Today as a part of website design/business class, Jen Pearce, UX designer, came to tell us some valuable information. She worked at Microsoft, getting a contract through Aquent. She worked on the Kinect project and X-box. She currently works at PopCap Games.
Blogger’s note: These are my take-aways from the talk and that none of this are direct quotes.
Advice on Finding a Job you love Go to every interview you get. It’s a great practice and if they offer you the job, you can learn how to say no. Cater your resume. Keywords get you the job. For UX jobs, put wireframes in your portfolio.
Get the interview:
Use LinkedIn to find people at the company you want to work at, and then buy them a cup of coffee, and ask them about their job. If they give you feedback, heed! If you don’t, they’ll feel like you don’t know what’s good for you and not hire you.
Have a scannable resume.
Cater your resume. Keywords get you the job.
For UX jobs, put wireframes in your portfolio.
Keep your wireframes up to date with the final product.
If your client has changed their site to where it doesn’t look like your site anymore and it doesn’t match the item in your portfolio, take it out of your portfolio.
Meet people. One Connection Away
Having a Bachelor’s degree certainly helps
· Talent Agencies like Aquent are a great way to get your foot in the door – they do, however, take a percentage of your earnings.
You are a valuable person. Demand what you think is fair for your talents.
Red Flags– You probably should say no if they offer you a job after you find out:
There are no designers on your interview loop
You are the only designer at the company
People are rubbing you the wrong way from the get-go
You are doing things for free
What to ask in the Interview:
What is the policy on crunch time? (Instead of saying “will I have to work late and on weekends?”)
Ask for a tour.
Ask to meet people in the team
What’s the team structure?
What’s the work/life balance?
Things to do for the interview:
Bring your portfolio
Don’t count on them having internet - have a local version of your work
Show you can draw, even if it’s just simple wireframes.
Emphasize that you can learn well. Some things that they inquire about you knowing are really easy to pick up
You have to pay taxes on your hourly rate if you’re a freelancer (they will not automatically be taken out)
Calculate your hourly rate, from what you quote as your ideal annual salary
Be aware of pay vs. title. They are not counting on you to find out your worth more than what they are paying
A good company you want to work for is one that sees you as an asset and wants to make sure you’re happy there and will pay you more to stay
Be an asset: be a fast learner, learn the tools, use technology to be effective
Do your research Glassdoor – an inside look at jobs & companies.
Contracts! Even if your co-founder is your friend, be aware that this is business and ask for money up front and get things in writing.
It’s okay to say “Let me get back to you” when they ask about salary
Check your rates, when you get your first paycheck. If it isn’t right, make it better or get out of there.
Work Life- Culture
Behave like the kind of person you would want to work with!
Write good emails. Sometimes, being succinct isn’t enough. Some places might appreciate a fun bit. Include a photo of a cat and an owl and you’ll go far.
Shit sandwich: it’s okay to be critical, but sometimes you are better received when you are nice about it. So, follow the recipe: compliment, potentially painful feedback, and compliment.
Get along with developers
Read your contract. If they have a “non-complete,” know that you have the right to ask your employer to cross it out. (Non-compete clause – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.)
Know who owns your work