When my husband’s employer transferred us to the US, it meant an enormous transfer from Ukraine to New York Metropolis. I needed to go away my position as a UX designer for EPAM Techniques, a digital transformation firm in Kyiv, and needed to discover a place with an American firm. Job searches are at all times difficult, however looking for a UX design job once I was new to the nation was particularly robust. There are extra obstacles once you’re navigating a brand new tradition, language, and metropolis suddenly.
To maintain myself from getting overwhelmed, I divided my efforts into three phases: the search, the interview preparation, and the post-interview follow-up and reflection. The method took a number of months, and I realized invaluable classes that I wish to share with different designers pursuing a UX profession within the US or with US-based corporations.
Laying the Groundwork for a UX Design Job Search
Earlier than you plunge into the UX design interview course of, work on the fundamentals like networking with fellow designers, practising your language abilities, and curating a standout portfolio.
Networking is the No. 1 manner individuals get jobs, so it’s vital to attach with others, both on-line or in individual. Be sure to have a profile on LinkedIn and be part of related communities like LinkedIn’s Person Expertise group. Take part in design-oriented discussions on Twitter. Be part of one or a number of design associations, and attain out to individuals you’d wish to study from or get to know. Along with serving to you discover alternatives, networking will show you how to keep optimistic and motivated, for the reason that job search could be lonely.
I moved to New York Metropolis simply earlier than the COVID-19 lockdowns, which made it troublesome to attach with different design professionals. However I joined conferences and periods nearly and met a number of connections that manner. Since issues have opened up, I’ve been capable of attend native networking occasions in individual, such because the Tech and Startup Networking Mixer.
Develop Cultural Competencies
Throughout a job search with American corporations, these of us from Jap Europe or elsewhere outdoors the US face a typical problem: speaking successfully in English and understanding American tradition. The preparation part is the time to get snug with this.
Observe Your English-speaking Expertise
Talking in English with People was an adjustment for me, however I used to be fortunate, as a result of in Ukraine I frequently used my English at work when speaking to shoppers, and I had a number of American buddies. Nonetheless, once I moved to the US, I found that the tradition and communication types in America had been totally different from these in Ukraine.
For instance, when an American asks, “How are you?” they’re merely extending a greeting, not searching for an account of your day. Additionally, in Ukraine I used to be fairly direct with my suggestions to colleagues, however within the US direct suggestions can generally come off as too blunt. I additionally discover that People use loads of idioms, so I ask for clarification once I do not perceive one thing, and more often than not persons are good and don’t thoughts explaining.
I like to recommend connecting with a speaker of American English—on-line or offline—and speaking to them about day-to-day subjects. I do CrossFit exercises, so becoming a member of lessons was a great way for me to satisfy individuals and work on my English abilities.
Immerse Your self within the Regional Tradition
America is a gigantic nation, and communication types differ from state to state. Once I visited Southern California, individuals had been so open and pleasant. It was really virtually overwhelming. In New York Metropolis, however, persons are extra reserved till they get to know you. It’s busy and fast-paced. Due to these variations, I like to recommend familiarizing your self with a number of the distinguishing elements of the areas the place you’re making use of. Watch out for stereotyping or overgeneralizing, in fact, however gaining some perception into regional context could be useful.
Excellent Your Portfolio
Your portfolio ought to mirror a robust private model. It’s price taking the time to outline this for your self: Think about what your design philosophy and aesthetics are and look at the way you wish to be considered by others. Your portfolio also needs to present your course of, since employers not solely wish to see completed tasks, but additionally the way you resolved issues, workshopped or examined totally different iterations of a design, and interacted with stakeholders. I wish to put my course of in a scheme that features the steps and actions every venture entails. I present how I got here up with numerous options all through a venture. There isn’t any one method to doc your work—you could be inventive, so long as your processes are clear.
Make sure you have an “about you” part and embrace private particulars like the place you’re from and what you do for enjoyable. This part can spark dialog and construct a bond between you and a possible employer. For example, I included that I communicate 4 languages, and that I take pleasure in educating and mentoring others in UX design. I additionally volunteer for a corporation that works to protect the orca whale inhabitants.
Once I launched my job search within the US, I reached out to a pal who labored at Google, figuring a referral would enhance my probabilities of getting a place on the tech large. I had no actual understanding of the hiring course of and even methods to promote myself and didn’t land a job there. Had I utilized to smaller corporations first to develop into acquainted with hiring practices and to work on interviewing, I might need been employed.
Don’t Be Afraid to Observe Up
Once I moved to the US, I believed that if an American employer didn’t reply to my cowl letter inside every week, that meant they did not like me. Not essentially true! A number of days after contacting a corporation, you must name or e mail the human assets division to comply with up. In some circumstances, hiring managers could also be evaluating candidates on how proactive they’re or how they appear within the place, so following up can transfer your résumé to the highest of the pile.
As soon as You’ve Landed the Interview
You’ve despatched out dozens of resumes, constructed relationships with fellow UI/UX designers, and made certain your portfolio is pixel-perfect. You’ve heard again from a recruiter or hiring supervisor, and now you’ve got an interview on the calendar. Right here’s methods to put together your self to make sure your UX designer interview course of is successful.
