Trying to make a career change, kind of bad current work environment

Hey all. I’ve been working in digital marketing in various positions for about five years. Our team reorganizes a lot, and with this last iteration, I’ve been put into an extremely technical role against my wishes. My perspective is that I was offered a mainly UX role (as a career transition) with a little bit of front-end development. The role has turned out to be more like a full-stack developer, which I am not at all qualified for nor do I want to pursue that path. My manager maintains he was clear on the role from the beginning, but unfortunately I didn’t ask for it on paper before agreeing. I have voiced concerns with my manager and his manager, but the response I’ve gotten is “we don’t need more UX people, we need more developers.” :roll_eyes: So I’m looking for a new job.

The issue is, I am applying for jobs but worried that I don’t have enough experience/knowledge to actually get a job. I built a portfolio (http://katieking.io) but I’m not sure I have enough on there. I’ve taken Designlab courses, I’m enrolled in GTx HCI course, I’m a member of tons of UX Slack workspaces, I have a UX twitter where I interact a lot, I’m a member here, I’m trying to join a local UX meetup… what else can I do? What does my portfolio need? Without someone more senior to guide me, I’m kind of shooting in the dark.

Hey Katie,

Sorry to hear about your experience - that sucks.

At first glance…
You have quite a lot on your website as examples! Without clicking in to anything for details, I got the sense you’ve done a lot of work. :slightly_smiling_face:

When I do my portfolio for job hunting, I expected two main people will use it:

  1. Recruiter who has little-to-no deep knowledge of UX, so will scan to essentially see if you’ve got a portfolio with stuff on it

  2. The hiring manger, who will probably click into one or more of the projects for details

(For what it’s worth, I’ve heard this is pretty accurate.)

Now I’m digging in more…
Where could you substitute “Background” for “Summary”? People love seeing things like “Increased traffic by 20%” or “Generated $2,500 sales over the goal.”

Personally, I like the CAR setup…

C: Challenge - What was the problem?
A: Action - What did you do to solve it?
R: Result - How did it go?

The Result is usually the hardest one, and the one that generates the most interest/discussion during the interviews.

For example, with the “Young at Heart” work, how could you relate back your contribution to the organization’s goals? Maybe things like…

  • How many people turned out to the event that year vs the prior year?
  • How much engagement did the event get on social media?
  • How much traffic did the website get?

If you’re wanting to transition into UX over illustration or UI, the feedback I’ve heard from hiring managers is they are more interested in seeing my process. You have some lovely examples of this on VideOrder and GoodMarket. Add the Results and you’ve got two strong entries.

If you need results with some of your “learn by doing” self-directed projects, I’ve done user testing with a few friends to fill in this blank!

Or, what examples from your other digital marketing experience could fit? Though your title or role may have been different, there’s a good chance you were already doing some user-centered thinking which influenced the project and its results!

In case it’s helpful, last time I did my portfolio I tried a totally different spin (2:32 video).

This got real long so I’ll stop now. :upside_down_face:

Feel free to email me if you’d like to continue the conversation! jasonober[at]gmail.

PS - If you like, I’ll email you my resume, too. I paid a stupid amount of money for it, so will gladly share what the pros did for me as inspiration.

You’ve got this!
Jason