Jadene Aderonmu - Strategies to land your first job as a product designer

Jadene Aderonmu - Strategies to land your first job as a product designer

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Highlights

Jadene Aderonmu shares her advice on how to give yourself a head start and be prepared to land the job you want in product design. Read the blog below and listen to the full episode for more great product design career advice!

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Don't be left behind - step around the competition. If you are currently in school, get started with an internship or work placement now. Do not wait for your third or fourth year to gain relevant industry experience. The sooner you begin to build your portfolio, the easier it will be to get started when you graduate.

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How to seamlessly transition from one design discipline to another. Get your foot in the door with your degree. Find a well-rounded role that will give you practical experience in the area you learned during your education while extending your expertise to a different area of design that you are interested in pursuing.

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Don't be generic - be specific, prepared, and intentional! Tailor your portfolio to each role for which you apply. When you get the interview, do your research on the company and the position. Be prepared with questions that will confirm that you want to work there as much as they want you to come work for them!

Table of contents

Strategies to land your first job as a product designer

In episode 13 of The Product Design Podcast, Seth Coelen interviews Jadene Aderonmu, a Senior UX Designer at a digital design consultancy in the UK called Methods! She transitioned from a degree in traditional graphic design to a career in product design, where she also enjoys focusing on user research. She also spends time creating content for her design advice-based YouTube Channel and helping others as a Design Mentor! Jadene shares several tips on how to move into a career in product design when you have a degree in a different area of design. We are so excited for you to listen to this episode!

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Jadene's journey from graphic design to web design

From a very early age, Jadene had a strong interest in fine art and had envisioned going to art school and going to France to paint. In college, she came across graphic design and enjoyed creating solutions based on her briefs. When she went off to University, she pursued a degree in graphic design. During her time there, she quickly saw a shift happening where there was more opportunity in web-based design to create websites, apps, and online services.

After University, she landed in her first role as a digital designer. In this role, Jadene supported marketing and logo design efforts with her graphic design experience and learned how much she enjoyed web design and designing interfaces for apps.

"Had I known the value of industry experience in tech, I would have done an internship my first year, or as soon as possible."

How Jadene accidentally struck gold and found her way into product design

After four years at the digital agency, Jadene decided to move into a more senior role and applied for a web design position at another agency. The interview and hiring process took a long time because the agency was still trying to determine what they needed from this specific role. At the end of her recruitment process, the agency decided that they needed a user experience designer instead of a web designer and asked her if she would be interested in taking on this new role.

Jadene quickly researched what a UX Designer did. She was delighted to discover that they advocate for the user, and she would be closer to the user than she had been in her previous role. She took the job and learned very quickly in the UX design space and felt like she had found gold in this new opportunity!

Get a jump on the competition by being proactive

Jadene recognizes the way she set herself up for success along her career journey. She also knows there are areas she may do differently along her career path if given a chance. These tips will help you get ahead, especially if you start now!

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Start an internship or find a work placement as soon as you possibly can. Gaining industry experience is vital for setting yourself apart from others wanting the same role. Most students don't get serious about gaining experience until later in their education, so plan to start early and build that portfolio as you earn your degree!

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Take an introductory course on accessibility. Learning more about accessibility will help you to set a strong foundation in product design. You will come out of the course with the ability to build a quickfire checklist to make the products you work on more accessible and reach a larger audience.

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Tailor your portfolio to be specific to the role for which you are applying. Do not use the same generic portfolio for all job applications. Showcase your web design skills for a digital agency, or call attention to your branding or marketing designs for a traditional agency. If you do not have the experience to get your dream job, find a way to fill in that gap and build your portfolio with more specific examples to support your application.

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"If you want to achieve something, you have to make it manageable and fit into your day."
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If you do not land a product design role right out of school, do not be discouraged and use the time wisely. Continue developing your portfolio while finding ways to learn and grow, searching for opportunities to interview, and becoming more assertive in your interview skills.

How to set yourself up for your best interview ever

Jadene shares her approach to preparing for the interviews that landed the roles she wanted throughout her career. Below we break out how she approached each interview like it was a separate project. These tips will help you stand out from your competition in your interview process.

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Do Your Research!

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Learn about the company. Find out what they do, who they work with, projects they have reported case studies on to be armed with that information ahead of time.

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Read and thoroughly understand the job description. Tie the description to the experience you already have and prepare questions for anything you would like further clarification.

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Make sure the company and role fit your priorities. The interview process is about finding the right fit for you and the company. Be confident and prepare to ask questions to help you confirm that if you receive a job offer, you are willing to accept it!

"Remember that you are also interviewing the company. You want to make sure that they are the right company that you want to work with. Invest the time to think of questions that would really help answer that for you."

Thank you so much, Jadene!

This episode with Jadene was full of great tips to proactively approach the next step in your product design career journey. We are so thankful that she joined us to share her wisdom and knowledge! Listen to the complete episode on The Product Design Podcast, which includes more about Jadene's YouTube Channel where you will find even more advice!

Don't forget to follow Jadene and watch as she continues to support the design community through her YouTube videos and in her design mentoring opportunity. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, request her as a mentor on superpeer or subscribe to her YouTube Channel for more valuable tips!

Where to find Jadene Aderonmu

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