There comes a point in every designer’s life when it’s time to look for a new gig

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Photo of a woman in a baseball cap on a ledge looking out over a river between 2 mountains

That new position may be a promotion. It may be a hop to another company. It could be due to a downsize and a layoff. Or your role may have shifted into something you’re not passionate about, or that isn’t giving you the opportunity to grow professionally. Regardless of the reason, you can’t stay in the same role your entire life. (Well I guess you could, but where’s the fun in that?!)

When the time to jump strikes, and you’re ready to start searching, the job application process can be completely paralyzing.

Why? Because if you flip through designer job postings you’ll encounter bulletpoint requirements ranging from Graphic design to interaction design to front end development to user research to usability testing, IA and content strategy. What’s the result of this crazy range of requirements? Designers suddenly feel under qualified.

I had a chat tonight with someone who works at a huge corp. In the past year the person grew their design program from nothing to a fully functional design thinking focused org. This person is a legit rockstar.

Unfortunately their team was axed during a huge layoff, so this person was put in a position in which they could either accept a role building out a brand new product team in another division from scratch, including creating their entire design system, workflows and processes, or the person could take a few weeks severance and search for a new job.

This extremely experienced, incredible designer told me that they were feeling inadequate and not skilled enough to take the position. They also expressed feeling the same when they reviewed other job posts. I was STUNNED.

They said they didn’t have enough experience in all of the other areas of design to feel comfortable taking on the gig.

So here’s the thing. There are about 3 people in the entire design industry that are truly experts in every single area of design.

It’s crazy to expect that of any one human. If a company is looking for a single generalist who is an expert in every area of design, they’re nuts. At best people who specialize and have adequate knowledge in other areas will apply, and possibly kick out some rapid studying and learning to polish areas they’re weak in.

Experts in some areas of design with tons of experience in their specialty are feeling the same way that new and intermediate designers feel looking at new job descriptions.

Seeing all of those requirements tossed together makes a majority of people applying for the same jobs you’re looking at, even veterans, feel just as under qualified as you feel. Especially veterans who’ve been using older tech and languages. Don’t let it get you down.

If you’re really passionate about a gig with a wild job description, apply and then clarify the daylights out of the job requirements when you get into the interview.

Be clear about your existing skill set and the areas you hope to grow in during your interview.

Sometimes companies just rattle off a grocery list of buzzwords they’ve seen other companies use in their job requirements list without actually understanding what they mean.

Next up on the job application fear list: There will almost ALWAYS be something in the job requirements list that would push you professionally and that’s a GOOD thing. When you’re looking for a new job, don’t apply for a job doing only the things you’re amazing at.

If there is nothing in the job description that you’re a little uncomfortable with, you’re not applying for the right job.

Career progress takes professional growth opportunities.

If you’re always the most skilled designer in the room, you’ll never grow.

Apply for jobs that will help you reach your long term professional goals, not jobs that will only allow you to do the things you’re already extremely skilled at.

Last up, unfortunately for people in our industry, when you come into a company at an entry level salary, it can be nearly impossible to get an internal pay raise that matches your skill set once you’ve really grown professionally and gained more experience.

There are of course exceptions to this rule, but a majority of the time you need to job hop to land a raise that aligns with your enhanced skill set.

Obviously money is never the most important aspect of a job (unless you really need it), but being paid less than you’re worth is a garbage situation.

If you really like your team, give your company the opportunity to resolve the salary issue, but if they refuse, start searching for other opportunities.

The tech industry is a little weird in that job hopping is seen as normal behavior. A year or two at a company at the beginning of your career followed by a jump is the norm.

I could ramble on all night about this topic, but I’m going to wrap things up here.

Don’t get overwhelmed, just embrace the fact that you’ll never know everything there is to know about design — none of your peers ever will either.

It’s part of the fun of being a designer — you have to be firmly set in a lifetime leaner mindset to succeed.

Apply for jobs that will allow room for professional growth, not jobs you’re already an expert in.

