I have a dream UX job, here is what i did to get it

25 Jun 2010 - 6:54am
4 years ago
22 replies
2547 reads
LukeLucas
2010

IxDA,
That subject line is the phrase I want to say to someone like me in a few years. I received my master's in Information Science this May and have been tirelessly seeking work in NYC since--i've had one interview. If you are able to utter this phrase, tell me, what did you do? Who respects 2 years of education experience over 2 years of work experience? I think I have a good pitch, and I realize I need to give it time - especially here in the city - and believe me I'm not picky I use ALL the job lists. Here's who I've applied to: Google, Fantasy Interactive, Rokkan, Method, Thumbplay, Razorfish, Quirky, AOL, Lab49, NYT, NYU, EnergyHub, Sachs Insight, Harvest, DraftFCB, B&N, Etsy, Fandango, Knewton, Schoolnet, Innovation Interactive, Mandy.com, and host of anonymous freelance positions.


Perhaps there is something wrong with this list - maybe my site is no good - or maybe I'm just not looking in the right place. Please, if you have tips or suggestions or maybe you even have a job for me, get in touch.


Always ready,Luke
--
lukelucasmiller.com

Comments

25 Jun 2010 - 8:21am
mattinteractive
2010

Did you do an internship?

It's an ultra-competitive, global market out there now. And everyone's going to college and more people than ever are getting advanced degrees. I'm a huge advocate of education/continuing education -- it's invaluable and essential.  However, the corporate world is fast paced and it needs people with experience -- people that have worked in teams, and experienced best practices and processes.  Few companies are going to invest in you (by paying you a salary), if you have zero professional experience.

That's one of the biggest mistakes a lot of students of this generation are making I think -- thinking a degree guarantees them an immediate place in the workforce. Not that you're thinking that...I'm just speaking generally now.

If you haven't had any internships yet, I'd recommend applying for one where you can get professional experience for at least 6 months (even if you have to do it unpaid). I did two internships in college. One, paid and one unpaid.  The company I interned with brought me on full-time at the end of the second internship. That's usually a surefire way to get your foot in the door.

25 Jun 2010 - 9:06am
mdostert
2010

Internships are as hard to come by and jobs.

Maureen Dostert 919.490.8405 mdostert2002@yahoo.com

----- Original Message ---- From: digitalmatt To: mdostert2002@yahoo.com Sent: Fri, June 25, 2010 9:49:57 AM Subject: Re: [IxDA] I have a dream UX job, here is what i did to get it

Did you do an internship?

It's an ultra-competitive, global market out there now. And everyone's going to college and more people than ever are getting advanced degrees. I'm a huge advocate of education/continuing education -- it's invaluable and essential. However, the corporate world is fast paced and it needs people with experience -- people that have worked in teams, and experienced best practices and processes. Few companies are going to invest in you (by paying you a salary), if you have zero professional experience.

That's one of the biggest mistakes a lot of students of this generation are making I think -- thinking a degree guarantees them an immediate place in the workforce. Not that you're thinking that...I'm just speaking generally now.

If you haven't had any internships yet, I'd recommend applying for one where you can get professional experience for at least 6 months (even if you have to do it unpaid). I did two internships in college. One, paid and one unpaid. The company I interned with brought me on full-time at the end of the second internship. That's usually a surefire way to get your foot in the door.

25 Jun 2010 - 12:03pm
mattinteractive
2010

Companies are ALWAYS looking for free/cheap labor. I think there are more out there than you think. Just have to know where to look. Networking, networking, networking.

25 Jun 2010 - 9:30am
dmitryn
2004

Luke, a quick look at your resume and portfolio tells me that you might just not be giving employers enough of a reason to consider you for that dream UX position - or, for that matter, any UX position at all.

Your resume is a list of positions and skills, but gives no indication as to what you've accomplished or can accomplish in a UX role. Your portfolio is a hodge podge of PDF's, slides, and videos, but does not contain a single recognizable design deliverable or indication of your process as a designer.

You need to package your skills and experience in a way that will give employers some confidence that, when they bring you in for an interview, they won't be wasting their time. There are a multitide of resources in this list's archives and elsewhere on how to accomplish this. Just do it. Good luck.

