Essays on the Experience of UX Job Hunting

A few years ago, I was looking for a job in user experience. Despite having years of experience, it was pretty challenging.

Trying not to get too discouraged in my search, I decided to ask a few friends for their advice. We talked about building the elusive portfolio, an absolute must for any UX designer these days. One word of advice was to think about what UX managers might be looking for when they review a portfolio, and to try and build a portfolio around that. That seemed like expert advice, but none of my friends were UX managers so they couldn’t give me one-on-one advice (or didn’t want to).

Given how easy it is to find development info online, I assumed it would be relatively easy to find more information about UX managers online, too. I started hunting for information on what managers might be looking for, what makes for a “good” UX portfolios, and information about job hunting in general.

That search eventually led me to write a long essay about what I found. I split my findings into the following parts:

  • Part I. What are managers looking for?
  • Part II. What Do Hiring Managers Agree On.
  • Part III. Profile of a UX Manager.
  • Part IV. What makes a good (UX) portfolio.
  • Part V. Good advice, Resources.

I’ve been sitting on all of this for about 2 years. At the time, some of what I wrote seemed inflammatory to me. It made me angry. Reading it now, I don’t think so. I think a lot of designers — and knowledge workers, in general — are getting frustrated for similar reasons related to job interviews, evaluation criteria, and other aspects of the hiring process. And several prominent figures in the user experience community have also written about how the education for UX design is broken, leading UX managers to complain that there are no good candidates.

Anyway, after all this time I figured it’s finally time I start publishing, so here goes with the intro. Who knows if I’ll post it all.

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