Always push yourself. No one can move your career forward other than you, so own it.

If you’re willing to put in the time and hard work, the sky is the limit.

15 Tips To Help Your Application Stand Out

 

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Photo of a vibrant red leaf surrounded dead leaves by Nsey Benajah on Unsplash

I get asked often what it takes to have a standout application when you’re applying at InVision, and what traits recruiters look for since they’re hiring for remote job opportunities. The hiring process at InVision has changed GREATLY since I interviewed here. Back then we only had 50 employees, so my interview was a chat with the director that contacted me about the job, then a chat with 2 VP’s then a chat with Clark himself, which I’ll fully admit was incredible. He’s just as awesome to talk to 1:1 as he comes across in interviews.

So, since I don’t have anything to do with our hiring now, but I know it’s something the community is really interested in learning more about, I sat down with a couple of our recruiters and hiring managers to find out what they look for when they’re reviewing candidates. This is by no means a comprehensive list, and there are always differences in opinion, but these are some common themes that came up during the conversations.

Here are 15 tips to get you started:

  1. If you’re applying for a designer position, do not submit a hideous generic resume and CV.
    You’re a designer, use your skills to make your resume and CV stand out from the rest of the crowd.
  2. For the love of all things holy, don’t submit an export of your LinkedIn profile as your resume.
    I had no idea that was a thing, but it is. The team here is hardworking, driven, and proud of the work we turn out as a result. Half-assery in your resume and CV are a no. Lack of effort in even applying here is a surefire sign that this isn’t the company for you.
  3. Make sure your portfolio is up to date.
    Update it BEFORE submitting your application. Many people applying at InVision haven’t applied for a job in years, they’re just so excited about the company that they’re giving it a shot, even if they’re happy where they are. I love it. And I get it. I haven’t touched my portfolio in about 900 years either, but having an out of date hideous portfolio will get you axed immediately. Clean it up and show what you can really do. It’s your one chance to stand out and make a great first impression. Make your mark.
  4. Give recruiters and hiring managers access to view your resume and portfolio.
    This completely blows my mind, but sometimes people submit portfolio links that are password protected (no big deal, people sometimes don’t want their current companies to know they’re applying elsewhere), but then they DON’T PROVIDE THE PASSWORD. 😑 Our recruiters are sifting through 1000’s of resumes and portfolios, it would be horrible if you were cut because you forgot to send your password. And don’t get me wrong, if there is someone who seems like an absolutely perfect fit based on resume, they may still take the time to fire off an email asking for your PW, but if your application was on the fence, this will push it into the rejection pile.
  5. Sending a resume that isn’t tailored to the job description at all is not a good plan.
    Don’t include a bunch of random skills that aren’t applicable. Skilled in Microsoft Office? That’s awesome if you’re applying for a role that requires that skillset. But if you’re applying for a design position, it’s not something you need to list in your things I’m amazing at section. Think of the recruiter as someone looking for a needle in a haystack. If you want to be that needle, you need to make sure you shine way brighter than the rest so they can find you.
  6. If you have past work experience that seems like it doesn’t apply, MAKE it apply.
    Flipped burgers at a fast food joint? Add a line about how it increased your ability to manage customer expectations in a high paced, intense atmosphere. Your past work experience has made you into who you are today. Explain how in a way that is applicable to the job you’re applying for.
  7. Don’t send a resume that is 987349875 pages long.
    These recruiters are scanning. Sending a 12 page resume doesn’t make you look impressive, it makes it look like you have issues communicating concisely.
  8. Inject your personality into your resume, CV and portfolio.
    Who are you? Obviously you can’t write a novel, so SHOW who you are. Think of your portfolio and your resume as a reflection of yourself. When they look at it, make it seem like they’re looking at you.
  9. If you’ve been out of the workforce for a while so your projects aren’t recent, just explain that and show something you’ve worked on recently for fun in addition to your previous work.
    People have to leave the workforce for periods of time for a wide variety of reasons, it’s no big deal. Just make sure you’re representing yourself fully.
  10. If you worked on a project and it was terrible, don’t include it in your portfolio.
    You want to put your best foot forward. Your portfolio doesn’t need to contain every single project you’ve ever done, it needs to contain the best ones, that show what you can really do. Save talking about train wrecks for the interview process, since it’s often a question managers ask.
  11. In your cover letter, make it clear that you’re passionate about working here.
    If your cover letter sounds like a generic one you found on the internet, it will seem like you don’t actually want the job. Inject your personality, and tell why you think InVision is a great fit for you personally, and what we’re doing that excites you enough to make you want to join the team. What about the company mission resonates strongly with you?

