Breaking into UX
What you need to know to be successful in this industry
Today, breaking into the realm of ux.
I want this session to be really interactive and hopefully answering some of the questions that you all may have. Today’s topic is really around how to get into the industry. A lot of the slides are really indexed towards people for the first time, but there’s gonna be some content towards the end for folks who are looking for maybe some additional advice or some feedback into things that you might be able to shift with a job search.
I know for myself, especially after having been in this industry for decades I feel like a lot of the formula to success, I am starting to learn about especially as I am in different spaces in a leadership capacity and just observing.
And so today we’ll be sharing a little bit about high level insights, just some things to help you and hopefully some additional sweet nuggets to give you that insight that took some people sometimes to learn. But before we get started, I wanna share a little bit about my journey for folks just tuning in.
And so I started my journey a long time ago, back when internet was not. Readily available, and Adobe was really the only thing that you could use in designing software. I know nowadays we have so many choices, especially even on our phones, right? We can create some really beautiful designs through that small, tiny screen.
But back in the day we had CD proms, these little disks that plop into the computer, install an application to do anything. And we used to design websites, , using Photoshop. And this was also before websites were a thing and people were just really getting acclimated with the tools and there was just beautiful gifs everywhere.
Web one point, I was quite an interesting space. But myself, I. Tinkering with the computer while I was in middle school, while I was in high school. And the interesting thing was that a lot of my family members didn’t really do work in the computer space. My father was selling jewelry and my mother was cutting hair and there were immigrants from Asia, Japan, and Taiwan respectively, and especially for immigrants coming to the us.
And this is something that took me a long time to learn too, was that this pressure to become a doctor, a lawyer isn’t just this thing of, just wanting us to make a lot of money, right? But it was actually a societally conditioned. Necessity to stay in the country. After reading a lot about Asian history specifically they were so many mandates for specifically the early Asians immigrating into the country to have roles that you had to have that were higher degree education or specific professions that they didn’t have enough of here in the United States, at least in this country.
And so oftentimes immigration was dependent on the type of job that you had and also what. Benefit that you would be able to provide this country. And so interestingly enough, I took upon a lot of those insights from , my family and I went into college saying, okay, I’m gonna try to be a Doctor
And it took me a long time to figure out that this was really not my path. Actually, interestingly enough, I had graduated with a degree in neuroscience and was applying to medical school, and it was in the application phase. I got cold feet and I said I’m not too sure about this. And at the time, my college advisor.
Back in San Diego at U C S D was telling me, Hey, this gap here thing is really this trendy thing for med students especially. Why don’t you go try it out and go do your thing? And so I did. I ended up freelancing as a web developer at a bunch of different companies in San Diego, and I ended up going to an advertising agency and I just absolutely loved the culture at the company and the plethora of different work I was able to work on.
And. After a few years of being in the industry, I decided to take a full plunge into it. Your MCAT scores and your college GPAs valid for a good number of years after you graduate college. And it was interesting that point, I don’t remember if it was like four to six years so long ago, but I had to make that second kind of final decision of saying, okay, I can’t turn back now.
But I just absolutely loved doing something that was so creative, so technical, so robust, and just being able to see the fruits of my labor immediately, right? Tinkering on the computer and just seeing it come to life was just just entrancing for me and. Looking at my high school and all the different curriculum I had leading up to college, I really wasn’t exposed to technology as much, especially in the industry of ux, for example.
We really didn’t have that until many years after I had been in the industry and in the space, and we had usually visual designers, web developers, but actually back in the day, you had more full stack web developers doing the full development, design, user experience, everything. And now we are starting to see opportunities to specialize, right?
UX as a result of one of the specializations and. It is really because we have so many more people who are in this industry and with more people, you have an opportunity to really create teams where people get to pick different slices of the pie that they want to be a part of. And so I think, especially as we move forward and have more people in the industry some people will be like, oh, it’s oversaturated.
Oh, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But there’s a few key truths that I think counter that, right? The first thing is that a lot of things have yet to be digitized and are moving towards digitization. And so there is going to be a need of technology, right? Developers, but also people who design and who make the interfaces more friendly to other humans and people and things.
Now they’re making like apps for animals, right? like creatures to interact with. And also the second part being. Looking at the history of this industry, I think the more people you have in any space gives opportunity for people to really shape the industry, right? Diversify, specialize, what have you.
And looking forward into the future. I think a lot of companies are also developing a lot of products in the market that are up and coming in many different technologies, spheres. And so I would say this is a really healthy space to be in, but also a great opportunity to just see and shape over the next coming decades to come.
And over the many years of just being in this industry, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to work with some of the biggest brands, some really small brands, startups, advertising agencies, in-house companies, and just the space itself. While I really loved and appreciated the work, I would say what really lacked was a ton of representation.
Of course, you see right. Developer troll above this white dude, nerdy white dude who sits in a cave and does all the work. And actually, even though we have creative spaces, ux, visual design, we still see a lot of the same character type in these spaces. But another insight that I think is interesting is taking a look at the industry of computer science.
It was actually dominat. By women first into the industry. Back in the day they had computer science, but more about using computers for inputting data, collecting, aggregating, mathematics, and seen as this accounting role and this supporting role towards other organizations. And so they pushed a lot of women early on in the days when computer science was really up and coming and developing for women to be a part of.
