Design a Career You Love Using These 3 Design Processes

This week’s blog post is written by McKinley consultant Stephanie Skinner, a user-experience designer. UX design is one of the most sought after skills in today’s marketing landscape. And design thinking is not only useful in business, but in life. In today’s post, Stephanie unpacks how to use design thinking to create a career you love.

User-experience design is about creative problem-solving with the goal of creating an optimal human experience, one that feels satisfying and meaningful to the user. Designers are problem solvers who approach each situation by trying to understand it from all angles before breaking it down into the best solutions. Think of managing your career as a complex design problem personal to you, and follow these human-centered processes to create a career best suited for you:

 1. Discovery Phase: Learn about the user (you).

Understanding yourself is a crucial first step to generating the right solutions. In this phase, you will find clarity on your strengths and pain points, and research the needs of your market.

Action Step: Set aside time for a career audit.

Think about what you have found most fulfilling at each point in your career, and identify your struggles within each stage. Interview others who know your work to gather constructive feedback. Research jobs that interest you, and try to understand how your motivations and interests lead to the particular job you are researching.

Helpful Tools: Mind mapping, surveys, job market analysis

 2. Synthesis Phase: Define and prioritize your career goals.

From the discovery phase you should have an inventory of what has worked for you in the past and what has not. Start to make sense of it all by finding themes, generating ideas, and reframing these into goals, which you can prioritize accordingly.

Action Step: Align your strengths with the needs of your preferred job market, and use these as parameters for your search. At this point you should be able to articulate your goals and intended direction.

Helpful Tools: Card sorting, affinity mapping, Eisenhower matrix (for prioritizing)

 3. Design Phase: Develop, validate, and iterate.

Now that you have synthesized your learnings into a more clear direction, it’s time to move into rapid prototyping. Develop a profile, resume, and cover letter that immediately give the reader a sense of who you are.

Action Step: Test versions of your professional bios and resumes with friends, professionals in the field, and anyone who will have a look. Observe their reactions, ask for truthful feedback, and make adjustments quickly. Repeat this process several times before you settle on a finalized version.

Helpful Tool: MVP analysis

Planning your career, like any complex problem, can be a daunting task. Approaching it with a design mindset provides a manageable path toward a solution state, so that you can make the most informed decisions for your future.

by McKinley Marketing Partners