The next question I’m usually asked is, “What kinds of traits do hiring managers look for?” Since I’m not a hiring manager I asked around to find out. These were the common theme:

  1. You need to be a self starter.
    Working at a fully distributed company means you have to be able to push YOURSELF forward. You’ll have a great team behind you as well, but there won’t be someone standing over your shoulder pushing you to get your work done at 100% quality. You need to have the personal drive to keep yourself accountable and on top of your game.
  2. You need to be able to ask for help when you need it.
    Again, there isn’t someone sitting next to you watching you struggle, if you get stuck, you need to be able to swallow your pride and reach out to someone for assistance. (This is something that is SO hard for me, both in my personal life and my professional life. Working remotely has really helped me grow in this area.)
  3. You need to have excellent written and verbal communication skills.
    Now, this one varies in weight depending on the role you’re applying for. I’m an introvert, but I’m able to communicate clearly and concisely when I’m writing. It’s a huge plus working at a company where a majority of our interaction happens over Slack, InVision, and in Zoom conference calls.
  4. You need to be a team player.
    At InVision our culture is one of supporting one another. It shows in everything from our team meetings, to the tools we use, to our charity donation matching, to the way the team comes together to support coworkers in crisis. A few examples: A co-worker lost her house in a fire, and within hours there was a GoFundMe set up by a teammate with InVision employees donating $, in addition to sending clothing and care packages. Two of our team members were stuck in Puerto Rico during the last major hurricane due to cancelled flights. Team members came together as a group to find passage for them to get out just before the storm hit, calling in favors from friends and family who work in the airline industry. My daughter ran into a really scary health issue last year, and a coworker immediately put together a GoFundMe to buy her an Apple Watch for fall monitoring. InVision just has a truly incredible, team oriented work culture. We work cross departmentally often. Sometimes people come from cut throat environments where they’re used to people having to throw knives to succeed. That’s not our thing. People here work hard to help each other succeed, and pitch in when help is needed. If you’re a “Me” person and not a “We” person, the company culture at InVision probably won’t be a good fit for you.

I hope these tips help, and that you decide to apply! You can check out our job listings and apply at http://www.InVisionApp.com/jobs

Don’t Just Decline Opportunities—Pay Them Forward

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Over the last few years I’ve been given incredible opportunities to contribute to all kinds of publications. Joining the team at InVision has opened so many doors for me—our incredible team is so supportive, and I’m grateful to all of them for all that they’ve done to help get me to this point in my career! (I’m looking at you Clark, Clair, Kristin, Leah, Stephen, and so many others!)

At one point I started to get overwhelmed with press requests coming in. I couldn’t keep up, but didn’t want to let anyone down by not contributing. I talked to my mentor about it, expressed how grateful I was, but how I was running out of hours in the day (and night).

He said something that SHOULD have been obvious and top of mind, but it wasn’t. I was so embroiled in stress over the thought of not being able to keep up when so many other people weren’t given these chances that it didn’t even cross my mind. He said:

“It’s awesome that you’re being asked to contribute in so many ways, but you’re only one person. Don’t feel guilty about having to turn these opportunities down. In fact, it’s a chance for you to share the opportunities with others. When you’re tapped out, it’s ok to pass them along to someone else in the company.”