25 Jun 2010 - 10:06am
mdostert
2010

Luke, I think there are many people in your shoes, including me. It is not you, it is the economy and employers/recruiters are expecting to find the one candidate that meets all their needs.

----- Original Message ---- From: LukeLucas To: mdostert2002@yahoo.com Sent: Fri, June 25, 2010 9:49:57 AM Subject: [IxDA] I have a dream UX job, here is what i did to get it

IxDA, That subject line is the phrase I want to say to someone like me in a few years. I received my master's in Information Science this May and have been tirelessly seeking work in NYC since--i've had one interview. If you are able to utter this phrase, tell me, what did you do? Who respects 2 years of education experience over 2 years of work experience? I think I have a good pitch, and I realize I need to give it time - especially here in the city - and believe me I'm not picky I use ALL the job lists. Here's who I've applied to: Google, Fantasy Interactive, Rokkan, Method, Thumbplay, Razorfish, Quirky, AOL, Lab49, NYT, NYU, EnergyHub, Sachs Insight, Harvest, DraftFCB, B&N, Etsy, Fandango, Knewton, Schoolnet, Innovation Interactive, Mandy.com, and host of anonymous freelance positions.

Perhaps there is something wrong with this list - maybe my site is no good - or maybe I'm just not looking in the right place. Please, if you have tips or suggestions or maybe you even have a job for me, get in touch.

Always ready,Luke

lukelucasmiller.com [1]

25 Jun 2010 - 10:13am
ELISABETH HUBERT
2007

The number 1 thing that I do is NETWORK. You can apply to as many postings as you see, and I agree that you should if they fit your interest, but attending local events to talk to people about what you are good at, what they did, etc is key. ESP in NYC. We are a tight knit group and are always looking to help other UXers.

I also reach out to people in hiring positions or in similar positions and ask for about 30 minutes of their time NOT to ask if they have a job, but to understand their career path, pair it with mine, and get advice. Having a conversation with someone, and following up on it over the course of months/years is a lot more powerful that any cover letter, resume, or portfolio (although these are also important). So my suggestion? Go out to a site like Plaxo or LinkedIn and find people in positions like your's or in hiring positions at the companies where you want to work, and message them to see if they have 30 minutes of time to talk to you. Then prepare questions and talking points that you want to discuss in order to further yourself and make the best use of their time. Follow up, follow up follow up, check and and ensure that you've listened or taken into account their advice. This is the way to get the emails and calls coming to you, and eventually the jobs. Who would you hire first? Someone you know, have talked to or some stranger who applied to a random application?

Hope this helps!

Lis

25 Jun 2010 - 11:28am
Dave Malouf
2005

Maybe you aren't ready for a dream job and you need to be open for the non-dream experience. Look for less mature UX organizations where you earn your stripes and then have a portfolio that builds from there.

I like Lisa's suggestion about doing volunteer work or just create your own thing.

But going for Gold out of the gate even w/ a grad degree is really setting yourself up for disaster.

-- dave

25 Jun 2010 - 12:49pm
bminihan
2007

Hi Luke...

Your enthusiasm is great, especially because you'll need to rely on it heavily in the coming months =]

I second David's suggestion to set your bar a little lower, so if you accidentally get your dream job immediately, you'll be pleasantly surprised.  It's great to know where you want to be, but in this economy, take anything you can get and use that as a launching point.  Don't know what your finances are like, but I can't imagine it's cheap living in NYC.

Also try to keep some perspective - you've been looking since May (a month) yet a few million folks have been looking for a year - and probably more than a few thousand of them are looking for your job.  Not trying to be pessimistic, you should continue to be persistent, dogged, even, but don't forget what you're up against (see para 2, above).

I know I'm not like most, but I got my dream job through a seasonal help gig at The Nature Company over fifteen years ago (I've actually had three of my dream jobs, because the dream keeps changing).  I'm not suggesting you take a job that makes you miserable, but I took that one because I love nature, and turned it into a career through leaps and bounds across the company and into bigger roles later on.

