As a beginner designer, it's crucial for you to prove your capability as much as possible. This helps hiring managers better understand your potential and allows for them to take a chance on you.
As we mentioned before, the biggest and most impactful proof is previous work experience - the more similar it is to the job you’re applying for, the better. But most of you will be starting with personal projects or design-related education. Let’s talk about how you can bridge this gap of proof.
A proof is demonstrated evidence of your ability to design. Proofs can be of varying strengths.
Let’s look at an example of what two applicants submit to the same design job:
Candidate B appears to be a far stronger candidate. Why? Because Candidate B provided a proof - or demonstrated evidence of the ability to do product thinking. Candidate A, on the other hand, simply stated that he enjoyed products.
If you don’t already, you should have a portfolio website that is dedicated to your design work. You should not be applying without a design portfolio.
Design portfolios, especially for beginners, have some basic requirements to meet. Let’s talk through them.
A case study is the industry standard accepted way of conveying proof in design, but what if you don’t have any experience to make a case study out of?
Like we mentioned before, experience is the strongest proof you can have. Focus on getting experience however you can, such as:
Side projects, personal projects, and freelance projects are often taken less seriously by hiring managers because they lack realistic constraints.
In the UX and tech industry, designs have to change and adapt to non-ideal scenarios: designs can be disliked by users; your decisions can be challenged by your colleagues; the scope of your design may be viewed as too big and complex for engineers to pull off in a reasonable amount of time; the number of users who signed up, purchased something, or used your product may be lower than the team anticipated.
But, if you are the only person on your team, such constraints rarely show up. It’s up to you to prove that you operated under a realistic scenario.
In your case studies, applications, and interviews, you’ll want to talk through the realistic constraints of your project. Make sure to include elements that we discussed in realistic design execution:
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