The rise in popularity of UX Bootcamps has made it easier to learn the basics of UX; as a result, the field has exploded the number of entry-level designers increasing industry competition. In this article, we’re going to think outside the box and look at initiative ways that you can leverage and build a personal brand to stand out.
- Think Outside The Box
- Leverage Your Personal Brand
- Build A Social Presence
- Additional Ways To Stand Out
- Final Thoughts
Think Outside The Box
Let’s look at two examples of how thinking outside the box worked these two people starting from scratch and transiting into a tech career.
David O. Anderson describes how he got his first UX job by thinking differently in this video. He spent time redesigning Too Good To Go then wrote an in-depth article on his process, which was picked up by UX Planet. Six months later, he was contacted by a product designer at Too Good To Go where he landed his first UX job.
Laurence Bradford is a software engineer and currently a product manager at Teachable. Learntocodewith.me is a blog she created while she was learning to code. Her story began by journaling her coding journey. She has written for publications like Forbes, Mashable, and USA Today. You can read her story here. She also runs a podcast about learning how to code. Finally, you learn more about where her journey is currently listening to this podcast episode on breakingintostartups.com.
Leveraging Your Personal Brand
It would help if you had a way to let hiring managers and employers know who you are, what you do, and why they should hire you.
A powerful way to do this is through personal branding. Your personal brand can be a fantastic asset to both your job search and career progression.
Here’s an official definition of personal branding:
Let’s break down the potential benefits of personal branding:
- Elevates Your Credibility: Shows how you think and your process, making it easier for those who are hiring you to “get to know you.”
- Positions You As An Authority: Writing a blog or teaching on Youtube positions you as a thought leader and authority on the topic.
- Differentiates You From The Competition: Any activity that you are doing to build your personal brand will make you more discoverable and giving you a leg up over the competition. If potential employers can find you, then they can contact you!
- Advances Your Career: Creating a personal brand gives you a platform to reach an audience, which can lead to numerous opportunities, whether it be consulting, releasing your own products or creating your own startup.
Resources to help you build your brand:
- Just For Dummies: How To Create A Personal Brand For Your Job Search
- UXDesign.cc: Personal Branding For Designers
- Mike Locke: My Thoughts on Personal Branding
Build A Social Presence
We’ve already mentioned a couple of examples f how building a social presence can expand someone’s careers. Let’s dive in with further ideas and examples of what you can do to leverage social media.
Create An Instagram Profile
Instagram may be a great choice for you as a designer. It is a visual platform that lets you give a small snapshot of a project you might be working on.
Kristina Csanaky – @pixelsintheflow
She is using her profile to showcase UX events that she is attending and talking about previous work that she has done.
Showing images from the events indicates that she is actively engaged in the UX Community.
In this post, she is showcasing a student project that she revisited and improved.
Jessica Robbins – @uxmemo
She is taking a unique approach with posting motivation UX posts on post it. I like that she has decided to think outside the box on this one!
Start A Blog
Starting a blog a great way to showcase your UX knowledge. You may also find while you are researching your writing, you come across unique concepts that help you further your learning.
Here are some ideas that you can blog about:
Your career transition
Lais Lara Vacco has written an in-depth article on her self studying journey of how she learned UX design.
Taking a design challenge
Join A UX Community
The trick isn’t to only join communities but to also engage with the other members. Jump in by answering questions and providing feedback.
Facebook is a great place to get started to join your first community. Be sure to join UX Beginner’s group.
Slack also has several UX groups that you can join. You can get started by picking from this list of 28 communities.
Post on Linkedin
Linkedin is the social network for showcasing your professional profile. You are missing a big opportunity by not using this built-in community.
Below are a few examples of how people are posting on Linkedin:
Stacey is celebrating her success by her Linked connections know about her recent graduation from Careerfoundry’s Bootcamp.
Ankur posted a recent tweet from UX thought leader, Jared Spool. He is looking to have others engage in a conversation.
Saipriya is asking for feedback on a current design she created.
Terri is talking about an event is currently attending.
Create A Youtube Channel
Youtube had over 2000 million active users in 2019. If you enjoying appearing on camera or creating tutorial screencast this likely is the platform for you.
Alexa Herasimchuk is a product designer from San Francisco who covers working in UX; recently, she started a series she calls “Good Morning Design Minute.”
Elizé is a Product Designer, Educator, and Youtuber who teaches on varies about getting started in UX. See if you can find the thumbnail where our very own Oz appears!
A great example of how to use youtube to your advantage is by creating a playlist, such as you can see below.
Additional Ways To Stand Out
Writing as a guest UX blogger can increase the number of eyeballs that see your work making a more significant impact on your visibility, just like David’s article did.
Here’s a couple of tips if you decide to go this route:
- Read articles that are already published on the blog to see what type of content they are looking for.
- Follow any instructions to the letter they set out for accepting your posts.
Additional places you can look to submit your blog posts:
Volunteering is a great way to contribute and give back to the UX Community.
Work with nonprofits
Volunteer at a UX Conferences
UXPA Conference has an application form for anyone who was to volunteer for the 2020 conference.
UX matters have an interesting opportunity for giving back posted on their website.
We’ve gone over a huge list of ways that you can think about standing out as a UX designer. If you’re looking at the examples that I have shared and are thinking I can’t do that. You’re wrong!
It does time and courage, remember all of our examples started right where you are at step #1. Laurence began by blogging her coding journey and David by sharing his unique insights in a UX case study.
Getting started is the first and only step you need to take right now. Choose a strategy that will work best for your current confidence and experience level.
We want to know what you decide to do. Tell us in the comments below!