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How I found my latest UX Writing job

It took me just under a month to find a new gig after being part of a layoff round. I want to share a bit about my experience in the job hunt, because the market’s an ever-changing thing.

But before I get into it, it’s worth adding a caveat: Even if you do everything right, a certain amount of it comes down to luck. I know some great writers and designers who have been looking for more than six months; others take even longer to settle into something new.

Being laid off is kinda similar to going through a breakup. Is it for the best? Could I have done something different? Is there something else out there for me?It’s a hard subject, and it’s hard to see other people getting a job better or quicker than personal experience.

So with that in mind, I’m fully aware that this is only my experience. Yours may be different, for better or worse. But hopefully, if you’re looking for a new position, you’ll find some insights from my journey.

The stats

My requirements for a new job were:

  1. UX Writer / Content Designer role

  2. Fully remote

  3. Located within the EU or US

  4. Mid-sized company

Why mid-sized? I’ve worked for a major corporation and I’ve worked for a start-up. I’ve been one of 40+ designers and I’ve been one of one. I wanted to find something that was a balance of the two.

I applied over a two week period with these results:

  • Rejection: 20%

  • Ghosted: 56%

  • Interest: 24%

Huge note here: Out of the 24% of companies who actually wanted to meet with me, half of those were recommendations. Meaning many opportunities came from networking, from past coworkers and friends who thought I might be a good fit. This obviously makes it easier to find a role when you’re already in the space.

The process

Most of the companies I interviewed had a process that looked, roughly, like this:

  1. Initial HR interview

  2. Interview with heads of copy and/or design

  3. Test task

  4. Another interview with other stakeholders

  5. Offer

It looks fairly simple written out, and to their credit, most companies fit all this into about a 2-week period. But I forgot just how exhausting interviewing can be, even if you’re grateful to have them.

I always ask why someone’s reached out to me after I’ve applied, and two common answers popped up. First: They knew me from LinkedIn or this blog. I don’t have a huge following, but UX is a small world and keeping a little journal shows that I’m passionate about what I do.

And second: My website is simple. They could easily see my experience and case studies immediately. My application, too, was easy to understand, because my resume is always updated and my cover letters are short but tailored to the specific position. Information about me and my work was simple, which made getting to know me seem simple and easy, too.

The interviews

A friend told me something that really helped me ahead of my interviews: They need to impress me just as much as I need to impress them. A contract goes both ways.

It’s common advice, but going in with a list of questions and salary expectations made me feel like I had the advantage. I know I’ve gotten better over the years at what I do, and interviewers are just looking to see 1) if I know what I’m talking about, and 2) if I seem like I’d be a good person to work with.

The task

I know the UX community gets feisty about tasks. My honest opinion: they’re a good thing. Do some companies expect too much? Sure. But most just want to see how you tackle a problem.

And that, right there, was a lightbulb for me. People want to see my process more than my outcome. When I was presenting, I spent maybe 15% of the time talking about the actual copy; the rest was spent on how and why I landed on those decisions.

The results

I ended up getting an offer from 12% of the companies I applied to. I eventually settled on one, and I’m excited for what’s ahead.

Even though I’m lucky in that I feel like I found a great company and it took a relatively short time, I took away a few learnings from the experience:

  1. The market is different in the EU and the US. There are more positions open in Europe, and you’re more likely to actually get a reply over here. If you do get an answer from the US, expect the process to take weeks.

  2. Speaking about process got me further than speaking about outcome. Yeah, there are a few features that I’m really proud to show. But what hiring managers want to know is that I was an integral part of its creation.

  3. People won’t interview you if they’re not interested. The desire to impress goes both ways, and keeping that in mind is a great reminder if you’re feeling nervous.

  4. A job is just a job. Yes, it’s necessary for, ya know, livelihood. But my worth and identity isn’t tied to what I do for a paycheck, even if I enjoy it.

  5. Interviewing is tough but it’s also interesting. I got to see how other companies handle copy; how they manage the design process; what they see as nonnegotiables. Even for the ones that didn’t work out, looking at the experience as valuable helped make the whole process sting a little less.


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