It’s challenging to be an entry-level candidate. Whether you’re a lawyer or a postal worker, landing your first job and moving up the ladder takes months of dedication.
As with any industry, landing your first UX/UI job offer can be difficult. Many junior candidates are eager to jump into a full-time role and start earning designer-level paychecks, but unfortunately, no career pivot happens overnight.
So can you get a UX job with absolutely no experience?
In short, no. You probably can’t.
However, you can land a UX/UI job with limited experience. After all, every UX designer has to start somewhere. By building up peripheral experiences and a solid conceptual foundation, you can become perfectly qualified for an entry-level UX/UI role.
Aspiring UX/UI designers seek out short-term practice projects and other learning opportunities to expand their qualifications and test their skills. As long as you find UX projects to complete, you don’t need an internship or formal work experience to land your first role.
However, simply doing the practice work isn’t enough to get the job. You also need to showcase your projects and share what you learned during the hiring process. Interviewers want to know that you can complete basic UX/UI deliverables and effectively support their team, so they will evaluate your portfolio and resume to determine if you have this base-level UX/UI skillset.
No UX/UI work under your belt? No problem.
Here are 3 ways to fill out your UX/UI portfolio with enough preliminary experience to prove you’re ready for an entry-level role:
There are thousands of non-profits working to create positive change with limited resources. These days, even small, local non-profits use websites to further their mission. Consider asking your local food bank or animal shelter if they would like their website or mobile app redesigned. You can conduct user research, create what the new design might look like in Figma or Sketch, and run tests to gather feedback.
(It goes without saying, but be sure you have a solid understanding of UX concepts before you approach an organization for a project. If you’re an absolute UX/UI beginner, try taking a UX bootcamp and finding a mentor first!)
Do you have an aunt who sells real estate? Does your high school bestie own a bike repair shop? Ask around your friends and family to see if you can help their businesses better serve their users. You can also use a local business, such as your local grocer or pizza shop, as inspiration for a “fake project.” They may not be your actual client, but you can still conduct research and iterate your way through a design that would meet their needs!
If you don’t know anyone who needs UX help, you can always create your own project. Inspiration can be found anywhere and everywhere.
Think about day-to-day problems in your own life that you would like to solve. Do you forget to clean your cat’s litter box? Maybe you can create a cleaning tracking app! Do you get bored with your home workouts? Perhaps an app that generates exercise ideas could be your next project!
You can also check out this design challenge list from Quickstart.Design to get your creative juices juicin’.
While you don’t need to be an expert from the start, you do need to be ready to keep up in an entry-level professional environment. By working on practice projects, you can gain the experience you need to land your first UX/UI role (and perform like the rockstar you are!).
Looking for project ideas? Want to break into the industry even faster? Schedule a UX/UI mentorship call today. We’ll help you get started on a portfolio and career you’ll love.