Reach Out and Take Risks

week2

This week, through the wonders of Skype video chat, we had a special guest speaker from sunny California. Shernaz Pavri is a former grad of the Sheridan web design program (woot, represent!). She is currently a User Experience Designer at LinkedIn, and previously worked for a variety of companies including the big boys like American Express and Apple. In her talk she covered a lot of ground. Everything from her typical work day, to the importance of networking was discussed. Above all, she definitely practiced what she preached and is a good role model for aspiring designers.

DON’T UNDERMINE YOURSELF, OR YOUR WORK

Shernaz had always dreamed of working for companies like Apple or LinkedIn. I admire her bravery in reaching out to them by submitting her resume and portfolio. It’s a good lesson to designers not to undermine themselves and their work because you never know who might be interested in hiring you. She stressed the importance of networking with peers and maintaining those connections. The industry is small, so we should get to know as many people as possible. One day, some of those connections might open doors to new opportunities. After all, that’s how Shernaz landed a few of her positions. After class I rushed home and spent a good half hour searching and adding friends and former coworkers on LinkedIn–(as an aside, I think the endless scrolling function on their site is fantastic). I reached out, and not surprisingly, a lot of them reached back.

PRESENTING TO OTHERS IS NEVER GONNA GO AWAY

One thing that struck me in particular during the talk was the emphasis on public speaking; of being able to present your work and ideas to team members, and even strangers. I still get a bit weak in the knees at the thought. I realize that all the presentations I’ve done and will do in school are meant to build up my confidence in public speaking. It makes sense because the design industry is nothing without good presentation skills.

FUTURE ASPIRATIONS

In the future, Shernaz seeks to expand the user experience team at LinkedIn for testing designs. With more users accessing the site from their mobile devices, it’ll be interesting to see what changes LinkedIn has in store for us in the coming years. Shernaz might also decide to start her own company now that she’s gained insight from working at a variety of different places. I’m sure she’ll be successful in anything she pursues. All the best to you!

Through Shernaz’s talk I gained a better understanding and admiration for LinkedIn.  The company fosters a collaborative atmosphere and a good sense of culture. Personally, I’ve only scratched the surface of what LinkedIn can do for me. I think I’ll be using it a lot this year.

PARTING ADVICE:

  • Keep your online presence updated
  • Don’t undermine yourself or your work
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions
  • Be available
  • NETWORK NETWORK NETWORK
  • Take risks and reach out to people

That’s all for now, folks!
Abby

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8 thoughts on “Reach Out and Take Risks

  1. “Shernaz had always dreamed of working for companies like Apple or LinkedIn. I admire her bravery in reaching out to them by submitting her resume and portfolio.” Is an interesting part for me. A lot of great designers did that and I heart it before at conferces. But research about happiness showed that getting a beter job or a job like that often doesnt really makes us happier. So I wonder if she feels happier now she works at big companies.

    And it is indeed important to make a network for yourself and get to know people in your branche. 🙂 Nice post.

    • Hi Mark, thanks for leaving a comment and reaching out to me! I agree that working at big companies doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be happier there. I think it’s good to get a sense of how it’s like working at both large and small companies. And if others are adventurous, they could even do freelance work (however, that’s not for me).

      I didn’t mention this in the article, but Shernaz said that the atmosphere at Apple was very secretive–as is expected–and the content was static rather than dynamic. Work hours were also quite long. In contrast, working at LinkedIn fostered a community-sharing atmosphere. It also had a start-up vibe because it was still a relatively small and growing. I think she has good reasons for leaving Apple for LinkedIn.

      Thanks again for the feedback! I’m now following your twitter 🙂

  2. Since updates will not be posted on my personal account but only on the blogs account, just for your information 😉

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