The lightbulb went off in my head, my stress level rapidly declined, and from that point forward, I started passing along opportunities to coworkers as they came through. It was so much fun being able to help insanely talented people who sit back and quietly kick major ass at their jobs every single day get their names out there.

One of the first PR reps I ever worked with, Leah, told me once that her favorite part about her job was having the opportunity to help people launch and grow their careers through press channels they wouldn’t otherwise have had access too. She is not only insanely talented, she’s an amazing human as well.

Contributing a post, guest starring on a podcast, speaking at a conference, or contributing quotes to a publication can change the entire trajectory of a person’s career. (It certainly did mine!)

So, what’s my point here? This mentality applies to all kinds of situations, not just press related ones. Asked to work on a big project but can’t contribute? Is there a mega talented, super driven junior designer who you know would crush it? Pass their name along. Get a call out at a major meeting for something you worked on with a team? Follow up with a “this wouldn’t have been possible without XY & Z”. Something that takes 2 seconds and seems incredibly small to you may be a huge stepping stone for someone else.

If you’re a person who is regularly given channels to push your career forward, give someone who might not have access to those opportunities a chance to shine. Don’t just decline an opportunity—pay it forward if you can.

People Who Get Hired Don’t Get Hired

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Photo by David Werbrouck on Unsplash

Recently a number of my friends in the industry have been applying for new jobs. Some get those jobs, and some don’t, but they’re all insanely talented.

I noticed a trend in the people that got the jobs. They had all been shot down in the past.

A majority of people don’t get every single job they apply for. In fact, I’ve never met a single person in my life who got every job they applied for over the course of their career. I’m sure they exist in small pockets of the universe, but it’s extraordinarily uncommon. Little known fact, I didn’t get the first job I applied for at InVision. 3 months later an incredible opportunity opened up here that I was a much better fit for, and I got a “call back” to reinterview.

When you get shot down, don’t burn bridges. Don’t go on a social media rampage. Don’t give up on your dream. And most importantly, don’t pretend it doesn’t hurt.

It drives me crazy when people are upset about getting a rejection letter, and others tell them to suck it up and just learn from it, and use that rejection to motivate them to move forward. Is the second half good advice? Absolutely. But the first part is garbage.

Don’t just “suck it up” when you’re rejected—let yourself be upset. Feel devastated for a bit. Just don’t get stuck in that state and let it consume you.

Questioning your skillset and your abilities is an absolutely, 100% human response to rejection. Don’t feel like you’re all alone in that feeling. Millions of other people ALSO didn’t get a job they really wanted that day and feel the same way you do, whether they show it and/or admit it or not.

Get that feeling out of your system, THEN pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and move forward. Don’t feel like a weirdo for being upset and hurt, and feeling less confident than you did prior to receiving that rejection letter. Own it. Everyone goes through it. But the ones who are successful keep moving.

Once you get through the feeling like garbage stage, THEN move on to the “what can I learn from this” stage. Shoot the company an email and see if they have any feedback. Many of them aren’t able to respond to a majority of applicant followup emails due to the sheer volume of applications they receive, so don’t feel bad if you don’t hear back. But other companies can respond, and appreciate you requesting that feedback.

There are some situations where not getting through to the next hiring round is due to something completely random/out of your control, that has nothing to do with your skillset. For example:

  1. Some companies use automated check lists that scan resumes to check for keywords to get them through the first application round to the “speak to a real human” round. Make sure that your resume is customized to very specifically align with the job description of the job you’re applying for.
  2. You may be OVER qualified for the job. Some companies know after a glance at your resume that they could never afford you.
  3. Titles can trip you up. As a freelancer, adding “CEO of XYZ” may seem like something that will give you a leg up in the hiring process, but it can get you instantly axed as a candidate if you’re applying for a mid level or managerial position.
  4. The company may be posting the position as a legal requirement, but already have someone internal in mind for the gig.
  5. They may only hire people with referrals, and if you don’t know someone internal you have no chance. Lame, but it happens.
  6. They did a terrible job creating the job description, and the skills listed and terms they used aren’t actually what they’re looking for. This happens way more often than you’d expect.