And interesting enough, as soon as you had a lot of money enter the space, you saw this character emerge, right in stories and movies and also in legacies of organizations and startups. And the ironic thing was that a lot of women were pushed out of industries, pushed out of jobs, pushed out of just even education as a whole.
We still see majority of. People in higher education, even in master’s degrees and PhD programs, especially with people coming from less represented identities. But also this barrier towards getting into the industry. One, getting jobs succeeding and going up in jobs two, but also getting leadership positions as a whole.
And so this whole trope of we, it’s so hard to shift this industry. I always counter that just with that story that it wasn’t a boys club to begin with, but it was a boys club. As soon as. You had a lot of money enter the industry. And so really the idea of our organization Q Design, working conjunction with all these other queer organizations, we just had a meeting with out intech today and looking at ways that we can collaborate together in the future.
I think all of us hold this notion that this industry is so much better with more diverse representation of talent, more people in this space. And so I hope all of you here, especially if you haven’t been in this industry yet, can feel empowered that you being in this industry is going to just make it even better with a combination of your lived experiences, but also the relationships that you have with other people who don’t get their voices or their communities heard in the products or the companies you collaborate with.
I think it’s just gonna make everything that we design even better for the future. And so some examples I. Talk about in many other spaces are products that we really need representation, right? So think about products within the ed tech space, right? Why, why aren’t our technologies for education in our classrooms and when we are ingesting educational content shaped right by the people learning themselves?
And also concurrently if we go into this space where we really can’t have an app make mistakes, right? Think about healthcare for example. Can you imagine if you are monitoring insulin glucose for a patient through a digital interface? And it was just laying out the numbers in this beautiful, abstract sense how.
Messed up, would it be to hit the wrong number, increase it or decrease it by a certain degree and then that was just the wrong metric, right? And so there are certain spaces in which we really cannot afford to make a mistake because people’s lives h on it. And also we’re starting to see some of these social media platforms being litigated by countries all around the world in its role as a part of either insurrections or just unfortunately the damaging of main democracies around the world.
And so we are starting to see also this secondary or tertiary effect where community gathering products, platforms are just even messaging products, platforms as a whole are starting to now be a huge dictator for a lot of the way that our whole world is starting to shape up. So with that said I think these are all really great insights to just how.
You can even craft your story, right? And also your lived experience along with your learned experience, the education that you have, not just within ux, right? The education that you’ve had through grade school, through upper education, through other, different, other curriculums, but also, your community experience, right?
Your other previous jobs, your previous roles. All of this culminates into insights that I think are beneficial for all different products out there. And so really, I think. At least for myself as a designer, where I made a tremendous shift in just my ethos, my work, moving away from, I talk about diversity, inclusion, equity to I’m actually doing this work has been a lot of just being in community, sitting in community.
And so we’ll have some time today later on for people to connect with one another, but just see an opportunity when you’re able to sit in community, be with one another, as a part of doing that work, right? That soft skill development of just understanding, hearing each other’s stories so that when you go into spaces, creating designs or going into interviews, that you bring this narrative of just different spaces and communities along with you.
Sometimes what people say is when you sit in the interview room, you’re not just by yourself, but you’re with everyone else who’s supported you along the journey. So where are you in your career? Ask that question early on and. Today’s presentation is gonna be split into three parts. The first part, talking a little bit about education, for those of you still studying, thinking about studying, right?
What is the necessity to know what is the basic, to then move into the next phase, which is implementation. This is basically putting together the portfolio or the artifacts that are needed to then apply and get the jobs right. And lastly, application. How are you getting jobs? How are you succeeding in jobs?
And how do you also determine what you wanna do more of? And so as we go through today, feel free to drop some questions that you have and happy to answer as we move along. The first advice I will give you all. Actually is really counterintuitive sometimes to people who are just like starting out early on.
You’re like, oh, I just wanna discover, I just wanna try this out. But something that would really help also, not just in figuring out your career, but also figuring out projects that you’re working on today. I was in a meeting where we’re trying to figure out the direction of this product for the entire year of 2023.
And an exercise we just did was, okay, figure out what is the deliverable, what are the outputs that we’re gonna have at the end of the year, right? To make it a success. And just shaping our entire timeline based off of it. I think when we start a career, it’s sometimes look scary to figure that out, but this is an opportunity where we can dream, right?
Think big. And I was working with a coach once who had this exercise of just sitting down and just allowing yourself to imagine. Imagine the role that you have. Imagine the people that you’re surrounded with. Imagine the work that you’re doing and. For those of you who, for those of you whom this may come, not very easily, maybe try imagining a few things, right?
Just closing your eyes and imagining what you might do next week, a month from now, if like maybe one year or five years you’re like, oh, that’s just too long. Because in the practice of just imagining what it might be a few days from now or just even the next hour, allows us to put on that hat of disassociation for a little bit.
And why I share that is we need a little bit of the disassociation to allow us to. Almost imagine ourselves as somebody else that we are not right. When we are so anchored sometimes to the present moment in the sense that we cannot adjust ourselves based on these observations or these learned experiences that we have from today, we end up just fortifying what exists today.
And so this can be applied to so many other things beyond just like the work lens, but just sticking with this space, this level of detachment is just a way for us to dream and for us to just put something out there, whether it’s right or wrong, why does it matter, right? We can just adjust always as needed.
And so I think for me, that coaching session that I had with that individual was just really beneficial to just allow myself to give myself the compassion that I. Sometimes wish I had when I’m just like, so ugh, like this has to get done because X, Y, Z, right? Dream big . But in this exercise is really just to start setting some milestones, right?