I also agree with dmitryn...your minimalist web site is nice and simple, but not very eye-catching or approachable.  You might humanize it more with your photo (found it on Holler) and bio integrated into the layout.  You could also tone down the moxy a bit by having a section explaining what you're working on, currently, what you're learning about, and what you're really interested in doing.  Saying you have the skills and gumption is far less effective than illustrating both through the outlets at your disposal (your site, blog, rooftops, subway platforms, etc =]).

Don't forget the networking either...it takes time, but befriending the right people will eventually do wonders for your career, even if it doesn't immediately land a job.

Best of luck!

Bryan

25 Jun 2010 - 1:05pm
joelkline
2010

Luke,

Some really good advice here. As both an educator and consultant I'll summarize my thoughts:

1. Do an internship. DigitalMatt is spot on. I disagree about finding one. They are everywhere. Unfortunately, many of them do not offer pay. Also, look outside traditional agencies to non-profits, NGOs and other non-tech organizations that need tech help.

2. Customize your resume and cover letters for the positions. I don't know how generic or specific you made your application packages, but the more specificity the better. UX involves research and nothing says "I can't research" like a generic app package.

3. Speak in corporate. When you write, phone interview, or F2F interview, talk about projects, deadlines, milestones, ROI, and other things that companies care about. Do not talk about classes, syllabi, or theories unless you can show how they fit with projects.

4. Talk to HR. Get a recruiter and ask about UX positions. Trends, long-term needs, best approach, best experience. Even if Google is not hiring for UX, you can probably get a recruiter to chat with you and then build a contact inside.

5. Your resume and portfolio must differentiate you. Find a way to do this (professionally!) and you will reap the rewards of some interviews.

Best of Luck,

Joel Kline

25 Jun 2010 - 1:05pm
Lee Andrese
2010

Hi Luke,
I feel your pain. Many recent grads are in a similar position. Here's some suggestions that we may not have discussed.
1. Make sure you pull together success stories, even if they're from collaborative school projects - they speak about your leadership and workstyle.
2. Talk with hiring managers and human resource experts BEFORE you send a resume 
3. Do not send your information without understanding the job and what they hope to accomplish, then send customized info on how you can help them achieve their goals by doing the job (see #2)
4. Do volunteer work for recognized non-profits to build your professional portfolio. You might even want to check out Junior Achievement programs in high schools. These kids are building and selling products and showing them how to incorporate human factors intelligence and methodologies is a great way to get UX advocates and build your portfolio. 
5. Find a mentor! Mentors are successful people and can help you not only improve your craft, but guide you on how to position and market yourself
Hope this helps!la
P.S. I will keep you in mind for opportunities as well!
--
Lee Andrese, CUA
User Experience Agent
410.975.4183

AQUENT
http://aquent.us/go/landrese



On Fri, Jun 25, 2010 at 11:21 AM, LukeLucas <mukeliller@gmail.com> wrote:

IxDA,
That subject line is the phrase I want to say to someone like me in a few years. I received my master's in Information Science this May and have been tirelessly seeking work in NYC since--i've had one interview. If you are able to utter this phrase, tell me, what did you do? Who respects 2 years of education experience over 2 years of work experience? I think I have a good pitch, and I realize I need to give it time - especially here in the city - and believe me I'm not picky I use ALL the job lists. Here's who I've applied to: Google, Fantasy Interactive, Rokkan, Method, Thumbplay, Razorfish, Quirky, AOL, Lab49, NYT, NYU, EnergyHub, Sachs Insight, Harvest, DraftFCB, B&N, Etsy, Fandango, Knewton, Schoolnet, Innovation Interactive, Mandy.com, and host of anonymous freelance positions.

Perhaps there is something wrong with this list - maybe my site is no good - or maybe I'm just not looking in the right place. Please, if you have tips or suggestions or maybe you even have a job for me, get in touch.

