Career Pivoting to UX Design
Career Pivoting to UX/UI Design
Like many billions of other people, I lost my main source of income during the COVID-19 plandemic.
Up until the lockdown measures had been put in place, I had been working as a freelance copywriter for outdoortrip.com — an eCom website providing outdoor activities from hundreds of destinations across the world.
But sadly, with the future of travel now looking exceptionally bleak, the business completely scaled-back its operation and many of us working for this small start-up were simple told our contracts would end after March 2020. The harsh reality of being a freelancer I guess.
It was a real shame for me personally as I genuinely enjoyed the role, which mainly focused on creating English copy for web forms describing different outdoor activities. I’d pump about 5 of these into a CMS everyday: This is a link to something I would typically create.
Anyway, let’s skip the sob story as we’ve all heard so many of them by now, and besides, I really do count myself as one of the ‘lucky ones’ because I’m just a humble, digital freelancer and didn’t honestly have much invested in what I was doing.
I can only imagine how heartbreaking it must have been if you had just opened a new restaurant business this year or whatever. So many small businesses have really suffered because of the draconian measures that were put in place by the governments of the world. (It’s almost as if the whole event was preplanned in order to destroy small businesses?). However, without much resistance or questioning to what exactly was going on we were all destined to the present circumstances (dare I say misery?) we now find ourselves in. We only have ourselves to blame for not researching germ theory more.
So anyway, with nothing but time on my hands I began to think about what I would do next with my ‘work life’. Obviously, my first port of call was to purchase and download both Adobe InDesign and Photoshop in order to have a good tinker with my CV. A few days later and my CV was looking fairly slick.
I had designed it all from scratch in InDesign, using a 2-sided iPhone X sized PDF that was under 2MB yet still full of nice images, bespoke graphics and ATS compliant copywriting. Having hired staff and reviewed CVs myself in the past, I knew exactly what I wanted to see in a CV (which was basically minimal
‘life waffle’ and as many portfolio items as possible).
So I sent my new CV out to a few trusted friends and family for light feedback. The critique I received back was super positive and a couple of folks even suggested that I create an online business aimed at designing/revamping CVs and resumes.
This really got me thinking, because I’ve never worked as a designer in the traditional sense of the word, despite having worked as a photo retoucher and magazine editor in the (g)olden days of print media. So I really wondered if this would be a good business venture or not? I mean a lot of people would now be out of work and looking for ways to re-promote themselves.
The idea grew on me. I brain-stormed some company names, grabbed some social handles and did some basic research amongst my friends on LinkedIn regarding how much someone would be willing to actually pay for a CV/resume upgrade. The rest of the competition online offering CV upgrades really didn’t seem that impressive and I was feeling confident that this would be a good project to sink my teeth into.
Everything so far looked good and I was excited about my small seedling of an idea…that was until I got the feedback back from LinkedIn and then did some basic arithmetic. As it turned out, in general, the average person was unwilling to spend more than about 20 euros to upgrade their CV, and I’m not even talking about just a basic switch into a better looking template (like the kind you can buy on etsy), but like a full overhaul of the copywriting to make it ATS compliant, creating bespoke graphics and optimising the content to be as impactful as possible. Basically all the nerdy digital things that I was good at and had learned over my 15+ years whilst working as a photographer/magazine editor/corporate social media whore.
From this research I deduced that working on a CV for multiple hours a day, along with corresponding with clients by email probably several times a week, would definitely not be worth it and I would burn out quicker than a candle in a hurricane.
However, there was one really positive event that happened in this random little research journey I’d undertaken: I had discovered Adobe XD.
The way that I discovered this relatively new program was probably how a lot of people discover XD. I had been looking for tool that would display webpage mockups and that would generally be quicker than PS or InDesign to physically use.
In all honestly I had no idea that XD even existed. Like most freelancing Photoshop/InDesign users, I had just used various company enterprise accounts to fulfil my Adobe needs without actually having to fork over the ridiculous amount of money required for an all apps subscription. Sorry Adobe, I love your products and always have, but you sure don’t make it easy or cheap for the everyday layman! (I live in central Europe and one month’s rent costs less than and Adobe All Apps annual plan).