LinkedIn Embark: Re-Entering the Entry Level
Final thesis project for Tyler School of Art creating a LinkedIn job board exclusively for entry level candidates
User Experience Design
User Interface Design
Designer: Brett Sweeney
Art Direction: Abby Guido
“I can't get a job because I don't have experience because I can't get a job”
“I can't get a job because I don't have experience because I can't get a job”
Say that 10 times fast and you're starting to see through the eyes of early-career professionals on the job hunt. More now than ever it is harder for people to get their foot in the door in the beginning of their career. Companies are looking for the perfect candidate for entry-level jobs, and they just don't exist.
The general purpose of entry-level jobs is for these candidates to take their first step into their careers. With the job market ever-expanding due to remote work potential candidates across all borders and at all skill levels are able to apply for these jobs. With the increase of quality talent at companies disposal, the bar has been set higher by these companies. With candidates only interacting with computers and algorithms and never hearing back from actual people they invested so hard to be seen by, it’s becoming increasingly harder to stand out.
These opportunities for new graduates and early career professionals have been stripped away by companies not willing to take a chance on someone new and willing to grow. What if we can bring that back? What if we can bring back the entry-level to the people who deserve it?
Early career professionals on their job hunt are facing the largest uphill battle of their career. Getting an entry-level opportunity has become increasingly hard because companies are not willing to risk hiring a new candidate and with the influx of remote candidates. A lot of applications are being filtered through the Application Tracking System, a software application that enables the electronic handling of recruitment and hiring needs. Some applicants are not being considered at all and do not know why.
With the rise of the Great Resignation brought on by the ongoing 2020 pandemic, many working professionals are starting to take a hard look at their careers. Deciding to make the change into new career paths they never thought before since the playing field had been leveled by remote work.
This unique opportunity has helped ignite the decision for people to change career paths, but they don’t know where to start or how to get into these fields.
"Exclusive job board & development tool"
Meet Linkedin Embark, A dedicated platform under the Linkedin umbrella that caters to the needs of the entry-level, early career, and transitional careers of users who are a part of it. Embark is an exclusive job board & development tool that caters to recent graduates, early career professionals, and people looking to change career paths where they have access to jobs that are made just for them.
What sets Embark apart from other job boards is that members would be able to show off the skills they gained from experiences during their time studying, working part-time or extracurricular activities. These experiences traditionally get overlooked or be perceived as unnecessary by candidates during the job hunting process but could be the thing that helps you stand out. Embark is able to take these experiences using artificial intelligence, analyze and extract the hard and soft skills you might not have known you developed, and translate them into marketable skills to help you stand out from the crowd. This can help set you apart from other entry-level candidates in the hiring process.
How Can Embark Help Me?
An example of how Embark could help you would be, If you were a part of a club during your time in education. You may think to only show that you were a part of the club for the number of years on your resume. Though it's important to include in your resume, It doesn't tell the employer much about you. During your time in this club you had to present a presentation to your club. Using Embark you can extract and analyze this experience and showcase your presentation and public speaking skills, which is seen as strong soft skill that a lot of employers are looking for, but usually is never seen on a resume.
Though Embark is a tool for students, this can easily become a stress-free tool for recruiters to find high quality entry-level candidates. By allowing Embark candidates to build out a resume that extends beyond what is traditionally seen on the market and highlights the exact skills that recruiters are looking for. Recruiters now have a chance to hire qualified candidates with ease that are ready for the working world with limited risk. Saving their time and potentially saving the company money. Being able to directly hire from the source before most companies will see them is a standout tool for recruiters.
Embark candidates will have a far better chance at garnering the attention of future employers and landing a job quickly without stress.
My Personal Experience
This project is an important piece for me. As a non-traditional student going back to school to finish my degree, I am all too familiar with the realities of the working world. Getting rejected from companies due to my limited work experience kickstarted my journey to going back to school and finish my degree. During the years between the time I finished my associates and going back to finish my bachelors, I experienced a lot and grew as a person but none of those experiences could really translate into actual experience that companies are looking for. Which left me with limited options on where to go.