Always ready,Luke
--
lukelucasmiller.com [1]

(((Pl
25 Jun 2010 - 3:05pm
Nancy Broden
2005

I second David's reply. I've been doing this since 1997 and I landed what I consider my "dream job" in January 2010. It takes a while to figure out what you want out of this business and to have the experience to actually do it. 
Aside from internships (always a good route), I would suggest looking into startups. If I were starting out today, I would hook up with some of the more promising ones and offer my services for sweat equity. Working with scrappy, multi-talented people who are trying to bring a new product to market will teach you a boatload in a very short period of time, and make you more attractive to both agencies and product companies.
Nancy

On Fri, Jun 25, 2010 at 7:37 AM, LukeLucas <mukeliller@gmail.com> wrote:

IxDA,
That subject line is the phrase I want to say to someone like me in a few years. I received my master's in Information Science this May and have been tirelessly seeking work in NYC since--i've had one interview. If you are able to utter this phrase, tell me, what did you do? Who respects 2 years of education experience over 2 years of work experience? I think I have a good pitch, and I realize I need to give it time - especially here in the city - and believe me I'm not picky I use ALL the job lists. Here's who I've applied to: Google, Fantasy Interactive, Rokkan, Method, Thumbplay, Razorfish, Quirky, AOL, Lab49, NYT, NYU, EnergyHub, Sachs Insight, Harvest, DraftFCB, B&N, Etsy, Fandango, Knewton, Schoolnet, Innovation Interactive, Mandy.com, and host of anonymous freelance positions.

Perhaps there is something wrong with this list - maybe my site is no good - or maybe I'm just not looking in the right place. Please, if you have tips or suggestions or maybe you even have a job for me, get in touch.

Always ready,Luke
--
lukelucasmiller.com [1]

(((P
26 Jun 2010 - 9:53am
sbisker
2009

<blockquote>Here's who I've applied to: Google, Fantasy Interactive, Rokkan, Method, Thumbplay, Razorfish, Quirky, AOL, Lab49, NYT, NYU, EnergyHub, Sachs Insight, Harvest, DraftFCB, B&N, Etsy, Fandango, Knewton, Schoolnet, Innovation Interactive, Mandy.com, and host of anonymous freelance positions.</blockquote>

This list worries me, because it just covers so wide of a spectrum of what the day to day of practicing Interaction Design really is. This is not necessarily a bad thing - it's totally fair to keep an open mind and say "I'm just looking to try something" - but you have to be aware of these differences when you're applying.  Designing for a single site like Etsy is a totally different experience than designing on behalf of multiple clients at a place like Method. Designing within a brick and mortar company like B&N is way different than designing at Google. Etc.

 More to the point, it will be very obvious to an employer if you're just applying to everything with "Interaction Design" in the name. How is Etsy to know that you're not just planning to leave their job in nine months once your dream job opens up at Method (and vice-versa)? Be sure you're addressing *their* interaction design needs in your cover letter and portfolio, not just the cause of interaction design in general.

For that matter, it's not so terrible if you *do* leave after nine months - as long as both your employer and you feel like you went in there with good intentions and gave it your best. Sometimes a company just isn't a match, and a good boss will recognize that and act as a good reference when you feel you have to go elsewhere. But a good boss also needs to know that you really are going to come in there and give it your best before he takes a chance on you.

This is optional, but if you think you're ready, your case for employment might be stronger if you step back and figure out which of these sorts of jobs you might want to try first - and *only* apply to those jobs for a while. That way, you can confidently come in with your cover letter and say "You know, I've thought about it, and I really want to try working on an in-house design team at this point in my career" or "I really want experience with mobile platforms", or whatever you wind up deciding. That professional clarity should also open a lot of doors for you in terms of networking, since people want to know it's *their* specific help you're trying to tap into (rather than just the help of any interaction designer who happens to have an opening.) You'll also be able to prioritize - no job is a dream job for everyone, but all jobs are better at some things than at other things, and starting to build up experiences that focus on what's important to *you* will help you get to *your* dream job faster.

26 Jun 2010 - 6:05pm
NOIXD
2010

I forgot to mention. Do your due diligence and correct your spelling errors on your site. Lastly instead of asking the discussion board what other people did to get their dream job which would be irrelevant you should be asking the right questions such as what can I do to step up my game?

