I have a UX coaching client on the verge of getting her next job because she’s not afraid to take action. Here are some of the inspiring things she’s doing that you can also do to effectively position yourself with prospective clients or employers.
Clarify Your Goals
First things first, what’s your outcome? What sort of UX gig do you really want? That’s the first question my coaching client answered.
For most people, the overall choices are freelance/consulting, corporate and agency. Within these three categories is everything from UX researcher to UX lead.
Think about the ideal role you want. Be as specific as possible. This helps narrow down your search to find the best opportunities you can.
While this approach might reduce the number of total opportunities available, the increased clarity you get will give you a big confidence boost during interviews.
Identify Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Besides setting a clear goal, my client took some time to thoughtfully assess her strengths and weaknesses. Then she made a plan listing how she would answer any questions about them.
She also realized that during previous interviews she mainly talked about how the position would benefit her, instead of asking the company what they needed. This was a big a-ha moment for her.
During the interview process it’s definitely important to determine if any job is a good fit. But it’s critical to demonstrate your interest and ability to solve problems on behalf of your future employer or client.
After all, that’s why they brought you in. They want to know what’s in it for them. Your job is to tell them.
So make sure you also uncover and discuss how you can help solve your target employer’s pains and problems. That’s the key to finding out whether or not the opportunity is truly a good fit.
Play To Your Strengths
My coaching client has a background in graphic design. During our first call she realized she could dress up her resume bit with some subtle design tweaks. She thought this would help her stand out more in the HR resume pile and it worked beautifully.
By our second call two days later, she had updated her resume as well as her LinkedIn profile. She also received two job inquiries in that time. Brilliant.
Think about your strengths and how you can apply them to stand out from the crowd. Besides your resume and portfolio, do you have any case studies you could share? Do you have a unique life experience that makes you different from everyone else?
Know Your Audience
Before any kind of presentation, and especially a job interview, it’s crucial to know your audience. Many HR people don’t know what UX is but they need to fill a position ASAP. Since they are the gatekeepers, you usually have to get their approval before you can meet the hiring manager.
Find out as much as you can about the company and especially who you’re going to meet. A few extra minutes on Google and LinkedIn can help you ask better questions and get noticed.
After every interview always do a de-brief. NFL coaches review games to see what their teams did right and where they can improve. You can do the same. If you don’t get called back for a second interview, try to find out why.
A simple phone call or email can do the trick. You may not hear back from everyone you contact, but you’ll get valuable feedback from the people who do respond.
Change Your Approach
If you’ve been on several interviews that went nowhere, see if you can spot any consistent patterns or trends that may have led to that result. Then change your approach and try again. Having persistence and making big and small distinctions as you go along will eventually win the day.
Believe In Yourself
Above all, believe in yourself. You’ve got this. You really do. Searching for the right job is difficult in any economy, but you can do it. Give yourself the best chance by being your own champion. Champions win.
Go For It
What’s the one action you could take right now to move the needle forward in your career? Maybe take a course or brush up your resume?
Perhaps you can have lunch with a peer who’s moving in the same direction you want to go in.
Or you can book a free 15-minute call with me to see if UX coaching makes sense. We can discuss your goals and work together to discover your next steps. Let me know what you think – book your call now.
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