Listen to the Episode
Discover real-life career journeys and practical insights from Career Strategy Lab Alumni on navigating the job market. Laura, Malavika, and Carlos share how they overcame challenges and transformed their job search experiences after participating in the Career Strategy Lab.
From doubts and rejections to securing positions at major companies, their stories offer valuable lessons. Learn the impact of mentorship on job applications and how defining specific job search criteria led to success. Find out how the program’s mindset focus built confidence and resilience in facing job rejections. Gain insights into leveraging contracts, refining portfolios, and presenting oneself effectively. Explore the shift in mindset that propelled these alumni to approach the job market with a new perspective.
Whether you are struggling to land interviews or seeking opportunities aligned with your career goals, this episode offers practical strategies and inspiration to fuel your career journey.
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Discussion Questions About The Episode
- How have Laura, Malavika, and Carlos's experiences with the Career Strategy Lab program highlighted the importance of mindset and self-confidence in shaping their career journeys and job search experiences?
- In what ways did the guests' experiences of struggling with the job search process before enrolling in Career Strategy Lab resonate with your own challenges or hesitations? How have their stories inspired you to approach career transitions and opportunities differently?
- Reflecting on the discussion about the value of contracting positions and the potential benefits they offer, how do you perceive contract roles as a stepping stone or long-term career move in the field of user experience (UX) or your respective industry?
- Consider the advice shared about not striving for perfection in resumes and portfolios. How does this shift in mindset from perfecting to "good enough" materials resonate with your own approach to presenting your work and experience? How have you found success in embracing this approach in your own career journey?
- Share your thoughts on the importance of mentorship, networking, and self-promotion in career advancement, as highlighted by Laura, Malavika, and Carlos's experiences. How has their emphasis on understanding and leveraging one's diverse skill set and experience influenced your perspective on presenting yourself and navigating the job market?
Episode Notes & Links
Sarah Doody [00:00:00]: Hey there. I’m Sarah Doody, host of the Career Strategy Podcast. Many professionals are seeking more impact, flexibility, growth, and let’s face it, getting paid what they’re worth. But how do you unlock this in your career? It starts with strategy. I’m taking you behind the scenes of what’s working for my career coaching clients. You’ll hear strategies news and actionable, yet sometimes against the grain, advice for how you can be the CEO of your career and stop on Mondays. Ready to level up your career? Let’s get after it. Hey.
Sarah Doody [00:00:39]: So just for everyone that is joining. We do these open houses and q and a’s with alumni from Career Strategy Lab from time to time, and This is you really your opportunity to ask them questions, hear their stories, how What we do inside Career Strategy Lab impacted them personally and obviously professionally too. Alright. So we have Carlos now, we have Laura, and we have Malavika. Awesome. I wanna just jump right in here. And just to get started, I’d love just to go around for our 3 panelists and just tell us a little bit about what stage you’re at in your career. What you’re doing right now, you can name the company or not.
Sarah Doody [00:01:25]: It’s totally up to you. And then We will continue with our discussion. Alright. Who, okay, who wants to go first? How about Laura? Because I see you.
Laura Acosta [00:01:35]: K. So I’m Laura Acosta. I’m based in Miami, and I’m a product designer. I am considered climber because I have, like, 6 years of experience. I’m currently working as a product designer at Cisco.
Sarah Doody [00:01:49]: Awesome. How long have you been at Cisco, by the way? Remind me.
Laura Acosta [00:01:51]: It’s almost 6 months now.
Sarah Doody [00:01:53]: Yeah. Okay. Next up, Malavika, why don’t you go?
Malavika Oak [00:01:57]: Hi, everyone. I’m Malavika Oak. I’m a senior UX designer. I just passed out of CSL and joined HealthEquity. This is my 2nd week there.
Sarah Doody [00:02:08]: 2nd week. I love these stories. Okay. And then, Carlos, give us a little spiel on who you are, what to do, and if you want, tell us company. If not, no pressure.
Carlos [00:02:19]: Yeah. Hi, everybody. I’m Carlos. I’m a product designer a at Covenant ICE, and I’ve been there for 3 weeks. I just recently Made the switch. I would still consider myself a climber as I go. I’m I’m not right now, I’m not particularly looking for a new role, but, like, I’m Sure. I’m still gonna be looking to climb and and grow my career further, so that that’s where I’m at.
Sarah Doody [00:02:41]: Yeah. Awesome. So Everyone is really within 6 or less months of their new role, which is really awesome. And I wanna kinda go back in time a little bit, and maybe we can talk through initially thinking back to where you were in your job search or your career journey. When you joined Career Strategy Lab and kind of one of the big changes that you noticed between when you joined and really now. We don’t have to keep going in the same order. So if any of you are, like, Really excited to share. Feel free to just jump right in.
Carlos [00:03:20]: I can begin. I joined CSL last year in December. I I was happy in my job. I I didn’t mind it, but I Still knew that I was meant for something bigger, and then I wanna be work at a big a bigger concept. And I applied to other Thanks. I have my resume. I have my portfolio, and I just apply, and I just kept getting rejected. And I knew I was missing something.
