This article is mainly for me to reflect on what I’d like to accomplish in 2021. I’ll talk about my job search, my design work, and a bit about my health and fitness goals. I’m putting this out there because there’s a chance this may help or resonate with others. I also think it will help me if I get all of this out of my head 😅.
The Job Search
I’ve been job searching for just under three months now. It hasn’t been easy and some weeks I feel like giving up. What keeps me going is forcing my brain to have a certain mindset. This mindset is comprised of consistency, patience, and positivity. Positivity is important at the start of every week. Thinking of each week as a fresh start has helped me tremendously, especially if I feel the previous week was particularly tough or slow. This also helps me enjoy Mondays more.
Moving forward, I’ve learned a lot about what has been working and what hasn’t been working in my job search so far. I’ve figured out that I must spend time on things that have the highest chance of yielding results. What has yielded me the best results thus far is prioritizing networking over applications. Every time I’ve applied for a job the “typical” way, I’ve gotten rejected, even after spending hours on a thoughtful, customized cover letter.
You shouldn’t apply online just to have your resume in the system.
It’s truly not worth the energy and time. What is worth it is following a tiered approach, specifically this one from ADP List and Wonsulting.
4 Tiers of Applying to a Job (Lowest to Most Effective)
Tier 4: Job application (2% chance of getting an interview)
Tier 3: Referral (not as effective as you think)
Tier 2: Hiring team member recommendation
Tier 1: Hiring manager recommendation
This is how I’ll be approaching my search in 2021. When I see an open role, I’ll start with Tier 1 and if I don’t find success, I’ll work my way up.
In 2021, I’m having more conversations. Why? Talking to others in the design community and showing off your work builds rapport and you never know what it can lead to. I’ve had to completely step outside of my comfort zone for this but it’s worth it. What’s important to note here is you need to maintain a balance. For me, I noticed having too many conversations leaves me feeling exhausted and I never get a chance to collect my thoughts.
I’m also starting 2021 with a brain dump because I need to gain some clarity. I’ll aim to answer these questions:
What do I want?
What do I value?
What would make me the happiest?
What subject matters interest me?
What kind/type of company do I want to work for?
Although I have a rough idea of what I want, my thoughts remain scattered. Simply put, being all over the place with my job search hasn’t done me any favors.
Design Work & Portfolio
Recently, I’ve gotten a lot of feedback on my portfolio. Here are some things I’d like to add and adjust.
I need to figure out a better way to display the content on my landing page. It’s not terrible right now, but it could use some refinement.
I’d like to make my case studies more approachable. Currently, they’re very process-oriented. Yes, some people may want to see this and I won’t be deleting content. Instead, I’m going to add a high-level overview at the top that contains the essentials (problem, approach, outcome, visuals). I think this will be beneficial because it removes the need to scroll to find out the most vital information.
I’m adding an experiments page that will house any of my playground files such as Daily UI challenges or sketches. Why? Because design is messy and all about having fun.
Lastly, I’ll be finishing other projects that were on my to-do list. This includes iterating on a hackathon project I did with classmates and building a design system with Figma’s variants and auto-layout.
Health & Fitness
The last piece of this article pertains to my health and fitness goals. I started 2020 off strong, with a solid plan and a consistent routine. Then, COVID hit. From March-September, I was also extremely busy doing a 6-month intensive design program. That completely derailed my goals.
I’m by no means perfect with my diet and exercise, but I’ve always been interested in this space. I’ve had a consistent gym routine for a while now but in 2021, I’m committing to improving my nutrition. Why? Because when I eat better, I feel better. And,
Eating healthy = increased longevity
- Track calories with MyFitnessPal — I’m doing this because I want to drop a few pounds and if I don’t do it, I’ll never know if I’m in a calorie deficit or not. A calorie deficit is the key to losing weight.
- Weigh myself daily — the more data points, the better.
- Eat more vegetables, protein, and unprocessed/clean foods.
- 3 meals + 2 snacks daily.
- Take it slow, be flexible, and most importantly, find balance — nutrition is a journey.
- Start each morning with a 15-minute walk — so far, this has helped me ease into the day.
- Be active throughout the day and take breaks — this is critical if I want to take care of my mental health during the job search.
- Continue with my gym schedule — strength training is the focus but incorporate cardio as well.
I feel much better now that I’ve written all this down. If you made it this far and have any thoughts, you can find me on Twitter. Here’s to hoping 2021 is a lot better 🤞.