----Design Responsibly

On 6/26/10, sbisker wrote: >

Here's who I've applied to: Google, Fantasy Interactive, Rokkan, > > Method, Thumbplay, Razorfish, Quirky, AOL, Lab49, NYT, NYU, EnergyHub, Sachs > > Insight, Harvest, DraftFCB, B&N, Etsy, Fandango, Knewton, Schoolnet, > Innovation Interactive, Mandy.com, and host of anonymous freelance > positions.

> > This list worries me, because it just covers so wide of a spectrum of what > the day to day of practicing Interaction Design really is. This is not > necessarily a bad thing - it's totally fair to keep an open mind and say > "I'm > just looking to try something" - but you have to be aware of these > differences when you're applying.  Designing for a single site like Etsy is > a totally different experience than designing on behalf of multiple clients > at a place like Method. Designing within a brick and mortar company like B&N > > is way different than designing at Google. Etc. > >  More to the point, it will be very obvious to an employer if you're just > applying to everything with "Interaction Design" in the name. How is Etsy to > > know that you're not just planning to leave their job in nine months once > your dream job opens up at Method (and vice-versa)? Be sure you're > addressing > their interaction design needs in your cover letter and portfolio, not > just > the cause of interaction design in general. > > For that matter, it's not so terrible if you do leave after nine months - > as long as both your employer and you feel like you went in there with good > intentions and gave it your best. Sometimes a company just isn't a match, > and > a good boss will recognize that and act as a good reference when you feel > you > have to go elsewhere. But a good boss also needs to know that you really are > > going to come in there and give it your best before he takes a chance on > you. > > This is optional, but if you think you're ready, your case for employment > might be stronger if you step back and figure out which of these sorts of > jobs you might want to try first - and only apply to those jobs for a > while. That way, you can confidently come in with your cover letter and say > "You know, I've thought about it, and I really want to try working on an > in-house design team at this point in my career" or "I really want > experience > with mobile platforms", or whatever you wind up deciding. That professional > clarity should also open a lot of doors for you in terms of networking, > since > people want to know it's their specific help you're trying to tap into > (rather than just the help of any interaction designer who happens to have > an > opening.) You'll also be able to prioritize - no job is a dream job for > everyone, but all jobs are better at some things than at other things, and > starting to build up experiences that focus on what's important to you > will > help you get to your dream job faster. > > (((Pl

26 Jun 2010 - 1:27pm
NOIXD
2010

Only replying because I was in your position this past year. Here is some constructive criticism. After looking through your website the only good thing I got out of it was how simple it was to navigate through your site. Basically just breadcrumbs but most importantly you didn't convince me how passionate you are about this great discipline. Start up a wordpress/blog and convey your knowledge within this industry. Teach me something whether it be on articles or videos about rockstar interaction designers or masters from industrial design to architecture, etc. For your portfolio convey to me your process from concept to the final product. Words are meaningless such as features. Pictures and sketches are worth more than a thousand words. Sketching is the basic foundation of Interaction Design. Honestly you need to step up your game because there are far more people in this whole world that are hustling on a different level. Start reading and get that knowledge from the world. People need to stop talking about Interaction Design and we need to start designing. Alan Kay once said to predict the future you need to invent it. Go research and design the shit out of finding the right balance between technology and design to support engagement, that keep us entertained, aroused, captivated and productive. We are building the culture we live in, and we possess the capability to enable massive change in an increasingly fragmented and tense world. We don't need anymore thinkers we need doers. Good luck with all your endeavors.

----- Design Responsibly

26 Jun 2010 - 8:16pm
Yvonnia Martin
2009

Woo Hoo! Well said 1V.
(background applause)

26 Jun 2010 - 1:38pm
NOIXD
2010

Forget the sales pitch. If you say your a designer let your work do all the talking then you dont need a sales pitch. Don't play the hand you were dealt go change your cards and pray to the skies and change your stars. Here is my advice - "If theres passion all else will follow."

----- Design Responsibly

26 Jun 2010 - 9:29pm
NOIXD
2010

Not to burst your bubble but do your due diligence and correct your spelling errors on your website.

