The Essential Guide to Career Fair Success

No matter what year you are, going to a career fair is both an exciting and daunting task. You’ll see representatives from really cool companies, along with organizations you’ve never heard of. And all of them will be talking to you about their company culture, available positions, and much more. How do you prepare?

Research the companies at the fair. Much of the time, recruiters at these career fairs hear, “So, what does your company do?” It is much more impressive for them to meet a recruit who says they have done research and can say that they’re interested in the company. Not only will this make you look good to companies, but it will also help you narrow down the booths you want to go to, making your career fair experience far more efficient. The research you do does not have to be extremely time-consuming – a quick look on their website to find out exactly what the company does is really the maximum of what you need to do. You can also prepare your elevator pitch and have it ready for the companies you want to work for. This leaves room for more interesting questions.

Speaking of questions, ask them. Some sample questions that you could ask are below, and this list is just a beginning:

  • What is the company culture like?
  • Tell me about the most meaningful project you (or your team) have worked on.
  • What are some projects I could work on?>
  • Tell me about some opportunities interns have gotten after their internships.
  • What is your interview process like?
  • Is there something missing from my resume that would make me a good fit for your company?
  • What can I do to improve my skills before we speak next?
  • How do I apply for this position?

Be respectful of the recruiter’s time. If you are in a super long line, make sure you’re not trying to talk to the recruiter for 20 minutes.…

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Welcome to this special holiday edition of the Macchiato series!

It can be easy to feel overwhelmed during the holidays—so I hope you don’t lose sight of what this season is really about (for you). May you feel joy and peace now and into the new year (I hope this quick-read brings you a little holiday happiness, too)!

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  • This time of year you may find yourself spending more time with family and friends at holiday dinners and parties. While stuffing our faces with pecan pie and drinking spiked eggnog (or, if you’re Filipino—like me, eating tons of puto bumbong and bibingka) we may be asked what we do for work. Do you have a response nailed down yet? Here are some scenarios to help you get through the holiday when you answer that question and respond with, “I’m a UX designer.”
  • Can’t make it to Manhattan this holiday? Check out how Google digitized the festive displays at 18 major retail establishments: Google’s “Window Wonderland” Brings New York’s Holiday Retail Extravaganzas To The Web. It’s pretty neat to see the traditional festive window displays in New York become more immersive and fun for the masses.
  • While the holidays carry a certain air of magic, any well-designed product can be successful in a practical way—think affordance, efficiency, function, observation, story, and details. The ornament elf (who appears during the festive season) wants to share his thoughts on creating successful designs and talk to you about how to apply certain attributes listed above to your designs: This Elf Would Like a Word With You About Design.
  • Two heads are better than one. Pair Design is a free eBook that explains how pair design works at every stage of the design process. Learn how pairing two designers can help alleviate tunnel vision, produce better output efficiently, and benefit the whole team. If your team isn’t doing this already, why not try it out in 2017?

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With Black Friday and Cyber Monday past and the holiday season upon us, there are soon to be thousands more proud owners of Google Home, Google’s recent foray into the realm of the “smart” or “connected” home (as well as its answer to Amazon’s Echo). Home gives users all the search capabilities and assorted superpowers of Google Assistant, but with always-on voice-operated availability. Normally, to use Google Assistant you would either need a Pixel phone or you would need to download the Allo messaging app to your iOS or Android smartphone. Home conveniently turns Assistant into a virtual housemate ready to act on your every request.

Imagine the possibilities. Happily, Google already has!

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three ux strategists collect data at computers during a user testing session at the usability lab

On the WillowTree User Experience team, we pride ourselves on making beautiful mobile experiences. Every idea, pixel, and interaction work together in concert to create something that’s both great to look at and delightful to use. That mix doesn’t just happen in a vacuum. We are always sharing our designs and ideas with each other, our partners, and with real potential users to validate the design decisions and assumptions we’re making along the way.

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In a world where phones are still sold with only 16GB (much less the odd 8GB devices) of storage space, managing free space can be a challenge. As a developer, this can cause issues when trying to store larger files on a user’s device that are crucial to the experience of using your apps. Luckily Android 7.1 adds a new feature to make everyone’s life a little easier: storage manager intents!

