Do You Know What Employers Want?
To get the job you want, you need to do your homework. Take some time to learn about the firm you are applying to. Of course, you want to get as much information as you can about their current capabilities, areas of focus or specialty, roster of clients, recent projects, and any plans for expansion in the near future. Beyond that, though, try to get some inside information about the workplace culture, day-to-day operations, and what the leadership—particularly whoever the hiring manager is for this position—is looking for in a candidate. What you might think is a good fit may not be what they have in mind.
I often find with the candidates I coach, especially those looking to make a career change, that certain experience or skills they have that they think are valuable to their next employer in fact are not. Many designers consider themselves “generalists” and believe that all design is essentially the same. They just need to get up to speed on the particulars of a new specialty and they are ready to execute. Probably that was never completely true, and it is even less so nowadays. Areas like healthcare and hospitality are evolving so fast, even seasoned practitioners are having difficulty keeping up or staying ahead of their clients. Even in residential, there is a significant difference these days between high-end projects and mid-range projects.
So when a candidate tells me they have the requirements for a mid- or senior level designer position in, say, hospitality or retail, because they have 20 years of experience, but about 90 percent of that is in residential, I have to coax them back to reality. Or, when a candidate feels they are qualified to manage a team of designers in a mid-size firm because they ran a small business with a design assistant and an office manager, I have to explain why that just isn’t so. It isn’t that they do not have useful skills and experience. It’s just that they need to understand better the business environment they want to transition into.
If you’re thinking of making a career move, contact me and let’s discuss your plans and aspirations. I know what employers are looking for and can help you find a good fit.