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How to apply for a opening as a UX/UI Designer

Be fairly evaluated sending the right messages

How to apply for a opening as a UX/UI Designer


In our professional career, we always think like a staircase. Not straight, right? With every new opportunity, we seek our evolution, climb more steps. Some people build their careers fast, others slowly, but the mindset of being constantly growing remains as a motivator.

When we are looking for future opportunities, we must first think about being able to show where we are at the moment and how we got here. Even if you're at the beginning of your career (your evolution so far has been to choose a segment and qualify for it), you're expected to be able to tell your story, aligning it with the goal of hiring. That's not always the case and that's where we're going to work on.



The behavioral barrier

Unfortunately, there is a very big barrier to achieve your goal to be hired. In our experience as recruiters and appraisers, you can be sure that we have seen a lot: good professionals selling badly, bad professionals selling well (among others). Bringing to our universe of Product Design, there are aspects that are not tolerated in selective processes, most of them derived from the behavioral factor. Whether accepted or not, this is the most determining factor. Imagine: what kind of person would you like to work with side by side? What behavioral characteristics could they have? Now, would you like to work with yourself?


Direct impact

We are conditioned to find discrepancies in the professional presentation, which makes the selection process very difficult. Using both extremes, we see newly graduated professionals presenting wonderful cases and very experienced professionals presenting too shallow cases. In all cases, the portfolio and the resume are the starting point, but it is the behavioral difference that defines who is whimsical in this presentation and, therefore, who is really interested in the position. Remember that the recruiter has the benefit of doubt - he has the right to question everything you say, and will come to a conclusion about you based on the signals you send. In short: the interview starts at the first contact.

There's a saying to that question: "The job of the unemployed is to look for a job.”  Not doing it right will produce negative results. Mistakes such as applying to a position where a desired profile is not yours, not being available for something that should be of your greatest interest, not attending to an interview and not having a portfolio aligned with your current level are signs that it is necessary to rethink how to look for an opportunity.


Levels of maturity = behavior

We know that it is a challenge for everyone to be able to self-evaluate to define their level of maturity. In our validations, we conclude that most professionals define their maturity by the way other professionals see them. So again, behavior is the main indicator in this definition. We are talking about Soft Skills: collaboration, empathy, emotional intelligence, speaking skills, leadership and self-management among others. These are the skills that determine your level of maturity above practical skills.

Consolidated professionals in our sector, such as Rodrigo Lemes and Daniel Furtado, conclude that the basics are to know how to perform tasks, that is, Hard Skills. Therefore, if you are a UX/UI Designer, the "starting point" is to understand the tools and methodologies to achieve a deliverable - it is understood that a junior professional must already have this knowledge. There are many definitions for the 3 levels of maturity, but to be objective, see below what each level represents in day-to-day work:

JUNIOR – You know how to put your hand to work but due to your inexperience you need help completing tasks.

MID-LEVEL – Can perform all roles and tasks efficiently, but needs leadership and guidance to stay on track.

SENIOR – Solves complex problems without any help and can guide other less experienced people.


With the help of these definitions, complete your time and direct your personal proposal to this goal. Mistaking this definition can have consequences not only for you, but also for the people who will work with you.



For real: 3 steps to apply for a position

To increase your chances of being considered as a strong candidate for some positions we have listed 3 key points: 


1. Define your area of interest being as specific as possible

Based on your experience, summarize straightforwardly what you want to do. Never use jargon like "I intend to add to the company with my knowledge", or be too shallow saying "I seek to act in the UX/UI area". Claims like these tell nothing. In exchange, briefly describe the path taken to reach this specialty, highlight your experiences and how you can bring benefits to the company.   

If you are in a career transition, be the best at what you want to be. Even if you have little design experience and a lot of life experience, be able to create a solid link between that experience and the need for the position, in order to show that your presence can significantly add to the project and the team.


2. Prepare your personal presentation and align it to the vacancy

We repeatedly receive resumes and portfolios that have nothing to do with the position in question. Applicants apply for several vacancies at the same time, and don’t even care to read the descriptions. Don't apply to jobs that don't have your profile, and that includes other aspects of Design such as Graphics, Motion and Art Direction - they are different baggage, practices, methodologies and mentalities. When revisiting your portfolio and resume, guide the information and cases so that they fit into the need proposed in the vacancy.


3. Get to know the company and understand its culture  

Maturity in company design is gradually increasing, which is an excellent indicator that shows the relevance of our sector and its impact on business. Even so, the culture of companies is quite different, given their moment of maturity in design. Be sure that the company you are looking for meets your expectations as a professional, while avoiding frustrations and the waste of time and money on both sides.




Mistakes to be avoided

To eliminate disqualifying errors, consider these 4 questions:


Being a generalist 

Chris Do (TheFutur on Youtube) defends the thought that presenting yourself versatile only diminishes your value. The automatic reading of the recruiter is that if you do a lot of things, you're not great at anything. "Do you want quality? Call an expert." Of all your skills, choose the one that you are best at, that you are proud of and love to do. Go deeper into it. List your other skills - no matter how many - and put them in the background, as extras, which may or may not be interesting. They can add, but not define.

Asking for too much Money

Find out about the wage ranges practiced by the market, which can vary quite a lot due to indicators such as company size, project urgency and physical location, among others. in this way, you not only stop making mistakes asking for too much but also or for too little. Remember the signs: asking for more money than you are worth is a very serious mistake. It will not value you.


Being under-qualified on paper and over-qualified in reality

If you've held major positions in corporations, avoid having a bad or non-existent digital presence at all costs. Labels for high positions are no reason not to have a portfolio and not to be present - it's exactly the opposite. The more significant your work has been in the past, the more you must be equipped with resources to prove that experience.


Having an inadequate resume

It's still appropriated to comment on the misconceptions that drive recruiters mad the most. As listed below:

Revise content – Gross grammar and typing mistakes destroy the very idea of impressing.

Export from LinkedIn – If you really think it's pertinent to do this, re-evaluate. A resume should convey the idea of detail, care, attention, respect and especially interest. Self-generating a resume just the opposite.

Inappropriate design - Incredible as it may seem some designers’ resumes tend to be very poorly designed and diagrammed. Invest time and whim.

Be clear on the objective - Give more relevance to the competence you are experienced on and want to act.

Unnecessary information - Do not cite incomplete degrees, personal tastes and other factors that do not add to the objective of the resume. Pay attention being professional.


Finally, avoid being unfairly evaluated and losing opportunities.


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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