26 Jun 2010 - 5:05pm
LukeLucas
2010

Luke,

Your site is all text - I looked at it and that is probably why you aren't getting calls back - you need some punchy images or something there other than text / resume.

The places you mention are all top-notch / top-tier Agencies or Ad-Tech companies. I mean, this is where the cream-of-the-crop go to work. These spots have been around for a number of years and probably also have a roster of dependable freelancers. You need to set your sites lower/wider to start.

Source: My experience.

IxDA,
That subject line is the phrase I want to say to someone like me in a few years. I received my master's in Information Science this May and have been tirelessly seeking work in NYC since--i've had one interview. If you are able to utter this phrase, tell me, what did you do? Who respects 2 years of education experience over 2 years of work experience? I think I have a good pitch, and I realize I need to give it time - especially here in the city - and believe me I'm not picky I use ALL the job lists. Here's who I've applied to: Google, Fantasy Interactive, Rokkan, Method, Thumbplay, Razorfish, Quirky, AOL, Lab49, NYT, NYU, EnergyHub, Sachs Insight, Harvest, DraftFCB, B&N, Etsy, Fandango, Knewton, Schoolnet, Innovation Interactive, Mandy.com, and host of anonymous freelance positions.

Perhaps there is something wrong with this list - maybe my site is no good - or maybe I'm just not looking in the right place. Please, if you have tips or suggestions or maybe you even have a job for me, get in touch.

Always ready,Luke
--
lukelucasmiller.com [1]

(((
28 Jun 2010 - 3:05pm
Switzky, Andrew
2007

Hi Lucas,

Here are some ideas:

In your bio you mention your toolset: wire-framing, walkthroughs, persona development, prototyping.

Show us some wireframes. Show us some personas. You do have at least one prototype on your site. Do you have others to display?

Put the portfolio of projects first. Represent each project with an image to catch our attention. The main focus of your site could be the portfolio with everything else more peripheral.

Andy Switzky Senior Information Architect Austin Energy - Web/Portal Services www.austinenergy.com

w: 512.322.6318 f: 512.322.6025 -----Original Message----- >IxDA, >That subject line is the phrase I want to say to someone like me in a >few years. I received my master's in Information Science this May and >have been tirelessly seeking work in NYC since--i've had one interview. >If you are able to utter this phrase, tell me, what did you do? Who >respects 2 years of education experience over 2 years of work >experience? I think I have a good pitch, and I realize I need to give >it time - especially here in the city - and believe me I'm not picky I >use ALL the job lists. Here's who I've applied to: Google, Fantasy >Interactive, Rokkan, Method, Thumbplay, Razorfish, Quirky, AOL, Lab49, >NYT, NYU, EnergyHub, Sachs Insight, Harvest, DraftFCB, B&N, Etsy, >Fandango, Knewton, Schoolnet, Innovation Interactive, Mandy.com, and >host of anonymous freelance positions. > >Perhaps there is something wrong with this list - maybe my site is no >good - or maybe I'm just not looking in the right place. Please, if you >have tips or suggestions or maybe you even have a job for me, get in >touch. > >Always ready,Luke >-- >lukelucasmiller.com [1] > >((( > (((

26 Jun 2010 - 9:40pm
NOIXD
2010

Your going to get bricks thrown at you but REMEMBER never lose faith. Don't let anyone stop your from accomplishing your endeavors. Don Norman said that any goal is attainable through a 7 step process. Never stop working and keep setting that bar up really high.

----- Design Responsibly

 

27 Jun 2010 - 1:07am
seigosim
2007

I would love to hear more about Don Norman's 7 step process!

On Sat, Jun 26, 2010 at 9:20 PM, 1V <theonevariable@gmail.com> wrote:

Your going to get bricks thrown at you but REMEMBER never lose faith. Don't let anyone stop your from accomplishing your endeavors. Don Norman said that any goal is attainable through a 7 step process. Never stop working and keep setting that bar up really high.

----- Design Responsibly

 

(
27 Jun 2010 - 11:37am
NOIXD
2010

DOET

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