I get a lot of questions from people just starting their UX job search who feel stuck. Most want to get their first/next UX job or land new freelance clients. One of the most common questions is “How do I start?”. And the answer is pretty simple. Just start.
“But how?” they ask. If this sounds like you, read on for some quick ideas to help you get unstuck. I’ve used them myself to start over completely from scratch a few times so I know they work 🙂
Start Where You Are
Not knowing how to do something is uncomfortable. Most humans take pride in their skills and knowledge, so allowing yourself to be vulnerable with peers is not easy. But it’s the key to starting anything new. You have to own it.
There are no magic bullets, but there are people in your life who care about you. You know who they are, so make a list of at least 10 that you feel comfortable contacting directly.
These could be current and former co-workers, people from professional groups, local community organizations, or even family members. To help you get organized, a good place to start is often LinkedIn or Facebook.
Once you have your list together, reach out to each person individually by email or phone. Try to setup a short 15-20 minute call to let them know where you’re at and what you want to accomplish. Your goal for this exercise should be just to have conversations with as many people as possible, nothing more.
Tell People Where You’re At
The “where you’re at” part is very important. While everything’s perfect on social media, that’s not the purpose of these conversations. You may not have spoken to these people in a long time, so they’ll need proper context to understand where you’re coming from.
Once you’ve explained your current situation, seek honest feedback. What do they think your strongest skills and assets are? How and where do they think you could add the most value? What do they think you should do next?
Next Steps For Your UX Job Search
Take careful notes during each conversation, and be sure and thank people for their time. Most importantly, take immediate action on any next steps your friends may have suggested.
For example, in 2015 I had to stop working completely for several months due to some family health issues. When I finally came up for air, I had no work and no income. My business completely stopped.
One of my mentors recommended this exact strategy back then and it worked. I found my list of 10 people, and 2 of them helped me land some small freelance projects. Those 2 projects were the catalysts that propelled my business forward to today.
If you give this strategy a try, let me know how it worked out for you in the comments. Or if you like, setup a free 15-minute consulting call to start the conversation.
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