In place for yourself so that you can essentially work backwards. I e look at the things that you’re doing that’s either adding to that direction or subtracting to that direction. Yeah. Hard to imagine anything specific. I do know what products or companies, mission driven, present impact, along with accessibility, inclusion.
So just even working with that statement, I’m interested in accessibility, inclusion, interest in ar vr r right? Just setting that as a milestone and then looking at the companies you’re applying to, right? Or even looking at the people you’re sending up coffee chats with. Are they correlated in that space?
Or are you simply just taking coffee chats with anyone and everyone just because you can, right? And so you start to see even those like little, signifiers can help shape even just who you’re meeting and where you’re putting forth your application. Imagining can be as general how you want it to feel and all I think.
Yeah, exactly. What type of responsibility do you want? Do you want it to be in a big team, a small team? It’s easier now to spend a lot of time listening to others and learning about industry feels a bit nebulous and that’s okay. The whole imagination concept will always feel nebulous. But the idea is it’s almost like a dream board.
Has anyone done that before where you just start putting together some stuff that you’re like, ah, this is what I want, and you just put it forward. It’s like that, but in the shape of your career, right? What are the little pieces of that dream job that you might like and just put it there. And if you wanted to be a little superficial too, along with some like stuff that you really want, so be it.
And I had a mentor of mine tell me in terms of motivation, When we are struggling being motivated, it means our goal is not strong enough for us that desire for that goal. And so for him, he will adjust the goal as needed so that it becomes a lot more clear that when he’s waking up that this is what he’s doing.
So one example had was I want to provide a better future for my mother. And so for him, like that was his goal. And doing all these things starting companies, providing the family equity in the companies was a part of that. So that could be another way to start with the end in mind of just thinking about the goal that your heart just almost just like pops out of you because it’s just so much passion around it.
Yeah. Does that resonate with. . And so I have two exercises for you that we’ve chatted about in our spaces if you joined before. But if you haven’t one exercise could be just imagine your perfect day. What are you doing? And just quite literally this exercise is you write down a list of the things that happen in the day.
We only have 24 hours in each day. And so you can’t really do everything right. Some people will have this goal of I wanna own a jet. Like sure, but if you actually think about your perfect day, are you living in your jet this whole time? Not really. And some people are like, I want this giant mansion.
Okay, how does your perfect day correlate to that? And sometimes this exercise actually helps pull away these like superficial desires to really thinking about these intrinsic things, right? Of who we’re surrounded by and what we are doing with them, or what we are doing with our craft and our time.
And this could also include. Future relationships, right? Future partners. It could include your relationship with friends, family, your colleagues, right? And also it could include education. What do you wanna learn? Do you want to keep learning? And then the second exercise is simply imagining yourself, not through the context of your 24 hour year schedule, but in the space of just seeing yourself.
Another visualization exercise. And this one was shared to me. I went to a Creative Mornings talk. If anyone has an opportunity to check out Creative Mornings they are this Conference style organization founded by Tina North Eisenberg, who’s fabulous, who’s amazing, and basically Creative Mornings is a free talk series hosted by many cities around the world.
I know for a fact there’s one in San Francisco, Berlin Miami, New York, major Metropolitan Cities, la and they bring in each month a bunch of different people to do talk series. And also if you don’t live near a chapter for Creative Mornings they have online digital virtual field trips for people too.
And a big part of also being able to vision yourself. It’s just surrounding yourself, right? By people who have a plethora of different careers. And so that would be a huge suggestion that I provide, is just sitting through a bunch of these events, sitting through a bunch of talks and just reveling in other people’s stories and seeing which one really resonates with you, right?
Creative mornings, check it out. And so one of the suggestions from an artist that attended the event, I apologize, I don’t remember her name, was this concept of just imagining your old self and then asking questions to your old self that your presence self has, and seeing if your old self has an answer for you.
And so this. Person that was creating this narrative was basically saying, Hey, we have a deeper intuition that we are not aware of. We almost have to visualize the intuition as this external being that we can ask questions to. And so by imagining, for example, ourselves as an 80 year old, right? And asking questions to this wiser 80 year old, and this 80 year old has an answer, that is our intuition speaking to us trippy, right?
And so if there are things that we’re just struggling sometimes ah, I don’t know if I want to take this job or that job, I don’t know if I should ask that question or not. Just imagining and getting yourself out of your own head and maybe into your own head of this older version of you has the wisdom and the answer for you.
And also this can give you the answer of what direction to move forward towards. The artist also had this recommendation of trying to make it a yes or no answer so that it’s. A lot easier for your intuition to tap in, whereas your intuition, if it has to describe a bunch of things, what she was saying was, our presence self gets inundated and gets mixed up with it.
So if you can just ask it these yes or no questions perhaps it might help to shape the direction that you’re gonna move towards. And so going to education seems like a lot of people have the education, but just breaking down. Different opportunities. I would say bootcamp universities or online classes, right?
There’s three different paths. I would say. Definitely for people coming out of school. Please make sure you tap as much of your resource as possible. Definitely if people are graduating bootcamps, tap the alumni association for the bootcamp. Also with universities, sometimes also some online classes have alumni programs, right?
But reach out to people who’ve been in your shoe and beyond. As a way to facilitate interaction with them. An example would be just reaching out to them and saying, Hey, I noticed that you also did this program that I’m just graduated from and you’re doing this career that I want to be in, in this space.
