How to Find a UX Design Job: Chapter 1

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Rain is a recent GA UX Design Immersive graduate, full time UX designer, and fan of good clean designs. Her background is in architecture and product design. In her spare time she is either at the gym or coming up with new app ideas. In this blog series, she shares her story of finding a job and her insights on the London UX field.

The first part of my UX journey was done. I was a qualified UX designer with limited experience, a limited portfolio of work, and a CV that still read ‘Interior designer’. Before I jumped into getting a job or even an interview, there was a lot of prep work I had to do to even be considered. This is chapter 1 of 3 in which I will explain the process I went through to find a job in UX.

CV:

So you switched careers from X to… UX, how do you explain that on an A4 sheet? Just like anything UX related, this is a story you tell about your journey, only in bullet points. Highlight your past experience and learnings – anything that can benefit you as a UX designer.

Have you managed your own projects? Have you had any client-facing time? Did you have to speak and present your work in public? These might not be specific UX experiences, but are key life skills you can use in your new position. Highlight any responsibilities and achievements you made in previous work that show you are confident in making that change.

I also want to add on a side note for the hiring manager’s sake, which is to list all software and real life skills you have, like sketching, presenting or research. More often than not they will simply ask if you know PhotoShop or Axure before looking at your work.

Portfolio:

This is the book of you, your ideas and your story. Unlike most design related positions, your future employer does not want to see perfectly polished images of your finished work. What they really want is the story behind it – the process. Ian Fenn (@ifenn) gave a great talk about it at GA, explaining how to break the process into story telling segments.

Pick your best work, or if you are new like me with limited work experience, the best bits of each project you have, and tell the story behind it. Break the text into the client/what the brief was about, how you approached it, what issues or difficulties you encountered, how you solved them, and if possible, the final outcome. For each stage, show an image or two of your work. Show the very first sketch you did for your own clarification, the rough wireframes, the survey results and persona you built of that, and most importantly, show your iteration. Clients love to see and hear how your idea evolved and changed, as well as your learnings from it and the final outcome.

Website:

Think of this as an easy location to place your CV and portfolio. You may get a phone call from a potential employer who wants to see a bit more before considering hiring you, or someone who stumbles upon your LinkedIn or Twitter account and is curious. Your website is the quickest way to give them all the information they need about you. No need for a flashy, super designed website – you are not a web designer, and any attempt to impress with that will only distract from your story and work.

Online:

Websites such as Behance and Creativepool give you an option to upload your work and publish it. It is by far a better tool for graphic and visual designers, yet I have received a (small) number of phone calls from companies and recruiters who came across my work there and wanted to see more. At this point I would direct them to my website which has more information on it.

Social Media:

The most important thing you can do now is work on your LinkedIn page. There are many online articles and tips on how to perfect it which will do a far better job than me. I will only add this: upload your CV, link to your website and follow companies you are interested in.

LinkedIn is also a great tool to look for jobs, but I will expand on that in chapter 2…

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