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How good are you at learning?

A reflection on the professional value sought in UX/UI Designers

How good are you at learning?

Introduction

A lot is said about the importance of having a portfolio and a good professional presentation to apply for a desired position. This presentation must contain, at a minimum, information about the candidate and show work that proves his competence, right? Yes and no. The existence of this proposal to be evaluated is the first layer, but there is one more relevant point that the contracting party seeks in you. In today's article, see the value of your learning ability and how to showcase it.

 

 

(Always) learning

One day I was on my way to my children's school. As we talked, I realized that even though they were both still very young, they were already complaining about having to go to school. One of them, at the time 7 years old, had the audacity to say that he already knew the whole story, for the entire year (!). As a self-respecting parent, I told him that learning is what makes us worthwhile people, and that he would never stop learning because he would never know everything. He immediately frowned, of course, upon realizing that his school life was just beginning.

As specialized recruiters, part of our routine is to evaluate UX/UI Design professionals. In this day-to-day, it is evident that we find patterns in the candidates' value propositions: The way of presenting themselves, the “skeleton” of the projects and even the jargon, in most cases, are similar. But one thing we almost never see is a professional commenting on how he learns and how he values ​​that point. We found portfolios with giant project detail, which is very good, but very little evidence is given ( or none) of what was learned in this project.

We find in résumés and portfolios the constant use of jargons like “I learn fast”, “I love learning” and “I'm in constant learning”, which in fact is neither bad nor wrong: It's just simply too vague. Understand that anyone looking for job opportunities, in any area, can say this — that is, it is not a differential for your profile.

 

 

How good are you at learning?

We know that understanding the UX process and having some experience are important issues for a first analysis, each with its own purpose to show its capability. But after the evaluation step is over, let's say you were hired: Yey! New people and home, different product, greater challenge. But wait: There is a huge risk that this will all go down the drain, because the company still knows little about its ability to learn.

In practical ways, when joining a company you have a huge learning curve ahead, which even if you have vast technical knowledge and experience, you will have to go through. Upon arrival, nothing is known about the product, its users and the problems to be solved for them; and besides, even less is known about the company's culture, the team and the leadership. So the contractor is not just concerned with what you can do today, but with what you will do after you start work.

 

 

How to talk about your learning

To be practical and effective in showing how you learn, you need to adjust the storytelling of how you present and assemble your portfolio cases , after all this pair needs to work well and always be in synergy. Let's go to them:

 

In your professional speech

We always say in our articles, lives and videos that your professional presentation should be a current reflection of you. In addition, we insistently say that making a sincere self-analysis should be a frequent practice in your UX/UI Designer career, so that you remember what has already happened, where you are now and where you intend to go. By doing so:

Identify and list your greatest learnings to date, organize them, and craft a coherent professional speech based on them.

For this, ask yourself how your learnings built and shaped your professional profile — What were your main mistakes, what you absorbed from the environments in which you were inserted, what you discovered about competing products, the practices in your work process that didn't work, the assumptions that the surveys turned out to be wrong, and most importantly: what you won't do after you see it doesn't work.

In short, clarify concisely how you intend to go from who you are today to become who the company really needs you to be. When faced with this information, any evaluator will clearly understand the value proposition of your professional profile, drastically reducing the fear of investing in your hiring.

 

In your portfolio cases

The vast majority of UX/UI Designers, at different maturity levels, are conditioneds thinking about the standard format: Base the cases on indicators such as the challenge, product, process, problem solved and the results generated. Perfect! But for such indicators to result in a decision about you  (and not just the quality of your UX/UI process), convert them to show the size of your learning.

Guide your storytelling to what you are known at the beginning of the project, what you learned along the way, and what the transformation in you was when you finished it.

If the evaluator is able to envision your growth curve for each project, the real professional value will be explicit: Your ability and speed to learn in different contexts. Remember that the company, when betting on you, hired you, and not just your skills.

 

 

Conclusion

As much as showing your mistakes and learning may seem like a weakness, it is actually one of your greatest strengths. Being enthusiastic about learning constantly will build an image of you that companies will certainly value.

About Mao Barros

Over 15 years in the Design field, working on visual projects such as graphic, illustration and Brands. For the last 10 years I've been working in digital projects as UI Designer, understanding UX and buildings processes using no-code tools to have a good deliverable to them.

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