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  • My friend and teammate, Jesse Prehodick, offered this bit of advice in the Macchiato No. 39 extra shot, “Know your users: Don’t design what you want because you aren’t the user.” I heard it again recently from Jakob Nielsen: “You are not the user.” After delivering his keynote address at the UX Conference in London, Nielsen was asked “Why is it that [some] designers get it so wrong?” Listen to Nielsen’s response in this 2-minute clip.
  • Can You Feel Me Now? Accessible Experiments in Empathy explores techniques designers can use to develop empathy. Katy Mogal, Fitbit’s Director of Design Research and UX Research, makes the case that all of us can find ways to empathize with our users and discusses why it matters.
  • I went to the hospital this past week for a diagnostic medical imaging appointment. Looking around the space, I appreciated the use of color in the rooms and felt comforted. Finding the right colors to use in a healthcare environment can be difficult because of cultural pluralism and complexity of communication. Beyond color, however, we can still try to improve the patient experience by incorporating design thinking and design principles into the planning process and design of hospitals: How Design Thinking Turned One Hospital into a Bright and Comforting Place.
  • The previous links (especially the latter) carry a similar core message: to design products, applications, and experiences with users in mind. They reminded me of a project led by Doug Dietz, an industrial designer and GE Healthcare’s Innovation Architect. The goal of Dietz’s project was to figure out how to create a scanner experience children would love in order to alleviate their fear at the prospect of laying down inside noisy medical imaging equipment. By designing products with families and the patient journey in mind first, GE transformed the radiology and imaging departments at 27 children’s hospitals into immersive adventures for kids and their caregivers.
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“The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.” This might be an overused quote from the the creator of the World Wide Web himself, Tim Berners-Lee, but it’s worthy and it emphasizes the importance of accessibility and inclusivity—subjects of today’s Macchiato.

Before we go any further, I’d like to give a shout out to my colleague and friend, Jordan Dunn, who will be speaking at SXSW taking place March 10-19, 2017. If you’re going, make sure to attend his session.

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To many observers, 2016 was at best a lackluster year for mobile innovation, save the Pokemon Go craze (which ended up not unleashing an AR revolution) and the new Google Pixel phone. Some have argued innovation in mobile has run its course and we are destined for performance-only improvements for the foreseeable future, like we’ve been seeing in the desktop market for a decade.

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I hope everyone’s Thanksgiving was filled with superb food, inspiring company, and rich gratitude. Looks like I skipped the whole month of October, but I’m back for a bit and hope to get a Macchiato delivered to you four more times before 2017—enjoy this week’s cup!

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  • I believe gratitude is a virtue and practicing it is the mark of a kind and noble soul. This time of year we are reminded to reflect on the things we value most in life. To share the spirit of gratitude, the InVision community has shared the things they are most grateful for as designers and as humans. What are you thankful for this year? What are designers thankful for?
  • How can we relate Thanksgiving with UX Design? Check out the Thanksgiving design experience—discover, define, design, and feedback—UX and Thanksgiving.
  • InVision has launched their version of Zeplin, Inspect. Inspect supports your team’s transition from design to development. I very much appreciate the team we have at WillowTree and I’m glad we can openly communicate as we work together. With tools like Zeplin and now, Inspect, collaboration and productivity are further supported when building apps. We value collaboration above all.
  • With the festive season approaching, is your website all decked-up and stacked for record breaking sales? Prepare your e-Commerce Website for the Holiday Season.
  • Dear Santa, All I want for Christmas is these five design books. Love, Your Favorite Designer. Here are 5 Books Every Designer Needs courtesy of Jennifer Aldrich, UX & Content Strategist at InVision. Thanks Jennifer!
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I was recently invited to talk to a group of students in a Masters Data Science program at a nearby university. Long story short, my mandate was to help prepare them to find jobs after graduation. There are worse positions to be in these days than having a Data Science degree, but many of these students have never interviewed for anything more than an internship so I covered everything from resumes through offer letters.

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What is a Markov Chain? How are they used in language auto completion, video game AI, or other predictive applications? How can we make a bunch of sentences to laugh at for hours? Let’s find out in this episode of WillowTalk!

 

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