Carlos [00:03:41]: I didn’t know what it was, but I knew I was missing something. I thought my portfolio was good. I think my resume was good, but still not even getting just a first callback. So I knew something was wrong, and CSL Seemed like the best approach to understand what was missing and then correct and bridge the gap from what was missing to a now more robust and complete application or career documents, a resume portfolio cover letter and so forth. Well, that’s why I joined last year and fast forward a year, and Happy to report that the stories changed, and I got callbacks. I get interviews, and I, last day, finally got a role, which I’m very happy with.
Sarah Doody [00:04:19]: Carlos, we have a question from Lisa. Lisa wants to know, you know, you said you thought something was missing before joining Career Strategy Lab, and then Lisa wants to know what did you realize was missing after joining Career Strategy Lab?
Carlos [00:04:33]: I well, first, I think my portfolio wasn’t really telling a cohesive story. It was just a bunch of screens put together and just, You know, output of the work that I did, but it didn’t really tell a story on how I solved a problem for that particular problem. Joining helped me frame that. All of this work that I’ve done help me frame it into a here’s a pro here’s what I did, and here’s the result of that problem. And I did that with all of my different use case studies on my portfolio. And for me, that was, like, one of the key missing things is that the portfolio telling that story, but also the resume. I think my resume was okay. I had a lot of, like, wins and out that happened out of the work, but it wasn’t properly structured.
Carlos [00:05:18]: It was formatted incorrectly. Not incorrectly, but it wasn’t properly formatted. And now I have encountered a better way to frame it to, you know, to frame it and to format it. So couple of things that we’re missing.
Sarah Doody [00:05:30]: Gotcha. Malavika, do you wanna go?
Malavika Oak [00:05:32]: Yeah. I can go now.
Laura Acosta [00:05:33]: Well, okay. In in my case, I followed, like, the process and other kind of, like what other students follow the program for a while before deciding, like, I’m gonna do it or not. In a moment when I decided to join, my situation was kind of a little bit different because I was employed at that time, but I wasn’t happy with the role I had because multiple reasons I I didn’t feel I I fit in the company. And then I was kind of casually looking. And One thing that I had in common with Carlos is, like, in that process, I, applied to multiple roles, and I I I even got some interviews. And the thing is, like, I remember, as an example, when I interview with the hiring manager of Western Union, he told me, why are you applying to this role? Why are you not you are not applying as an example. You will be a great candidate in health care or cybersecurity because you don’t have any experience in Flintech. Why are you applying? Why are you interested in this position if it’s not? We don’t see the fit for you.
Laura Acosta [00:06:36]: And I feel kind of disappointed at that point Because I I thought, well, I could do it well here why he’s kind of ruling me out even before I kind of try me and see if I’m a good designer for his company or not. And then when I joined, Korea Shariah Lab, I understood, like, how important is is that? Like, you kind of, like, define exactly what you 1, and kind of, like, instead of being applied to every single role that match, let’s say, your year experience or something else, Like, kind of define exactly the industry where you wanna be and be more and more specific in your search. And that’s that’s Something that for me was super helpful in landing my my new job. Like, that’s apart from all all that Carlos also like, refining my portfolio, my resume, but for me, that was kind of, like, the most important part in in in the Hintact process.
Sarah Doody [00:07:24]: Awesome. And, Laura, you said you’d applied to a lot, and I forget if you said 100. It might have been before. Do you remember approximately how many jobs you ended up applying to before getting this job.
Laura Acosta [00:07:37]: I I mean, it was well, before career, Charlie, I probably applied to 50, 60 role. After I started up, I honestly just applied to less than 10 jobs, and I landed 5 interview I I mean, I I got 5 interviews, And I learned, like, I I got the this offer. So, yeah, it was, like, comparing before and after was totally different.
Sarah Doody [00:08:00]: Yeah. Awesome. Okay. Malavika.
Malavika Oak [00:08:02]: Okay. So I was looking for a job for 2 long years, and until a point came where I Decided to find a mentor for myself, and I just started with the clean Google search, and that’s where I found website and all the program that she has put together. So when I slightly dig into it a little more, looked at her YouTube videos, I found a really a really good value in what she was offering, so that’s how I signed up. And then from then onwards, it was a really different experience than how I was trying to navigate the job market, And it kept getting worse after I signed up. 1st of all, starting with I I created a different ATS and a human friendly resume, so that was A major changing point. And after that, it was a lot of confidence building in all the mindset calls and the weekly Strategy calls. So those were very helpful as well. There were presentation demo days where you can take a project and presented to the entire team within CSL, which turned out to be really great feedback before I appeared in interviews, so that was Another, helpful thing.
Malavika Oak [00:09:17]: I think overall, apart from the framework that was offered, I think the confidence building was a major turning point because you I saw a lot of people in the same boat versus When I was just job searching by myself, I thought I was the only one who was not landing an offer, but All that was really, really helpful. The job that I applied to and got an offer had 800 plus applications to it, And CSL gave me that confidence to go and make it 801 with my application, And I think it was worth it. So yeah.
