How to Approach Job Hunting Like a Design Challenge

Land your dream job — and learn a lot in the process

Chrysan Tung
14 min readJan 12, 2018


Photo: Hero Images/Getty Images

When I started interviewing for my first product design job, it was a thrilling but challenging time. I was excited and determined, but also overwhelmed and intimidated by the lengthy process. So many questions swirled around my mind: How many interview rounds are there? How should I present my portfolio? They say “product designer,” but do they mean UX, visual, research, or everything?

And, of course, the worst: I made it to the final round after weeks, but didn’t get the job. Argh! Now what?

Thankfully, through lots of trial and error as well as mentor advice, I was able to answer many of these questions myself. More importantly, I started looking at job hunting as yet another design challenge. Once I applied design-thinking principles to my job hunt, I had a lot more success—and even some fun.

If you’re new to product design or making a career transition (as I was), I hope you apply some of my strategies to your own job search. (Let me know how it goes!) As always, if you have thoughts or feedback, or just want to chat, feel free to reach out via email or meet up if you’re in San Francisco. Cheers!


After fumbling through my first few job interviews, I finally got to the last round with a mid-stage tech startup, and it went pretty well. From talking to the founder to presenting my portfolio and various 1:1 chats, each interview left me feeling more confident and excited. I was exhausted, but the end felt so near. I could Finally. Stop. Interviewing.

Three days later, I got a phone call from their technical recruiter.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “You know the nature of startups—it’s very unpredictable. I hope we can keep in touch.” She told me they “lost head count.” Whether that was true or just a cover-up, I’ll never know; all I knew was that I was r-e-j-e-c-t-e-d. I turned off my phone and collapsed into bed, willing my blankets to envelop me into a cocoon from which I would never emerge (yes, I can be a tad dramatic).

Before, I overanalyzed everything that happened after the interview. This new…



Chrysan Tung

Product Designer @ Lyft. Previously @ WW, Weight Watchers Reimagined. — San Francisco, CA