How to find a job in UX (and not just it)
Despite the high demand finding a job in UX is far from easy. However you may already have what it takes to get into the industry. The next four steps will help you to get there, most of them can be applied in any sector.
1) Focus on your goals and your background.
“Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
It could sound strange but we often don’t care about it enough. Some people may already have a clear plan and love their job, but it’s not the same for many others. Maybe they have been doing the same job for years and think it’s impossible to change career. Well, I have good news: it’s never too late!
It takes just a few questions…
When was the last time you spent 10 minutes without doing nothing? That means nothing, far from your phone. Finding that time is vital to know you better and prepare for what’s next.
Think about your strengths and your flaws. How do you see yourself in 1–3 years and what are your next steps to get there? If you are willing to dig deeper that way there are 26 questions ready for you. They helped me a lot.
In a vast field as UX it’s important to define the process you are most interested in:
- Are you more a visual person who likes hacking with Photoshop and Illustrator?
- Or maybe you are in love with research and data?
- No wait, you come from business but you would like to focus more on marketing?
All these skills are in high demand and could lead to great careers even without an experience in Web or App design. If you have some doubts it’s ok, the 2nd step should help…
2) Ask an expert
Learning new stuff has never been as easy as nowadays.
If you don’t have a menthor I would recommend to find one. There are so many websites where the finest professionals share their practises: Smashing Magazine, A List Apart, Boxes and Arrows, it’s a never ending list.
If you are more a ‘book’ person you could look for authors like Dan Norman, Jacob Nielsen, Steve Krug or Jeff Gothelf.
“If you read only one book per month, that will put you into the top 1% of income earners in our society. (…) Regular reading will transform your life completely.”
Ah books! If we only had the time…
Well, according to recent studies it looks average people in UK are currently spending an entire day a week online. For your next job it would help to start using LinkedIn more, but here’s the thing: the sooner we start a social media diet the better. Even if you are not looking for a job.
That would help to focus more on the next (timeless) step:
3) Create a bulletproof CV and cover letter
Alas, it’s 2018 and we still need to work with the CV as probably our grandparents did. Personally I found some online platforms like Novoresume extremely useful and a real time saver.
Essentially, recruiters just want to find the candidate who matches their client’s brief as closely as possible. It’s that simple…
…In theory of course. In the real world you need to get noticed between hundreds of profiles. These are probably the best tips I’ve found on countless articles:
- Every single line we put in the CV must be relevant information to get us an interview.
- Keep it short and simple, there’s no need to over complicate it.
- Scan through job adverts and make a list of the most sought after requirements for your target roles. Once you have this list, you know exactly what skills, knowledge and keywords you should be highlighting in your CV.
- Let’s not forget we are selling ourselves: a catching cover letter suited for the role could let us get that call we are longing for.
So, are you now ready to hit the market with your resume? Well, there’s still a step which would really make a difference…
4) Put your skills in action
As Lois Siegel from Motivate Design frankly put it in an interview on Adobe Blog :
“They — job seekers — have to have a good portfolio and they have to exemplify that they understand UX. “…” Most of the time if the portfolio isn’t good, no matter what the experience they’re not going to get the interview.”
Oups, got it. But you know, this “portfolio” doesn’t necessarily have to be a long series of impeccable awarded projects: if you don’t have any you could start a new one on your own. Just put in words (or code, data, graphics…) what you are learning about and show it to the world. Even if it’s far from being flawless.
“Anything to show that they have the experience, the incarnation and the talent to do the job (…) The first job is always the hardest, like with anything.”
So what are we waiting for? Let’s find what we are really interested in and make it happen!