’ll also consider strategies for how to deal with setbacks. If you received an offer, you’ll find advice on navigating negotiation, getting insider info, and helping you navigate the transition to your next role.
Good luck and enjoy the journey—you got this!
Product designer. UX designer. UI/UX designer. Interaction designer. Experience designer. There are just some of the many titles designers call themselves these days. But look deeper and you’ll quickly realize that one company’s product designer is very different from another’s. Before diving into titles, it helps to step back and start by asking yourself:
What type of designer are you?
What are your strengths and what are your growth areas?