The Design Business Show 165: Job Search Strategy + Tips with Anne T. Griffin

Director : Melissa Burkheimer | November 23, 2021
Check out episode 165 of The Design Business Show with Anne T. Griffin to learn all about job search tips, interview strategy & negotiating!

Anne is a product leader, a startup advisor, and subject matter expert in AI, blockchain, tech ethics and inclusivity. She is the owner of Griffin Product & Growth, a product consulting and advising firm. Her workshop Human First, Product Second teaches organizations and professionals how to think about building more human, inclusive, and ethical tech products. She has lectured at prestigious universities across North America such as Columbia University, West Point, the University of Montreal, and Morgan State University, spoken at major events such as SXSW, and created courses for O’Reilly Media. You can also listen to her takes on AI, blockchain, and other technologies on the YouTube Original series, RetroTech, with Marquees Brownlee, and podcasts such as Blockchain Won’t Save the World, Dream Nation Love, and Let’s Chat Ethics.

She has built her career in tech over the last decade working with organizations such as Priceline, Microsoft, Comcast, Mercedes-Benz, and ConsenSys, the premiere blockchain software technology company on the Ethereum blockchain. Anne continues to work with and research the practical human aspects of technology and building products with emerging and disruptive technologies. Outside of her work, Anne is a voracious learner, frequent traveler, beach enthusiast, and seriously committed to self-care, workouts, and barbecuing.

Here’s what we covered on the episode:

Anne’s Background as a Product Manager

  • How Anne and I met through our friend Shontavia Johnson
  • Anne tells us that she is a product manager for a travel e-commerce company and has been in technology for 12+ years
  • Through 12 years in tech, Anne has looked for jobs multiple times and has gotten good at getting companies to come to her – she has a long list of companies, like Twitter, Google, Amazon, etc. who have reach out to her within the last year when she didn’t even apply
  • Why Anne started her small group coaching program and how it’s all about getting jobs to come to you, how to increase your chance of hearing back from them, interview prep and negotiating
  • What product management and design have in common is that they both care a lot about the customer and about what the company is trying to drive their customer to do
  • Anne shares how she worked at a blockchain startup before the travel e-commerce company and shares what she loves about her current job is she gets to help people find good deals on travel

The Importance of LinkedIn

  • One of the most important things when you’re job searching or trying to get jobs to reach out to you is having an updated LinkedIn profile Anne says
  • Anne suggests finding 10 jobs that you would love to have, whether you’re qualified or not and write down all the words that repeat in those job listings and says as long as those words apply to you, you should then rewrite your LinkedIn and resume to include those important words
  • It’s important to include keywords, like those that repeat in job listings on your LinkedIn because of LinkedIn’s algorithm and for when recruiters are searching keywords to find potential candidates
  • Another important tip Anne shares is to be active on LinkedIn, she says you don’t need to write silly posts but even sharing an article you read with 2 sentences about it boosts your relevance
  • The story of how was contacted by a company when she had no experience because her LinkedIn was the second profile to pop up when they searched the keywords, Product Manager + Machine Learning + New York – she didn’t lie about her experience but expressed her interest on her profile and used keywords that ranked her high in their search
  • How it’s important to include keywords but Anne also says it’s important to include things you’re passionate about towards the bottom of your bio even if they aren’t directly related to your work

Strategy for Cover Letters + Resumes

  • When it comes to getting your dream job, Anne also stresses the importance of networking, whether that’s in-person or through online groups and shares how she got her current job through networking in online groups
  • One of the biggest things Anne’s students have to overcome is the fear of reaching out to people because many people are scared to say they’re looking for a job or are looking for help when in reality, most people will want to help you
  • Anne shares that some places don’t care if you have a cover letter or not but she’s also had recruiters admit that they don’t have time to go through all the resumes that are sent so they will filter out the ones that didn’t include a cover letter and not even read them
  • If you’re applying to a large company who probably receives a lot of resumes, Anne suggests including a cover letter
  • The typical formula Anne has people follow for cover letters is to introduce yourself, then talk about why you’re specifically interested in the company/role, next go into why they should be interested in you, aka your experience/accomplishments, and lastly wrap it up and keep it relevant
  • When it comes to your resume, Anne says you’ll want to use keywords just like on your LinkedIn and says if you have extensive years of experience your resume can be 2 pages long, but if you just graduated college you should keep it to 1 page

Imposter Syndrome

  • Anne says one of the biggest killers of LinkedIn and resumes is imposter syndrome, where people undersell their accomplishments and gives an example of a student who was underselling the things she had done
  • Don’t decide for the company that your experience is not relevant, Anne says to make sure you tie your experience back to the company even if it may not be the traditional experience they’re looking for
  • When you are looking for jobs, connect with people at the company – Anne says make sure you introduce yourself and explain very specifically why you’re connecting with them
  • Some advice Anne has for imposter syndrome is to write down all your accomplishments and read through it regularly because you might be surprised by the things you forgot or by the things you don’t give yourself credit for
  • Imposter syndrome also stems from failure so Anne touches on how no one is perfect at anything which more people need to realize and says if you’re at a place of work that demands perfection, it might be a toxic work environment
  • How Sara Blakely’s (Spanx founder) dad used to tell her, if you’re not failing, you’re not trying – Anne agrees with that because if you’re not making mistakes in some way, you’re not living and says we tend to put people on pedestals without realizing that everyone makes mistakes

Preparing for Interviews + Negotiating

  • When preparing for interview, do your research and make sure you know what they do – Anne also suggests clicking the news tab on Google when you search the company because that gives you a lot of good information too
  • Make sure you prepare yourself for common interview questions like, when was a time you had to convince someone of something, or when was a time you had to work with someone difficult
  • If you are a naturally nervous person, Anne suggests doing mock interviews or recording your interview questions, that way you can get a lot of your nerves out before your actual interview
  • Anne says you should think about what you want to get paid and then go up a little from there when employers ask about the range you want to be paid
  • If you’re in an interview and they ask you about your pay range, Anne says she always flips it back on them and asks, “what is your range for this role?”
  • To find salaries for tech and design jobs, Anne mentions using, Glassdoor, or Blind
  • The biggest mistake people make when negotiating is not taking non-salary things into consideration and Anne gives examples of this concerning relocation costs and health insurance
  • Any time Anne changes jobs, she has a spreadsheet that compares each aspect of the job side by side so she can fully understand how much each item is actually worth
  • Anne says be gentle with yourself because job searches are hard even when you have a lot of experience, there will be rejection but you need to go easy on yourself because the company may have liked you but it might have been one tiny thing that put another candidate ahead of you
  • Take care of your mental health first because Anne says you cannot show up confidently in interviews or combat your imposter syndrome if you are beating yourself up all the time
  • Connect with Anne on her Pivot Grow Hustle Website or on Twitter
  • Remember to be yourself so the right people can find you


Links mentioned:



Pivot Grow Hustle Website

Connect with Anne on Twitter 


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