Sarah Doody [00:09:58]: Yeah. And you you went from 800 to then do you remember how many rounds of interviews it was?
Malavika Oak [00:10:04]: I think it was actually 6 rounds and a fine a final interview with the SVP, like, beyond the hiring manager.
Sarah Doody [00:10:12]: Yeah. Yeah. And it all worked out.
Malavika Oak [00:10:14]: It all worked out. Yes.
Sarah Doody [00:10:17]: You Malavika, you touched on something and kinda gets to my next question here, so maybe we can expand upon this with everyone, but you talked about confidence. And, you know, we heard from all of you the ways that you were able to Improve your resume. Prove your portfolio. Stop applying to hundreds of jobs. It’s like all these very tactical things, but I wanted to kind of move on to thinking about how your mindset changed or kind of nondeliverable type benefits of Career Strategy Lab. So does anyone wanna jump in and or, Ramelavik, if you wanna say anything else, that’s great too. But I think That’s a big part of it. It’s not just about following the, you know, checklist of what to do for your resume, for example.
Sarah Doody [00:11:03]: There is so much more as you alluded to.
Malavika Oak [00:11:05]: It definitely was because when you have a mentor telling you that, okay. Hey. The and the mentor that has seen a lot Throughout their experience, that makes a difference that someone is telling you that, hey. This has worked for 100 other people and give it a chance. It might work for you. That I think gives the confidence.
Sarah Doody [00:11:24]: Carlos or Laura, thinking about kinda your journey and what your mind that was, you know, before joining Kroger strategy lab to now. Does anything else jump out to you that you wanna share?
Carlos [00:11:35]: Laura, I’ll let you go. I have some thoughts, but I’ll let you go.
Laura Acosta [00:11:39]: No. In my case, it was, also, confidence. Like, I I didn’t have the the confidence, like, to to know Who I was as a designer, like, I even when I when I was in the, like, mid level career kind of, I still felt like a lot of intention. Like, I’m good enough, like, with all those applications because anytime you see a role, like, there are hundreds of applications for that role, and we know it’s Just 1 single position you said, like, how I’m gonna do it? How I’m gonna stand out? And one of the things I think, I learned in with this program was, Like, how to stand out, how you can make your application unique enough to be noticed by by the hiring managers, and, like, what you can do. Like, there’s always something You can do to to improve. And one more thing is, like, you see so much negativity out there. Like, say, like, oh, the market’s really bad. Everybody is laying off, like, designers and this and that.
Laura Acosta [00:12:35]: And, like, that this this program changed my entire perspective because I I felt like it was It was different. It’s not that bad if people make it look sometimes. And there are industries which still are hiring where you can have opportunities and when you can, like, We which companies will still have, like, the design maturity of any other company inside of Silicon Valley. So I it was just a a mindset shift. Like, I I think the the main benefit I I got with this program
Sarah Doody [00:13:03]: Carlos, what do you have to say?
Carlos [00:13:05]: I’ll jump on that and add that. I think the there was a clear moment During my time at CSL, where I I applied to different roles, and whenever I got rejection letters, I wasn’t as concerned Because I knew that I was presenting myself in the best possible manner. And at that point, I knew that look. If they don’t if they don’t want me When I’m presenting my best, then it’s probably not a good fit. Right? Then we’re probably looking for something else, so there might be other reasons. I didn’t take it as personal because I knew that I was just coming in with the best that I felt, like, my best. They just did my best resume that I can have. This is the best portfolio I can have.
Carlos [00:13:38]: And that mindset Of, like, gaining that rejection say and then, you know, knowing knowing that you’re the best and there’s probably not a fit, then, you know, I let it go a lot easier. I was like, okay. Well, they they they probably don’t Don’t value the things that you bring to a table, and I I wouldn’t value. If they don’t value me, then why would I value them? So that mind mindset Change or shift from going to like, oh, man. I’m just I’m just not good enough. I’m getting rejected to I’m that good. But if it was if it’s not a fear, if it’s not mutually beneficial, then that’s fine. And that that was a big mindset shift for me.
Carlos [00:14:12]: I do wanna say, though, that it as a caveat, isn’t it not always felt like this. There were some rejections that I took a lot harder because those were companies that I really wanna work for. And when I got the rejection, it was it was also, a downer. It it really pulled me down, but that’s I mean, that’s part of the process. It’s not always the there was also a lot of doubts and a lot of doubt throughout this process. I wanna make sure that, yes, I had a lot of confidence. Yes. I knew exactly that.
Carlos [00:14:39]: I knew that my things were on the right spot, but there are some times where really the rejection just hit hard, and that’s just nature of it. So I I I wanna make sure that I don’t pay in this picture, but everything is perfect. There were moments where I doubted myself. However, going back to to that, I doubted myself, but then I had an an opportunity to interview and to kind of Talk about my experience and show my portfolio, and I would say to myself, like, this is so good. Like, this is this is exactly the way I wanna tell my story. So then I was back up on a good on a good note because I go back to I know what I’m talking about. I know this is The way we solve things, and I was just so sure and so confident about the things that I did that, eventually, that was the thing that put me up Higher put me lift me up when I was down. So all in all, it’s all good.
