Some Notes from Mentoring in 2021

In 2021 I joined the ADPList’s community of mentors and I’ve had the privilege to meet with more than 60 folks through that platform. I was pleasantly surprised that my efforts there would lead to me being named a “Top 10 Mentor in North America” by the ADPList community.

By the Numbers

  • I estimate that I had a direct audience of 266 people for the talks and podcast episodes I created in the year.
  • I mentored 76 individuals in the year.
  • 33 of those individuals met with me at least twice in the year.
  • Sessions were 30 minutes typically (which is really not long enough, but a good way for us to start the work).
  • I shared more than 30 hours of mentoring on the ADPList platform.

What We Discussed

Image shows a virtual whiteboard with an affinity mapping of the topics raised in Paul's mentoring sessions for 2021

Most frequently I met with people from academia (from current graduate students to tenured faculty members) who wanted to discuss strategies for transitioning from that industry into Experience Research.

Typically those “PhD to UXR” sessions included some discussion of

  • job searching strategies and tactics,
  • the role of resumes and portfolios,
  • and ways to prepare for interviews with people unfamiliar with the highly competitive industry we hail from.

The next three biggest topics discussed in my mentoring sessions had to do with the spectrum of job searching activities:

  • How to revise a resume
  • How to prepare a portfolio
  • Preparing for phone interviews
  • Preparing for technical interviews (design challenges, research proposals, whiteboarding sessions, etc.)
  • Navigating multiple job offerings

Mentoring Senior and Junior Practitioners

I had an equal number of sessions meeting with:

  • People who had very little familiarity with User Experience Research & Design,
  • Senior UX Designers seeking ways to incorporate more strategic research into their design processes, and
  • Folks looking to stand up a new team or a new research practice within their company.

Mentoring Diverse Practitioners

The typical person met with for mentoring in 2021 was a Non-White female based in the United States who is fluent in English and Mandarin Chinese.

In addition to English, the folks who met with me also spoke one of thirteen other languages (Mandarin, Spanish, German, Turkish, Russian, and Hindi were the most frequently reported languages).

Next Steps

Based on what I’ve noticed from the data above, I will start writing up some of the things that I’ve shared in my sessions.

So, there will be a blog post or two about resumes, about portfolios, about interviewing, etc.