Beyond the Job Search: Building a Career with Impact

In this week’s article, Co.Lab Product Designer alum, Ammara Khan shares the top 7 websites that made true and tangible impact in her job search.

Ammara Khan
April 19, 2024
“The truth is that there’s no such thing as a personal problem. If you’ve got a problem, chances are millions of other people have had it in the past, have it now, and are going to have it in the future.” - Mark Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck

As someone currently navigating the challenges of the job market, I understand how difficult and isolating it can be at times. The struggle to access essential resources and the uneven distribution of opportunities can often lead to disappointment and a lack of motivation. Additionally, there are instances where resources exist but I'm unaware of them or learn about them too late.

This is why I'm compelled to share the resources that have significantly impacted my own job search, providing valuable experience and insights for my career growth. By compiling a list of websites and programs that have been invaluable to me, I aim to support and empower fellow job seekers, helping them forge a more promising career path.

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1: Co.Lab

I participated in CO.LAB through Designlab. CO.LAB, through its comprehensive matching process, connects a remote team comprising a mentor, product manager, product designer, and software developers—all eager to join in on this journey.

Over the span of 8 weeks, students receive personalized guidance, resources, and support to navigate the product development lifecycle and bring ideas to life. CO.LAB isn't just about building products; it's about fostering collaboration, accountability, and creating a community of support. If you're like me—an early-stage career switcher seeking to build actual products and gain experience — CO.LAB is the place to be.

2: ADP List

The mentors and experts from ADP List have been instrumental in refining my portfolio presentation, guiding me through iterations, applying necessary changes, and tailoring my resume to meet market demands. ADP List stands out as a curated community comprising diverse designers, developers, and product managers.

Through mentorship, networking opportunities, and valuable resources, ADP List empowers its members to grow both personally and professionally. It serves as more than just a platform for skill development; it fosters collaboration, support, and inclusivity, providing an environment where individuals can thrive and succeed in the dynamic tech landscape.

3: Uxcel

During my time at DesignLab, the one thing I craved was the opportunity to practice and test my knowledge. With the help of UXcel, I got that chance. UXcel serves as my go-to mentor in the world of UX/UI design. It's an online platform packed with everything I need to learn and grow in this field.

From beginner-friendly courses to advanced workshops, UXcel offers a friendly and accessible way to dive into the world of user experience design. With its easy-to-follow tutorials and practical tips, UXcel has helped me develop the skills and confidence to create designs that users love. It's my secret weapon for mastering UX/UI design and advancing my career.

4: TechFleet

I recently participated in TechFleet's Agile Master UX class, collaborating with fellow UXers in an Agile environment. This experience highlighted the importance of failing fast, offering valuable hands-on experience and skill enhancement in UX design. Additionally, TechFleet provides a diverse range of masterclasses, covering UI, Figma, and design psychology.

As a dynamic online community, TechFleet brings together tech enthusiasts, professionals, and learners from various backgrounds. It serves as a central hub for sharing knowledge, discussing trends, and networking, catering to individuals at all skill levels in the tech industry. Whether seeking skill expansion, career advice, or connections with like-minded individuals, TechFleet offers a supportive environment to thrive.

5: Basil

Basil is a relatively new platform founded by DesignLab alumni. Its primary objective is to bridge early-career UX designers with emerging startup founders. For UX designers seeking hands-on experience, Basil is an essential platform to explore. It offers a variety of opportunities, from E-commerce to Healthtech projects. It's important to note that some opportunities are unpaid, while others offer compensation. Therefore, carefully review the descriptions and requirements before submitting your application.

6: Catchafire

I'm fairly new to Catchfire myself, and initially, I wasn't aware such a platform existed. However, upon discovering it, I've applied to multiple volunteer openings. While I didn't receive responses from many, I persisted in applying, and now I'm currently working on two projects I obtained through Catchfire. These projects could be valuable additions to my portfolio.

If you're seeking real-life client projects, Catchfire is an amazing tool to help you move forward and gain practical experience. With its innovative design and user-friendly interface, Catchfire fosters creativity and collaboration among tech industry professionals. It facilitates seamless communication, project management, and skill-sharing, making it an ideal platform for developers, designers, and project managers to connect, brainstorm ideas, and bring projects to life.

7: Huntr

Huntr has been an invaluable companion throughout my job search journey for the past eight months. It has facilitated application tracking and organization, ensuring easy access to all my submissions. With its intuitive interface and comprehensive features, Huntr streamlines the job search process, offering tools for progress tracking, reminders, and resume customization. It has greatly enhanced my ability to manage my job search efficiently and effectively.

In conclusion, these platforms have been invaluable for navigating the job market. Whether you choose one tool or work with all simultaneously, it's about finding what fits your schedule and budget—some are free, while others require subscription. My main goal was to compile this list and share it with the community, so early-career designers like myself can enhance their skills and make impactful career choices efficiently, which took me some time to figure out. Conquering this job market isn't easy, but together, we can!

“The rare people who do become truly exceptional at something do so not because they believe they’re exceptional. On the contrary, they become amazing because they’re obsessed with improvement.” - Mark Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck


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