Landing Your First UX Job

Photo by André Lergier on Unsplash

There’s no denying that the job market is tough and competitive. There is a plethora of incredible talent out there who are looking for work, and a limited number of positions available, but don’t let that discourage you. There are still many things that you can do as an up-and-coming UX Designer to help land your first role in this exciting and fulfilling field.

  1. Make Your Portfolio POP

I mentor a lot of designers who are coming out of bootcamps who are very focused on their case studies, making sure that every detail is absolutely perfect. I think it’s wonderful to pay attention to detail and want to make the best impression, but the reality is that most recruiters and hiring managers aren’t going to spend very much time looking through your portfolio. They aren’t going to remember every detail of the personas that you curated, or the research that you’ve done. What they will remember is if there were elements of your portfolio that stood out. Did you have a captivating About Me page? Did your personality shine through right from the introduction? What did you do to make your portfolio unique?

None of this means that you need to learn full stack development to have an incredible website, but if you do, that’s cool. Do you do photography on the side? Well, showcase that on your Portfolio. Are you a big soccer fan? Try to incorporate that into your portfolio by creating soccer ball logo, or adding in a soccer game to your page. Whatever you can do to bring elements of your personality into your portfolio is going to be the key to making you a memorable candidate in the job search. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be concerned with your case studies, you absolutely should, but don’t neglect personalization of your page in order to have the perfect case study.

2. Start a Blog

They say the best way to learn is by teaching others. I couldn’t agree more with that statement. If you really want to be an expert at anything, take the time to try to educate others on it. It can be intimidating at first, but everyone needs to start somewhere. I encourage you to get started on a platform like Medium, just writing for yourself and a small following. Or, adding a blog on your portfolio could be another great way to get started.

Added bonus: what employer doesn’t want talent that can write!? Not only will your writing skills improve, but you will have writing samples to showcase to employers, highlighting your diversity as talent.

3. Clean Up Your Social Media Presence

I’m sure you’ve heard many times about how important it is to have a clean social media presence, because employers WILL LOOK YOU UP! However, instead of defaulting to making your profile private, dedicate your social media presence to work related endeavors, or hobbies that you’re passionate about. Leverage that to diversify your portfolio and add a unique touch to your personality. Make sure to link all of your social media platforms to your portfolio as well!

4. Get Some Fresh Headshots

Great photos can go a long way. Try to get photos that fully capture your personality. You don’t have to pay for a photographer for them either! Have a friend or family member take some photos of you on a nice day out, or maybe doing some hobby that you love. Sprinkle those photos around your portfolio to add more personality, and add them as your profile photos for various social media platforms.

5. Volunteer

Volunteering can go a really long way to build your leadership. Are there any causes that you’re passionate about? Try to reach out to various organizations you can get involved with. Ask them if they need help with their website or if you can do any UX work for them. See if there’s any board opportunities available. Whatever you can do to continue growing and adding to your leadership will be key in growing personally and professionally. It also sets you apart as someone who is involved in your community and helps grow your network.

6. Read More Books!

Last but not least, read!! Get a subscription to Audible, or your local library and get your hands on as many books as you can. Reading is a great way to continue learning about your field & how to be a good business person. My top recommendation is always the Harvard Business Review books. They give excellent advice on how to be a good leader.

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