Sarah Doody [00:15:27]: And, Carlos, you you recently posted something in the community because As an alumni, you still have access to certain zones in the community, let’s say. But one of the things that really stood out to me about your post was, You know, the idea of sometimes we have these, like, dream companies in our head and dream jobs we want, and, you know, you were, like, more than pleasantly surprised with how things are going in your current company. Do you wanna share more about that?
Carlos [00:15:59]: Yeah. I’ll I’ll share the full story. So I my main goal join joining at CSL is because I wanted a job at Webflow. It’s a big tech company. And, eventually, I applied a couple times, and I didn’t get it. And no matter how good my resume is, no matter how go good my portfolio is, there were some still there were some experience I was lacking, And I wasn’t gonna get it just by improving the resume. So I started looking outside of Webflow and just looking at other things, other SaaS companies that may have opportunities, And I figured, okay. Well, I’m just gonna take this route and see how it turns out.
Carlos [00:16:30]: And I ended up applying to the they’re a SaaS platform as well, And I figured, okay. Well, this is they apply. And, you know, the interview started happening, and I felt very good rapport with them throughout the interview. And when I got when I joined, it was the onboarding and the team culture. Everything has been so great about them that it made me even, Like, reframe the question. Like, do I wanna join? Do I still wanna join Webflow? Eventually, but I wanna be here for a while. Like, I don’t now that to be my end goal. Maybe down the the line, but now I’m, like, turn around and say, I wanna be here for a while because this team is great.
Carlos [00:17:03]: This culture is great. There’s there’s nothing that I can ask more, So I’m just gonna reframe that. So I eventually found a path in companies that you wouldn’t even think of, And you just kind of you know, I was pleasantly surprised. So this is to say and I wanted to share that with the to with the team or with the CS sellers to say, even if it’s not your Prime option. You should consider all the things that are out there, all the companies. Read about them. Win read about the co property culture. If you get interviews, fill a report With the team manager, with the team members, and if there’s if there’s a spark, then you should probably follow it.
Carlos [00:17:37]: It’s not all the high end Fan companies that we wanna work with, there are hidden gems out there that are smaller companies that you may even be more happy with. So don’t don’t let just the facts be your angle. Open up your your your options.
Sarah Doody [00:17:52]: Another thing that as you were speaking, I was reminded of is It’s not just about, you know, being open to companies you’ve never heard of, for example. It can also be being open to contract roles. Sometimes people kinda look down upon contract roles, etcetera. But quite often, we have people end up getting contract roles, and then, you know, a couple of months later, being offered an extension of that contract or they accelerate a full time position, etcetera. So this idea of really having an open mind about where you may end up, as you heard from Carlos, like, can really like like you said, lead you to some gems of companies and cultures you I’ve literally never heard of though. Yeah.
Speaker E [00:18:39]: I know.
Carlos [00:18:39]: I know.
Sarah Doody [00:18:39]: I know. Laura. Anything else to add?
Carlos [00:18:41]: Just yeah. I did apply to contract roles. I was open to contract roles because they eventually gave me I figured they will eventually give me the that I need. So even if contract I looked at contracts. Nothing came out of it, but, I mean, I I didn’t close that opportunity. Even free I mean, I thought I thought freelancer may even do The like, if I wanted experience, contract, freelancing, anything that will give me that experience, I consider as an option.
Laura Acosta [00:19:03]: Yeah. In In my case, that’s a a perfect example because that’s how I got into Cisco. Like, I started as a contractor And then, a few months after, they offer me a full time position. And I feel like I am not saying that the selection process is not Kind of like hard enough. It’s still like a bunch of interviews, and they kind of judge very well all their materials. But I feel like compared with the kind of selection process I know they have for full time positions, it was a little bit harder. And then you have the time to prove yourself, Like, how you can contribute to your company, and it’s even, like, better than any kind of exercise, a whiteboard exercise you can do because it’s like real work You are doing inside a company, and they know if you are a good fit or not. And I I even feel like, back to what I said at the beginning with Getting into an industry which is really the industry, like, the perfect match for you that I’ve experienced as well with other contractors who, went with me, with me at the same time in Cisco, and some of them were laid off afterwards because, an example, they were good with dashboards or they were Good UI designers, but their experience was too broad.
Laura Acosta [00:20:18]: They just need it for a specific thing, and then they terminated their contract. And I think Then one of the things that had differentiate me from from other people that unfortunately didn’t make it, long enough, It’s that kind of experience. Like, stick to the experience that it’s really, really relevant, where you can make that kind of contribution because you have Not only your your designer skills, but maybe the the industry knowledge or other things that make you unique and make you and hours and say before a start of your role.
