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I'm a user experience designer with 3 years of experience for a top global company and I really want to move on to do something new.

A few months ago I was fairly confident on my chances of landing another job but after a few months of trying with a myriad of rejections from jobs both interesting and awful, my confidence has fell through the floor.

I think my big problem is that despite this apparently impressive company on my CV (or so everyone from outside my field keeps telling me), my time there was spent working on very niche solutions with very little in the way of end products to show for it.

At this company so much of the job came down to meetings and trying to get permission to do your job. Reporting and tracking findings on the same products again and again with very little time being given over to making actual end products.

I wasn't designing an array of systems, I was gathering data to prove to the guys actually making the systems that a button was in the wrong place or their flow was broken in the hope that a year or two down the line they would make changes.

I get the feeling that the recruiter will look at my 'portfolio' website, see a lack of diverse pretty pictures of flashy apps I've made, and instantly reject me. This is in spite of the fact I'm trying to get a UX rather than a graphic design job; in my experience an awful lot of people just don't know the difference.

Anyone who knows UX knows that the end product is only a small part of the job and its the process and insights behind it which matter. Unfortunately this 5% of the job accounts for 90% of people's perception of it. And it's the 5% that I'm largely missing.....

My question is; how can I spin this 3 years into a position where I can land a real UX job?

  • Are you allowed to refer to other web sites (via your portfolio) and point to changes/features driven by your decisions and research? – user34587 Jun 15 '18 at 15:43
  • so you don't design the pretty front ends you design the flow of the user interactions. Am I right? – WendyG Jun 15 '18 at 16:19
  • Sounds like you had to deal with a lot of red tape to get your recommendations in. Do you have wireframe or mockups of what the change would be and how it could have impacted the product? Data-driven design making is all the rage right now. I would play up how you could prove that a change was beneficial (i.e. pros > cons). – jcmack Jun 15 '18 at 16:28
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    I don't think we can really answer this question. You're the only one who knows what you did during these 3 years that might be useful to mention and how to phrase it in a way that makes you sound good, and you should know better than us what UX people care about. Also, there are presumably companies out there who would be on the same page as you (but don't ask me where or how to find them). – Bernhard Barker Jun 15 '18 at 18:38
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First, if a recruiter is looking for flashy portfolio with an abundance of glossiness, then it's not really your worry since

This is in spite of the fact I'm trying to get a UX rather than a graphic design job

As you said thou, you keep getting turned away since their is an ambiguity between UX and Web Graphic designer.

The focus you should have is how do you spin your UX work experience into a good sell for your next potential employer. All work, no matter how niche has relatable aspects.

As a UX designer, you are most likely working close with developers, that is a great thing to talk about. Their is usually an inherit gap of communication between developer and designer. Were you good at bridging that gap? If so, then you can talk about times you did.

The point I'm making is focus less on the end result and more on how you got there.

I was gathering data to prove to the guys actually making the systems that a button was in the wrong place or their flow was broken in the hope that a year or two down the line they would make changes.

Is a great example of UX, you have identified a wide spread theme issue on buttons, an eye for detail is what that illustrates.

In the end, as with any interview, it's how you sell yourself, your experience and how valuable you can be for the company you're looking at. Consider taking time to put some polish up on your site if that's closing doors on you before you can sell yourself in person. Don't get discouraged, after 99 no's, all you need is 1 right yes, and that's all that matters.

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