July 8, 2022No Comments

Best job search sites for UX/UI design jobs

There is no guarantee how your next job turns out, but the interview process can be optimized for a better experience. This better experience starts with looking further than the general job portals like Indeed, Monster, Monday and Reed.

The main reason I highly encourage discovering more specialised job portals is that these general sites have quite low-quality posts for tech and design positions. Companies that advertise there are commonly not operating in tech, and so don’t know the tech ecosystem. They notoriously mismanage and underpay the positions, because they evaluate them in comparison to their ‘other’ administrative functions. Their interview process is also unusually long, more demanding and less respectful.

The odd ball

I will mention LinkedIn here separately, because even though it’s a quite generic platform, specialised tech and design recruiters use it extensively. LinkedIn works very well to connect with agents. Since most of the jobs are posted by an agency of some sort, simply applying to those ads puts you in contact with the agency. It is a very comfortable way to build an agent network and has served me very well over the years. You can read more about it in Effective job search to get your first or next UX/UI job – Step 1 – setting up the opportunities.

But the best job seeking experience comes from job sites that serve the tech and design industry specifically. From the browsing experience to the average salary, they are just way above the generic sites. I began compiling a list of them quite early in my career.

The best job sites for tech and design

I had two lists, one for permanent jobs and one for freelance gigs, for those occasions I had bandwidth to take on side projects as well. The lists constantly change over time, so I will keep this post updated as new portals come and go.

  1. Tech / design job sites:

app.otta.com

dynamitejobs.com

justremote.co/remote-jobs

whoishiring.io

hackajob.com

nodesk.co

uxjobsboard.com

remotive.com

remoteok.com

hired.com

welcometothejungle.com/en/jobs

wellfound.com

weworkremotely.com

remote.co

designbuddies.pallet.com/jobs

dribbble.com/jobs

  1. Tech / design freelance sites:

contra.com

toptal.com

worksome.com

communo.com

yunojuno.com

the-dots.com

twago.com

userise.co

a.team

workingnotworking.com

If you know of other sites that worked for you, please do send me the link and I’ll add them to these lists with a credit to you.

Keep track of your applications

Keeping your application process manageable by using only that 2-3 sites that worked for you is very important for tracking your applications. There is nothing more embarrassing than getting an interview invite but not finding your application or the job description, resulting in trying to blindly navigate the interview without knowing who the heck you’re talking to.

Also, at a later stage of you career, you probably will have several versions of your CV targeting several different types of positions often set up with different salary expectation.

The other very important aspect of being able to track your application is the ability to objectively measure the response rate. From this, you can gain an overview on what type of companies/roles responded to your application. It gives an insight to the external interpretation of your CV. If you’re not happy with the responses, you can shift the tone to attract other kind of offers. You can read more about it in Effective job search to get your first or next UX/UI job – Step 1 – setting up the opportunities.

I have had to change my CV and even my portfolio several times based on the responses I was receiving from agents and companies. When I was mainly getting interview request for visual design and design system type of roles, I had to add more sketches to my portfolio and some extra research terms to my CV. When I got responses from a lot of fintech companies (not my favourite industry), I had to push the finance and data-heavy projects lower in my portfolio.

Summary

In order to land where you want to be, it is imperative to finetune your self-presentation according to the opportunities it attracts. Tracking the applications, at least loosely, is super important for building your career. I hope this summary helps to guide you through the process and get you where you want to be. To be emotionally prepared for the interview process, you can find guidance in Effective job search to get your first or next UX/UI job – Step 2 – Interviewing

June 8, 2022No Comments

Effective job search to get your first or next UX/UI job – Step 1 – setting up the opportunities

Job searching is a painstaking process. The amount of job descriptions a candidate has to filter through to find a suitable role takes hours out of the day and only after that do the interview processes start. And it’s not just the time and effort, but the amount of self-questioning that comes up during the process that make it emotionally draining. Most people would rather take a compromise at their current company then start all over again. However, this has never been my personal way of thinking. If a company was not as advertised, I left. In one year alone I left 4 companies in row, starting the job hunt from scratch every time. Though this was tiresome, it helped me to build the interview resilience I have today.

A good amount of advices circling around in the industry about how to find a design job. Most of them, I found too general and non-specific enough to be applied to basically any career, therefore lacked any applicability to real life.

But fear no more. Here, I list here a couple of tips from the reality of job hunting in a design or tech realm from my own experience.

  1. Set your preferred model

Remote and hybrid models (commonly 3 days office and 2 days at home) dominate the industry since the pandemic. That gives a lot of creative freedom and saves a lot of commute time for the designers. In countries with strong tech industry (US, UK, Germany, Switzerland, Australia and so on) it shouldn’t be a problem to find a place that fits your preferences. No need to compromise for an onsite-only job if you’d prefer a couple of days working from home, you’ll surely find a job that can accommodate that. Just set out your preferences before you start the application process, because they need to be clearly communicated during the screening calls. Please feel free to use this template to formulate your preferences [link here].

  1. Constantly feed the funnel

It is true that the average response rate for job applications is about 10%. If you target well, (meaning you pick jobs that your skills are matched to), it can go up to 20%. In my experience, if it goes above 30%, you have probably under-priced yourself. It happened to me when I got back to the job market after the lockdown released, unaware that the average salary within the tech sector grew about 30%-50%. I happily adjusted my salary expectation and the response rate went back to normal.