Sarah Doody [00:20:49]: Okay. I wanna move on, and I wonder if each of you could share a piece of advice or tip for someone, you know, if they were to join Career Strategy Lab. In hindsight, what tip, or piece of encouragement or something would you give give them if if they were in your shoes, you know, six, 7, 4 months ago.
Laura Acosta [00:21:12]: Oh, sorry. That’s that’s also for me?
Sarah Doody [00:21:14]: Yeah. If you wanna go first, that’d be great.
Laura Acosta [00:21:16]: No. I I don’t wanna like, I I want the other guys also to contribute. So yeah.
Sarah Doody [00:21:20]: Alright. Carlos, do you have any thoughts on that?
Carlos [00:21:23]: Advise that all, give the first thing that comes to mind is be be patient with yourself. I I think I and I’m I’m talking to me personally. I I’m set myself this very audacious goals of things that I wanna accomplish, And then when I don’t hit them, it it just it bears it bears on me that I’m not hitting those goals, and I’m not very patient with myself. I’m too hard on myself. And I think that if I was to give myself advice, I’ll be be more patient. You know? Keep on doing the work Slowly but surely. Doesn’t and nothing has to be done overnight. Just keep putting the work slowly but surely.
Carlos [00:21:59]: You know? Keep a positive outlook and be patient. That will be the first thing.
Sarah Doody [00:22:03]: Another subtext to that, I think, is don’t try and focus on making everything perfect, like the perfect resume and the perfect portfolio and the perfect everything because quite often, we see posts in the community, and forgive me if 1 of you made one of these posts because they all get mixed up in my head. But routinely, we see comments like, I hadn’t finished the resume module yet, and I applied with my good enough resume, and then I got an interview. Or you could substitute, I finished my good enough portfolio. I hadn’t finished updating my LinkedIn profile fully, and I got an interview, and they responded to my emails. So That’s another kind of thing that goes in line with what Carlos was saying also. Laura or, Malavika. Do Do you have anything, Laura?
Laura Acosta [00:22:58]: Well, in my case, again, I’m a perfect example of that because when when I got my interview, I just had, like, a complete case study with the format that TSO provides, which, I mean, I I’m not saying it was just That case, I honestly had a very old portfolio my portfolio as well, but it wasn’t relevant at all for a role. I applied with that portfolio, so it kind of, like, Contribute a little bit, but what I presented during my interviews, presentations, and all that was that case, Which was the one the one that was relevant for a goal. And it was same thing, like, Carlos mentioned at the beginning. Like, the The the people in front of that portfolio notice, like, that case sorry. Notice, like, how well structured it was. It stand out, like and and it was something that it didn’t happen to me before. Like, I I I went through a lot of case studies in the past. It was like it was good material.
Laura Acosta [00:23:57]: We’re very complex cases, but the way I formatted it, it was kind of, like, too complex, too much text, this and that. And at the end of the day, it was very hard, like, to to notice, like, what my contribution or what I’ve done in those cases. So that that was something that was Very noticeable. Like, it was a change, a total change. And the other thing I wanna add just really quick, it’s to be consistent and to Work a little bit every day. Sometimes we’re busy. We have other things going on, but just keep being like that Persistent of dedicating 1 hour, 2 hours, like, as much as, as much time as you have every day to Any of your material to make it making them been better, I think it’s it’s it’s very important because at the end of the day, it’s it’s It’s something that, will help you a lot when you need the job. Even if you’re not looking for a job, at that time, having your things ready in the time you need it, it’s It’s very important,
Carlos [00:24:55]: Moe, and I feel like I need to add 3 things to that. The first to to what Lara just said. The first one is, yes, having those things ready. I can say that Because of CSL, I now have a framework on how to start collecting things that will go into a future case study. So, like, now instead of waiting for the thing to happen and, like, 3 years from now, I wanna pull up some work that I did, I’m starting to document All these things, even at this company, all the things that I’m doing on a on a just drop drop of a slide sheet or a slide PowerPoint, and just putting everything together. And, You know, with the time adding more here and there, just slowly but surely building out those case studies as I go through them. Just because later down the road, 3 years now when I need them, I’m just gonna have everything kind of compiled together from the moment from, like, the the time I was doing the work, so I have a lot more fresher Memory of the things that are capturing it. So because of CSO, I learned this framework of, like, I’m just gonna capture thing.
Carlos [00:25:49]: This thing, this is important. This is important. This is not important. Capture things and then having it ready for when I need the case study, then everything’s there. It’s just a manual formatting and making it pretty. But, yeah, documenting that. The the other thing is to to Alaro saying, yeah, even if it’s an hour a day, but if that even seems too much, one thing that I find helps me is, like, Telling myself, I’m just gonna do 10 minutes of work. It’s midnight.
Carlos [00:26:11]: I’m very tired, but I’m just gonna do a quick 10 minutes of Changing this paragraph. As soon as I start, it’ll go an hour, and I haven’t I had I couldn’t stop. Because but just framing myself, I’m just gonna do 10 minutes. Those 10 minutes quickly turn into a full hour of just tweaking and doing things. So tell yourself that maybe just do 10 minutes. And even if you just do the 10 minutes, then that’s fine. But You will find you’ll find very frequently that those 10 minutes often easily become 30, and that’s a lot more powerful than saying you’re gonna do an hour and not do anything at because it sounds overwhelming. So do it in it.