So what I’m trying to say is this: Not getting a job you really want is terrible—everyone goes through it at some point in their life, typically many times. And it’s going to hurt (a lot) regardless of the reason. But don’t throw in the towel when it happens. I knew a person who applied for 125 jobs over the course of 3 months before being offered a position. Giving up is the ONLY way to 100% guarantee that you’ll never end up in the career you truly want.

Just work hard and push ahead, even if it’s a millimeter at a time. Even if you hit a rough patch, run into people trying to block your path, or trip yourself up with a poor life choice, you ALWAYS have the option to get up, brush yourself off, and keep moving forward in the direction you want to go.

Get Out Of Your Own Way

Sometimes life sucks. Stuff happens. Things seem overwhelming and like they’ll never get better.

You have 4 options:

  1. Curl up in the fetal position and give up on your dreams.
  2. Whine about it for the rest of your life and blame all of your problems on it.
  3. Ignore how you feel and eventually explode.
  4. Let yourself grieve. Wallow in it. Feel all of it. Then get it together and keep moving forward, one tiny step at a time. You can climb an entire mountain one step at a time without even realizing it’s happening until you look behind you.

I’ve hit some hurdles in life. I’ve gotten really, really, really down. I hit a point that I felt like I was in a pit I could never get out of, and focusing on my career of choice was pointless because it could never happen due to everything else going on in my life. And you know what my mentor said to me when I said I just couldn’t do it?

“ You’re right. You can’t.”

It snapped me out of darkness mode long enough to get REALLY annoyed and I shot back, “Wow, thanks for all the support.”

The response?

“You are standing in the way of your own career. Get the hell out of your own way, and you’ll be able to achieve incredible things. In fact, I think you’ll be able to go further than your dreams are even targeting right now. Get up, dust yourself off, and get back to work. Standing still is a cop out. Take one step at a time and you’ll slowly move forward toward your goals. And then you’ll surpass them. Go ahead and feel bad for yourself for a while, but don’t get stuck there. Inch your way forward crawling, then start walking, then run. It’s possible, just stop standing still.”

I’ll admit I was kind of pissed. This person had no idea how much I’d been through, how low things had gotten, how much pain I was in. And you know what? After a while I realized that it didn’t matter. It was the best advice, both career wise and life wise, I’d ever received. So, I slowly got it together and started pushing. It felt like I wasn’t making ANY progress for years. but I kept moving. And slowly, snail pace things started to move in the right direction. And I kept taking small steps forward, a few back, and then bigger steps forward, and then all of a sudden I was on track, going for it. I’d finally gotten out of my own way.

So what I’m saying is this: If you’re feeling discouraged right now, and you’re losing hope, go ahead and feel bad about it. Cry it out, get angry, feel all the things—then slowly put yourself back together while you start moving forward. Even truly horrific circumstances can lead the way to incredible things if you just keep pushing instead of giving up.

So my challenge for you is this: Regardless of your current circumstance, get up (if you need to, do it slowly, but do it nonetheless), get out of your own way, and get back on track toward achieving your goals. You’ll be surprised how much easier the second step is after you’ve made that tough, draining, future defining first one.

It only takes one step to start moving in the right direction.

Contribution: Women in Tech Share Positive Experiences and Advice for Landing a Great Gig

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Lately there have been a lot of blog posts outlining stories of battles women have won to represent themselves in the technology industry, and hurdles they’ve overcome to fight for gender equality in the workplace.

What there aren’t many of, though, are posts explaining that not every company puts those hurdles in the way or makes those battles necessary.