And I would just love to, learn more about just your journey there and just keep it just like that broad in the beginning. Meet with them, our coffee chat, and then at the end of the coffee chat, just put yourself out there saying, Hey, really loved our conversation. If there’s anybody that you think might be great to recommend to chat with, I would love some recommendations.
Or you can just quite literally ask, Hey, if you have any recommendations on just what to do next. I love asking that questions. Especially with mentors or people who have a career that’s beyond you. If you were in this situation, X, Y, Z. What would you do next? Can you give me a thought? And then sometimes these mentors or people with experience will just literally tell you what to do.
And sometimes that’s a great way to get ahead Seth ADP list mentors all around the world. Absolutely. I think it’s a great resource. Definitely check it out. ADP list. And it connects you with people who have I think it spans development now. I’m not sure, but they first started off with UX designers, product designers, visual designers, creative directors and you get to connect with people from all around the world.
Absolutely. But I would say my suggestion with just setting up these meetings, make sure you have it like an outline of just what do you wanna get out of it right before just going into the conversations. One, the person at the other end really likes structure, rambling is really tough and the other person wants to be helpful for you.
So it’s really great to just come to the table with just like a big question or just something that you want to get out of it. And then two, I think I also see the counter of like sometimes people early on in the career just want to schedule meetings with everyone and anyone. And what I will underscore is as build rapport, right?
With the people who are really important to you. And I think if you just spread yourself thin across like a hundred people, for example, right? And everyone just into the wayside I think it would be remiss to say some deeper connections would be actually a lot more impactful to your career rather than just knowing a ton of people.
And so my suggestion is if anyone really resonates you know what I do when I talk to people and I still meet with mentors, advisors, people much more successful in their career. If I really get the vibe and I’m like, I love connecting with you. I just tell them that at the end of the conversation.
I love this conversation. I love what we talked about. I’m really getting great energy from you. I would love to continue this. I would love to understand from your perspective, like how we might continue this and allow the other person to give you suggestions. Yeah. Ding, ding. And so talking about connecting, right?
We talked about Connecting with alumni, but also some programs have career coaching. So definitely feel free to reach out to advisors at these curriculums. I know for a fact, for example, a general assembly, they have career coaches on staff and frankly, nobody uses them, which is so sad. But it goes to say that, if you do reach out, they might give you more time and attention because more often than not, people are just trying to, chart their own path.
They’re like, ah, I gotta, I figured it out. More often than not, there’s so many more resources that you have just yet to tap. And then lastly, see if you could create your own postgrad group, right? With other students, with other people that you’ve done this work with. And so from the bootcamp that we run and we also have Maggie here, who’s one of our teachers.
We have some people graduating from the group, creating partnerships, pairings with each other and being accountability buddies, helping each other to send each other feedback tips of just Hey, what are you applying to? Hey, da. And a little bit of that helps to just get us out of our own heads, and one being with community, but also two, being excited about doing this work alongside other people.
Don’t think that your group is just the people that you do work with, but it could also be the people that you apply with. Yeah. And when we break out into breakout rooms later on, definitely see who you might resonate with and who you might want to stay connected with after this. Going into the next space.
Finish that portfolio. Type into the chat if you are having difficulty with your portfolio or if you’re working on your portfolio. If you’re getting stuck on it and you’re just like . Yeah. Yeah. Are you dreading doing the portfolio? Are you ? I am. Are you just continuously iterating ? I’m not . And then maybe type into the chat, something that you’re just struggling most with the portfolio. Is it, what do you not f what are you not feeling with your portfolio? Slash What do you think is holding you back from putting it out there with people? What do you think? Is it because you’re not done with a specific part of your portfolio?
Step into the chat. What do you think is holding you back from putting it up there? Concise storytelling. Not confident enough, too much. Making it concise, not being repetitive. Difficulty showing personality roadblock. One project only need work. Yeah, for sure. Feel free to keep typing it in too.
I’m still in the same boat. I sometimes I’m like, I just, ugh. It’s dreaded so much, right? Because you see all these other portfolios that people do. You’re like, oh my God, these are so perfect. And then you just you hold this like thing over your head, you’re like, it’s not that.
So I’m not gonna launch it. But in reality, I think I’m second guessing when I’m ready. Good enough. Plus one. Think about, okay, this is, I’ll give some tips for it to just like maybe change the energy that we hold our portfolio with. It doesn’t have to be the compendium of our lives. . It can continue to change.
It can continue to evolve. Evolve our portfolio is simply something that’s needed to get us the interview. Yeah. It is just this artifact that we need to put together to get that meeting with somebody. Yeah. And then we use that to then talk about our work. But really first and foremost, like nitty gritty, have this da, have all these things later, but really your portfolio in the base is simply just to get that meeting right?
Even I put it in front of a recruiter, am I gonna get that meeting right Or are they gonna respond back and that’s it? Yeah. And so hopefully thinking about that again, working with the end in mind, right? If all you need is somebody looking through this and going, okay, valid, let’s give this person interview.
What do you need? And then now you’ll realize immediately, do you need these like complex animations? You need the most beautiful imagery. Do you need, not really, right? You just have to be able to show you have done some of the deliverables. And so a tip I’ll give you, For anybody who’s working in a portfolio, even if you’re far from it, go take a job role, right?