Sarah Doody [00:26:46]: And, Carlos, you know, you said and, Malavika, you said this too, or I I think it was Laura. But, anyway, we’ve all seen this theme of the value and now having this framework to be able to document things you’re doing now in your job as you do them so you’re ready in the future. But The the other possibility is that in 4 months, you have, like, a performance review or something, and you could go to that performance review with a couple of case studies, and that’s gonna look awesome. You know? So it’s not just about documenting for the purposes of Your next job search 2 years from now or something, it could also help you, you know, advance at your current companies too. So I love hearing that you’re, you know, using this just to kind of make very rough drafts. So like you said, Carlos, when you have time, You can go back and kinda fill in the the details so they’re ready to go.
Carlos [00:27:43]: Yeah. And a lot to add that I think I think accidentally well, I was last year, while I was doing, The coaches, Erin, and all the other coaches helped me build a kinda like a self promoting slide for my for my current company where I was looking to get promoted, And I was trying to establish this idea of growth design in my current company and to get a promotion, and this is something that the coach is even helping me on, Which is has nothing to do with getting a job or somewhere else, but it has everything to do with how do how can I move up in my current job? And this is also something that they helped me, and wasn’t ready for this, but the opportunity arose, and I like, yeah. And they helped me too. So it also works for that.
Sarah Doody [00:28:23]: Alright. Any other advice we wanna give anyone if they were to Jump in and be in your shoes.
Malavika Oak [00:28:28]: I can say that be confident in what you bring to the table. I coming from a startup background, I had a little of everything in my portfolio like research, visual design, interaction design, and there were hiring managers saying that, hey. You don’t Focus on one thing at all. So we don’t want you kind of a tone. But you eventually will find the right team, which is looking for the exact experience that you have. So wait for it and describe it as much as possible in your Projects or in your resume, if possible, cover letter, and I’m sure you’ll find what fits you. Right?
Sarah Doody [00:29:05]: Awesome. Okay. I thought of another question. So I’m curious, and you may not be able to remember this, so feel free to pass. But If you can remember back to when you were deciding if you’re gonna join CSL or not, what were some of the hesitations or fears You had and, you know, what did you wish what do you wish you would have been able to tell yourself, you know, 6 months ago, let’s say, concerning those hesitations, fears, etcetera. Does anything jump out when I when I say that?
Carlos [00:29:37]: I have, but I I, again, I wanna lay the horse talk. Okay.
Laura Acosta [00:29:40]: So, yeah, I I my main fear was, like, doing all this and no landing a job, which, we only know, Always know it’s it’s a possibility that you might end up not getting a job at all. Or but I I always say like, okay. Even if I don’t land the job I want or any job at all and I can I have to say where I’m currently at, I still feel I I know I needed this kind of A help because it’s it’s like I I always say, like, we need a mentor as part of our career? And probably when I started out, like, I didn’t have that Kind of mentorship in UX I needed, so I felt like I didn’t got enough feedback on my resume, enough feedback on my case studies, and I was kinda why I’m, like, doing what I thought was okay while you’re seeing and watching YouTube right here and there, but not like that professional feedback. So that was something That was kind of the most important part for me, getting that material that was, like, very good or that I feel happy about. And even if I didn’t land that job, I still know I it could be good enough for for years to come. And the other thing is, like, where we, honestly, we always had a fear, like, the value, like, the monetary value of what I’m getting With this program, it’s like, I’m gonna I’m gonna make an investment. Like, is this investment good enough? Honestly, everybody think that at some point. And that was kind of the hesitation because I again, like, we do some kind of, like, benchmarking or many coaching programs.
Laura Acosta [00:31:12]: There are many coaches out there, let’s be honest, saying, like, I can help you. I can help you. And at the end of the day, some of them can. And there’s always that fear. And honestly, Yeah. And that that that’s I feel super happy with with all I achieved. For me, it was, like, very, very good. And and I think one of the main Things are that I appreciate more of this program, it’s the honesty.
Laura Acosta [00:31:34]: When you see something out there, when you see, like what you see on LinkedIn, what you see everywhere, It’s it’s real. Right? It’s it’s like it’s real people. It’s like it’s it’s us speaking of our experiences sharing what we what was our experience. It’s not someone faking things. Like, what’s my experience in other coaching programs? I’m not gonna mention, but It’s that kind of honesty behind, like, what you get is really bad. No one is promising you things that you are not gonna able to do or achieve. It’s very realistic, and I think, yeah, that’s that’s pretty much my fears and, how I kind of, like, overcame those fears After finishing the program or in the middle of the program.
Sarah Doody [00:32:16]: Yeah.
