{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "To all UX/UI/Product designers, what got you your first job as a designer? \n\nI just finished an 8-month program on UX Design and have 2 projects under my belt (one personal, one client) + a side hackathon project and design competition piece. I haven't been getting any responses from my applications nor any responses to the messages I sent on LinkedIn. I'm kind of stuck as to what to do now. I know getting more projects and more experience is recommended, but even landing that exp is hard.", "post_id": "5fe3642c5324720028cce273", "reply_count": 26, "vote_count": 3, "bowl_id": "592119437817f900168fc4bb", "bowl_name": "Designers", "feed_type": "bowl" }

To all UX/UI/Product designers, what got you your first job as a designer?

I just finished an 8-month program on UX Design and have 2 projects under my belt (one personal, one client) + a side hackathon project and design competition piece. I haven't been getting any responses from my applications nor any responses to the messages I sent on LinkedIn. I'm kind of stuck as to what to do now. I know getting more projects and more experience is recommended, but even landing that exp is hard.

Posting as :
works at
You are currently posting as works at

do some fake work and solve a problem but make it seem rly realistic and rly blow it out in terms of all ur thinking, sketches, designs on ur portfolio, to the point that it doesnt seem like fake work


finesse is the way to success


Start reaching out within your network. Not just people you know, but people your parents, friends, etc do. Have them give an introduction if you don’t feel comfortable cold calling.

Don’t just try and connect with Ux people either, think about who is involved when a ux person gets hired (PMs, POs, hiring managers, recruiters, etc)

Also, make sure you have a good portfolio. It’s a story. Make sure you’re telling a compelling one. Your portfolio is literally the way to open doors. If it’s bad, it’ll only open bad doors.


Mentorship and being well connected


I moved into UX work by starting in Digital Design roles. From there I transitioned into Web and UI on the agency side, and finally found a gig that was a mixture where they wanted one person for UX/UI. That took a while but each step helped me understand the role of my partners and users better so I’m a more well rounded designer today.


While the demand in UX is increasing the supply has also increased making it tough for candidates to find a job especially if you are just starting out. You aren’t alone and there are ways to help set yourself apart from the others. First I agree with others that networking is critical - you are more likely to get hired as a referral than blindly submitting your resume for a job on a career site. If you do need to blindly submit your resume, make sure it is ATS friendly. There are plenty of sources on the internet that can help you with figuring out how to setup your resume so that it improves the chances of your resume getting to the top. If an ATS system can’t read your resume it will just get filtered out. The second tip that I can give is that your resume needs to show the value that you bring and impact that you have. Hiring managers don’t just want to read that you designed a product using X tools. They want to know what problem you solved and the impact that you had. You need to state that you solved xyz problem by designing abc that resulted in abc. Another quick tip that I can give you without seeing your portfolio is that your portfolio needs to show your growth potential and ability to learn. I’m not hiring just for today, I’m hiring for the future. I want to know as a new designer that you have the ability to learn and grow and if I see that come through in your portfolio, it makes it easier for me to want to say yes let’s interview this person. Last, you need to develop a personal brand for yourself...make sure your social media sites are all synced with your brand and make sure you have your 2 min elevator pitch ready when someone asks you “tell me about yourself”. Hope this helps.


A really really good portfolio that shows not just beautiful work but the strategy and research that got you there...tell a story of the problem space, the user needs, and if possible share the impact to the business


I think there is already a lot of good advice here, but I’ll add a few ideas:
- if you’re near an urban center, see if you have a local UX slack group you can network with. I’ve noticed in Denver that many jobs get funneled directly through those channels and designers recommend one another, so it really helps to be a part of your design community.
- you may have done this in school, but if you haven’t recently, try to reach out to a few UX designers you admire or that are working currently and have them review your portfolio for any suggestions or weaknesses.
- this isn’t always the case, but from what I can tell about the UX landscape around me, many times the actual ‘UX designer’ roles tend to be more senior focused, and junior or entry level tend to be more UX/UI generalist. It may help to be practicing and trying to showcase at least some UI in your portfolio this early on in your career because unfortunately many employers don’t have large UX teams and these hybrid roles are much more common than specialized ones.
- in your case studies it can help to add something about what went wrong or unexpected, or what you would have improved. Real world problems don’t follow a happy path when being solved, and it’s good to see designers who can recognize those everyday constraints like minimal access to data, low budget, tight deadline, etc. And talk about how they worked around that to a solution.
- Finally, does the program you went to offer any job resources? They may have some connections with companies and be able to connect you or point you to some good resources locally.


