I also shared a variation of this story on my podcast:
By now, I had transitioned into a full-time(ish) role with the health tech startup I was working for, and I had "finished" my bootcamp...or, more so, ran out of time. As I said, I wasn't working on UX/UI design projects in my full-time role, and that's what I wanted to be doing. I knew I needed to make that shift and aggressively pursue roles in UX/UI due to personal goals and other circumstances.
Portfolios are crucial artifacts, especially when starting out and job hunting. They're your space on the interwebs where you present yourself and process. I had been making portfolios since I graduated college, evolving them along the way. I used all sorts of website designers, from Squarespace, Weebly, WordPress, and some dabbling in Wix. At one point, I was purely using Notion as my portfolio site. Nothing has come close to Webflow. Yes, it's a little pricey, but it has given me the creative power to create a portfolio/site I control and am proud of. Honestly, Webflow has been the best resource for learning how the web works from a development standpoint.
I began hacking away at the next iteration of my portfolio. This time it was more focused, and I had a better idea of what I wanted from my next role. I used one project from my bootcamp, the main project from my health tech startup, graphic design work from Designity, and a project I did for a hackathon.
Each project showed a little something in my ability and understanding of design. These were projects I was most proud of and could talk about the most at the time.
- Bootcamp project - showing the whole design process
- Designity/Graphic design project - visual design skills (real-world experience)
- Main work project - understanding of HTML/CSS, systems, and web design (real-world experience)
- Hackathon - scrappy nature of hackathons, team collaboration
Unlike the last time I applied to design jobs straight out of college, I was intentional with my approach to applying for jobs. I knew what I wanted and only applied for jobs in UX/UI/Product Design. I researched the companies I was going after. I was also more direct with my approach, reaching out to recruiters, hiring managers and following up even if I never heard back from them. I had questions for the hiring managers and scoped the company's culture to ensure I could vibe with them.
The application process was a lot more different too! I had various companies call me and reach out to me. I went through multiple interviews and had a few job offers by the end of my hunting process. In the end, I went with CallRail and began working as a Jr. UI Designer! Thank you to Michael (my manager), who had the willingness and belief to hire me and give me a chance. Since then, my understanding and practice in design has expanded so much.
I'm not at CallRail anymore. I transitioned to another startup in Atlanta at the end of 2020. I'm now at Popmenu working as a Product Designer designing products for the restaurant industry. Why did I make the shift? That might be another article for another day, but I am thankful for my time and experiences at CallRail. I'm learning a ton at Popmenu, though, and feel like I'm in the "next phase of my career." I've focused on getting as much experience in everything, making my background a very generalist one. I'm at the point of defining my own beliefs, honing in on my design process and, more specifically, my design philosophy. I want to start focusing and narrowing in on the parts I enjoy the most and begin to "specialize" where I can.
The last four years have been quite the whirlwind to get here. Would I change anything? Probably not. There are parts of the process where I look back and have minor regrets. But I'm constantly reminded by my husband that...
"...everything you did before, contributes to where you are today."
Part 1 - A Career in Creativity
Part 2 - The Grind
I love to learn about people's motivations and ambitions. I've recently been mentoring individuals who are pursuing a career in design. I'm always happy to talk to people who have questions, need practical feedback on their portfolio, resume, and/or interview, or need an encouraging word to keep pushing them forward!
Reach out here, and we can start the conversation!