Malavika Oak [00:32:16]: Yeah. I can go next. I had similar fears, all of that, plus I was also looking at whether I should take up I was not I didn’t go to a university for UX. I pretty much learned things on the job, so I was Trying to figure out whether I take a short course or should I just work on myself. But when I came across the CSL program, I I kind of felt the connection that I knew I had the work done. It is just not well presented, so that was a great I thought it was a great find for me that someone is going to mentor me on how to present myself, and I thought that was what I needed more than a new project in my portfolio. That’s where I come from.
Sarah Doody [00:33:00]: Awesome. Carl, the floor is yours.
Carlos [00:33:02]: I mean, I I don’t think I can add those concerns. Right. I I think all of those are the same concerns that I had. The investment is a it’s large considerably, but I thought to myself, look. I don’t I don’t ever regretted investing in myself. There’s always something that I can learn, improve. That’s 1. 2nd, What kind of connections I’m not am I going to make? Right? And within this course, I’ve already you know, I’ve we’re already connected with a handful of you on LinkedIn, and there’s A connection that’s ongoing, and there’s this sense of, community of everybody that’s been through CSL kinda helping each other out with portfolio reviews or mock interviews.
Carlos [00:33:39]: Just the networking itself, it’s it’s it’s very handy. There’s also other resources that are everlasting of On Inside CSL, like, a long list of hiring managers in different places. I think that’s very valuable. If you ever wanna reach out to someone of a place that looks interesting and they happen to be on that list, that’s super valuable. And so that that was my concern, but I I just reframe it as Even if I don’t get anything out, which is obviously a new job or a better role, I will still get a better way to present myself for the future and the networking opportunities of just meeting people that are in the same boat as me and just kinda work going through. Because you never know where their next opportunity is gonna come from. So that was my reasoning as to why I decided to put the make the investment.
Sarah Doody [00:34:27]: Awesome. Okay. I wanna go to a Few questions that I saw and Aaron kindly flagged for us, so let me find them. Alright. There is one about how Hemsini wanted to know the pace of the modules. Can you go faster or slower through the modules? Does everyone go at the same pace? Excellent question. So at a super high level, when you come into Career Strategy Lab, We have what we call sprints. Just like you do sprints at work, for example, we have sprints in Career Strategy Lab, and it’s things like, First off, you do the sprint to design your career road map, like a product road map for your career, and then we have sprints about Resume, portfolio, LinkedIn, all this stuff.
Sarah Doody [00:35:10]: You can go as fast or slow as you want so those through those sprints. So it’s not as though, you know, we say The resume sprint is going to take this many days, and that’s how the world works. Right? So if if because people join Career Strategy Lab, Some of them are not working right now, so they can treat this like a full time job and go through it much more quickly than someone else who has a full time job or other time constraints in their life. So, Hemsini, that’s how kind of the pacing works, but let us know if you have any other questions about that. Even though I said we’re not we’re gonna not get into the nitty gritty, that one’s an easy one to answer here and pretty generalized, and I see Malavika answered too. And then the other question
Carlos [00:36:00]: The other
Sarah Doody [00:36:01]: Yeah. Go ahead.
Speaker E [00:36:02]: Yeah. I was gonna say the other one’s really geared both towards contract work, which we kind of covered before, and then also being a switcher. And so I know most of you are climbers. There’s some element of switching from one thing to another, but just wondering from this person if we can talk a little bit more about how CSL can support switchers as well as climbers.
Sarah Doody [00:36:20]: Yeah. I can I can start the conversation? So for switchers, like, many of the challenges are, number 1, around how do I frame my previous experience in a way that’s going to demonstrate I have, for example, UX research experience even though I haven’t had the job title user research in the past, but I’ve actually been doing research all along or in some degree. That’s a big thing that we see in climbers or switchers, really. Looking at what you wanna do in the future, examining what you’ve done in the past, and really pulling out the evidence, or examples regardless of whether or not you had that exact formal job title in previous roles. That’s a big, big thing we do with switchers, and really solidifying that story between your past and your future. Now I forget if there was a 2nd part to that question. Was there, Erin?
Speaker E [00:37:23]: The other part was the contracting part, but we kind of covered that before and said that, like, yes, People end up with contracting positions. A lot of times it turns into a career opportunity, and we also have people who have stacked contracts. Yeah. Like, recently, we had someone make a post that was just talking about, like, the money she’s made over the years salaried, and then how right now with just a couple UX contracts, She’s making 300 k. And so now she’s reconsidering, like, do I want the job, or do I want this, like, flexibility? And Just kind of having more options and the freedom that comes with that.
Sarah Doody [00:37:54]: Yeah. Because contracts are, you know, frowned it frowned down upon sometimes because I think I think the root concern is people worry about the perception of having multiple, say, 2, 3, 4 month contracts on your resume that it will look bad or something like that, but I think you really have to think of, a, yourself first and not worry about what someone’s gonna think, but, also, I think you really need to look at this from, like, the a financial ROI perspective. Like, if you If you’re in a job search and you don’t take a contract, that means then you’re going to continue with either no salary or your current salary, which is probably lower than what your next job would be. So in thinking about, should I take a contract or not? Those are some things we really challenge people to think of because the choices you make Can impact, you know, not just well, they can have big financial impact is what I’m trying to say. The risk pays off as we heard from So many people and there’s, like, 2 people that come to mind who posted they had done contracts, and then either they weren’t even told there was gonna be a open position come up in the future, or they knew it could potentially lead to a full time, but that timeline was accelerated. So You never know, but you won’t know unless you say yes to a contract.
