From Event Manager to Product Designer

Amanda enrolled in Bloc’s Designer Track with the goal of changing careers and becoming a designer. After interning at Bloc, Amanda is now working as a Product Designer in San Francisco!

Tell me: what were you doing before Bloc?

Non-Profit Development and Events Manager

Why did you end up taking Bloc?

My background is in studio art and arts management. I started working in the non-profit fundraising world and realized a couple of years ago that I was either on a path for event management or individual giving management — neither of which excited me (cue work boredom).

I was supporting the Creative Director and Marketing Director on my team with print and web design because I had expressed an interest. I found that these were the projects I most enjoyed. I took a step back and made the decision to pursue design full-time.

After researching various bootcamps, I chose Bloc because of the emphasis on student support and because the program was longer in duration, allowing for more projects in a portfolio by the end of the program. My only regret is that I didn’t make the leap sooner!

How did taking Bloc change your life?

In one year, I have made a career change that allows me to tap back into my creative background and has greatly increased my income. I knew I wanted to do something different with my career, but I also wanted to be more practical this time around — looking at the number of jobs available and also where they are located.

My husband and I are considering other cities to live in other than San Francisco in the future. I wanted to be able to find opportunities in other areas as well, at a better income than a non-profit outside of the Bay Area would have provided. I also now feel that I am in a career where I can grow and be challenged. I also have to mention the Bloc team and how incredibly supportive everyone has been. I have gained confidence in my skills & job searching/interviewing/negotiating… seriously transformative beyond just a career change.

What advice would you give to other Bloc students that are currently looking for a job?

  1. Intern
    I am sure that my internship has boosted my results considerably. Not only with getting an initial phone interview but also with making it to the next round. Everyone has been open to hearing about my apprenticeship projects but they have all wanted to know more about the ways I have been working on teams and handing off designs to developers. Being able to talk about this piece from my internship experience has been key. I never had the time to properly update my portfolio site with internship projects but started sending links/info about those projects in my cover letter.
  2. Get your resume right
    I seriously can’t thank Kara (Bloc Career Developer) enough for her help on this! Things really started to take off once I had the right things highlighted on my resume. I also tried to create a “brand” for myself across my LinkedIn, resume, and portfolio sit to make them all feel cohesive and memorable. They use the same bright yellow, language, and photo.
  3. Look at jobs with the requirement: 3 years and under
    Maybe this goes without saying, but I really only applied to jobs that had no time requirement or posted as “3+” years or under. I didn’t spend any time on postings that were 5+ years even if they said entry level.
  4. Send “cold” messages on LinkedIn
    I think at least half of the interview requests I got came after doing this. Even if they didn’t respond to me directly or accept my request to connect, I would get a request. To my surprise, this has also worked out better than having friends reach out when they know someone at a company.