Continue Reading…

Work-Life Balance: Workaholic Designer Edition

workaholicI’m a workaholic. Finding a solid work-life balance has been a lifelong battle for me. My brain never shuts off, and I have a really hard time pulling myself away from something I’m passionate about. And it seems to be a REALLY common trait among designers, both the guys and women I’ve talked to in the industry. We work extremely hard, and that’s great… as long as we also take time to enjoy the fruits of that hard work.

I will NEVER forget the day my daughter walked into my office and asked me if we could play, and I snapped back, “I’m working overtime right now so you can have your toys and video games! Please stop interrupting me!”

Her face fell and her eyes welled up with tears, and she said very quietly, “I don’t care about those things. I care about spending time with you.”

And then my heart shattered into a million pieces and I took a step back. I asked myself 3 tough questions in that moment and thought they may help another workaholic realign in the future.

Workaholic Reset Questions

1. Why am I working overtime?

The answer? Because I wanted to. I didn’t NEED the money. It wasn’t going to make or break my financial situation. It would mean more cash in my savings account, which is fine and good, but I didn’t NEED the cash. There was a time in my life when I was working 3 jobs to survive and the OT was absolutely necessary, but that wasn’t the case at this point in my career. We were fine financially—I had worked my ass off for many, many years to get to that point. But I still had that lingering voice in the back of my mind telling me that I had to work myself into an early grave to live comfortably. It simply isn’t true.

2. Is the project I’m working on more important than my kid?

Obviously not. The reason I’m working is to provide an awesome life for my kiddo. Putting in crazy, uneccesary hours and missing her childhood was robbing her of one of the most important parts of that awesome life—quality time spent with a parent.

3. Will the entire project burst into flames if I step away for 15 minutes to play with my kid?

No. No, it won’t. Tight deadline? Still no.

As you’re pouring your heart and soul into your projects, don’t forget to keep some on tap to actually enjoy life. Spend time with family and friends. Life is short and kids grow up really, really fast.

Is adding some extra cash to your retirement fund really worth letting life completely pass you by?

The Design Community Always Has Your Back

Have you ever sat at work, looked around the room and grinned because you love your job so much? If you’re a UX Pro or a designer, I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that you’ve done this more than once (a day).

Your People

I was sitting in my office this morning, chatting with another designer about why my favorite Doctor is absolutely David Tennant, when I noticed that a new Slack app update was available. (Yes, I’m that control freak that doesn’t allow automatic app updates.) I clicked on the update details and started cracking up.

“You have got to see these update notes, they’re freaking hilarious!”

My co-worker pulled up the details, and laughed as well.

I looked to my right, and 2 other designers were having a debate about a complex interaction piece in a new product we’re designing. They were both so passionate about their stances that things got a little heated, but once they’d both gotten their ideas out, they smiled at each other and started tweaking the design.

Across from me there were 2 people talking about a new app they had just downloaded, and discussing how they were going to integrate some of the sweet UI elements and gestures into our next mobile design.

To my left another duo of designers were looking over the latest InVision Inside Design blog post, and talking excitedly about how we could apply some of the tips that were highlighted to majorly improve our workflows. (If you haven’t subscribed to receive InVision’s blog updates yet, you should definitely get on it. All of the content is amazing. The Inside Design posts are a direct view into how major design companies around the world make their magic happen.)

In the middle of this bubble of creative madness, one of my coworkers looked up, grinned and said, “Can you imagine what would happen if we tried to have ANY of these conversations with non-designers? My husband totally doesn’t get how exciting this stuff is.”

Another couple of coworkers chimed in with comments and stories about how their friends and family members pick on them constantly about geeking out about things.

Being part of a cohesive, functional design team is a feeling like no other. You’re constantly surrounded by “your people” in a place where rabid excitement about new tech and design trends is not only permitted, but encouraged.

The Design Community Rocks

The design community as a whole is just generally incredible. We’re paving the way to the future. We’re makers and creators and visionaries. We’re new kids and folks who have been rocking the industry for decades. We’re a diverse group, tied together by a common thread: We LOVE all things design.

