While you will naturally gain confidence as a UX professional on the job, what happens when you’re looking for a new job or seeking a promotion? How do you demonstrate that you’re a confident UX designer to HR recruiters and hiring managers?
Positioning Your Professional Story
One of the first things I explore with my career coaching clients is their professional story. Besides knowing their resume inside and out, it’s much more important for job seekers to remember the human stories behind all that work experience.
While reviewing their resume, I’ll ask clients to describe each work experience in detail from an emotional perspective. What lit them up? What do they want to do next and what do they want to avoid? How and when did they add the most value? And why did it feel like they made such an impact?
Understanding Your Unique Value Proposition
What winds up happening is people get very clear on what they do and don’t want in their next job. They also identify some special qualities that only they can offer. We write those things down, and then use them on their resume, LinkedIn profile, portfolio website, and in any subsequent conversations with recruiters. It basically becomes the candidate’s Unique Value Proposition, or “UVP”.
Ask yourself – Why would someone want to work with you? Are you able to clearly articulate your unique value? Your confidence naturally increases when you know your professional story. And it starts with understanding the emotions connected to your work experience.
The most obvious confidence booster is landing your first UX job or promotion. During your time in the industry you’ve likely become more comfortable managing stakeholders and prioritizing pain points. Heck, you may have even picked up some useful project management skills to work more effectively with teams.
As a confident UX designer, you love being part of an open and productive team. You enjoy the playful “ping-pong” of giving and receiving constructive feedback, feel valued and have the opportunity for endless learning. You like to optimize and find efficiencies wherever you can.
On the other hand, you may be stuck wondering how to move up the ladder. For example, if you want to become a “full-stack” UX designer, you’ll need to identify any gaps in your skill set and make a plan to fill them as soon as possible.
It’s important to know your strengths and weaknesses, but play to your strengths. Becoming a confident UX designer also means having a process framework in place. It’s not necessarily what you do on every project, but more of an experienced-based tool kit you can draw from and easily explain to others.
Perhaps you were recently laid off, experienced poor management or just need a new challenge. Since many people define themselves by their work, those events often leave a sting that’s hard to overcome. But you can overcome it, and may one day realize it was the best thing that ever happened.
What’s Next for You?
Remember that most design teams solve problems with people, not computers, so constantly doubting yourself is unproductive. Instead, use your UX skills to figure out who you really are as a UX professional and what you can offer. Put some clay on the table right now and shape it into actionable, useful conversations for your future employer.