That you wanna apply to. It could be a junior UX designer, a visual designer, or sorry, a designer, a UX designer or what have you. Get the actual job application. Just grab one and look at it and try to pull out actual deliverables or things that you would be working on. And that becomes your checklist, right?
And so that’s all you need in the portfolio. And then who’s usually looking at the portfolio are recruiters who aren’t designers themselves. So even if you made it the most beautiful with the best typography, like they don’t care, right? They’re just working off of the sheet that they put together, the job description.
And so just pull out or even highlight the actual deliverables, right? And those are artifacts that you put together as a part of delivering design to someone, right? And generally it’s user journey, persona, wire frames competitive audits, usability testing, right? Sometimes it’s not all of it, right? So we’re starting to see research being its own role.
And so people are just now focusing with a general UX product designer is wire framing and a little bit of strategy, which could include personas user journey mapping, and then competitive audits, right? And so that’s it. That’s all you need to put together. And so in terms of copywriting, storytelling, all this stuff, the suggestion I would give you all is just have those basic artifacts first, just dump all the words into it, and then.
you have a lot more stuff to edit down. Another tip I would have is if people are getting sub copywriting, it’s often because we’re just editing all the, we’re writing a sentence, deleting it, writing a sentence, leading it no. That’s not the way you should be writing. You should just be writing everything in the first get-go.
And so what that means is if you can just maybe even type out a text message to yourself of what did you do? And not even editing the text that allows you to just brain dump everything you’ve been thinking about that portfolio thing, right? And then you can start editing it. But the minute you start editing and tweaking it, you’re imagine you’re creating like a vase, right?
We’re creating a vase, those like little spinning thingies and we’re like, oh yeah, I’m making it right. But we just. Putting the dough clay down and then we’re like, oh, it didn’t go down right. Ugh. . And you just keep doing that. When is the ball gonna be made? At one point you just have to like, go with it and go, eh, it looks good enough.
And then just shaping it. Copyright is the same. Second guessing. Ready? Good enough. Same. Look at designers. Another suggestion. Get a portfolio of another junior UX designer and use that as a milestone, right? Don’t take a portfolio of a very senior creative lead, X, Y, Z. It’s good to have it as a milestone, but you’re not competing for their job, right?
So it’s just, I think there’s an aspect of confidence and aspect of just getting the job done that we need to be more comfortable with rather than perfectionism. And we’ll touch on that in a second, but short story here, just summing it up is, Get it done and set more realistic milestones for yourself.
Resume also, again, a necessity that needs to be done. But I would say not to put too much emphasis there, nowadays we’re starting to see, especially within the design field, that really the most important thing is your portfolio. The resume is really just more so to check the box. A few tips for you, we just talked about with portfolio, think about the motivation, right?
Like how do you change the mindset in doing this work? Okay. Talking about mindset. If every time you sit down and you work my portfolio and you’re just beating yourself up about it, of course you’re not gonna feel good, right? Sitting down and doing it again, , you’ve got to be nicer on yourself, right?
And so when you sit down, even if it’s like the, the Crummiest copywriting, you got to be like, yeah, that was great . Who else is guilty of that? You sit down and you’re like, I need to work on this. You could either plus one in the chat or thumbs up, but who else is guilty of this? And you sit down, you’re like, I have to work on this.
And you’re just negatively talking about it the whole time to yourself, right? What is that gonna motivate the next time you sit down? Just be nicer. And at the same time, you just gotta set that criticism aside, so relatable. Next step starts small. Instead of sitting down saying, I’m gonna do this gargantuan deliverable, actually, tell yourself I’m gonna sit down and maybe you have to lie to yourself.
Sometimes I’m just gonna do this thing. And of course you’re gonna do more, right? But sometimes you gotta trick yourself, into doing it rather than having this giant goal and you’re like, Ugh, I don’t wanna do that. Sure. But just say, Hey, okay, I’m gonna give a suggestion for everyone. Write a text to yourself or write it in a way that you can’t really go back and edit it.
Just write the copy. For your case study. You don’t have to get any images, you don’t have to do that. Just sit down and write it. That’s your next task. Do it tomorrow when you have a good 5, 10, 15 minutes spare. And just do that as your goal. And that’s it. And all of a sudden you’re gonna see you just have so much copy to work with.
Yeah. Learn to take baby step, never get there. This trick works for me all the time. Built my portfolio notion, learning curve flow. Yeah, I would say in notion there’s so many templates you could set up. I think it’s fine, honestly, especially for if it’s a junior level role, the, I would say working backwards.
If I’m hiring, I just need to see, can you do these artifacts, right? Do you understand these artifacts? Do you know what you’ve done? Meaning there needs to be a little description under each artifact that you do. Just saying, Hey, after doing this is my big takeaway right now, after doing personas, these are my 1, 2, 3 biggest takeaways.
And that’s it. That’s it. I don’t need to know, this project started when I woke up in the morning and I was, the birds were chirping, the skies are partying and no. . Some portfolios have that. It’s you don’t need that. Sometimes people will be like, writing all of this.
I’m like, nah. Like you don’t need it. And use bullet points. Yeah. And make it easy. Use bullet points. Cut through the noise. It doesn’t have to be this beautiful narrative. . Yes. The recipe. Oh my God. Yes. Those like recipe intros, . It’s like my husband really? When my husband, he was hanging out with his mom back 30 years ago.
