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Acing the UX Job Hunt

Acing the UX Job Hunt

Newly revised! This is one of my favorite talks that I give to Laura Ruel's UX class at the University of North Carolina. I've updated this with more top tips! The talk covers how to prepare for the different phases of the interviewing process.

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Michelle Chin

April 29, 2021
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Transcript

  1. ACING THE UX JOB HUNT MICHELLE CHIN PRINCIPAL DESIGN OPS

    MANAGER CITRIX 4/29/21 MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN
  2. • Masters in Interaction Design and Information Architecture (Univ. of

    Baltimore) • Product Designer -> Design Manager -> Design Ops Manager at Citrix • Hired designers and design managers • Struggled breaking into the UX f ield MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN HELLO! ABOUT ME
  3. MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN WE HAVE A LOT TO COVER!

    1. Breaking through 2. Interviewing 3. Presenting 4. Solving design challenges 5. Navigating the “in betweens” 6. Leveling up TODAY!
  4. MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN BREAKING THROUGH Getting your foot in

    the door can be tough! You can be one of 10’s or 100’s of applicants. Recruiters are “the f irst responders” of company’s search. They’re trying to get through all the applications and they’re looking for 2 things. • Can I throw this application out? • Is this candidate a realistic possibility? How can you get yourself recognized as a realistic candidate?
  5. MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN RESUME – ASK YOURSELF: BREAKING THROUGH

    • Is my resume easy for the recruiter to skim? • Is my LinkedIn URL and portfolio (and password) on my resume? • Did I only include relevant experience? • Did I leverage keywords? 
 (Only include stu ff you actually know!)
  6. • Include your name in the f ile name (e.g.,

    TinaBelcherResume.pdf) • Save your resume as a PDF • Have someone proofread your resume • Include skills, but don’t rate yourself MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN BREAKING THROUGH RESUME – TOP TIPS: Expert knowledge of Sketch, Illustrator; Working knowledge of HTML, CSS Good example Sketch Illustrator HTML CSS Bad example
  7. • Did I complete all sections of my pro f

    ile? • Has someone proofread my pro f ile? • Have I set my pro f ile to “open to work?” • Am I active on LinkedIn? 
 (Connections, reactions, comments, edits) • Did I set up the right job alert noti f ications? MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN BREAKING THROUGH LINKEDIN PROFILE – ASK YOURSELF:
  8. • Reuse your resume content for your LinkedIn pro f

    ile • Match your headline to the role you’re looking for • Make the f irst 3 lines of your “About” section engaging MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN BREAKING THROUGH LINKEDIN PROFILE – TOP TIPS:
  9. MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN PORTFOLIO BREAKING THROUGH The reality: •

    Recruiters, unless highly-trained in UX (rare), will be looking for something that looks appealing. First impressions count! • Hiring managers are busy! They will only be skimming things (30-60 seconds). They’re also really good at picking out solid portfolios quickly.
  10. MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN PORTFOLIO – ASK YOURSELF: BREAKING THROUGH

    • Does my portfolio show my best projects? • Does my portfolio look professional and easy to quickly scroll through? 
 (Use a clean UI, short paragraphs, bulleted/numbered lists, etc.) • Do I show a user-centered design process? • Do I include examples of where I demonstrated critical thinking and resolving challenges?
  11. MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN PORTFOLIO – TOP TIPS: BREAKING THROUGH

    • Show your process - even the messy stu ff ! UX is messy and we want to see your approach. • Include an “about me” section - we want to see that you’re a real human. • Only include relevant work • Don’t copy your colleagues even if you collaborated • Represent your work honestly • If you don’t have real-world experience, get creative 
 (Volunteer, create projects that go through your process, etc.)
  12. MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN APPLYING – ASK YOURSELF: BREAKING THROUGH

    • Does my experience match what’s being asked in the job description? 
 (Recruiters cannot move candidates through unless they meet the minimum requirements) • Does my resume include relevant job titles? • Do you really want to apply for this job? 
 (Some larger companies only allow you to apply to 3 jobs/3 months.)
  13. MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN APPLYING – TOP TIPS: BREAKING THROUGH

    • Only apply for the jobs you’re quali f ied for – applying takes a lot of energy! • Don’t apply through LinkedIn; apply through the company’s site • Include a cover letter with your resume (either as separate or the same f ile) 
 (This is helpful if you’re transitioning and/or don’t have the relevant job titles.)
  14. MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN INTERVIEWING Interviewing processes can vary, but

    typically, you’ll be interviewed by (in order): 1. Recruiter 2. Hiring manager (typically, your future manager) 3. Peers 4. Other cross-functional partners Most will ask behavioral questions (e.g., give me an example when… ).
  15. MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN ASK YOURSELF: INTERVIEWING • Did I

    practice my interviews? (Out loud is best) • Do I have concrete examples for answers? • Do I have questions to ask the interviewers? • Have I researched who’s interviewing me?
  16. MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN TOP TIPS: INTERVIEWING • Google for

    example questions for each round or role. • Have a list of examples to reference during the interview 
 Including examples of how you exemplify the company’s values • Be prepared! 
 Remove distractions, test out software, have good cell reception. • Don’t throw anyone under the bus! 
 Practice putting a positive spin on things. • Know yourself so well that no question catches you o ff guard and you sound natural!
  17. MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN RECRUITERS: WHAT THEY WANT TO KNOW