Even though I’m not in favour of calling job searching a sales job, because sales comes with poor associations, the sales funnel model is nevertheless completely applicable. Generally speaking, from about 1000 relevant job ads, you would apply for about 300. The rest would fall out of your interest for asking too much upfront, not matching your preferences, operating in an industry that is not comfortable for you etc. From those 300 applications, 30-50 will call you in for an initial interview, which is a screening call with the recruiter (internal or external).

What the screening call is looking to find out is:

  • you can speak English and can communicate clearly
  • you are looking for a job (you would surprise how many applicants just want to know their price to justify their raise request for their current employer)
  • you are available within reasonable timeframe
  • you have a salary expectation within their budget (which they rarely share with you)

From these 30-50 screening calls, you’ll have about 10-15 progressing forward to the professional interviews, 2-3 reaching the third round and 1 will give you an offer. As you can see, you need to constantly feed the funnel with new applications until you get an offer. You can find the Best job search sites for UX/UI design jobs to feed the funnel.

  1. Increase the response rate per stage

The numbers of responses (only the positive ones are relevant) can be pushed higher in every stage. What makes the numbers go up in the different stages:

  • Application stage

A well-structured CV (feel free to use my CV sample made for design/tech jobs), a neat portfolio (check the guide on design portfolio structure) and most importantly, applying only for jobs that have high keyword overlap with your CV. After a couple of days of reading job descriptions, you’ll be the master of using keywords.

  • Screening call stage

Practice some ice-breakers, because these screenings are usually audio only and are quite short (10-25min). You therefore have little space to show that you have a charming personality that everyone would love to work with – and that is the other core question of this stage apart from the logistics mentioned earlier.

  • Interview stage

Be prepared with premade answers to the most common questions. A vast number of interviewers will ask variations of the same questions. Do have a written, printed, rehearsed answer for the most of them, especially for the trickier ones. Your question list will grow as you partake in more interview (feel free to use the sample list with design interview questions) and your ability to mix and match the answers will grow as well.

  1. Don't evaluate before the follow up email

Always wait for the follow up email before evaluating your interview performance. Interviewing is a matchmaking process with a company, more specifically with a small group of people you’ll be working with. Only a few people will show their true feelings about this match. Most of them will just try to get along and keep smiling, even if they decide it's not a match on their side in ten minutes after starting the discussion. Sometimes you have a clear sense that you’re being judged (interviewer forming preconception instead of genuinely listening and connecting to the candidate), sometimes it’s much less obvious. You’ll be able to recognise this thanks to the follow up email (or the lack of it - no feedback is a clear feedback).

  1. Look for several different job titles

Filter for at least 3-5 or even more different job titles during your job search. The meaning of UX and UI changes by company, by industry and by trends. For example, the meaning of Visual Designer has shifted from Graphic Designer to UI Designer in the last couple of years. The title of UX Designer has started to shift towards UX Researcher. In the meantime, Interaction Designer became synonymous with UI Designer, while it was closer to what is now a UX Designer. At the same time, the generalist UX/UI Designer is most commonly referred as a Product Designer. Look around on the Best job search sites for UX/UI design jobs what is the current state of the titles in your focus area.

If you want to be sure you apply for the right job, always check the task list for things that you’ve done in the past. If the job description is unfamiliar, the company likely associate the role you’re searching for with a different title. For example, if a UI Designer role requires a GitHub account and front-end coding skills, that means they are actually searching for a UI Developer (AKA Front-end Developer).

  1. Prepare some professional summary

You’ll see in the UI/UX designer sample CV, that it starts with a short professional summary, AKA achievement summary, AKA elevator pitch, AKA highlights, AKA professional statement … and I’m sure it has a lot of other names, too. Whatever it’s called, it’s the single most impactful part of the document, offering a quick overview of a candidate’s core qualities.

The professional summary is a 2-3-sentence overview, containing:

  • your years in the field (or historical passion if you're on entry level)
  • specialization
  • honours/peeks (if any)
  • the most recognisable company names (pick 1-3 that are best respected in your area and/or target industry) or your best offer that is most valuable for that position

Creating this summary is not a ‘set it and forget it’ task. Ideally, you should revise it based on the call back rate and the type of offers it attracts. Also, targeting different industries requires different summaries. In my case, for example, for those positions that required mentoring/teaching experience, I had a separate statement highlighting my psychology studies and the institutes I’ve been doing mentorship at. For positions looking for a strong professional to lead their project, I was talking about my multi-disciplinary product experience, not mentioning psychology or mentoring at all.

Summary

You certainly don’t need a new CV for every job. But it’s a good idea to divide up the parts of yourself that you need to discuss – as mentioned above, not all jobs are interested in all parts of you. In a following article, Effective job search to get your first or next UX/UI job – Step 2 – Interviewing, we will discuss in more detail the best steps for you to take when you have caught the attention of a company and need to keep them interested.

 

February 11, 20202 Comments

Practical analysis of the ‘slow and painstaking’ work behind the ‘fast and easy’ interfaces

At some time in their career, every interface designer get to the point of trying to create one of those 'fast and easy' interfaces that most of their companies are already advertising. The design reality is that what is fast and easy on the visitors' side is slow and painstaking on the designers’ side.  Read more

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