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Leaning On Community Amid Tech Layoffs

DesignMap DesignMap 4 min read

We've collected a few resources to help those impacted by recent tech layoffs, so they can gain more support in their search for a new career opportunity. Read on to learn more about the book Never Search Alone: The Job Seeker's Playbook, a new service called that helps people get referrals, and a "career lookbook" template we're open sourcing in collaboration with the former UX Research Team at Google's A 120.

The tech community has taken some hard hits of late with massive layoffs at behemoths like Meta, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. 

But there remains power in numbers as people support one another in their job searches. This wave of "communal job searching" aims to offset corporate layoffs with community support. 

We wanted to do our small part by spotlighting a few people and resources that can help you search with a little help from your friends: 

Never Search Alone

Phyl Terry is a friend and advisor to many. It was nearly 20 years ago (yes, that brings us to shortly after the dot-com bust) when they first founded the Collaborative Gain, a community of leaders helping leaders. Phyl has always believed that the job search should be a team support. 

“The biggest insight we have is that no matter who you are—the CEO of a public company, VP of Design, college student—people are often insecure and anxious in their job search,” said Phyl. “This increases the odds of making mistakes, losing out on offers, or even accepting the wrong job. You need peer support and encouragement to make the most of your search.”

Phyl recently published their latest book, Never Search Alone: The Job Seeker’s Playbook. The book is a reflection of the knowledge Phyl has gathered from over 25 years of experience working with thousands of leaders—from early-career product managers to CEOs.

“This book is a timely reminder to lean on the collective power of your community to land a job you’ll love. It’s an extension of the free online community I built to help job seekers get matched into ‘Job Search Councils’ and receive free ongoing training in everything they need to find a job they will love. So, remember, job searching is a four-letter word:!”

You can learn more about the Never Search Alone approach via a recent LinkedIn Live hosted by Phyl and Marty Cagan (product management guru and thought leader at the Silicon Valley Product Group). Referral Service is another emerging resource that helps people increase visibility in a crowded candidate market. The new, student-founded service makes it easier for people to request/give referrals for candidates who are hoping to land their dream jobs.

The site touts participation from the likes of Deloitte, Stripe, and TikTok. Job seekers can ask for up to two referrals per week from current employees of a company they are applying to. 

It can be difficult to stand out—or even be seen—with computer algorithms sometimes overlooking qualified candidates. helps overcome some of the barriers presented by applicant tracking system (ATS) by putting people in a different category of applicants. 

Referrals often go directly to the front of the job application stack or in a special pile that recruiters actually review—instead of relying on automation to help them narrow their lists.

Career Lookbook

At DesignMap, we’re inspired by the spirit of supportive career searching. Which is why we jumped at the opportunity to partner with Maya Elise Joseph-Goteiner, the former Head of UX Research at Google A 120, to create an open-sourced resource for job seekers who want to stand out. 

For Maya, this isn’t just a professional aspiration, it’s a personal mission to improve the job application experience for her team and others impacted by recent layoffs. Her team—one of Google’s in-house incubators—lost 80% of their staff as part of the 12,000 roles that were eliminated in the latest round of Google layoffs. 

Together, we created a “career lookbook” for her team to better showcase their work experience and impact. To develop the career lookbook, we asked ourselves: how might we augment resumes and LinkedIn (which can be narrow and impersonal)? We’re pretty excited about the final lookbook, which you can preview here

“I’m really proud of my team of UXers, we were a cornerstone of a special program—one that inspired founders to start with a problem and solve a user need. We challenged the status quo every day,” Maya shared in a recent LinkedIn post. “This lookbook is another way we’re continuing to do that. Resumes are broken and people need immediate help to showcase their work.”  

That’s why we’ve agreed to open source a customizable template of the lookbook for anyone who wants to make a copy for themselves/their teams. 

Slide template shows placeholders for: Short bio, interests, how to get in touch, and a headshot. Slide with placeholders for: Applicant's superpowers, top soft skills, and career testimonials

“We think of the lookbook as a more personal lens to pair alongside resumes and LinkedIn profiles,” said Barb Natali-Sherman, Director of Design, DesignMap. “Referrals are such an important part of the application process. The lookbook offers an easier way to incorporate referrals and career testimonials at the start of the application process.”

We hope the career lookbook will help people seeking new job opportunities to more effectively and efficiently share their impact and experience (with a little personality, too!). 

The above is a small sampling of the many positive, community networks jumping into action right now. We recognize that these are difficult times and extend our support to anyone seeking new opportunities. Connect with our Partners on LinkedIn if we can be of any help in your search: Gregory Baker, Audrey Crane, and Chuck Moore.

For the companies looking to bring amazing design talent onboard, we offer hiring support to make sure you find the right fit for your team. Reach out if you’d like to learn more about how we can help with everything from writing job descriptions to interviewing candidates.