Vol. 031 - How did I land my UX jobs?

Hi designers,

Welcome to Vol. 031 of the UX Jetpack Newsletter, where I share job searching tips weekly. This week we are talking about:

  1. How did I land my UX jobs?
  2. How to design in 2024
  3. Portfolio mistakes I made

If you enjoy those tips, please consider sharing them with your friends. They can sign up at https://uxjetpack.com/newsletter

How did I land my UX jobs?

My First UX Design Job?

Fresh out of school, no connections, but building rapport during the interview helped me land the role.

My 2nd UX Design Job?

Didn’t have strong UX projects, but sharing my take on building products and business secured the job.

My 3rd UX Design Role?

Pretty good portfolio, but after a year of searching, I finally landed an offer by showing my ability to work fast in a 2-week contract.

What I learned from this experience:

You don’t need to have a perfect portfolio or perfect experience to land a job.

Being able to build connections,

sharing your unique perspective,

showing results through work.

Many ways to stand out.

So if you are worrying about not having the perfect portfolio,

think about what makes you unique,

and let that shine.

How to design in 2024

  • Learn AI
  • Use Figma
  • Read UI books
  • Learn fundamentals
  • Copy apps from Mobbin
  • Identify your friend’s problem
  • Ask others about their experience
  • Check existing solutions on the internet
  • Sketch up mockups to get other’s feedback
  • Iterate on the design until the core issue solved
  • Share progress on social media to make yourself visible

But more important than anything else is to go design something.

Good projects are the ones you start. Great projects are the ones you done.

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Portfolio mistakes I made

I've been there.
Back in 2017, I made many mistakes when working on my first design portfolio.

1. I included every single detail about my process.

What happened?
I treated it as the process book for school, which requires showing everything you worked on. So, my case study became super long and hard to read.

What would I do differently?
I would only highlight the important steps and artifacts. Focusing more on describing my thought process, the insights I gathered from each step, and how that helped me to design. This way, hiring managers can easily understand how I work as a designer.

2. I didn’t improve on the design even though I knew there were some glaring mistakes.

What happened?
I got some feedback from my professor and peers. There were definitely some areas I could improve. I just ignored them and finished the case study as it is.

What would I do differently?
I would incorporate some of the design changes and do another round of usability testing. This way, my design would feel more complete, and I would have more data to show how my design is performing.

3. I used a WordPress template without customizing it.

What happened?
I used a template to speed up things, so I didn’t need to design and build my own website. It did save a lot of time, but my website ended up looking really generic.

What would I do differently?
Using a template is still a good idea. But I would customize it to fit my own branding. Whether that’s changing the color, logo, adding some illustrations, or adding some animation to make it more fun

4. I didn’t include any impact.

What happened?
To be fair, it was all school projects, which I have no metrics to show. So I just didn't include any impact.

What would I do differently?
Even just showing the feedback I got from my professor and peers is helpful for people to understand the impact I had. Plus, if I did some usability testing, I can show the result of that, which would also show how my design solved user’s problems. Any impact is better than no impact.

If you join my newsletter, you should check out my free crash course on job searching. Be ready to land your dream job in five days.

Ryan Yao

Say hi 👋🏼 on LinkedIn or ☎️ book a 1 on 1 with me

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