Love this recipe, blah, blah, blah. I’m like, I just want to learn how to make this damn biscuit like every time. Oh my god,
just tell me how to make this biscuit. No, I was actually looking at a recipe on how to make like hick flour and I’m like, oh my God. Like I don’t care about your . It’s you’re very sweet. I don’t care about this whole story. Just tell me how to make cake flour. And they’re like, one tablespoon of corn starts to flower.
I’m like, you literally . Funny, your ux. It doesn’t need that. You don’t have to do the recipe. No. 30 years ago, . Tables. Exactly. . Next tip. . So funny celebrate progress and when you’re done, just give yourself like a nice compliment. Give yourself a nice pat in the back and just tell yourself good things, right?
Like you’ve got to take out that negative criticism out of your head. And why I say that’s important is especially in the interview space, we see time and time again, people who are self-critical too much actually bring that kind of energy into the interview. And when you are criticizing yourself in the interview, like game over, and we’ve also talked about in many spaces what you say, what comes out of your mouth also holds differently than somebody who comes from a privileged identity, right?
Saying I need to have self-work myself, versus this cis, straight, hetero white man, right? Saying I need to do self-work. The sentence is the same, but actually it’s being portrayed very differently by societal expectations, by so many different layers, right? And so this whole aspect of positive self-talk, confidence building and all of this is really critical even to succeed in the workplace, right?
Stuff have to log off. What’s the best way to contact? Connect with everyone. Any chance? Offering date and time. Yeah. This will be online afterwards. This talk specifically our other talks with other speakers. I think we’re gonna be a little more temporal with them moving forward. And so with stuff with mind we’ll try to put a big chunk of it online.
So check that out. And also in the chat, like if you wanna put your LinkedIn and have other people connect with you, do it, connect with each other, reach out to each other, and help each other. This is how you make the industry and this space more fun. Yeah. I’ll keep going, but feel free, Seth, to drop your LinkedIn or any website that other people can reach out to you.
And hopefully if anyone wants to connect people will reach out. Tip number four, letting go with extras. Again, work with the end of mind. Don’t do all those extra things, the recipe building if it’s not needed. And then the last tip again, why community building is really important is setting accountability, right?
So when we go into breakout groups, I want to encourage people, see if you can connect with each other, and even setting up accountability partners, right? Like just setting up ways that you could check in on each other. And if people are setting goals with each other and figuring out, okay, like where am I gonna go?
One week from now and. Achievable milestones. See if you can be accountable with each other with easier, smaller steps. Hey, I’m just gonna edit copy by next week. Can you just ping me and just let me know? To check in and see if anyone can check on each other with that stuff. Bootcamp life can be very lonely even when connected with other students sometimes. Absolutely. Yeah. Especially when the space is a little too big. And sometimes you get lost in the deli years of just like information and people and so For sure. I would say our community is small but mighty and what we have with a lot of intersectional identities, we just understand so much more about each other’s stories.
And actually you might be surprised at how. How similar you are to one another. And so definitely connect with each other and learn more about each other and see, and we also have our Slack channel where you can communicate and create spaces and create groups with one another. Yeah. There’s a few more slides and then we’re gonna go into the breakout space.
But the next tip is finding a community. And we keep harping on that because at the end of the day, this work that you’re doing, , even though you might be entering a job. Oftentimes when we’re in the job and when we leave a job, we oftentimes go through like depressions, happiness, like all this stuff because we’ve put so much in that space and why I actually encourage everyone to also have a community concurrent to your job is so that when you change jobs, you still have people in your space who’s got your back, right?
It’s not to say your colleagues won’t, do all this stuff for you, but sometimes when you’re like applying to new jobs and stuff like that, like if people are struggling to also apply to jobs and stuff like that, it’s, it gets really complicated. Also, when you take up leadership positions, it’s not something you really circulate with people on your teams, especially if you manage them.
And so it’s just something that why I’ve always stressed with people having these. Concurrent communities is actually a really healthy way to coexist in this space, right? And so especially for people attending this space, right? Your community is here that can help support each other beyond just your next career and your next role, right?
And then also mentors, right? Why mentors, again, outside of your role. So you can have mentors within the workplace, for sure, you must, right? But also having mentors outside of it will also allow you to have that continuity. It’s not to say you can’t have it in the workplace, but I’ve oftentimes found that when work ends, sometimes things don’t continue on.
Sometimes not due to your own fault, right? You can want to but the other person, right? That you wanna continue with, just put so much in this company basket, you can’t blame ’em on, right? We’re conditioned to do so when society and then. With mentors, my biggest suggestion is seek out people who’ve done right.
The stuff that you want to be doing more of. And so when you seek out these people, right? And it shouldn’t just be on like who’s done the best, biggest, brightest thing. Maybe seek out the people who are just like the next step ahead of you, right? And then talk to them and ask ’em how you can engage into the next step, right?
So many people are reaching out to these like design leaders who are like so much more senior, but oftentimes they’re working with so many people to begin with. And so maybe just looking at the people who have that next role ahead of you could help cut through some of that noise as you are thinking about applying to jobs.
There’s also, again, this other space professional organization, so QTBIPOC Box Design, we are a community lab organization, but we also I love everyone sharing the LinkedIn. Oh my gosh. Connect with each other. Talk to each other. But professional organization is also a really great way to just make sure you have that layer of career centric connection with each other, right?
And so our organization is also a community organization, but also a community a professional organization. The lens that our goal is really to help people within our community get jobs within the design industry, product design sector, UX as a career. And so also other examples that I’ll put out there, out in tech, right?