Speaker E [00:39:21]: I think in a lot of ways, the contract thing is actually, like, more of a mindset thing when we When you can see how you can leverage it for yourself, which is the same thing we’re doing when someone says, you know, I have this boot camp experience or this volunteer experience, And they’re kind of discounting it where we’re like, wow. This is powerful, this thing that you did, and here’s how we can articulate that and create, like, the experience, for the person interviewing that they’re like, wow as well, but that’s really in the way that we’re communicating it. And sometimes we just have to process what happened too To then be able to share in a new way. So that’s, like, constantly happening, and I think that’s a really important thing that you then take that and can do that with anything going forward.
Sarah Doody [00:39:57]: And, Like, one one thing that really excites me about Career Strategy Lab, and I I need to do, like, a formal survey about this to alumni to get, you know, more tangible stories. But every now and then, we receive emails from people who say something along the lines of, I didn’t think of it at the time, But now that I had to make a presentation of user research findings, I was able to use that portfolio framework, for example, and create this awesome findings presentation from the research. Or same thing when it comes to even just writing in general, like the way we teach how to write, for example, resume bullet points and things like that. It’s not just about writing words for your resume. It’s really about learning these very timeless skills that you can Deploy once you are hired so you really stand out, you know, from your peers when you are in that job and maybe you do get promoted or you aren’t let go if there’s layoffs or something because you stand out as that person that could not only do the job, but you are awesome at communicating, which is a huge part of what we do in our wonderful and sometimes we weird world of user experience that we live in. So, yeah, I don’t know if I don’t know if any of you, Malavika, Laura, Carlos have any stories about that from your short times of your companies, but I’m gonna put it on my to do list of Little research survey to send out before the end of the year.
Carlos [00:41:34]: It’s funny you mentioned that because right now, I’m I’m actually creating my own onboarding plan, And a lot of that onboarding plan that I’m creating follows the structure that we’ve been working at CSL as far as, like, titling Styling different sections and just making, what is scan scannable and Mhmm. Scannable. So it’s it just follows the same rules and the same concepts, It’s just something that you just borrow or you just learn from CSL, but you end up using it all throughout. And it’s just it’s just a skill that It’s translatable in all the ways where you work. So
Sarah Doody [00:42:09]: Awesome. Alright. I see 1 more question. So, and Husseini wants to know, does the start of Career Strategy Lab coincide with the recruiting season for UX positions by any chance? You’re confused because we’re almost close to holiday season, so great question. And, you know, every time you log in to Dan, or other social media or read the news. It seems like there’s a new narrative of whether or not it’s a good time to be looking for a job or not. Right? Like, we heard about everyone get ready. There’s gonna be the September surge, and everyone’s hiring because it’s the end of the summer.
Sarah Doody [00:42:47]: And then at the end of September, it was like, well, that was the September slump, and there weren’t as many companies hiring. And then people think Hiring slows down around the holidays, and other people think, no. This is a great time because it’s a little quieter and there’s less applicants. So That’s a long way of saying, have seen, that we don’t really subscribe to the idea that there’s a certain more optimal time of year to be applying for jobs or not. The real strategy here is to be ready at all times so that if you do see an awesome role, someone, a recruiter, or one of your friends sends you a message on LinkedIn, and says they have a role that might be a good fit, that you are ready to apply, like, that day or within 48 hours, and you don’t need to rush around to try and redesign your resume or fix up your portfolio or shove that project into your portfolio that you procrastinated on adding. So that’s kinda how we see things, Cimini, but Let me know if you have any follow-up questions, but, yeah, we don’t we don’t really kinda decide when to let people into career strategy lab based on the hiring market. We limited the number of people in career strategy lab so that we can maintain, like, a really great experience. And so as spots open up, we let more people in.
Sarah Doody [00:44:11]: That’s how it works. Your time in the program starts the day you join. Let’s see. Sama said, CSL can help me migrate mitigate the risk of a layoff with my career and strategically build visibility. I love it, Sama. Thank you definitely to all the panelists. We really, really, really appreciate your time and your honesty. I was gonna ask if we should do one of these again because we kinda do them pop up style, but I’m toying with the idea of doing these kind of, I I don’t know, on a month or every other month basis.
Sarah Doody [00:44:44]: So thank you again to everyone, and We will talk to you later. Thanks for listening to the Career Strategy Podcast. Make sure to follow me, Sarah Doody, on on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or LinkedIn. If anything in today’s episode resonated with you, I’d love to hear about it. Tag me on social media or send me a DM. And lastly, if you found this episode helpful, I’d really appreciate it if you could share it with a friend or give us a quick rating on Spotify, or review on Apple Podcasts. Catch you later.