When I first worked on my portfolio at General Assembly, my goal was to get a job. And that was it. My portfolio was a means to an end — showcase that I could in fact design some interfaces, a prototype, using some sort of UX process.
As I signed my first full-time UX contract, I patted my portfolio on the head and said “that’ll do, pig” and proceeded to ignore it for 4 months.
It wasn’t until I was crying in my bedroom on a Sunday night realizing that the last thing I wanted to do in the morning was go to that job... that I dusted off my portfolio. And I found myself asking all the questions I had asked when I first decided to change careers — “What do I want out of my life? What does a great career look like? What does it look like for ME?”
And looking at my now outdated portfolio was overwhelming. How was I supposed to update this while working full time while having a life while hunting for a job?
And TA-DA — Sophia Prater announced she was doing an OOUX Your Portfolio workshop. Phew. Now I didn’t have to do all the work by myself. I could pay her for a day of focused portfolio work and have some real momentum.
That’s when I learned that my portfolio could be more than just a compilation of case studies. I could actually showcase who I am as a person. Normally something like that would overwhelm me even more. I’m the kind of person that stresses about picking a word to put on a bracelet because I want the word to DEFINE ME AS A HUMAN BEING. The beauty of using OOUX and a website to do this was... the complexity.
The reason I could never pick a word for my bracelet was because I am a complex human being. One word can’t really summarize me up. And so why was I doing the same thing with the typical portfolio pages — Home, About, Work, Contact. BO-RING.
Through OOUX I realized I could highlight how much I love public speaking by having talks and events on my portfolio site. I could write blog posts about how I approach problems and what worked and what didn’t. I now had permission for things on my website to not be PERFECT. Because after all, the whole point of UX, the web, and my career is to be fluid, flexible, and always a work in progress. So why had I been treating my portfolio like it was one-and-done? Why was I only showing the highlights, the typical, the one-sided?
I’ve never identified myself as an artist — just kidding when I was 12 I did very much so. I’m a problem solver. I’m a speaker. I’m a facilitator. I’m an entrepreneur. I’m a UX designer. I’m a web developer.
Through the combination of tools I’ve developed over the last year: OOUX, Webflow, personal branding, confidence, I’ve been able to not only make my portfolio work for me and my career, I’ve also been able to maintain it over time. No more — Oh shit! My portfolio is totally out of date and I need to update it. Because my portfolio includes multiple pieces of me, I end up touching it at least once a week to add new content.
Want to learn about my process for designing and maintaining a portfolio that you actually like? Email me!
Having a growth mindset can show employers what it would be like to have you on a team and how you can contribute to a positive team culture. It also opens up interviews to have interesting conversations and questions about what a project was actually like and how you handle real project conversations — and allows you to ask how current teams handle complications. These tips can not only give an employer a better chance to get to know you but also help you get to know the company and design team better!
As a UX Designer, my relationship with my Product Owner has always been the most influential at any given company, bringing with it all kinds of challenges, opportunities for added visibility and momentum, and... opportunities for miscommunication.
So you’ve been hearing about UX design for a little bit now and you’re wondering if it’s time for you to make the career switch. You’ve got all the bootcamps pinned in your browser, you’ve heard about some local (or virtual) UX Meetups but haven’t mustered up the courage to go, and you just discovered the magical (overwhelming) world of Medium.