Emilie is back!
The last time we met, Emilie discussed how she broke into UX through a bootcamp and how taking a break from work was an underrated art.
Emilie has been mentoring budding designers on ADP List, helping them break into UX. This has helped her touch the lives of hundreds of aspiring UX professionals!
Since we missed out on her ADPList insights the last time, we had her over again for her tips on making the most of the platform.
This article summarizes what we learned from her on:
In the early days of her career, Emilie reached out to senior UX designers to get to know more about the field in general. Later, she reached out to people who had transitioned careers the way she was planning to. Even if they didn’t have several years of experience, the people she met this way helped her discover the best practices of job hunts.
Emilie was recently on a job hunt and she used ADP List for free mock interviews (did you know that such a service was offered?). Her mentor gave valuable feedback in the last 15 minutes of the session and even waited to hear how she performed when she gave her real interview.
Based on her experience, Emilie suggests that finding a mentor depends on the services or information that you want to know about.
If you want to sit for mock interviews or get your portfolio and resume reviewed, search by filtering for senior roles like UX manager, leader or director. These people have years of experience in the industry — most of them have also hired in the past. This means that you can get feedback directly from hiring managers.
Of course if you’re looking for advice on a specific country’s job market, filter by location
Emilie loves to receive a confirmation message from her mentee that they're going to show up before the call. Since ADPList is a free platform, mentees don’t turn up to the calls pretty often. Emilie suggests being respectful of the time of the mentors and cancelling well beforehand in case you’d be unable to show up for the call. Send a list of questions and topics to discuss beforehand
Emilie’s next suggestion is for every mentee to send across a list of questions or topics they want to discuss. This shows that the mentee is equally enthusiastic about the session and allows the mentor to prepare ahead of time.
If you think through your questions beforehand, you are less likely to spend your call discussing questions you could have just Googled. Experienced mentors are the best source of information on specific questions regarding your career trajectory — save your session from becoming a generic one!
When it comes to specific services like mock interviews or portfolio reviews, Emilie urges mentees to establish expectations right from the start. Understand the structure of your upcoming call and be open to constructive feedback! . Let your mentor know beforehand that you would appreciate their honest assessment.
If you’re going for a mock interview, Emilie’s recommendation is to send a message beforehand introducing yourself and letting the mentor know that you would like to prep for an upcoming interview.
Some questions that help in making the interview feel real are:
Emilie finds it helpful when her mentees provide their background for context. This can include how familiar they are with UX, the time they’ve spent on their job search, their future aspirations, previous professional experiences etc.
If your mentor already has context on your before you start speaking, it will save both of you a ton of time that would be spent on introductions otherwise. It will also help them think of your problem beforehand.
Emilie finds that having some conversation starters like talking about the weather or friendly questions like "Did you have any pets growing up?" can be beneficial in starting and sustaining a conversation.
You can not have a meaningful conversation without some basic rapport formation. Ice breakers help you fly past the initial awkward barrier that comes with talking to any stranger.
Lifehacker has a great guide to icebreakers.
This advice applies to conversation starters as well as the actual questions you want answers to.
In the context of icebreakers, for example, don’t ask where they went to school if that’s the first thing you can find on LinkedIn. Get to more open, less obvious questions such as their experience in that school, the subjects that influenced their career choices, etc.
In the context of your questions, don’t bring up questions that your mentor has already addressed in some post or article and stay away from easily searchable questions (“Does X company pay its UXRs well?”).
Even a bit of research into the mentor beforehand comes in handy!
If you wish to continue the professional relationship, Emilie suggests following up with the mentor regarding something from your conversation. Ask them follow-up questions (that you actually need answers to).
If it was a portfolio review session, mentees can drop in their revised portfolio later and inform the mentor of the improvements and how their feedback helped them.
Dropping in your review is always a good last step. This not only shows your gratitude but also helps other mentees when they’re deciding who to get mentorship from.
Emilie shares her story of her mentor, Guy Segal, with whom she connected over LinkedIn and found their sense of humour to match. They bonded over sarcastic comments and delightful conversations.
She likes to continue relationships with people like him who are more than just knowledgeable with good answers up their sleeves. Such relationships have evolved into friendships where Emilie has learned more than just UX tidbits and advice from Guy.
If you find someone similar, Emilie recommends checking in regularly and asking upfront if their mentor is interested in building such a long-term relationship. Checking in can happen every 3 months where mentees can even bring up any posts or comment on the posts of the mentor. Another way to do this is to track who you talked to when you talked to, and what you talked about with the mentor through a CRM tool.
Emilie uses the free CRM template on Notion (which you can access here). This helps in avoiding asking the same questions to the mentor and reminds Emilie every 3 months if she hasn't checked with someone.
Emilie suggests that even if there's a long waitlist, mentees should book for future sessions. It takes longer than expected to schedule a session, especially when the mentor is in a senior-level position. The wait will be worth it :)
ADPList is ideal for mentees to network with people at the companies you want to join eventually. While this route may not necessarily lead to you getting a referral, it's a sneaky way to build some solid connections at your dream companies 👀.
Emilie finds ADPList challenging in some ways such as people not showing up because of long waitlists and free sessions. Mentors can solve this problem by filing the attendance of their mentees which appears on their profile. This allows mentors to understand who will be the most likely to show up and choose their mentees accordingly. On the other hand, paid platforms like Superpeer have cleaner and more intuitive experience with higher show rates, but it can get expensive. Despite these factors, Emilie has had quality conversations on both these platforms. While her waitlist on ADPList is long, aspiring designers can book a session with her at an earlier date on Superpeer.
Looppanel automatically records your calls, transcribes them, and centralizes all your research data in one place