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Advice for Your Digital Career

April 2018- Interview with Megan, Account Manager in Tulsa, OK., and Callie, Account Manager in Houston, TX

A career in “digital” can mean a number of things. Here at Apex Systems we have a specific practice group including our Practice Director, David Muhammad as well as digitally focused recruiters who have refined their skillset and solely focus on placing top digital talent in roles at our leading clients. The digital skill groups that this team focuses on are Marketing & Design, Development, Analytics, Infrastructure and Enterprise Solutions.

PhoneConvos

We recently sat down with two of our Account Mangers whose focus is on helping their clients fill digital positions. Both Megan, an Account Manager in our Tulsa, OK., branch and Callie, an Account Manager in our Houston, TX., branch attended the Big Digital last year and have established themselves as knowledgeable and skilled resources for our Digital practice group.

At the time of this interview Megan was a recruiter, focusing her time on sourcing digital candidates for our clients. Megan received the following feedback from one of her contract employees: “She is the one who thought of me for my current role. I met her at a UX group meeting and she was engaging and thoughtful. At the time, she did not have a role but a few months later, she thought of me when an entry-level UX role came available. I ended up getting the job and love every bit of it. She took into consideration the personality match and past career background and this is the best role ever! I love my job, the work I do, the people I work with and I credit it to Megan being able to perfectly match a candidate's talents to the right position!” Megan’s expertise in the digital realm has since allowed her to move into an Account Manager role, which allows her to work more directly with digital clients in the Tulsa, OK area.

1. What is your best piece of advice around having a strong portfolio/resume?

Megan:“For portfolios, hiring managers want to know how you think and why you made certain design decisions. The best portfolios show a clear design process; be sure to state the problem and the steps you took to arrive at a solution. Make sure to include research, mock ups, workflows, wireframes, sketches, the finished product, etc. If you include links to work samples in your portfolio, be sure they work. You’d be surprised how many portfolios don’t have working links!”

Callie: “Don’t be afraid to share the “process”—what I mean by that: often we see portfolios that have nice, beautiful end products. These are great to look at and very important, but they leave our managers asking, “How did they get there?” Don’t be afraid to share project artifacts, sketches, mock-ups. They don’t need to be pretty! They need to show managers how you approach design challenges and how to think about solutions.”

2. What skill sets are hiring managers asking for?

Megan: “UI development, UX Design, UX Research, Product Management, Web Development, Analytics just to name a few!”

Callie: “The digital space can be challenging because different terms and titles mean different things to different people and organizations. We see managers looking for UI Designers, UX Designers, UX Researchers, Visual Designers, Front-end developers, Product Designers… the list goes on!”

3. What makes a Digital candidate stand out from the crowd?

Megan: “A good portfolio!”

Callie: “Someone that can demonstrate their critical thinking skills in addition to strong design skills.”

4. What are some common reasons you see candidates “ruled out” after an interview?

Megan:

  • Aren’t able to speak to skills listed on their resume or in their portfolio
  • Not able to explain their design process
  • Don’t fully understand the role they are being considered for
  • Not able to describe their specific role within a project
  • Callie: “ The most common reason I see candidates “ruled out” is that they cannot articulate the “how”—what I mean by that: it is one thing to be able to show a beautiful design, but it is another to be able to explain how that design came to be. What are some other design ideas that didn’t make it to the final deliverable? What challenges did you have to overcome to get to this final deliverable? What part of the deliverable were you, specifically, responsible for? If you don’t have clear answers to questions like that, you either aren’t fully prepped for your interview or not qualified for the opportunity!”

    5. What is 1+ piece of advice you have for Digital professionals around interview preparation?

    Megan:

  • Make sure you know what you are interviewing for- be sure to review the job
  • Research the company and the person(s) you’ll be interviewing with
  • Make sure you are able to speak to everything listed on your resume and in your portfolio
  • Callie: “Be able to articulate the design process.”

    6. Is being involved in local digital communities, creative communities or other local associations important to your clients?

    Megan: “Most definitely! It shows that you are dedicated to the field and invested in your craft. Plus, it’s a great way to network!”

    Callie: “ABSOLUTELY! Networking is key! Because “digital” can mean so many different things to different people, getting to know other digital professionals outside of an interview setting can really help establish common terminology, give potential managers a good sense of what you do, and allow them to get to know you personally!”

    7. Are there any other big pieces of career advice you’d suggest for someone in the digital field?

    Megan: “The digital space is constantly evolving. I’d encourage digital professionals to get involved in a user group or creative community. Getting involved in these groups is a great way to network, stay on top of trends, and sharpen your skills.”

    Callie: “This is such an exciting space! Get involved in local communities, be inquisitive, be yourself! Work hard, ask questions, and listen to advice from your recruiters!”

    Read more about our focus in Digital here!

    Use the links below to connect with Apex:
    > Join our Talent Network
    > Search for a job
    > Connect with your local branch