I’m sure many of you read this title and instantly thought to yourself of many examples within the past few months that would disprove my statement. But I’m also sure that many of you also looked at it with a glimmering eye of hope.
Breaking into the field of UX is no easy feat and by no means will happen with a snap of your fingers. Better yet it won’t happen instantaneously once you finish a Bootcamp or a self-taught curriculum (even though we’re led to believe that a large portion of the time.)
However, less than two years after graduating from my Bootcamp I stand before you as a full-time UX/UI Designer having been recognized by LinkedIn as a Top Voice in Design for 2020 and ending the year on a high note, I was just accepted as a mentor at the ADPList. By now you’re all rolling your eyes ready to click out of this article because no one wants to read about someone else’s success when they have been getting rejection after rejection. But hold on!
I’m not here to boast, rather I’m here to prove a point and to help you recenter your own UX journey so that hopefully you too can join me on one (or both!) of these lists.
So what’s my secret?
Each day, whether it entails writing another cover letter or completing an interview, a new skill is learned. With each new cover letter, you learn what works and what doesn’t and how to push yourself to write an even stronger one this next time around. With an interview under your belt, you now have an idea of the questions that will be asked in your next one (because yes there will soon be another one!) so that that time around you can feel more prepared.
These are just two examples, but ones that every one of us goes through. Take me as an example, when I graduated myBootcamp I submitted applications with a cover letter and portfolio that at that moment I was so proud of. Yet, now close to probably 100 iterations down the line, I am way more confident now than I was then. Why? Purely because of my past experiences and because of the lessons I learned along the way. To be clear, I’m not talking about major new roles under my belt. I’m just talking about tweaks I learned from books I read, conversations I had, or physical experiences of applying and being rejected. (See, I told you we all go through it!)
However, these learnings are not only important for yourself but for the others who are behind you in their UX journey. Regardless of how many days out you are in your job search, I want you to stop and think about how much you know now that you wish you had known on day 1. For those of you who are just starting this process, you will notice that even you have nuggets of information others would appreciate hearing.
So where to start?
I encourage each and every one of you to start documenting your process, including the key takeaways from each of these steps or milestones. I find it is helpful to write down 1–2 bullets each time, reminding yourself of why this newly learned tactic is beneficial. That piece is the nugget; it is the information we think to ourselves that we wish we had known earlier on. This is where I encourage you to take this one step further and share those pieces of gold, whether it is here on Medium or on LinkedIn,Instagram, or any other platform. By sharing your insights, it allows you to first, foster a relationship with other designers, and second, it helps others who are only a few steps behind you.
Many of us when we think of mentors we picture the top senior individuals in the field. However, I want to shatter that image and encourage you to replace that image now with yourself. Just because you have limited experience, does not mean that your journey cannot be helpful to someone else. This recentering, I have found, allowed me to understand my position in the field and has provided me with the doors that opened to my stated accolades. None of this is rocket science, but this triggering of your mentoring definition I truly believe will help open doors for you too.
In an organization, a leader should be able to communicate well to the team as this will impact and affect the company's reputation.