When to apply for UX jobs


#1

Hello all!

My name is Mike and I’m fairly new to the forums. I am consistently studying UX on a daily basis and I really want to get in the field. I was wondering when would the best time to apply for a UX job? I have been studying for a year and about to start my first project (My own website). Should I wait to apply for jobs until I have many projects under my belt or just go for it?

I’m really interested in what you guys think. Feel free to ask my questions as well.

Thanks in advance

-Mike


#2

Caveat: I am not a UX designer.

Personally I think that it’s never too soon to apply for jobs as long as you are straight up about your level of skill and experience. Having projects under your belt will obviously be beneficial in several ways, not the least of which will be as content for your portfolio, but if you are able to get a job without one, then good on you! Sometimes being thrown in the deep end is the best way to learn, and I imagine there are people out there that would be happy with someone with a 12 months of study for a junior role.

I’ll send some others with more UX knowledge to weigh in.


#3

Thank you Hawk! I really appreciate your insight. I trying to learn as much as possible from the forums to make my portfolio great.

Thank you again


#4

Hi Mike

Hmm, we go into this in quite a bit of detail in our ebook. I suspect you’ll probably struggle to find a junior UX role without any experience. Most people who are looking to hire a UX designer are looking for results. They want to know that the person they’re bringing in can deliver change that can be measured, and it’s difficult to convince someone that you can step up and do that if you haven’t done it before. Sadly, the idea of apprenticeship and taking people on to learn from a more experienced mentor is not a model that occurs commonly in UX Design.

Doing lots of reading every day is great, but you really do need to get some experience, and your own portfolio website doesn’t really count as far as projects go. It needs to be a client where you can demonstrate how you defined the problem to be solved, how you approached the problem, talk about your process, what you learned from your research, analysis and testing, and what the outcome was. There’s no getting around this—you need to have done it so that you can talk about it. Now, it doesn’t need to be a large corporate—it could be a local sports club or not-for-profit. Maybe it’s an idea you have for a new app, which you could evolve on your own, or perhaps you could do an uninvited redesign of a well-known brand (including research with some of their customers).

I’d also caution against just applying for jobs that you like. How are you finding these jobs? You’re going to find much better results if you start actively networking within your local UX community (and in the global community—this forum is definitely a good start!). The best jobs aren’t found on job boards, they’re filled by existing staff members who happen to know someone who might be a good fit. Your task is to become one of those people who someone knows.

So yes, get your own website up. But before you apply for a UX job, make your your own website contains content that supports your goal of finding a UX job. That content needs to be examples of work you’ve done. Otherwise you’re just going to be disappointed.

Matt


#5

As an aside, I’m really keen to help out people with portfolio critiques in our Gold Member’s area. Once you’ve got yours up and running, let me know if you’re interested in a review by some of our more experienced members.


#6

Thank you Matt for that very insightful response. It seems kinda daunting to try and convince others to help with a project, but that is the line of work that I want to do. I do own your Get Started in UX ebook and noted the importance of a mentor to help understand this career. I have been making steps towards that such as, being active on twitter, find book clubs in my area, and finally starting to be more active in the UX Mastery forums.

I was finding UX jobs via UXjobs 24/7 twitter group. But I also found that going to UX meetups helps with a job hunt as well.

I’ll try and start my own projects and I’ll let you know when I’m working on my portfolio HAWK.

Thanks guys. It seems daunting, but I know at the end of the road it will be worth it. I hope to talk to you two more on the forums.

Mike


#7

Our pleasure Mike. It may feel daunting but remember it’s OK to start small!