Working My Way Up the Food Chain

Icon studies for cockpit controls

When I first put up my portfolio and resume for UX design, I got no responses. I mean zip, zero, nada. I started to make some changes to them, went through various formats on the resume, and finally started to get pinged by recruiters. At first I was jazzed. Wow I’m finally on someone’s radar. But after a few months that enthusiasm faded.

Now not all recruiters are created equal. Some, in fact most, are what I name “cattle callers”. The most egregious are generally offshore, mispronounce my name “JEW ANN”, know little to nothing about what UX is, nor how big the state of California is. “I have a position In San Jose” they say when all my online profiles state right up front “Only accepting positions in the Los Angeles Metro Area”. They establish no connection, sometimes ask certain questions which indicate that they never even looked at either my portfolio or resume. And are never heard from again after the initial contact. One was so sloppy he included all the other names of the candidates he was contacting (close to 50) for the job listing in his first email. Boy that really made me feel special. [eyeroll]

Then there’re about 10% who actually understand what is involved in UX design and make the effort to form a relationship. I will hear from them every 3 to 4 months when a new position becomes available and I don’t have to start from ground zero with the answers to basic questions that are asked: I’m a US citizen available within 24 hours for an interview, targeting a rate of….

What I’ve learned is the recruiter is at the first level and is just gathering enough information to present to their account manager.

For little over a year that’s as far as I got. In the past several months I’m now getting to speak to account managers. It took me about four revisions on the resume and adding several projects to the portfolio to get to this stage.

I also had applied directly to some jobs and got about five interviews over the past year. Some of the interviews went very well and it was disappointing to hear that I didn’t get the position. My takeaway is that the other candidates edged me out somehow. Still trying to figure out what I need to make better.

My task at this point is 3 fold:
To start networking and get contacts that will facilitate getting me through these layers of people that often are more barriers than they are conduits. I go to various meetups and always walk away with at least 1 or 2 new contacts. I make it a point to contact them promptly and look to chat with them every time I see them at a gathering.

To keep current on UX topics and expand my knowledge base with some of the newer technologies like augmented reality and virtual reality. I’ve started to learn Unity and by association C#.

To work on a side project. I’ve chosen to work on an app that would control all aspects of watching TV, be it streaming, live broadcast, or recorded. Most people have a minimum of 2–3 remotes to handle their needs and all are too complex to use easily. This app would be able to replace all of those, show only what is needed at the time, and be much easier to use.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.