Le Lesbians in tech, lesbians who Code, right? We also have TransTech, we also have where are the Black designers, has been doing some really cool stuff and. Plenty more, right? And so there are so many opportunities to also engage in community and find people who you might have related circles with that you might want to engage with and create space with one another to commiserate, or maybe just setting up accountability with one another.
And then the next thing, if you haven’t tapped into it yet, like if you’re applying to jobs like you must do this, connect with recruiters, connect with recruiting firms. What are some examples? Solomon Page, vitamin T. Aquin creative circle. These are firms that other organizations and individuals will come to for talent and they basically help source talent to then provide them to these organizations.
And so oftentimes with recruiters, oh my gosh, if you are looking for somebody to just give you feedback on your portfolio, just get in touch with a recruiter, right? And just say, Hey, I’m looking for jobs. I just wanted to connect with you. Get to know you. And also walk through my portfolio with you, oh my God, like this is their job, , and they would love to do it with you.
And if you connect, my suggestion with recruiters in recruiting firms is, again, it’s less around the more people you have in your court, but more about who really do you connect with and who do you wanna work with in the long term. For myself, I worked with recruiters coming out of college, and I worked with ’em all the way for a good.
Seven years beyond it, and I still talk to some of the recruiters I have connected since day one. We are still friends and they go into other industries. Sometimes they go into the companies themselves and then they’ll still talk to you, connect you opportunities. And yeah, I just put out there that there’s just great people, and that these people just want to help you succeed. And I would say finding these people is half the battle, but also of just like testing the water to see who you want to have more long-term relationships with is really, I think, the most important thing. Yeah, feel free to hop back in again.
Some things that have come up in our space we have two more slides. One more is just looking for equitable companies. I know a lot of people have asked questions around it, but my biggest tip here is you won’t know unless you’re in it. And it’s one of those things that like you can try to do all this research, but at the end of the day, you just gotta put yourself in these spaces, right?
And so again, it’s this balance of just doing it, trying it, and then you can always make a decision right after the fact. Find these diverse organization. Also diversify tech. Wonderful. One of research, check it out. Queer Design Club. Hugh is another really great one. And then looking at the company connecting with the communities adjacent to that company, whether it’s the e r G groups or employee resource groups or different organizations they do partnerships with, right?
Alumnis. Seeing what the culture is I think should give you a better understanding of what the company stands for. . then lastly, I think this was the most important slide that I put together. But really, if I were to do it all over again, what are some pieces of advice that I would tell myself?
And I was thinking about a lot of things, and these three kind of resonated with me for the time being. The first one being perfectionism. Perfectionism is actually holding you back. We might think it’s helping us, but taking a look back at my life in situations when I’ve actually released perfectionism and I just gone with the flow and just putting things together have actually brought me so much more, one joy, but also two, like just having done it and oftentimes perfectionism.
Masking something that’s deeper within, right? It’s sometimes masking fear, of just the new space, and sometimes masking also just this not wanting to do it right. And maybe there’s a point of inquiry, yeah. Does anyone else put into a chat? Does perfectionism resonate with you?
Thumbs up plus one. It I feel especially as identifying as somebody who’s Asian, especially as identifying somebody who’s queer, I felt that in order to be accepted by many different standards of society, I have to be perfect. And it’s yes and no. We have to sometimes code switch and be a certain way to survive, to exist, coexist in certain spaces.
But here is, I think, where we should really never be overly perfect, right? Which is our relationship with ourselves. Yeah. Like we are the only person who gets to judge ourselves. Why are we so overly perfect with ourselves? Be a little imperfect with yourself. Yeah. I, same feelings. It’s and sometimes yes, I understand we have to code switch, we have to survive, we have to do things to thrive.
It exists hands down. But the relationship with. What we have with ourselves and how we talk to ourselves like enough with that, like negative self-talk, right? Take that out, right? Focus on the positives. Focus on what you are doing that is great, that you wanna do more of, you get to the same end goal, but the narrative that you have in your head is different, right?
And so you’ve got to build and practice that muscle, even though the world around us is not really doing so much of that in a way to really reverse right. A lot of this stuff that’s happening around us also took me . It’s like still everyday battle, next one is have an end goal, but also focus on the next step, right?
One, not one but the other. But really the idea is just do enough to get to the next step, right? Having, okay. Sometimes I ask myself if I have the most perfect next step, will that guarantee me X, Y, and Z? So the litmus test is, if I have the most perfect portfolio, is that somehow going to guarantee that I get the job right?
And the answer, what do you think? Maybe not really, right? You still have to ace the interview . You still have to build rapport. You still have to talk to people. And so really this idea that, this one thing that we do so perfectly is going to somehow make everything else perfect. It’s just one step of many, right?
And so sometimes we just gotta have this reality of reality check of going, okay hey, this is just enough and I just got to move on, right? Or put it in front of people. And also, B of this is feedback. Yeah. You don’t have to accept all feedback. You can ask for feedback. You can think people for feedback, show progress.
Sure. But you don’t have to accept all the feedback. Also, point advice is you don’t have to turn down feedback at the moment. I don’t advise on that. You could just graciously go, thank you so much for that energy and provide you the feedback. Take it, archive it, move on. You don’t have to accept all feedback, especially if it comes from a place of somebody not understanding you.