Observe the UX Interview
Once I started interviewing, I performed mock interviews with a pal and recorded them. It was solely then that I spotted I didn’t sound engaged or excited; my voice was monotone and overly critical. Usually, I discover People are sometimes extra animated in dialog; I frightened that I used to be conveying a scarcity of enthusiasm concerning the job, and that I’d be perceived as impolite. I instantly started engaged on this. Recording your self can repay huge in the event you’re trying to enhance your interview talking abilities. If you happen to document your self utilizing video, you can even get a very good sense of your posture and facial expressions. The recording could present one thing you didn’t discover about your self, and if you’re courageous sufficient to face that, you’ll enhance significantly.
Put together to Focus on Successes and Failures
Ask the pal who’s role-playing with you to ask you a couple of favourite venture. Then have them ask you to speak about one which was particularly difficult. Employers will wish to hear the way you dealt with a failure or disappointment. My pal Anna—additionally a designer—did this for me, and since she knew my work, she might level out particulars I would unnoticed, or areas the place I used to be promoting myself quick. Afterward, I requested her to critique me. Was I clear? Did I emphasize my strengths and promote myself? Her suggestions helped me see the place I might enhance my voice and tone to higher show my pleasure concerning the job. She additionally helped me assemble a extra subtle story about myself and what led to my numerous transitions to new roles all through my profession.
Professional tip: Though related expertise in a specific subject could be useful, some corporations wish to disrupt the state of issues, so earlier expertise may very well work towards you. Put together for this eventuality throughout your UX interview prep and prepare to speak about how your expertise might help in disruption efforts.
Your demeanor ought to show that you simply’re wanting to land a brand new job. In my case, that took follow. Even once I was excited a couple of new alternative, my voice generally informed a unique story: I used to be usually nervous and busy translating the English in my head. I needed to actually work on projecting confidence and conveying my enthusiasm in interviews. That turned out to be a vital manner of demonstrating my competence and getting that decision again.
Share Your Profession Story
Storytelling could also be one of the crucial vital abilities for touchdown a job. An genuine story that demonstrates your ardour provides you with a bonus over different candidates. It ought to be sincere; don’t say you at all times dreamed of changing into a designer if that’s not the reality. Personally, I’ve a background in structure, and I by no means considered changing into a UX skilled. Once I interviewed for jobs within the US, I informed the story of how, once I tried UX design, I unexpectedly linked with the method.
I additionally share how the issues I did previous to changing into a UX designer formed my imaginative and prescient, objectives, and priorities. For instance, I realized English whereas working as a bartender in Ukraine, as a result of my boss spoke solely English. It’s a very good story as a result of I didn’t understand on the time how that job would assist me acquire the language abilities that will develop into so invaluable in my work as a designer. Join the dots in your life and inform your individual story. Even when the story is a couple of failure, if it reveals the way you turned the individual you’re, inform it!
Don’t Be Afraid to Take Credit score
Design is collaborative, so you should show you could companion with fellow designers and stakeholders, give and settle for suggestions, drawback clear up, and share the highlight. That stated, you additionally want to have the ability to speak about your private achievements. Be ready to level particularly to your individual contributions that positively affected a course of or product. I’ve observed that a lot of my fellow Jap Europeans are inclined to underestimate themselves and keep away from mentioning their very own strengths. This can be one thing we absorbed culturally; nevertheless, when making use of for jobs within the US, it’s essential to go outdoors your consolation zone and be capable of articulate what you deliver to the desk.
Reflecting: Wrapping Up the UX Design Job Interview Course of
After an interview, particularly if it included a number of rounds and a design project, you may be tempted to calm down, believing you’ve completed all the things it’s essential to do. But there are nonetheless steps you’ll be able to take to maximise your probabilities of touchdown the position.
Ship a Thank-you E-mail
E-mail a short thank-you notice inside 24 hours of an interview. Whereas a handwritten notice is sweet, mail can take too lengthy, particularly in case your potential employer desires to fill the position rapidly. If a recruiter facilitated your name and also you don’t have your interviewer’s e mail, ship a thanks to the recruiter and ask them to ahead it.
Attain Out As soon as Extra
If you happen to haven’t heard from an organization for 2 weeks, don’t be shy about sending a well mannered message to your interviewer asking if they’ve decided but. Provide to offer the rest they want. Do that to emphasise that you’re critical about and nonetheless curious about working for them.
Study From Your Rejections
Being rejected is disappointing and might have an effect on your motivation. Give your self time to sit down along with your feelings, then mirror on what might need occurred. Think about reaching out to the recruiter or supervisor who interviewed you and ask for suggestions. They might not be keen or capable of present it, however often they’re. One design supervisor I interviewed with stated she didn’t have issues about my technical or design abilities, however felt I had room for enchancment in connecting my work to the worth it introduced the enterprise.
Her recommendation was to take one other have a look at my case examine and check out reframing it round impression. She urged organizing it like a narrative, highlighting the general narrative, beginning with the issue and segueing into how we solved it. She felt I wanted to enhance my storytelling and persuasion abilities, as a result of her group included many colleagues who didn’t perceive the design course of properly.
Get Clear on What You Need
You could be so targeted on getting an employer to say “sure” that you could be not have thought-about in the event you really need the job. They might have to decide on you, however you even have to decide on them. It is essential that the corporate you’re employed for helps your profession progress and your total life objectives. In the long run, it’s about you discovering the appropriate match. By familiarizing your self with how the UX design interview course of works within the US and investing the effort and time to follow and put together, you’ll be able to uncover the right alternative whereas demonstrating that you’ve the abilities and skills to excel within the position.