7 MIN READ, MAY 27, 2021
EMERGE has always been a gathering place for different talents, such as product managers, designers, developers, marketers, and others. We heard lots of stories about how startup co-founders met at EMERGE, new team members were found, someone finally got the job offer from the dream company, and the like. For that reason, we introduced numerous activities, including workshops, mentorship sessions, and Jobs Fair tailored for talents to get the latest insights from peers in tech, tips on job hunting, and how to tackle productivity issues.

We partnered with Wojo to create the best content and make it interesting and engaging for talents. Liz Maslakova, Сo-founder & CEO at Wojo, shared her thoughts on why Wojo decided to collaborate with EMERGE:
It’s my passion to empower people to be happier professionally. That’s why I’m building a digital career coach with Wojo and why it was so exciting to bring the Jobs Fair to the EMERGE attendees this year.
Liz Maslakova
Сo-founder & CEO, Wojo
We’re happy to share with you the takeaways from talent-related workshops:
Interview-ready outfit. Dress-code for the tech interview
Yuliya Kardash, a stylist who worked closely with a number of startup founders, shared her tips and tricks on how to dress to impress.
Yuliya Kardash, Stylist speaking at EMERGE 2021
Style always gives you a competitive edge, because appearance is the way we communicate to other people, and outfit is the right way to show off what you want people to know about you. Behind every casual outfit there is a story, and which story it will be is up to you to create.

Color has its power to “send a message” about you to the public. There are some ground rules in color matching on how to look nice and appropriate for a certain job interview or board meeting. For example, opposite colors on a color-matching scheme form harmony in your style. Furthermore, it’s good to remember that each job position presupposes a certain type of clothing, e.g. formal and C-level positions involve you to dress more formally in calm colors.
Color-matching scheme
A few tips on how to dress up to succeed in your next tech job interview:
  • research the company
  • dressing is about layers
  • have a blazer at hand
Impostor syndrome
What's in common between different people? Right, all of us feel like an imposter at least once in a lifetime. Usually it's a fear of being exposed, thinking that others will know we are not who we are. It's like you pretend to be someone you are not. Most likely there is a portion of guilt mixed with fear: it seems impossible to become who we believe other people see from the outside.

While it might be difficult to silence the impostor syndrome voice, there are some techniques to keep you going even if you are feeling like one and Anya Epishcheva, co-founder at Wojo, guided the participants through them.
Anya Epishcheva, Co-Founder, Coach, Wojo speaking at EMERGE 2021
First, you want to name your impostor: according to Dr. Valerie Young, there are five types:
1. The perfectionist: Giving 100% of me 100% of time.
2. The super(wo)man: Even if nobody could, I can.
3. The natural genius: It should be easy if I'm doing it right.
4. The soloist: I accomplish things on my own.
5. The expert: I'm the smartest person in the room.

Naming your imposter creates a kind of distance between you and the emotions and allows you to apply the second technique: re-framing unhelpful thoughts. There are multiple avenues to explore, but you can start with thinking from the position of “My X (name of the impostor) is trying to save me from doing Y to my audience/company/friends/community”.

Knowing what is the underlying danger, you will be able to devise a set of helpful strategies to mitigate the risks, as feeling like an impostor is only one of the possible strategies, rather unhelpful.

“People who feel like imposters are no less intelligent, capable, competent… It's just that in the exact same situation that triggers an imposter feeling, people who don't feel like imposters are thinking different thoughts.” Dr. Valerie Young
LinkedIn improvements
What do we use LinkedIn for? Do you connect with people you know or those you don't know? Elizaveta Proselkova, Founder & CEO at EP Advisory, consulted lots of job hunters on how to enhance their online visibility and Linkedin presence, and also gave some tips on how to improve your Linkedin profile.
Elizaveta Proselkova, Founder & CEO, EP Advisory, speaking at EMERGE
What can we use LinkedIn for?
  • Job search
  • Company and personal branding
  • Referrals
  • Messages to dream companies
  • Access to hidden opportunities

How to optimize your LinkedIn profile:

  • For a professional with 3+ years experience it's normal to have 500+ connections, that's considered a good start. Try to reach at least 501 connections in your network;
  • Try to get all stars in your profile, that would increase the chances of your visibility;
  • Kind & friendly look on profile picture, it could be also informal and even selfie;
  • Headline of 120 characters+ is a must, as it is the most SEO important part of profile;
  • Fill in the profile description section, it will increase your rating and show your background. But don't use cliche words, just say who you are, use real facts about yourself, expose your real hard/soft skills, write your achievements (they may be a bit extraordinary);
  • Skills and endorsements: it's important to get endorsements from highly skilled people. It's good to get 99+ endorsements - LinkedIn will push your account further, so if you publish an article it will be additionally pushed).

Advice from Elizaveta: it's better to find the decision-makers instead of recruiters/ HRs and message them directly. And always remember: people make things happen. Act, don't neglect people, send messages, reply, and, most importantly, be nice!

At your own speed: finding your own productivity pace
We all have our own learning routes and Diana Grishel, Sr. Agile Delivery Coordinator at Godel Technologies, believes that sharing is key to finding solutions for being productive and efficient in your work.
Diana Grishel, Sr. Agile Delivery Coordinator, Godel Technologies speaking at EMERGE 2021
Being busy has nothing to do with efficiency. Thus, Diana suggested doing something that fits your own working style and what has visible results in your productivity.