During my time as a continuing student my focus was getting my degree. Unfortunately was unable to get a design internship or part time job during this time. Without actual design work experience, my resume looks pretty bare compared to my peers. As I am approaching my final semester in education. I've been more nervous then ever to start applying for jobs due to the fact that I have no work experience. Though I have had a lot of unique project experience these past two years with UX design and real world project experience thanks to the Graphic & Interactive Design program at Temple.
Though I learned just as much as an intern would, It still wouldn't be considered real-world experience because there wasn't a paycheck behind it. This helped fuel my thesis and consider how to change the way we hire instead of just accepting it. Being able to create something like this helped me in my final steps into graduation and also see the job process from a new perspective.
LinkedIn is one of the largest job platforms and is used by over 810 million members and 310 million monthly active users. LinkedIn has many facets, from the universal job board, social media-style posting, all the way to Linkedin Learning, a platform that most major universities use in their curriculum for students. What if LinkedIn invested in creating a space that catered to the future of early career development as they invested in students' educational development?
LinkedIn is already considered a valued tool in the working world so how can we make it better? Extending the already valued platform is something that can benefit all parties in the process since most people searching for a career have already accessed Linkedin. How can we utilize this tool for the needs of the unrepresented candidates in this difficult process while also considering all that Linkedin has to offer?
I started off my research by conducting secondary research into what people are saying about entry level candidates.
I found an article posted on LinkedIn Talent Blog by author Samantha McLaren, She Explores the question of Why “entry-level” often requires years of experience?
She pulls an interesting fact from a recent analysis of job postings conducted by Verve Search. Finding that one-third (34%) of graduate-level jobs and one-quarter (24%) of junior or entry-level jobs require applicants to have at least one year of work experience. In certain fields, including engineering and marketing, those figures are significantly higher.
An important part of Embark’s formation was the ethnographic research process. My predominant focus in this research was getting to hear real stories of people in all aspects of the job-hunting process. By conducting interviews with a rising senior, a graduate who struggled to get a job out of college, a senior-level recruiter in biotech, and a career services employee at Temple University, I was able to gain valuable information that helped form Embark. We tried to diversify the interviews to hear all sides of the story to make sure we considered everyone in this process.
Alongside interviews with a diverse group of people. We decided to get a better understanding of the general audience that would use Embark. We wanted to conduct a survey of people in various points of their careers to see what would be important to include in Embark. We also wanted to analyze how they use job-hunting websites to help improve the overall experience.
We surveyed 25 people in various stages in their professional career to get a better understanding of who is using LinkedIn and how it can be better.
During the survey process, we asked varying degrees of questions like, "What is some of your experiences with the job-hunting process?", "What are some features you would wish to see on job board sites?" and "What hesitations they had before applying for a job?"
Alongside the interview and survey, these helped reassure our decisions and inform our future decision about what Embark would ultimately become.
Using Research for Design
After the extensive research phase of this project, we then took the information we gathered from the interviews and surveys to create 3 user personas that would serve as our guided audience as we designed Embark.
We approached this method by considering who would benefit the most from using Embark to excel in their career.
To develop more empathy for our created users we decided to take the research we gathered to create empathy maps. This would serve as a benchmark for how the users felt about the job-hunting process.
Checking in on these empathy maps while designing helped us make smarter decisions across the entire process.
Though these aren't as impressive as the final mockups, paper prototyping helped us consider Embarks features and how to implement them. Starting with paper prototyping helped us consider many different directions in a short period of time. This meant we could organically come to conclusions much easier.
This helped visualize the ideas and share them out with everyone involved to get a better understanding.
Though this interface was based on the existing Linkedin website we wanted to spend time wire framing the expansion of Embark to explore the possibilities of what this could be.
We spent a lot of time considering the best way for users of Embark can gain valuable insights while applying for jobs and build their profiles to be interview ready. We also decided to create a hub for users of Embark that has ways they are greeted with everything the would need to do to have a leg up against the competition.
Brand Identity/ Design Process
An important exercise for myself in this project was to design using a company's existing branding since most jobs available after school for designers involve designing with an existing branding in place. Since LinkedIn has such a solid brand system in place it was easy to translate into my interface.
We took some liberties with the icon and font style because we wanted it to feel fresh.
Since Linkedin already has existing extensions of their brand like LinkedIn Learning we wanted to keep the same theme as we were naming the product. In a real world, in-house scenario It would be best practice to consider cohesion.
