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The power of networking: how our UI/UX design graduate from Italy found a job in a Swedish company

As the dream to work in art vanished after obtaining a degree, Antonia decided to look for something else. On her husband's advice, she joined Beetroot Academy and started her journey in the UX/UI design field. Yet, finding a job is a hard task, even more so when you are a foreigner with no one to give you recommendations. After over a year of sending CVs and going to interviews, Antonia reached out to the people in the field she knew and trusted, her teachers from the Academy. And that’s how she found a job as a UX designer at Nets Group, Sweden.

The era before my tech career was completely different

My whole life up to finishing a master's degree, I was sure that the field I wanted to work in was art. I studied art history and planned to work with museums, researchers, and critics. And yet, exactly after getting my master’s, I realized that wasn’t what I wanted to do at all. And I panicked a lot. I felt the pressure of society that I must have my life together and be sure of what I wanted and with a career I successfully pursued. 

I started to go from the opposite and tried to make a list of things I definitely didn’t want to do; it seemed like a good practice. And while I was searching for something to spark my interest, my husband suggested trying UX/UI design – I didn’t even know what that meant. He explained that he had found Beetroot Academy, browsed its courses and reviews, and thought it might interest me. So, I did some research myself, and it really was a field that spoke to me. Everything else happened really fast, I enrolled in the Beetroot Academy and began studying right away. 

My experience at Beetroot Academy

My studying at the Academy was great, and I miss those days. Though it was pretty intense with three weekly classes, I was lucky with my teachers. They were passionate about their job and us as their students. Another bonus was that I had a small group. It allowed everybody to speak up, present their work, and get personal feedback.

The course structure was clear, and we did a pretty good job following it. I also enjoyed the bonuses, such as career counseling; it helped with the basics like CV, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile. Yet, as the teachers continued to repeat, you had to study independently and study a lot. So, I joined various webinars on interview techniques and tips on improving your CV – anything I could find. I also went through some mentorship programs, which gave me insights into the Swedish job market, a good topic for a foreigner. 

To change your career isn’t impossible, but it is hard

I started looking for a job in the middle of the course, and at the end of it, I got an internship as a UX/UI designer on a small startup project. It was a fun experience, as the design team consisted of me and one more person, and I had the freedom and space to work and learn from the practice. The only downside was that it wasn’t paid, and after some time, I found the courage to say goodbye to that environment and search for a real job.

Yet the Swedish job market is a tough place. I noticed that if the company doesn’t know you, your background, and what you are capable of, they won’t even give you a chance. And for a foreigner, it’s even harder to make them notice you, with no connections and nobody to recommend you. I went through many interviews and rejections, but I knew I had to do something actively to get the best out of my studies. So, I sent more applications and passed more interviews. 

Networking is a key

After some time, I still couldn’t find a job. I felt like I needed some advice or help or just a few words of support, and I reached out to the people I trusted, my teachers from the Academy. 

What happened next I consider a miracle: my UI teacher said that the company his wife works for is currently looking for a UX designer. He suggested contacting her, so that is what I did. She offered to pass my CV and portfolio to her art director – and that was the moment it all went right. I still had to go through the full interview process and showcase my experience, but now I had someone to back me up, who recommended me.

Be humble to learn and grow

Except for the network, I would say the way to get a dream job is to study constantly. And the best way to do it is to practice and ask for feedback. That can be scary and may make you feel frustrated, but it’s also the only way to learn from your mistakes. 

While studying, it’s your chance to seek advice from a more senior specialist who is there to help and guide you. Trust them, as their more experienced eyes can pinpoint your areas of growth and improvement. Also, I recommend finding a mentor to get hands-on experience in the job market. At the end of the day, UX/UI design, like any other field, is constantly growing and developing, and to be a good specialist, you have to keep up with it. 

Veronika Yakubova
Content creator at Beetroot Academy
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