Before UX Academy, Selena San Miguel had just been laid off from her full-time job in entertainment content marketing. It was three months into the COVID pandemic, and many businesses were struggling.
“I was so bummed out by the recent turn of events, but I had also started exploring ways to expand my skill set,” says Selena.
Selena took this time of uncertainty as an opportunity to dive into a new skill and focus her nervous energy into something productive. She always had an editorial brain and digital interest, so the idea of making a career switch to UX design had been floating around since she initially heard of the field.
“I grew up in the MySpace era and designing websites/products had always been an interest of mine. UX Design seemed like the next natural step for me.”
One of Selena’s previous colleagues was a student in UX Academy, and who often used Selena in her user tests.
“The farther she got in her studies, the more interested I became in UX Academy. After seeing her experience, and her success in breaking into the UX design industry, I added Designlab to my list of career to-dos,” Selena says.
Selena’s UX Academy Experience
Once enrolled in UX Academy, Selena learned a lot from her student peers, expert UX design industry mentors, and real-world hiring manager career coaches. She shares …
“Overall, it was a great experience! I learned from people who had made career pivots as well as those with completely different backgrounds. My mentor Gabriel was THE BEST and gave me honest and fair feedback while still being the best cheerleader. I especially enjoyed his insight with my portfolio building and the advice given to me as a hiring manager. He helped me leverage my previous experience in content and digital marketing into UX career assets.
“It was also mentally challenging completing these courses with the pandemic looming overhead and balancing my own mental health struggles. It took me a bit longer, but once I started taking breaks as needed, the quality of my work greatly improved. Listen to your body, folks!”
Landing a Job as a Senior Contest Strategist at Whole Foods Market
While attending a local networking event, Selena heard some chatter about builtinaustin.com. Soon after that, on the website’s job board, she found a copywriter job listing at Whole Foods Market headquarters in Austin. She figured this would be a good opportunity to earn an income while looking for a UX design job.
She made it to the final round, but missed the final cut. However, the recruiter let Selena know there were some roles matching her skill set open on their website—and even gave her direct phone number to Selena and encouraged her to contact her if she decided to apply to other roles.
“I’m so glad I kept my eyes open and reached back out to her after applying to my current role,” says Selena.
As it turns out, a role opened up at Whole Foods Market that was the perfect blend of Selena’s previous experience in marketing, content, and communications—and her new skills in UX design. Selena landed the role of Senior Content Strategist.
Working at Whole Foods Market HQ in Austin, Texas
Selena is now practicing UX within her role as Senior Content Strategist on the Internal Communications team at Whole Foods Market HQ. Her day-to-day consists of designing experiences for the company intranet on a responsive website and app that spans across four countries.
“I use my Designlab education regularly in my new role as a Senior Content Strategist. As an intranet manager, I work with our business partners to design webpages that communicate some of the company’s most important internal information. My team focuses on the employee experience. Therefore, my users are not the public at large, but the 85K employees of Whole Foods Market, and we examine the employee interactions with our intranet product. I focus on key messages for the employee experience that align with the WFM values and style guide,” shares Selena.
She’s also using her new information architecture skill set to organize and maintain page structure and content. She’s building wireframes, prototypes, and pages within the Whole Foods Market CMS. Selena has also used flow diagrams to help problem-solve with business partners about content/experience gaps. Her and her team are regularly researching the ways different types of employees interact with the product in their workday.
Ultimately, she’s focused on employees having a successful user experience through absorbing, finding, and using internal information.
Selena’s enjoying trying new Whole Foods Market products and working with amazing people. They’re currently in the middle of a large-scale project that is very exciting (but very confidential.)
Advice for Those Looking to Enter the World of UX
Now that Selena has graduated from UX Academy and landed an amazing job that combines her skills and experience, she has some advice for incoming, current, and graduating UX Academy students:
Look at job descriptions, not just job titles
“Don’t be afraid to look outside the title of ‘UX Designer’! So much of this industry is just blossoming in corporate America, I’d advise really reading through job descriptions. You may have to do some digging (or asking recruiters) about roles that value that skill set.”
Embrace your unique talents
“There are dedicated UX teams in larger corporations, but there’s also a need for UX minds with intranets, instructional design, and content design. Your unique talents will give you an edge so don’t hide them away!”
To learn more about landing your first job in the UX/UI design industry from design career pros, explore UX Academy—which includes up to 6 months of Career Services. You’ll be paired with a Career Coach to identify the right job opportunities, add extra polish to your portfolio, work on your interview skills together, and launch your new career!