I recently joined a Slack group made up of thousands of designers. I’d been in the group for about 15 minutes, when someone mentioned that they had run into a wall while searching for a tool to perform a specific task. Within about six seconds there was a crew of 15 people sharing various tool resources and detailed success stories. They were explaining pros and cons, things to look out for, and giving tips. What other industry is made up of a group of people who are that invested in helping their peers succeed?

Two years ago I spoke at my first conference. I was completely terrified when I jumped up on that stage, I’m pretty sure I blacked out for the first 8 minutes of the presentation. I finally got in the zone and realized that people were legitimately interested in the topic I was talking about. After the session, attendees walked up to thank me, and several told me they were excited to take the things I’d discussed back to their teams to apply them immediately. They didn’t HAVE to come up to talk to me afterward, but they did. Why? Because the design community is made up of amazing people. Now I submit proposals all over the place, and speak at design conferences on an annual basis. Peer support can be life changing.

Network It Up

Want to network with like minded people? Twitter and LinkedIn are great places to start. If you’re a UX pro, you’ve got to check out the new User Experience Slack group as well.

The User Experience Community on Slack
This is a fairly new, curated group of UX pros who love to share thoughts and ideas and tools and tricks. The best part is that the group is getting HUGE! They even have killer AMA sessions on a regular basis. Sign up, you’ll meet tons of amazing folks.
http://www.designerhangout.co/

Get A J-O-B

Are you looking to enter the design scene, or maybe just hoping to change up your environment with a new company? There are some fabulous designer job search tools out there.

Smashing Magazine Job Board
A job board chock full of design and UX job opportunities.
http://jobs.smashingmagazine.com

UX Mag Job Board
This is another rocking UX job board.
http://uxmag.com/uxjobs

UXJobs 24/7
This entire site is dedicated to helping you find UX jobs.
http://uxjobs247.com/

To those of you who are just now entering the business, I want to welcome you to the most amazing community on earth. To those of you who have been around the block, I want to thank you for paving the way for the next generation of talent.

Thank you, designers, for making me proud on a daily basis to be a part of this incredible community.


Now get back to designing amazing things!

Women Outnumber Men In Our Product Design Team

“So wait… you have more women than men in your product design team?”

“Yep. Why do you ask?”

“Well, that’s just really unique!”

Before I attended my first conference, I legit didn’t realize that it was considered “unique” to have more women than men on a product design team. And honestly, for the longest time I didn’t even notice it.

We have 2 female mobile & web engineers/architects (one of whom is a manager & a product design genius, the other is an API addict), and 3 female product designers.

We have 3 men on our team, 2 engineers/architects & a fab VP.

Why am I mentioning this? I’m not going to go off on a weird rant about lack of opportunity for women in this industry, because I legitimately haven’t experienced it here. Our ratio of women to men is 5:3. It’s just a true statement about the gender make up of our team. Skill wise we’re nailing 100% awesome.

What I AM going to say is if you are a woman who has worked in an environment where the ratio of men to women was vastly off balance and made you uncomfortable, know that there are design teams out there that are more equally balanced, or in our case tipped the other way.  Don’t just toss out a “oh well, it’s this way everywhere,” because it’s really not at all.

Both the women and the men I work with are crazy talented and are just generally awesome human beings. More men than women or more women than men isn’t a thing here. It’s a – get the most talented group of people possible on this team to make amazing products – thing… as it should be everywhere.

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UX Pros: Offending New Car Buyers Everywhere

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So this definitely happened last week. A good friend bought a brand new car.

I went for a ride in it for the first time: smooth ride, sexy interior, and the entire time I was analyzing ways they could have improved the layout of the digital controls, the cup holders and the seat adjustment apparatus.

Does anyone else ever occasionally wish that there was an off switch for the UX pro portion of your brain? But at the end of the day, that part makes us great at our jobs. Some days I just feel like it’s just a blessing/curse!