As cheesy as it sounds, to get your first UX job, you need to look within.
Before the battle of the fist, comes the battle of the mind.
— Shifu, in Kung Fu Panda 3
Inner peace is your next step 🧘🏾♀️
I bet that most of you have watched the Kung Fu Panda movie franchise. I’ve watched at least two of them. I bet that when the team sat together to plan these movies, their North Star was to put smiles on our faces. In my humble opinion, Kung Fu Panda is the perfect balance of cheesiness, action, and comedy. When you take out all the action-packed scenes, the franchise’s messaging is truth manifest. Let me tell you why finding inner peace is the key to finding a UX position or internship.
So, how do I gain clarity? 🔮
“I want to get into user experience, but I have nothing to show up for it. Is it possible for me to get a job? If so, how?”
I get these questions a lot. I do not have a magic. However, I can share my experience and what I’ve learned so far. Below, I outline four steps towards clarity, and potentially, closer to a UX position in the future. If you have additional or more targeted questions to ask, feel free to email me.
1. UX is a tool, not a final destination.
The first thing you need to acknowledge is that user experience is merely a tool. It is one or multiple steps towards what you want in your professional life.
For example, I chose UX research because I can combine multiple interests. Some of those interests are: understanding and connecting with people, analyzing information to uncover revelations, working with technology and creative people and most importantly, helping solve wicked problems.
Start by understanding what energizes you as a human being. Next, know what skills you need to gain or improve to stay relevant on the market. Here are some prompt questions you can ask yourself:
What values do I embody?
What injustices in the world do I want to help solve?
What short-term and long-term skills do I need to gain to solve them?
2. Is UX the right tool for you?
When you are honest with yourself and know what invigorates you and why, you can ask these two questions:
Is UX the right tool for the job?
What do I want to gain from UX?
If it isn’t the right tool, that is a great revelation! You can choose to continue on this journey and learn some fundamental UX skills that are transferable to any career path (problem-solving, collaboration, analysis, facilitation, etc.). When you acquire all the skills that you needed from user experience, you can move on to the right tool for you.
If it is the right tool for the job, that is an amazing revelation too! It means that you can move on to the next steps: focusing on your passion and execution.
3. Make sure you are excited 🥳
Before you edit your resume and a cover letter for a position you saw online, you need to know if you are passionate about what the company does or stands for. There is nothing wrong with applying to any jobs out there, but if you are looking to get a UX position in a company with a mission you feel invested in, the odds will likely play in your favour if there is alignment.
Why is passion important? Being passionate is important because it means that you deeply believe in something. Believing is the key that opens any door that is possible to open. When you believe, it means that you are invested enough to want to generate value. What if the team that you long to join is looking for someone to help them solve a specific problem space that you happen to be intrigued by? That opportunity might be two steps away if you knock on that team’s door. There are so many possibilities.
4. Network and find a mentor.
One of the most valuable lessons I have learned since becoming a UX researcher is that connections are everything. Mentors are connectors. When you gain a mentor, you access their knowledge, their vision and their network. Once you know what you want from UX, finding a suitable mentor will help you make leaps forwards.
I do one-on-one mentorship sessions. If you are looking for a mentor, I have a lot more to share about “skipping” steps in the interview process and becoming a top candidate. I can also help you craft your resume, your case studies and prepare for your interview process.
It’s your time to shine. ✨
Let me know how this journey goes! I am here to support if you have questions or need someone to point you in a direction. Before I go, I want to emphasize that there is so much happening out there. Once you have an idea of what you want, devote your energy towards what you value. As inspiration and positions you can apply to, feel free to consult these paid design and research opportunities.
The best is yet to come,