    INTERVIEWING When recruiters say: They want to know: Tell me about your UX process. Do you really know what you’re talking about? Logistical questions 
 (visa, salary, relocation, remote working) If you meet some basic needs What kinds of tools do you use? Do you really know what you’re talking about? Why do you want to work at the company? Have you done your research? 
 Are you taking this seriously?
  18. MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN HIRING MANAGERS: WHAT THEY WANT TO

    KNOW INTERVIEWING When hiring managers say: They want to know: Tell me about your UX process. Do you really know what you’re talking about? What’s a UX challenge you faced and how did you resolve it? Are you capable of critical thinking? Are you someone who will help the team? Tell me how you’ve worked with other designers. Are you collaborative with other designers? What are your career next steps? Will you be staying with us for at least 3 years? What’s your hando ff process like with engineering? How closely do you work with cross-functional partners? What aspect of UX are you strongest / most passionate about? Do your strengths f it with what the team needs?
  19. MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN DESIGN TEAMMATES: WHAT THEY WANT TO

    KNOW INTERVIEWING When design teammates say: They want to know: What tools do you like to use? What’s your UX process like? Do you really know your stu ff ? Tell me how you’ve worked with other designers. Can you work well with us? How do you stay current with UX trends? How passionate are you about UX? Tell me an example of when you had an idea that others didn’t like. What happened? Can you articulate your design decisions? Can you compromise when necessary? Tell me how you’ve used research to inform your decisions? Are you data driven? 
 Are you making objective design decisions? What are you looking for when joining a team? Do you share the same company/team values? Do you have questions for us? Do you really want to be part of this team?
  20. MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN PRESENTING Presenting your work to a

    group of people (3-10) is a common step in the process. Interviewers will want to get a sense of your experience, your process, and how you’ve dealt with real-life challenges. (No project is perfect!)
  21. MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN ASK YOURSELF: PRESENTING • Is my

    presentation in a slide deck format? • Did I include screenshots or photos of my process? • Have I practiced my presentation so I feel con f ident with the content? • Do I have 3-4 case studies ready to present? • Can I present within the given timeframe? • Am I comfortable with the technology? (e.g., Zoom, headphones, etc.)
  22. MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN TOP TIPS: PRESENTING • Build a

    rapport with people - be human, relatable, and yourself! • Tell a story to engage interviewers 
 (What was the problem? Why was that problem important to solve? How did you solve it? How did it shake out in real life?) • Avoid “real-estate” tours, audio, and video • Provide just the right amount of context • Warn people of interruptions; be understanding if they have interruptions
  23. MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN SOLVING DESIGN CHALLENGES Candidates can look

    really good on paper. Hiring managers and teams want to validate that you’re able to critically think through solutions and articulate your ideas. Design challenges are a great way to assess this. Challenges can take the form of: • Take home assignments • Whiteboard challenge • Heuristic evaluation • Collaborative role playing
  24. MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN ASK YOURSELF: SOLVING DESIGN CHALLENGES •

    Do I have an approach for solving design challenges? • Am I comfortable sketching ideas on paper or an iPad? • For heuristic evaluations: Am I using an established method? • Have I practiced until I feel con f ident?
  25. MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN TOP TIPS: SOLVING DESIGN CHALLENGES •

    Practice, practice, practice! 
 (Practice both real-life and hypothetical prompts) • Don't boil the ocean; focus on 1-2 areas • Don’t strive for perfection! The key is to demonstrate your thinking process and ability to articulate your ideas. • Value your time - don’t be taken advantage of
  26. MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN NAVIGATING THE “IN BETWEENS” Each phase

    of the interview process is important, but so are the “in-between” times. De f initely take advantage of them.
  27. MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN ASK YOURSELF: NAVIGATING THE “IN BETWEENS”

    • Did I sent a thank you email to everyone I spoke with? • Am I clear on the next steps and how to prepare? • Am I continuing my job search even when things are going well? • Do I know who could be my references? • Did I do my research on the company and people?
  28. MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN TOP TIPS: NAVIGATING THE “IN BETWEENS”

    • Send your thank you emails within 24 hours and be thoughtful and concise • Your recruiter is your ally. They want to make sure you have the best possible experience. Ask them any questions you may have. • Touch up your resume, portfolio, and LinkedIn as you gain interview experience • Ensure a positive experience - if this doesn’t work this time, they might want to reach out in the future
  29. MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN LEVELING UP As with any process,

    there’s always room for improvement. Once you get through the basics, you can try a few more things to “level up” your game.
  30. MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN ASK YOURSELF: LEVELING UP • Have

    I checked Glassdoor for reviews, interview questions, and more? • Have I studied job description patterns and aligned my resume and portfolio to them?
  31. MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN TOP TIPS: LEVELING UP • Establish

    a network – attend (virtual) events, join Triangle UXPA, Meetup/Slack communities • Seek mentorship • Seek career coaching from UX experts (resume/portfolio reviews, career advice) • Sign up for General Assembly (mostly free) + Creative Mornings (all free) webinars for tech career advice
  32. • Slide deck: bit.ly/acing-ux-jobs • LinkedIn: michelletchin • Medium/Twitter: @soysaucechin

    • O ff ering 3 free, one-time UX Career Coaching sessions: calendly.com/michelletchin (only for the month of May; f irst come, f irst serve basis!) • Triangle Designers Slack (triangledesigners.com) • 5/26-5/27: Triangle UXPA’s Career Fair MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN THANKS!