Refining Your Strategy

Ideas in this session come from Designing Your Life

Slides for this session

Learning Goals

  • Understand where you are in the job search process
  • Utilize prototyping to design 3 potential strategies
  • Collaborate and ideate on 1 strategy to execute

This Week’s Career Journal Prompts

  • Reflect on your accomplishments this mod and where you might be stuck
  • Prototype 3 potential strategies to execute for your job search
  • Create an action plan to put 1 strategy into motion

Review: Recognizing Where You Are

Review how you’ve spent your time in the last week. Where are you right now in regards to the deliverables for this mod? What habits are effective for you? What changes should you make in how you spend your time?

Action step: block out the time you need to complete your remaining deliverables this week. Think about what is possible in your schedule and what you need to prioritize.

Also, at this point in the module, it’s important to take stock of where you currently are. You’ve been working on creating lists of companies to target, writing you resume and cover letters, building your portfolio, incorporating outreach and networking into your strategy, and engaging in interview prep. This week’s first journal prompt asks you to reflect on what you’ve accomplished and learned as well as where you might be stuck. Reflect on these pieces to think about what next steps you can take to get unstuck and keep moving forward.

Refining Your Strategy: Prototyping

We’ve talked a lot about the different strategies you can utilize in your job search, and now is a good time to revisit them and refine them. Start by going back to your career vision. What does it look like now? What’s changed?

If your career vision has shifted a little (or a lot) since you first created it, that’s a sign that you are growing and evolving as a professional. You’ve probably been able to ask more questions about what you want and discover new answers. And beyond that, you’ve been using the design thinking principle of prototyping this whole time whether you actively realized it or not. Prototyping the design of your new career is all about:

  • Asking questions
  • Outing our hidden biases and assumptions
  • Iterating rapidly
  • Creating new paths for what we’d like to try out

Does this sound familiar? That’s because it’s a lot like software development! Therefore, this is a process you’re already familiar with and can easily adapt to your career strategy. This process asks you think beyond one particular strategy for your job search and instead consider multiple ways you could execute your vision, all in ways that are equally actionable.

The rest of the career journal this week asks you to prototype strategies for 3 companies you’re interested in using this process for each plan:

  1. Reflect on these questions:
    • Why do you like this company?
    • What makes you want to work there?
    • Why are you a good fit for this company?
    • What do you bring to the company?
    • What transferable skills do you have? What do you already know about the company (product, team, culture, company size, location, etc.)?
    • What do you need to learn?
  2. Steps to take:
    • Outreach: look at the company’s LinkedIn page: who could you reach out to? What questions do you want to ask that person?
    • Build Experience: once you’ve made a connection at the company, how could you find out more? Consider setting up a job shadow or exploring their tech stack in your projects
  3. Read back over the plan. How does it reflect your vision?

  4. Imagine that you get the job. A year later, what have you gained from this experience? How have you started to fulfill your vision?

Creating these prototypes could feel a little overwhelming. Here are some tips to make the process easier:

  • For plan #1, start with something you already have in mind. What company did you write your cover letter for? You’ve already thought about this company, so use it for your first plan

  • For your plan #2, what is a company from the same industry that also sounds interesting to you?

  • For your third plan, consider a company in a different industry or that speaks to a different interest of yours. Expand your options.

  • What specific questions come up that you want to explore in each plan? No plan needs to look exactly like the others.

  • Finally, look at each of your plans. Do any themes emerge?

The other steps you’ll take in the session are:

  • Radical collaboration – after you create your plans, you’ll share 1 in small groups to get insight, advice, or feedback.
  • Then, you’ll need to put one of your plans into action by deciding which aligns most with:
    • The resources you have at hand
    • Your career vision
    • Your confidence levels (how feasible does this feel to you?)
    • How excited you are about it