Top 5 Career Tips of 2016: UX and Beyond

by Jay Kaufmann - 28 Dec 2016

In 2016, Zalando UX started sharing tips and tricks for designers and researchers looking for work. We’ve been drawing from our hiring experiences this past year to deliver practical, useful career advice -- and published this on UXswitch, LinkedIn and the Zalando Tech Blog. Much of the advice -- though grounded in UX -- is broadly applicable beyond just researchers and designers.

Here are five hand-picked favorites plus five alternatives -- for a total of ten tidbits.

1. Most popular advice: UCD your CV

Apply user experience methods and principles when you create your résumé: Design for the user, structure information, apply design principles and test. Read more...

Runner-up for most popular: With almost as many clicks and likes, our request for work samples from team lead candidates -- Visualize leadership: The UX manager’s portfolio -- made a strong showing.

2. Most reassuring advice: Don’t take rejection personally

At Zalando, we hire roughly 1% of UX applicants. And if the numbers aren’t much consolation, understand that it’s not about you -- but rather about finding the right fit. Read more...

Least reassuring advice: A hiring manager or recruiter might spend just 3 minutes reviewing your application. We implied this in the UX of your CV article, and can confirm -- as a sort of hard-love year-end holiday present -- that we generally spend up to 7 minutes on the first screening.

3. Simplest advice: Make your portfolio link visible

Give that call to action some information scent. Make sure we don’t need to go on a treasure hunt for your portfolio link. Read more...

Runner-up for simplicity: “Make your CV scannable by using meaningful line breaks” from our career tips for HCI students.

4. Most contrary advice: Revive the cover letter

Buck the trend. Ignore recruiter advice. Include a cover letter -- and make a personal connection by sharing your motivation for the opportunity at hand. Read more…

Runner-up for contrary advice: Researchers don’t generally submit a portfolio. That’s why you should. Stand out with a UX research portfolio.

5. Most meaningful advice: Bring your values to your job search

Identifying your personal starting point -- your own core values -- will guide you in engaging with potential employers. Read more…

Runner-up for meaningful advice: Finding the right balance between “I” and “we” when you talk about your work is quite personal and tied into our own egos and emotional constitution. We advise you to own your work with “I” language without forgetting to credit teammates liberally, as well.

We look forward to continuing the conversation in 2017. We’re looking for a lot of great Interaction Designers in the new year, primarily for building best-in-class employee-facing software interfaces and brand-facing B2B solutions. But also for stellar shapers of the B2C experience for millions of customers in our flagship e-commerce portal. Reach out to me via Twitter at @jaykaufmann or via LinkedIn for more information.

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