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Transitioning into UX design

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I have a diverse background, and just finished a UX design certificate program. I haven't gotten any interview offers... How can I get a UX design job? My portfolio is at https://jywdesigns.com/ #career #uxdesign #nontraditionalbackground

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Johanna’s Answer

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The most difficult part is getting your first job. Here is some advise I've given to other people in your situation...

  1. Network like crazy. Go to meetup events, message designers on linkedin and offer to buy them coffee. Try to immerse yourself in the design community. When you meet, show a genuine interest in them. See if there are ways to help them out in any way. Then, let them know what your looking for and ask them for what they look for in new entry-level design hires at their company.
  2. Work with a recruiter (or several) who specialize in UX roles.
  3. Be open to contract work as a way of getting some experience.
  4. If you're desperate, offer to do small, well-scoped freebie projects for startups...a single usability test, a sign up form redesign, etc. in exchange for a linkedIn recommendations a portfolio piece.

The most important thing for hiring managers is relevant experience. Since you're new to UX, you'll need to build experience any way you can. Smaller companies and startups are more open to less-experienced designers especially for contract roles.

Good luck!


Thank you, Johanna! I have been doing some of the things you mentioned. I guess it'd just a matter of time. Jenny W. Translate
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Ana’s Answer

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Getting the first UX job is the hardest part, it does get easier after that.

Some additional tips:

  1. Follow up if you haven't received any reply back from the companies you've applied for. You can get relevant feedback from the companies and types of roles you're looking for, so you can adapt your approach, portfolio and learning goals.
  2. Think about your transferrable skills from non-UX roles that are relevant to UX.
  3. Consider tailoring your approach for each role: cover letter, resume, etc. If you have more case studies, you can keep your 3 best ones in your portfolio and send others in pdf format or separate link according to how relevant they are to the role you're applying for.
  4. Recommendations and social proof: They're another great addition to your portfolio and LinkedIn. Even if you haven't worked within a real business context, consider previous roles or those who worked with you in a class project.
  5. Consider sending some spontaneous applications as well.

Good luck!

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Rosti’s Answer

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I have worked with lots of folks in UX so I think I have some first hand experience. Let me give you some tips for landing that job:

  1. Look in places where other candidates are not looking. What do I mean? Think outside the box and pick up your local business journal newspaper (https://www.bizjournals.com/). Look at articles for companies that are expanding or new to your area. Check out their websites and check for UX postings. I think typically people just look at the big Tech Companies like Google but overlook the smaller and mid sized companies.
  2. Go to Hackathons and other networking events. You should check out the even calendars of local universities usually lots of those events are not for students only and are open to the public.
  3. Look for "Startup Accelerators" - these are places where you will find lots of small companies who will also likely be looking for talent. You can then go to the websites of the companies that are based in that accelerator and also check for their listings. Here is one link for the Seattle area for example https://fi.co/insight/seattle-s-18-best-startup-accelerators-incubators
  4. Get a trial of LinkedIn Premium. Turn on alerts for jobs with UX related keywords.
  5. Check state and government sites https://www.usajobs.gov/

Remember that even though you are talented - people are not necessarily going to send you requests for interviews. You need to get out there and apply!

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