The kind-of-obvious secret that very few UX candidates use in their job hunt

graduates job seeking May 19, 2019

The biggest lament of anyone finishing a design bootcamp is that they can’t get a job. Like most professions the biggest stumbling block block in your design career happens right at the beginning when you're getting your foot in the door. Getting underway can be difficult for a bunch of different reasons.

When Linked In analysed 50,000 hard skills needed by employers globally, UX came in at #5. Wow! It’s so in-demand, yet it can be very difficult to start a career in this space as a graduate. Many people entering the field get started with a bootcamp or university qualification, but this certainly doesn’t guarantee that you’ll walk straight into your dream role. Competition for entry level design roles is fierce. You could find yourself competing with other recent graduates, as well as the many people with years of related career experience who are making the switch into UX or service design.

To top it off, most employers are looking for “mid-weight” (ergh, I really hate that expression) or senior designers with a few years experience under their belt. Most designers now are thrown into programs with tight timeframes and are expected to be able to deliver without spending time learning the ropes. Unfortunately employers who are willing to invest in skills development of junior designers are few and far between. This signifies a massive shift in our industry, as it wasn’t too long ago that you couldn’t find anyone with experience and we had to train smart people ourselves, from scratch.

So today’s job climate sounds tougher than ever if you’re getting started, right? Well, yes and no.

It’s always been tough to some degree. When the early designers were getting started, no one knew what we were talking about. There was no competition, sure, but there were also no jobs, and no clients. The entire industry we know and love had to be designed and built from scratch.

Different times, different challenges.

Today’s climate is tough too, but in a different way. From my experience looking at many, many design CVs, resumes and portfolios over the years, the vast majority of applicants entering the industry forget that they are an experience designer the moment they have to design an experience to help them land their first job. The human centred design process can be applied to anything - even your own job hunt. So why ditch the principles that you’ve just spent so much time and money learning the first time you need to deliver?

It sounds pretty obvious, right? I think so too, but almost no one does this very well. And I can tell you without any doubt that there is no way I would ever consider a junior candidate who couldn’t show me they had considered the experience they were creating for me, the “user” of their job application.

By demonstrating this as a graduate, you are showing design maturity that your peers probably aren’t demonstrating. Your application will go to the top of the pile because you will have distinguished yourself from the rest of the pack.

So, pull out that double diamond, and think about how you can use it to help you land your dream role.

If you feel frustrated by your experience design job hunt, sign up for the Ultimate Experience Design Job Hunter's Checklist to ensure you don't miss any vital steps in your job search. 

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