How to Land your First UX Designer Job in 3 Easy Steps

Designer testing UX on multiple platforms, Desktop, laptop, mobile, and table.

Guest Post by Gabrielle Kamekona

The demand for user experience (UX) writers and UX designers is steadily increasing as more companies take their presence online. From eye-catching product design to website delivery, UX design is everywhere customers see, interact with, and experience your brand.

For new professionals looking to land their first UX career job, the process can be quite intimidating to navigate on your own. With the right know-how, you can embark on your job search with a full arsenal and the competitive edge above your peers.

Step One: Learn practical skills

UX can be a pretty broad field if you don’t know what you are looking for. The best way to narrow down your search, and hone in on which career path best suits you, is to get hands-on.

UX researchers get technical about details, while UX writers focus on content, and UX designers get immersed in context setting and process mapping. Nothing will get you booted from job candidacy faster than not knowing the differences. To get you through the first two, or three (or four, if you are still invested), interview rounds and keep yourself from utter boredom in your career, your first goal should be to a) get trained and b) get educated.

Sound similar? Try not to mistake the two for the same quality and expertise.

Many accelerated programs boast the ability to shave off hours in academic commitment by lacking real substance where it counts, and many degrees miss the mark on balancing insane amounts of lecture and theory with little to no application to practice. Find the right mix by buckling in and doing your research on the best online courses, certificates, certifications, digital skills training, and degree programs to get you going in the right direction.

Learning the practical and technical skills will pump up your resume, but being able to also showcase your work and skills is likely to seal the deal much faster.

Step Two: Create a Portfolio

Everyone likes to talk the talk, but falter when they need to chuck the squawk.

One of the biggest game changers in your corner? A high-quality portfolio of recent, yes recent, pieces that demonstrate your creative direction project to project, your conceptual skill, and your synthesis of all elements into the final product. Be very selective of what you choose, because you will be asked to describe your process and reflect on the nuances of what didn’t go as expected.

Example of digital online portfolio with record of works

Oh, and if you don’t have a digital portfolio ready to share with the click of a USB drive, shareable link, or a scan-and-go QR code, you are already behind. UX designers are expected to be experts on visual design, product design, and capturing the essence of what will engage and inspire. Put that to work on your greatest asset: YOU!

Get a leg above the competition, and score the chance to impress with an eye-catching, minimalist, or modern digital portfolio via a website, presentation, mp4, or other format that speaks to your skills and emphasizes who you are, and why you are the best fit for the role above all others.

Step Three: Network for Net Worth

business networking, individuals gathering, business plans

Many first-time job seekers find themselves in unfamiliar territory when it comes to networking with other professional UX designers. This is where knowing your industry and your tools will come in handy, from signing up for workshops to internships and other part-time gigs, stay as true to yourself as possible.

The most important part about networking is building long-term relationships that can provide you professional insight, advice, and growth. According to HubSpot, 85% of jobs are filled through networking, while CNBC reports that 70% of jobs are never published publicly (Source: Do not become so focused on your resume that you become one-dimensional.

In this stage, know your skills and your strengths, and put together a killer elevator pitch that you know back to front. Also, always keep your overall goal top of mind. That UX writer and UX designer role is within reach. Leverage your winning personality, your professional contacts, and your communication skills to network into your net worth.

The UI/UX programs powered by ThriveDX not only helps learners gain the career skills employers are looking for, but we also offer career services customized to your needs, with career coaches dedicated to helping you launch your new career or advance in the career you already love. For more information, visit our website.

Good luck on your job hunt!


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