So I finally landed my first UX job after a grueling 6 months of searching. I’m kind of nervous since I won’t have anyone to mentor me at first since the current UX designer is currently on maternity leave. I pretty much have to wing it. Since I don’t have prior professional UX, they’re giving me a week trial to see if I’m a good fit for the role. Can anyone offer any advice on how to prepare myself for my first UX job?
That’s so cool! Rapt for you.
Can you give us some more details? Do you mean that you’re managing the UX side of a project at your current work, or you are literally beginning a new role?
And remind me what (if any) courses/reading etc that you’ve done.
For context for anyone else that has advice, this is @ux_dude’s story: Should I give up pursuing a career in UX if I’m an introvert?
It will literally be my first professional UX job at a new company. I will be working under a creative director so I won’t be totally alone. I’m transitioning from being a front-end developer for over 10 years. As for educational background, I studied Interactive Design in college and recently took a UX course as a refresher this past spring.
Let’s call in some people with a range of experience levels to give advice.
Experienced people – what would you expect from someone starting their first job?
Relative newcomers – what lessons did you learn when you first started? What tips would you offer?
Tips from me:
- show a willingness to learn: a week’s trial is not very long so it sounds like it might be more of a cultural/can you hit the ground running type of thing
- don’t be afraid to ask for help, give it your best shot first and if you run in to issues, go through what you’ve done and where you think you should head and get advice from the creative director. This shows initiative in terms of going for it but it is so important that you don’t work in isolation
- learn as much about their internal processes as you can, I.e. do they have a style guide or pattern library, what do they do, are they agile etc, new jobs in the beginning you want to be a sponge
Enjoy yourself, that they’re willing to give you a shot that’s a huge thing, remember to be yourself and show them how you can integrate into their team to help them help their users .
Best of luck, you have support here if you need it!
In my experience, when we decided to hire a not expert designer, we’ve planned how to put her/him in the workflow according the specific needs from the team POV.
It takes time, of course, and a lot of effort from both sides (company and new joiner).
What really matters, to me, is having a shared plan in terms of goals and having a shared metric to evaluate them.
For instance: the new joiner will be part of the design process related to the usability test, let’s try to build a easy prototype with our toolkit and see how is high the learning curve.
At the end of the process both of us will be able to clarify what was well done and where we see room for improvements.
From my side I really appreciate curiosity and the will to face stereotypes as wire-framing is boring, I’m a designer I need to prepare pixel perfect deliverables and so on.
I hope this will help
@ux_dude congratulations on your new role. You’ve got this!
You need to take a step back to pencil in some time with your creative lead and ask them “What success as far as this trial week looks like?”
Show you are a good listener, take detailed notes, act on clear instructions, and execute on clear deliverables.
More ‘great questions to ask’ that get you noticed here:
It’s crucial for your creative lead to ‘frame what success will look like’ to stop you from falling into any biases as far as what you want to do to make this job a success.You’re there to solve problems for them and their clients.
Would love to hear their reply - once you’ve run this past them
@ux_dude, congrats! Best wishes to you!! Here are some suggestions for your one week trial:
- Louise’s advice above is spot on: First meet with your creative lead to understand expectations and know how to measure success. If you’re comfortable with that, move on to the items below.
- Find out what their internal processes are. Try to get access to any available tools and/or existing documentation.
- Get as much background as possible on any projects you will be working on. Besides reviewing any “official” docs, what’s the backstory of each project? E.g., who is working on them, how long the projects have been in house, where they are in the process, what the client thinks, how much budget is left, etc.
- Be a self-starter - next, introduce yourself to your teammates one by one and politely let them know you’re there to help. It sounds like you have some experience with this despite being an introvert, which is great. These conversations are important to help you quickly gauge the lay of the land. Find out what they think about their roles/responsibilities and where you fit in. This can be a quick five minute chat, but 10-15 min. is ideal. Let your curiosity lead the way.
- Watch, listen, learn, and take action when appropriate. And smile. A lot. (real smiles only!). A good attitude wins the day. Do that and they’ll want more than just a week
Good luck and hope that helps!
Everyone else has already given great advice but I do have something to add. By ‘good fit’ they’re not just looking at the role- they’re also looking to see if you are a good fit for their team culture. Skills can be taught, experience takes time, but during that week they’ll be looking to see if you have the things that can’t be taught. Attitude, authenticity, a willingness to learn and the ability to work well within a team will all go a long way!
Thank you everyone for the super helpful advice!
Congrats @ux_dude!! It must be pretty scary with the current UX designer being away when you start…talk about being thrown into the deep end, eh?! But it’s such a great opportunity to really prove yourself. UX designers are curious and inquisitive by nature (well, all the best UX designers I’ve met anyway!) so I’m sure it’s very much expected that you spend that first week asking a lot of questions, learning about and even challenging (if you’re feeling brave!) the current process, and generally getting a feel for where UX sits in the organization. Given that you won’t have another UXer to shadow during this week, I’d recommend interviewing some key stakeholders who are somewhat aware of the UX process there - this is a great way to make yourself known (one week isn’t very long in terms of a trial, so this will help people get to know you, and hopefully advocate for you), integrate with the team, and understand the process/what’s expected of the UX team.
This blog post about the design process & your first job in UX might be helpful. If you’ve studied UX before or already have any UX experience then maybe skip the first few sections.
Would love to hear how you get on when you start. Good luck - you’re gonna be great!
As a recently started UXer I found it very useful (as mentioned by @Louise) to discuss what is expected of you. I think the recommendations above will already help you quite a bit. The biggest challenge might actually be getting familiar with the different UX methods you can use to solve certain problems. To make this decision I often use the following two tools: