How do I land a design job at a large company?

Mel Allums
2 min readApr 8, 2022

One question I hear from designers is: “How do I get a design job at _______? I keep getting rejected. I must not be good enough.”

Photo by Simon Abrams on Unsplash

Here’s 7 simple truths that I always recommend about landing that job at a big tech company.

  1. Persistence & continual improvement pays off eventually. I was rejected from FAANGs at least 5 or 6x in my career before I got an offer or message from a recruiter. Persistence & continual improvement pays off eventually.
  2. At these companies, Impact is valued most: impact of your work on user engagement, the business, team processes, the roadmap, etc. Your case studies should spell this out.
  3. Most large design orgs freely share the format of their interview process and their expectations. Seek out & follow these guidelines because they usually reflect how you will be assessed.
  4. During behavioral interviews, ensure your answers follow the STAR method.
  5. Add personal touches to your portfolio & presentations. Tell them about your journey & unique POV. Talk about how your life & past jobs have shaped you. You’ll stand out.
  6. Don’t sit around waiting for a FAANG to call back. Create, build & share your best work. Eventually you’ll catch their attention. I didn’t get into Google/PayPal/etc. until I shipped things & did conference talks on better financial UX, something I’m passionate about.
  7. There’s plenty of compelling problems out there to solve! Don’t set your heart on big companies. Lots of interesting work at midsize cos. & startups that will help you hone your design/research/soft skills. Some of the most talented people I know work at small companies.

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Mel Allums

Head of Design & Research at Valley Bank. Ex-Google, PayPal. Author at O’Reilly. Dad. He/They. Opinions are mine not my employers’.