One year ago or so, Linkedin asked me to get enrolled as a mentor about my expertise as a UX designer while it was launching a new feature: its Career Advice Hub. My inquisitive mind as a UX designer just pushed me to join in because I was pretty excited to explore this new Linkedin feature as well as being of any help for those Linkedin members in need of some advices.
In the moths that followed, in a few cases, I engaged in pretty long conversations with smart and enthusiastic wannabe UX designers or with UX practitioners, that were looking forward to pushing their career to the next level.
Some of them were searching for advice about how to switch from their position as a developer or as a marketing professional to a UX design career, but most of them were “just” wondering about the right approach to break into UX design at large international companies and what to expect during the whole selection process when coping with such popular companies and their high expectations.
Well, as everyone engaged in a job search process can tell, searching for a new job is a work itself, for it’s time and energy consuming. Sometimes you can feel low because things seems not to go as smooth and easy as you wish, sometimes you may wonder if there’s something wrong with your approach and attitude, but don’t let this negative feelings overwhelm you! It’s just a rule of thumb whatever kind of work you are aiming to, but it’s expecially true in digital industry when you are a UX designer.
You may be a rare thing such as a very young superstar UX designer but if you are not, the only superpowers you can rely on are dedication, patience, self-awareness, perseverance, boldness, 5 affordable virtues for every average human UX designer.
Dedication and resolution will define the right attitude for everyone during their job search. They will give you the strength to build an effective portfolio and improve it in an iterative loop trying to catch all the helpful feedbacks from recruiters and interviewers.
More dedication and resolution are needed at networking with other UX designers and with recruiters and posting the cv on specialized websites.
You’d better be always ready to have a chat with recruiters that want to know more about your professional skills and expectations to match them with the open positions they are trying to fill in. Get ready to tell on and on mainly about your level of expertise in UX design, what kind of contract you are aiming to, if you are willing to relocate to another country/city, what’s your expected wage.
Some recruiters won’t reach out anymore, some of them may be back with generic newsletters with a list of open positions, just a few of them may make you feel that they have perceived a clear vision of you as a person and they are willing to work with and for you. Well, too bad. You’ll come across good and bad recruiters just like it might happen when coping with any other kind of practitioner. So, some of them will push you through a whole selection pipeline always being helpful and supporting with practical advice and courtesy, some of them may even cancel an in-person or a remote meeting, with a questionable reason or may not reply to your messages right after telling you about an enthusiastic client that is looking forward talking to you!
Self-awareness will help you not even waste one second to ask yourself why some recruiters changed their mind with no apparent reason, mining your self-esteem.
If some interviews turn out unsuccessful, it doesn’t always mean that you are not good enough or you might have said something wrong. It might be just because some companies have some specific needs and preferences that have nothing to do with your professional skills. Each company might start a search for a UX specialist with different underlying needs that will be left unspoken! You might be too young, too old, too experienced or not enough experienced, they might be searching for someone more focused on native apps or on ecommerce, or someone more into UX research or into data analysis. UX design field is so vast that they will always find a weak spot if they don’t think you are the right match for ALL of their needs.
Self-awareness will tell you how good (or not that good) you are based off some standard that you set by talking to experts in the UX field and by getting inspiration from blogs, resources and top-talents’ work. From this perspective, you’ll get a clear vision of your goals getting a powerful spur to improve your skills and knowledge.
Some hiring pipelines are stressful and time consuming. It may take up to 6 interviews and some tests like UX challenge. They will ask you to complete some work (a heuristic evaluation of their actual product or the redesign of a landing page, for example). Well, you can even come across some companies that use this method to get some work done for free. But that’s how it works!
You have to work hard and never give up if you want to land a new dream job. It’s not easy but be confident and strong! That’s why you’d better select those companies that you like the most and struggle to get a position there instead of applying for 1000 positions that at some point you’ll also forget you have applied for.
What you can do is to build a portfolio (3 or 4 projects can be enough) where you show your work process from a problem detection in the context of a user experience to the solution.
Be bold! Build you cv and put some stress on you as an achiever (being a doer may not be enough). Companies want to know that you can give some contribution to make the difference. Then, keep on training yourself with projects that can also be based off the redesign of some real product and service if you can catch some pain points in the actual version. You might also want to redesign some features of a product from your favorite company, the one you are aiming to be hired at!
You might want to spontaneously sent in an application but I suggest you to reach out to someone specific that may be in your network and ask for an introduction. Don’t be shy, don’t be assumptive, just be proactive. It may take time but you can find the right opportunity and succeed! Never give up!
If you enjoyed the story or it just resonates with your experience as UX job seekers, do not forget to 👏👏👏 and/or leave your comment to discuss further about this topic! Thanks for reading!