We considered many names to go alongside LinkedIn but the one that stood out the most was Embark. As people are embarking on their new journeys after school or changing career paths it only made sense to use this.
Since I wanted to keep the same brand standards that LinkedIn upholds I wanted to be conscious of their efforts while still considering what the extension could be.
After multiple design critiques from my colleagues and professor. We decided to continue to use what exists and update it for Embark. Keeping the familiarity while introducing something new felt like the best choice for this product.
Bringing all these brand identity pieces together we created a design system to use when designing the interface.
Having an expansive design system helped make quick decisions and save time when designing the interface by already having a solid foundation.
Embark Job Search
With Embark Job Search you are able to browse for jobs with the existing LinkedIn interface, but with new improvements. Like the transparency tabs on each listing so before you even click on the job posting, it is verified that this is an entry level job. We also included how long it will take for the hiring process and even a salary range, all before you even click on the listing
While browsing the job listing you will see signifiant improvements like, what skills you need for the job and if you have them. We also included highlighting projects this specific role had worked on and what employees at the company are saying. We also took existing parts of Linkedin and expanded upon it, like including a detailed salary breakdown. Since most Embark users are new to the working world we thought this would be the important to highlight so users can take the power back when searching for their jobs.
This is where Embark candidates can set themselves apart from other candidates. With the Experience builder they can input details from an experience from anything you feel that you were able to gain experience from. Like a part time job, extracurricular clubs or even personal projects that you may not think to add on to your resume. The experience builder takes the information you provides and generates a tangible skill that can be added to your profile. Once on your profile you can use this skill to apply to jobs and stand out from the crowd.
Along with the updated job search functions you will also have access to your own LinkedIn Embark Hub. With this, Embark you can keep track of your jobs you applied to, access your Linkedin Learning courses, and even prompt you to add skills to your profile. Along with the features listed you will also be greeted with a to-do list to help you be the most qualified you can be.
This to-do list will help Embark users become stand out candidates when applying for jobs. This to-do list feature can remind candidate to send follow up InMail's or suggest a skill you should add to your profile, putting the candidate in control.
Embark is integrated within LinkedIn's main interface, including the profile section. Though not much is different than what you already see existing on Linkedin there are large updates to help you stand out to employers. With Embark you are able to display a green LinkedIn logo on your profile to show employers you are a verified Embark user.
Along with the verification badge you will have a new updated section that display your Embark experience that you built using Linkedin Embark's Experience Builder tool. This means that you can easily apply for jobs on Linkedin and be able to showcase the experience you have to help you stand out from other candidates.
Though most of the LinkedIn's experience is catered to the desktop I wanted to explore how Embark could be used on mobile. Since applying to jobs through Linkedin is as easy as clicking a button I thought it would be important to show off how you would be able to do this on mobile.
It was also import to showcase how all Embark features could translate on mobile.
This project is important to me as I am finishing up my final year in higher education. I have learned so much about the impending job search by working on this project. This has helped me position myself for after graduation. I've been able to learn how to design within a company's brand standards, which will help me when I am applying for jobs in the future. Being able to make changes in the way we think and how we interact with a product is something that has fueled me to pursue my career in UX design.
Getting to utilize real-life ethnographic research in my design felt like a huge step forward in my career. As well being able to work with my professor each week throughout the entire design process to craft this idea. This has helped me practice working within a team. This project pushed me to become a better designer, constantly challenging myself each week. I look forward to pushing myself further in my career moving forward.
Designer: Brett Sweeney
Art Direction: Abby Guido
Institution: Tyler School of Art and Architecture — Graphic and Interactive Design
Class: Senior Graphic Design - Projects in Authorship
Viral Post asks why 'entry-level' jobs often require years of experience. Retrieved February 28th, 2022, from
About LinkedIn. (n.d.). Retrieved February 30th, 2022, from
55+ LinkedIn statistics - 2022 update. (2021, May 27). Retrieved February 30th, 2022, from
Professor who predicted 'The great resignation' shares the 3 trends that will dominate work in 2022. Retrieved March 29, 2022, from https://www.cnbc.com/2022/01/14/the-great-resignation-expert-shares-the-biggest-work-trends-of-2022.html