Job-searching is rough. And when almost every “entry-level” UX writing or content design job requires 3 – 5 years of experience, it can feel impossible to land a job.
The average job search takes around 2 months. If you’ve been searching for UX writing jobs for longer than that, it’s probably time to put a microscope on your job application strategy.
Does it feel unclear what you could be doing differently? That maybe your experience just isn’t applicable, and maybe your transition to UX content is hopeless? Or maybe UX writing is just too damn competitive?
Well, I’m here to tell you there’s a clear map to uncover why you’re not landing a UX writing job. And it has a lot to do with what you could be doing differently and little to do with your experience or the competition.
If you’re not landing a UX writing job, there’s a problem with at least one of three things:
- Your Assets (resume, portfolio, cover letter)
- Your Answers (answers to interview questions)
- Your Act (portfolio presentation, confidence level)
Your Assets, Answers, and Act correspond to different stages in the UX writing job application process:
- Assets = applying for the job
- Answers = recruiter interview, hiring manager interview, final interview
- Act = hiring manager interview, final interview
You can pinpoint where you’re getting stuck in this handy map:
Let me walk you through it…
Applying to UX writing jobs and not hearing back?
You have one of two issues:
- You don’t have UX writing work samples to show experience
- Your Assets (resume, cover letter, portfolio) could be improved
At the point of submitting an application for a UX writing job, your Assets are literally the only reflections of you the potential employer has seen. Because of that, it’s best to start here and work on improving this stage in the “funnel.”
The best way to figure out what’s not working with your Assets is to ask for feedback.
Find recruiters on LinkedIn from companies you applied to, say you never heard back, and you were wondering if they could give you pointers on your Assets, so you can improve. Recruiters in the tech industry are usually pretty generous — I’ve done this many times.
You could also ask for feedback from UX writers and content designers you admire. There are many stand-out UX writers, content designers, and UX content strategists on LinkedIn who are also giving with their time. If you can’t find someone, I’m also happy to help.
If you just don't have UX writing work samples yet, unfortunately, there’s no way around that when it comes to landing a UX writing job. Try freelancing to get some UX writing work under your belt, or you could also create portfolio projects by improving digital products you already use.
Getting rejected after interviewing with the recruiter?
The issue is with your Answers.
Recruiters aren’t UX writers. Because of that, they don’t *actually* know what makes a good UX writer. Instead, they have guidelines from the hiring manager for what to look for and are waiting for you to say keywords, or the “right” things.
I won’t pretend to have the list of keywords recruiters look for, but at a basic level, they’re looking to understand:
- How your experience is relevant to the job description
- Your experience collaborating with others
- Your knowledge of tools like Figma
I recommend reading the job description before your interview with the recruiter to look for the language they use. Use the same words they use in the job description to show you’re on the same page and share their values.
If you don’t make it past the recruiter round, follow up and ask the recruiter why and for any feedback. This is the best way to learn how you can improve.
Getting rejected after interviewing with the hiring manager?
The issue is with your Answers and your Act.
The hiring manager is actually a UX writer, and they want to understand your experience in specifics. That means telling stories of past projects. The more real-life examples you can share and narrate, the better you can show your experience to the hiring manager instead of just describing it.
Also, since the hiring manager is a UX writer, they’ll know if you know your stuff. Make sure you know what UX writing means to you. If you deeply understand your unique stance on UX writing, it’ll stand out to the hiring manager.
Sometimes hiring managers ask you to present some work. This is usually pretty casual, but you should come prepared. This is where your Act comes in.
Have a few samples of work set aside to show the hiring manager that are different from what you’ll show in the formal portfolio presentation at the final interview round. Since it’s a casual showing, you don’t need to prepare a full deck of anything for this.
When it comes to your Act, it’s important to story-tell, use examples, and show, not tell. Rehearse your presentation with a friend, or even just to an empty room. Confidence is key in presenting your work, and if you feel confident in what you’re going to say, how you say it will be much stronger.
At the end of the day, if you don’t make it past the hiring manager round, you can never go wrong asking for feedback.
Not getting an offer after the final interview round?
Similar to not making it past the hiring manager, not getting an offer after the final interview round is related to your Answers and Act.
The same lessons apply — share stories, not descriptions, show, don’t tell, gain confidence by practicing, and deeply understand what UX writing means to you.
Even if you’re a newbie, if you have a thorough and opinionated stance on UX writing (which you can gain just through teaching yourself — I did) you will stand out from other candidates all saying the same things.
Portfolio presentations are a beast, and I’ll write about that another time, but if you focus on telling a story, just like you would to a friend, from hypothesis to result, you’ll do better than most.
Landing a UX writing job can be hard, and I hope this advice helps you pinpoint how you can make it easier.
Happy UX writing 🖖