When my time came to look for a new Job as a UX Designer, I was nervous and really anxious… I couldn’t wait to leave that job that I know it wasn’t right for me anymore. I wanted to start a new dream job where I could learn and thrive!
Even if the process was a bit long and quite stressful, it was so worth it. I ultimately got a very good job at a nice company. I feel that this experience has taught me many lessons, so I’d like to share in hopes that it can help others in their quest. If you are looking for your first job, if you need a change or if you have been searching for a while and now feel stuck, read on!
1. Always start with Research
When approaching a new project or task I always like to do some online research first, so that I can find the “best way” to succeed.
Here are some gems on job hunting I can recommend:
General career advice:
The Muse is a website fully dedicated to job search and career advice. There you will find tones of articles on all subjects, from changing careers to getting back to work after maternity, how to ace your interviews and much more.
- Tobias van Schneider blog for Semplice
If you are a designer you probably already know Tobias van Schneider. If you don’t, you should! An accomplished designer, he has recently launched a portfolio platform called Semplice, and he writes plenty of brilliant articles with a lot of useful tips.
- Sarah Doody channels
If you need help building your portfolio Sarah Doody is your girl! In her articles you will find many convenient tips, and she has a lot of channels where you can find good advice: a YouTube channel, a Facebook group, a mailing list and even courses.
- Portfolio examples
If you are looking for inspiration, you should check bestfolios.com There you can find portfolio examples, case studies and also résumés!
There are many many more great resources on the Web (and on Medium there are a lot of great articles) but those were the ones I used the most.
Tip: As there are many things to consider, it might be better to take note of those items that ring a bell, so you know where to start. You can even prepare a document with links to your favorite sources for future reference.
Tip 2: If after checking other portfolios you feel somewhat discouraged, know that it’s completely normal to feel this way! In my case it worked to bookmark my favorites, so I could come back later. Too much portfolio browsing on an only afternoon could be a bit soul-crushing…
2. Prepare your Job Searching Pack
Once you have studied the articles, listened to some podcasts and checked the best portfolios and resumes, it’s time to prepare your own job searching pack! As a UX designer, you should prepare:
- A “Design” CV: In other words, a CV that does not look like a Word document. Pay special attention to your alignment, white space and hierarchies. Nice typography can also help! Finally, try to limit it to one-page max, and only list your more relevant and current experiences or studies.
- Your portfolio: Here you will showcase your best work, focusing on quality before quantity. There are many ways you can prepare it, from building your own website to using a designer platform like Behance or Dribble. If there are confidential projects you can not show on your online portfolio, you can prepare a PDF with the best ones and send it privately to recruiters.
- Your Case Studies: UX is all about your process… Thus, the best way to show your process is to write a case study. This will be the most time-consuming part, but don’t despair! You don’t need to write a case study for every one of your projects, just choose the top two or three, the most interesting ones or those from which you’ve learned the most.
3. Ask for feedback
Now that you already have your pack at hand it’s always a good idea to ask for feedback before sending it out. This will help you get an idea of how appropriate your profile is, according to your desired position. Then you just have to make any necessary adjustments.
But who to ask? If you have some kind of “mentor” in the field, that is, someone with great UX experience who is willing to help you, it will be ideal!
Otherwise, if you don’t have a mentor, there still are a lot of places where you can find someone to share your portfolio with:
- Don’t miss the events: The UX community is now thriving! There are tons of events everywhere: meetups, design jams, conferences and more. Those are perfect to connect with the community and also with recruiters.
- Reach out to your UX network: You can also use several available online channels. Look for your local UX Slack channels, Linkedin groups or others.
- Become your recruiter’s friend: Some HR professionals are really friendly and helpful. If they see you are humble and genuinely interested in improving, they may be willing to help with your CV and portfolio.
Tip: Keep an always-positive attitude. Even when they tell you are not right for the job, that can only mean that you are not “right” today. In that case, ask for feedback on the areas you should improve. Is it to refine your visual skills? To get more experience in research ? To prepare more detailed animated prototypes? Everything can be improved!
This concludes Part One of my article. Hope you find it useful 🙂
In Part 2 I will share more advice on how to tackle the second part of the process: the interviews.
- Choosing the “right” post for you
- Thinking about your unique Brand
- Facing the “we will call you” anxiety
See you then!