Design Lab: Alexander Younger

Design Lab

photo (1)

Speakers: Alexander Younger
March 21, 2014

Today we were lucky to have Alexander Younger, Founder of Design Lab, talk to us about his company and give us us pointers for a successful job search. Design Lab, founded in 1992, is a Toronto web design and marketing agency and calls some of Canada’s biggest companies their clients, including RBC, Loblaws and The Beer Store. They also represent the brand of my favourite interior designer, Sarah Richardson, who is also Alexander’s wife.

Alexander stressed the importance of the culture of a company: attitudes, goals, practices and values that contribute to the overall character and community. He stressed how important it is for us as prospective employees to research a company’s culture. Design Labs is committed to helping their employees grow their careers and they recognize the importance of a work/life balance. It is also a green company, all their technology is run off solar power.

Next, Alexander talked about the process, comparing two of the most prominent methodologies, Waterfall vs. Agile. Waterfall is a very linear approach with distinct steps. It is favoured by clients because there is a clear timeframe and price structure. The Waterfall method works well if the requirements don’t change during development. The Agile method is delivered in stages. Each stage is tested and the overall requirements can be revisited at the end of each stage. Clients are wary of this process because it is difficult to price and to specify delivery date. Design Lab likes to combine the two methodologies, starting with Waterfall and moving to Agile at the design stage.

Alexander had some pointers for our job search. He said the Sheridan program is held in high esteem by employers which is a real confidence booster. It is important to get to know the people in our program and to stay in touch after graduation, they are important contacts for our future. This won’t be a problem as they are a great group of people.

Alexander’s job search tips:

Do your research

  • go through the company website
  • jot down points and thoughts
  • talk to peers about the agencies you are interested in

Cover letter

  • short and sweet
  • give a reason for them to hire you (hint on how you know the company)
  • good resume (can include what you do outside of work)

Prepare your portfolio

  • make it nice and simple
  • showcase your skills and experiences
  • list the goals you had for each project
  • links to Facebook and linkedIn

The interview

  • ask questions
  • be polite
  • interview them as much as they interview you

Ask lots of questions

  • what is my role
  • describe an average day
  • what opportunities do you offer
  • describe your culture
  • ask to meet the team

After the interview

  • write thank you letters
  • write down questions for next interview
  • most importantly Never Settle

Thank you Alexander for a very interesting and informative talk especially the job search tips.

LinkedIn: Alexander Younger

Company: Design Lab

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