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 Programs, a digital transformation firm in Kyiv, and wished 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 further obstacles whenever 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 discovered helpful classes that I need 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 approach individuals get jobs, so it’s necessary to attach with others, both on-line or in particular person. Be sure to have a profile on LinkedIn and be a part of related communities like LinkedIn’s Person Expertise group. Take part in design-oriented discussions on Twitter. Be a part of one or a number of design associations, and attain out to individuals you’d prefer to study from or get to know. Along with serving to you discover alternatives, networking will show you how to keep constructive and motivated, for the reason that job search may 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 just about and met a number of connections that approach. Since issues have opened up, I’ve been in a position to attend native networking occasions in particular person, 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 standard problem: speaking successfully in English and understanding American tradition. The preparation part is the time to get comfy with this.
Observe Your English-speaking Abilities
Talking in English with People was an adjustment for me, however I used to be fortunate, as a result of in Ukraine I commonly used my English at work when speaking to purchasers, and I had a number of American mates. Nonetheless, once I moved to the US, I found that the tradition and communication types in America have 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 range from state to state. Once I visited Southern California, individuals have 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 may be useful.
Excellent Your Portfolio
Your portfolio ought to mirror a robust private model. It’s value taking the time to outline this for your self: Think about what your design philosophy and aesthetics are and look at the way you need to be seen by others. Your portfolio also needs to present your course of, since employers not solely need 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 prefer 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 varied options all through a venture. There isn’t any one option to doc your work—you may be artistic, so long as your processes are clear.
Make sure to 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. As an example, I included that I converse 4 languages, and that I take pleasure in instructing 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 buddy who labored at Google, figuring a referral would enhance my possibilities of getting a place on the tech large. I had no actual understanding of the hiring course of and even find out how to promote myself and did not land a job there. Had I utilized to smaller corporations first to turn 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 per week, that meant they did not like me. Not essentially true! A number of days after contacting a corporation, you must name or electronic mail the human sources 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 positive your portfolio is pixel-perfect. You’ve heard again from a recruiter or hiring supervisor, and now you could have an interview on the calendar. Right here’s find out how 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 carried out mock interviews with a buddy and recorded them. It was solely then that I noticed 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 anxious that I used to be conveying a scarcity of enthusiasm in regards to the job, and that I’d be perceived as impolite. I instantly started engaged on this. Recording your self can repay huge in case you’re seeking to enhance your interview talking abilities. In case you file your self utilizing video, you may also 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 in case you are courageous sufficient to face that, you’ll enhance vastly.
Put together to Focus on Successes and Failures
Ask the buddy 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 need to hear the way you dealt with a failure or disappointment. My buddy Anna—additionally a designer—did this for me, and since she knew my work, she might level out particulars I might 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 exhibit my pleasure in regards to the job. She additionally helped me assemble a extra subtle story about myself and what led to my varied transitions to new roles all through my profession.
Professional tip: Though related expertise in a specific discipline may be helpful, some corporations want 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 exhibit that you just’re wanting to land a brand new job. In my case, that took observe. Even once I was excited a couple of new alternative, my voice generally instructed a distinct 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 an important approach of demonstrating my competence and getting that decision again.
Share Your Profession Story
Storytelling could also be some of the necessary abilities for touchdown a job. An genuine story that demonstrates your ardour provides you with a bonus over different candidates. It needs to be trustworthy; don’t say you at all times dreamed of turning into a designer if that’s not the reality. Personally, I’ve a background in structure, and I by no means considered turning into a UX skilled. Once I interviewed for jobs within the US, I instructed 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 turning into a UX designer formed my imaginative and prescient, targets, and priorities. For instance, I discovered 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 achieve the language abilities that may turn into so helpful 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 exhibits the way you turned the particular person you’re, inform it!
Don’t Be Afraid to Take Credit score
Design is collaborative, so it’s essential to exhibit that you could companion with fellow designers and stakeholders, give and settle for suggestions, drawback remedy, 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 seen that a lot of my fellow Jap Europeans are inclined to underestimate themselves and keep away from stating their very own strengths. This can be one thing we absorbed culturally; nonetheless, when making use of for jobs within the US, you have to go outdoors your consolation zone and have the ability to articulate what you carry 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 task, you may be tempted to calm down, believing you’ve completed all the pieces you have to do. But there are nonetheless steps you possibly can take to maximise your possibilities of touchdown the position.
Ship a Thank-you E mail
E mail a quick thank-you word inside 24 hours of an interview. Whereas a handwritten word is good, mail can take too lengthy, particularly in case your potential employer needs to fill the position rapidly. If a recruiter facilitated your name and also you don’t have your interviewer’s electronic mail, ship a thanks to the recruiter and ask them to ahead it.
Attain Out As soon as Extra
In case you 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. Supply to supply anything they want. Do that to emphasise that you’re critical about and nonetheless considering 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 together 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 will not be prepared or in a position to present it, however often they’re. One design supervisor I interviewed with stated she didn’t have considerations 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 take a look at reframing it round influence. She instructed 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 workforce included many colleagues who didn’t perceive the design course of properly.
Get Clear on What You Need
You may be so centered on getting an employer to say “sure” that you could be not have thought of in case you really need the job. They could 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 development and your total life targets. 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 observe and put together, you possibly can uncover the proper alternative whereas demonstrating that you’ve got the talents and skills to excel within the position.
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