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Top 5 tips to get a design job

As a designer you might be great at your job, constantly thinking about user experience design. In the same way, you need to think about the employer’s (hiring manager) experience.

For most part of my career I was a consultant so I got a ton of opportunity to interview with employers – some jobs I got and some I didn’t. It helped me understand the psychology of the interviewer and assess my own interview skills. Not to say that I’m perfect at interviewing, however, I learned a few things that has helped me being much more successful in the last few years.

Not looking for jobs? Always be looking, the interview experience & practice will help when you need it most.

As a head of experience design I must have interviewed around ~40 candidates in a year – both local and globally. I started to see a pattern of candidates who would get selected for interviews and who would end up getting job offers. Here are the top 5 tips that I saw working the best and could help you too.top5tipsdesignjob

1. Have a design portfolio
Having a design portfolio is must. Employers want to see your portfolio before they want to talk to you. Can you imagine hiring a photographer who doesn’t have a photo gallery website to display her work? Also, make sure you are using the sound principles of design on your website too.

2. Check that your portfolio website is working
Did you notice that your portfolio website is down? Before you send your portfolio link to a prospective employer, please check to make sure it is working. This is common sense but you will not believe how many times I have seen portfolio website that don’t work.

3. Have a responsive (mobile friendly) portfolio website
I don’t need to tell you that mobile usage is exploding has already exploded. There is a high chance that the hiring manager might first glance your portfolio on her mobile.

4. Process, flowcharts, wireframes, etc.
As a designer you should ace this. You are a champion of user-centric design, and it should apply to your portfolio too. Think who is landing on your portfolio and what they are hoping to see. Displaying 1 high fidelity screenshot for each of your project is not enough. For each project share the problem you are trying to solve, try to share the process you took before reaching your final design. Share some flowcharts, wireframes and some high fidelity designs. You can mix it up, display wireframes for some projects and high fidelity design for some projects.

5. The 2Cs – Confidence & Clarity in your communication
During your interview you need to be confident about yourself and design choices you made in your projects. Believe me it shows. As a designer half your job is to communicate your designs to your team members and leaders. No matter how good your designs are, if you cannot communicate your thoughts and design rationale then as if they don’t exists.

6. Bonus – Know the business & metrics
I believe every pixel you put on the screen needs to have a purpose. If you don’t understand the business objective and metrics behind your designs then it’s just noise. For example – what is the purpose of a landing page design? It’s to convert visitors to leads. So, know it well.

Hope this helps, I’m happy to help if you need more clarification or coaching on any of these tips.

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