Recruiters and referrals are the best way to streamline getting a UX design job. In this video, discover how recruiters are involved in the hiring process, and explore ideas for getting referrals for a UX role.
- In this field it could be difficult to get your foot in the door, and if you're completely new to this field, there's a bit of a paradox in landing your first UX job. All the job descriptions seem to require that you've already had job experience. So it may seem difficult to start out. Whether you're new or experienced, you'll want to attract recruiters to make the process of getting a UX interview easier. Recruiters and sourcers are actively looking for candidates to fill roles for the companies they're recruiting for, and they spend their day looking for potential candidates on LinkedIn, or in design groups, or anywhere online.
They also attend design events like meetups and conferences to find talent for the role. There are a few ways to attract recruiters. You'll want to have a portfolio of work online. You can meet people through conferences and design events, which can lead to a personal referral, and you can build up an online presence. Even if you're new to the field, you should have a portfolio showing your work. The work in the portfolio can be student work or a volunteer project, anything that helps you showcase your design approach.
If you want to get a better idea of how to approach a portfolio, I have another course, Building and Maintaining Your UX Design Portfolio, that focuses on the key components. You'll also want to start meeting people in the field. One of the best ways to do that is to go to meetups and UX conferences. Typically companies are recruiting for talent at these conferences. In fact, I got my first UX job by attending a conference for UX professionals with the focus on networking. I hit it off well with one of the representatives from a very well-known digital agency.
He referred me to his manager, and we had a phone interview. At the end of that phone interview the manager told me I was too junior to join his team, but he recommended another agency that he used to work at, and told me to tell them that he had referred me. I contacted that agency, went in for an interview, and I landed my first UX job. It really helps if people can connect with you as a person rather than just a resume or a portfolio. So do you really need a recruiter to get a UX design job? No.
You can definitely apply directly through a website, but you'll be missing out on that interpersonal interaction of someone who has a direct line into the recruiting process. One way to actively find recruiters for the jobs you're interested in is by going to LinkedIn jobs and typing in the company you want to work for. Sometimes you'll see a recruiter's name, and if you're interested in the job, you can contact them directly expressing interest. The company page on LinkedIn is also a good place to look to see if there's any activity from a recruiter.
Often times recruiters are active on company pages. You can also attract recruiters and hiring managers passively by building a brand for yourself online. Building a brand for yourself means writing articles on LinkedIn or Medium, speaking locally at UX meetups, or creating a podcast or some other type of content. When you build a brand for yourself, it's easier for recruiters to find you. They're always on the lookout for candidates because they have a lot of roles to fill.
If you're new to the UX field, it may seem like it's difficult to build a brand for yourself as a UX professional. People at all levels have a unique perspective and point of view, and you can offer your own on the UX field with fresh eyes.
- Different UX career options
- Acing your phone interview with the hiring manager
- Tackling a design exercise
- Tips for presenting your portfolio
- How to approach a whiteboarding exercise
- Interviewing with a design teammate and the product manager
- Evaluating the offer