So much of my career, I was shaping and molding myself, especially in becoming more senior in my role and my tasks, that a lot of people were giving me this advice of just if you can’t kill yourself, you can’t be successful again. Like, why am I listening to this advice? Another advice being.
Just around aesthetics, right? Only a certain type of aesthetic is great, is successful, is beautiful. But now I feel like at this point in my life, I’m starting to embrace crunchiness, . I’m starting to embrace imperfection. I actually love it when things are not finished and have this like aesthetic of just like in completion because it’s just, that’s his life.
Like how amazing is that? And so maybe what you see this portfolio that you have that you are like, oh, it’s not perfect, it’s art. . This is art. And make it crunchy. Lean into it. Yeah. Yeah. Practicing being kind has been Yes, exactly. So crunchy. Does anyone resonate with that too? And then last one, I’m actually struggling with this, especially right now in transitioning with a lot of different projects, career Fear I really struggle with Sometimes I’m just like, Ugh, the taste of it, all this stuff.
I’m just like I sometimes hate it and I’m just like, ah, I just wanna be more comfortable. But really, there’s many things to digest with that. Sometimes a healthy dose of fear is great, right? It’s an indication that we just have to check in something that’s fear. There is a disconnect between what is experienced, observed, and also wanting, right?
And when these different spheres are not aligned, the dissonance of these spheres is the fear in itself, right? The unknown, the difference is what we are afraid of. And so to this point, I think it’s great to just sit with it and just give yourself the space, right? To feel it, to reflect on it, and to simply just, Give yourself a space to ruminate, right?
Turning down the knob of fear and saying I’m not scared is actually the worst way to approach fear. Because there are things that’s bubble up bubbling up, right? That maybe this inner child or this inner self just wants the space for, right? I’m scared because I am just, I don’t know what’s on the other end, right?
I’m scared because I am afraid that if I put my portfolio out there, the person’s gonna be like, no. And you’ve got to just sit with that and say it’s gonna happen, but it’s okay. I got you. I talking to yourself, right? But I got you too. But you just got to give yourself that narrative or that dialogue before you turn it down, because it’s gonna still exist.
And if you turn it down, what’s gonna happen is when you’re caught off guard. All of that’s gonna come rushing out, right? So people who blow up, people who have these, like cra uh, I’m trying not to use the word crazy, but people who have these reactions that are more intense, ah, great word.
People who have very intense reactions to certain things is oftentimes because there was stuff that wasn’t checked or stuff that was really buried that all of a sudden there are different circumstances and people just weren’t predicting coming up. And then all of these feelings are starting to now become unleashed.
So in the instance you bury some of these things, you get a question, an interview that just puts you off guard. Of course it’s gonna come out right. And also this observation of like laziness, a bit of laziness is also really great, right? But again, this aspect of too much of anything can be really detrimental to just balance overall in life, right?
Too much perfectionism, bad, too much fear, bad, too much laziness, bad, too much hard work, also bad, right? And so the idea is finding a balance within it that just allows us to progress in the way that feels most suited for us and the most balanced for us, the most. The keyword is sustainable for us, will make it so that no matter where we go, we will have longevity and continue forth in the way that brings us joy, brings us peace, brings us a long, thriving life.
Yeah. So that’s a presentation. Does anyone have any questions? What’s coming up for you? Does this, was this helpful? Do any thoughts come up? Yeah. Anything coming up for folks? Yeah.
Oh, I’m here. Come back in our space, , we also have our site community, so if no one’s joined yet please do we’ll drop the link in a second. Or if Kenny, if you wanna drop the link we can have people Yeah, you. It took me a long time to get to the point of Thank you, Kenny. Getting to the point of this like positive self-talk and I think it all starts with just like a little bit of kindness for yourself.
You are not narcissist, you’re not sociopaths if you have any ounce of self-criticism, . And so just giving yourself a big dose of it is not gonna make you any different. It’s just actually gonna help amplify and help open up yourself to this part of you that maybe you haven’t realized yet.
And so what we’re gonna do, if nobody has any questions, I’d love to set up some breakout spaces for people.
I think in a group space we’re often like just in the sphere of , like sometimes we sit back, but I’d love to just help people set up and facilitate some connection. And so what we’ll do is maybe a few breakout sessions, a few one-on-ones, like maybe two, and then do some closing. But the idea really here is just allow you to connect and get to know one another and hopefully setting up some accountability buddies and seeing where you can help one another in terms of where you’re going.
So if anyone wants to join our community as a part of giving back, even $5 a month helps the organization continue to run.
If you also shop on Amazon, that’s another way you can give back to our organization and just go to shop.amazon.com, connect and add our organization and. Back a few percent of your order to us, and that’s it. No change in price, nothing else. If you’re working with the organization and they do matching, usually Benevity does it, and we’re also on them too.
And so any support there, we would absolutely love . Thank you in advance. Preview into next month. Highly recommend. We’re gonna have a guest speaker there. We’re finalizing it right now and it’s really about freelancing, how to set up your business, how to find the contracts, how to find clients, and getting yourself out there.
And lastly, join our slack space, to stay connected with our community. And so I think that’s about it. That’s about it. And the space is now officially closed. I will stick around for a little bit to help answer any questions but for everyone, have a restful evening. Take care and hope to see you around soon.
Thanks for coming.
Transcription by Descript
- What is UX?
- Breaking into the UX Industry
- Overview of the industry?
- What the job looks like?
- Steps to prepare for your first job/internship