Another point she covered is that different people find their own turn-ons to achieve the desired goals. Find yours and follow it. Indeed, it is a big challenge to overcome distractions, but thankfully we have certain techniques to stay productive, because even a 100-mile journey starts with a single step.
Be your own mentor: Take control of your growth
It’s common when someone is searching for a mentor, who will guide you throughout your professional path. But how about being your own mentor? Yssine Matola, Co-founder at Thriving Tribesshared some interesting insights and thoughts on that during her workshop at EMERGE 2021.
Yssine Matola, Founder, Thriving Tribes speaking at EMERGE 2021
  • Self-actualization is something of how we strive for self-realization and the fulfillment of our purpose.
  • Start with a pinch of self-awareness, build up a growth mindset and enhance your emotional intelligence.
  • When you are trying to learn something, add time to your existing habits or routines, do incorporate new activities to your routines. In return, it will help you to reach your full potential.

Yssine also covered the issue of overcoming fears and taking risks. How often do you fear failure? Oftentimes? In this regard, you should ask yourself a question: what's the scariest thing that will happen if you take a risk or do something? Just remember that the worst regret of life is that people are scared to take risks. Do some exercises using notes/journaling to create some outline that you can use to categorize some aspects of your life and break it down to some smaller items that you can address.
How to build a portfolio career
We are all familiar with the path “education-world-retirement”, which nowadays is perceived as old-fashioned, because lots of societal changes happened and influenced our lives, including professional ones. Currently, we are talking about “working retirement” as a new trend that is getting growing interest, especially among tech talent. Olga Polishchuk, Career Coach, gave some tips on how to build a portfolio career.
Olga Polishchuk, Career coach speaking at EMERGE 2021
The rise in life expectancy, changes in working conditions as well as world uncertainty challenged us to think about a project approach to skills development. What’s cool about that is that it gives you a plethora of opportunities of expertise building, going along with the market change as well as access to different career opportunities. Olga suggested becoming a T-shaped specialist who possesses cross-discipline skills while being an exceptional master in some area.

Thinking about transformation? Then do self-education, build up connections and networks, enhance our professional experience, be flexible and agile, because our identities are influenced by how we present ourselves.
Going solo
Sania Kudaibergen, Coach at Wojo, kicked off her workshop with a statement that self-employment is not right for everyone.
Sania Kudaibergen, Coach, Wojo speaking at EMERGE 2021
First, think about:
  • Unlimited earnings potential
  • Flexible schedule
  • Decision-making power
  • Creative control
  • The type of work to do
  • Financial runway
  • Unpredictable income
  • Accepting more risk

Do these words sound right to you? Then it’s time to think about different self-employment options (from less to more autonomy, and higher risk at the same time):

  • Employee
  • Contractor
  • Freelancer
  • Business owner

Contractors and freelancers are both considered business owners, but they trade their time for money.

Sania also suggested to do a “Sweet spot” exercise for getting more insights, which includes the following steps:

  • Write out your desires, strengths, and market demand.
  • Receive feedback
  • See where all three areas overlap

But how not to be afraid of going solo? Well, we all know that fears are basically associated with risk, stress and being afraid of running out of money. But Sania assures that it maybe worth going solo, because it gives you more flexibility and autonomy. She also shared some helpful tips of going solo with minimum risk and stress:

  • Keep a side hustle to sustain your cash flow
  • Take precautions
  • Understand that there is no right way for startups
  • It is normal to be afraid
  • When you are afraid of it, then there is something worth exploring
  • It is easier to start out in your 20s, because there are less opportunity costs (such as family or huge some of money)

But is it better to be prepared beforehand or start your business completely from scratch? Sania also had some advice on that for future solo entrepreneurs:

  • It is easier when you have some background in a certain sphere.
  • Consider your skills and estimate your potential. If somebody apart from your family and friends are willing to pay for your services, take it as a signal that you are on the right track.
  • Indulge in self-reflection
  • Have some evidence to support your claims
Speculative futures
Before starting her workshop, Vanessa Rosenthal, Co-founder at Circular Home Lab, warned participants that they should use their imagination during the whole session, because speculative design is something on the intersection of art, design, and science.
Vanessa Rosenthal, Co-Founder, Circular Home Lab speaking at EMERGE 2021
When creating something new and unique, you should think of systems and put human needs into the middle and don’t do harm. Also, be brave and think about the transition of rules and values, like keeping your local context when scaling to the global markets, that would bring a new and interesting angle to your product.

You may also think about the transition of values, and here you may apply the way of thinking that anytime we consider anything less than everything, we are missing something. Vanessa insisted not to miss all possibilities that are coming to you, because by exploring the possibilities for the future we can make it clear and inform our decisions better for the future and be ready to build the desired “tomorrow”.

More about Wojo - a digital career coach

We hope this blog article was informative and useful for you. Did you find something particularly interesting? Write down in our comments section, we’re super interested to learn about that! In the meantime, stay tuned with our future articles, they’re coming shortly!
Contributing Author, EMERGE
Researcher in travel tech and travel enthusiast. Ilona is an advocate of women in science and tech. Addicted to coffee.