The struggles of finding junior UX design positions
Inspired by a need for self-reflection and a podcast — The Grind — that I’ve been helping my mentor generate content for (it’s not yet published), I am writing to share the struggles that I’ve been facing as a graduating senior seeking entry-level, UX Design positions in a tech city, Seattle.
This is by no means, a cry for pity or an attempt to get my name out to recruiters. By sharing the emotional roller coaster I’ve been on, I hope to:
Since September, I’ve applied to over 100 UX design positions in the West Coast (with a majority in the greater Puget Sound region), attended 10 career fairs, interviewed with 12 companies, but haven’t received an offer.
It's hard not to beat yourself up for failures, especially when nowadays, social media, especially Facebook and LinkedIn, serves as an easy outlet to highlight successes. Believe it or not, I used to spend countless hours on Facebook, and often, I would see major life updates posted by friends and acquaintances. More often than not, those life updates consist of successful milestones such as accepting a job offer, moving to a new town, or going to grad school. Up until a few weeks ago, I thought I was the only one with no plan after graduation, but when I began to talk to some peers in the Human Centered Design & Engineering community about it, they expressed that they were also going through the same hardships. It was then that I realized I wasn't alone and that there's a pattern of struggle in securing entry-level UX design positions.
For those who have been through it or are currently going through it, you may agree that prepping for UX interviews is not simple. So much so that a few months ago, I quit my campus job so that I can dedicate more hours in the week to the job search. The time invested have been spent studying company missions, mastering my portfolio, reading articles about how to ace UX interviews, meeting UX professionals over coffee, attending university-hosted information meetings, and practicing whiteboard problems.
For every job rejection, I receive an automated email with no explanation as to why I wasn’t invited for a next round. As my mentors have suggested, I reply prompting for an explanation, and unsurprisingly, have only received a response for 2/10 positions that I have been rejected from. Needless to say, I feel like I’ve hit a brick wall, and I can’t help but wonder what what’s wrong with me.
Feeling frustrated at the process, disappointed in myself, and uneasy to share with my peers, I block the rejections without much reflection of what may have caused it to go south. But this stubborn mindset changed when most recently, I got pretty far into an interview with a dream company only to discover that one of my peers received an invite for a final interview. This discovery killed me internally. It hurt my confidence, energy, and motivation. But after crying and venting, my family and friends helped me realize that this scenario is actually a good one because:
So instead of keeping the thoughts to yourself, I encourage you to share them with others because the job search is a journey that is filled with a roller coaster of emotions — sometimes happy, and sometimes really, really, really sad. Don’t go through it alone because just like you don’t want to keep exciting news to yourself, you don’t want to go keep all the sadness and frustration to yourself. But most importantly, you don't know what you don't know, so until you share your experiences with others, they won't be able to help you.