This is such great advice, thank you! I don't think my UX course offers an post-completion services unfortunately but I'll have a closer look. I appreciate it!


Find out who the recruiters are and apply directly to them. Go to virtual networking events and talk to people.


I taught myself UI/UX while I was finishing up my industrial design degree at a university. Started off doing a few fake projects then I quickly got several freelancing gigs for startups, one of which turned into a full time job.


Network network network! There are so many junior applicants right now, but only so many jobs for them. 3 of my last 4 roles were all gotten through solely networking - I ended up interviewing for roles that were never posted publicly, against no other candidates. Applying blindly on job boards is really a crap shoot and is pretty ineffective.

Also if you’re not getting any interviews/responses at all, I’d get some feedback on your resume and portfolio and keep iterating until you do.

Feel free to reach out if you have any questions. Good luck!


Thanks for the advice! I guess my next question would be: how do you turn a new connection you networked with into a referral? I have great conversations with people but I feel like it's rude to ask for a referral right off the bat. Of course I have to "maintain" these relationships to get to those opportunities, but it sounds a lot easier said than done haha.

A college degree.
That, and talking the corporate talk when I got into interviews.


This is interesting because I have a university degree and I doubt it's making an impact in the slightest. I think with my degree I'm only checking off the "minimum" requirements thats needed for a design role :(

Having a noticeable presence on dribbble was a game changer for me (FB, Google & Apple reached out within a week, which felt surreal at the time).

I know this is heresy for most, but design contests (I.e 99designs) were incredibly beneficial for me, as I got to hone on my skills while getting real experience dealing with real projects and real clients. It's a positive feedback loop because this early work gives you more content to post, which might lead to more job inquiries and so on.

My wife is also a design recruiter on one of the Big 4, and all eyeballs when sourcing young talent are on dribbble/behance.

Hope this helps


This was a long time ago (6+ years) so might be different now, but it was mostly single shots and motion work (I started as a VisD).
Behance is great for case studies, so maybe I would use both (dribbble as sneak peek, links to behance).

Hope this helps & best of luck!


Consulting work! While a high paying position with benefits happens immediately for some, this isn’t everyone’s path. Experience will add up.


All great advice here. Facebook has a few beginner UX groups that you can join. They may be able to offer up some great advice as well.


People get people jobs. Blindly sending portfolios and resumes in times like these gets you nowhere.


Yeah I had a feeling. I've been networking a lot but it's definitely hard to turn a new connection into a job opportunity right off the bat. Maybe I'm just being impatient 😅

Hey! I work for a large health corporation and we’re actively hiring more UX designers, UI designers, visual designers, content strategists, project managers, UX researchers, and so on.

All levels, from entry to experienced. DM for a referral


Sounds good! Just DM’d back

Additional Posts

Hi, a friend of mine has an interview coming up for a Director position in the healthcare practice at Alvarez & Marsal. Does anyone have insight into the type of work, comp, and interview process?


New to Fishbowl?

Download the Fishbowl app to
unlock all discussions on Fishbowl.
Download Fishbowl to see what others are saying
That was just a preview…
Sign Up to see all discussions
  • Discover what it’s like to work at companies from real professionals
  • Get candid advice from people in your field in a safe space
  • Chat and network with other professionals in your field
Sign up in seconds to unlock all discussions on Fishbowl.

Already a user?
Login here


Embed this post

Copy and paste embed code on your site


Download the Fishbowl app

For account settings, visit Fishbowl on Desktop Browser or