Jason Garrison - Switching Subjects: From Teacher to UX Researcher


Have you considered going into UX Research from a completely different field? Jason Garrison shares his journey of how he went from teaching to UX research. Learn how he got started in UX, created his portfolio, and perfected his interview skills to land his full-time role at AnswerLab as a Qualitative UX Researcher! Read the article below for the things he learned from the interview process, and listen to more of Jason’s fantastic tips in the full episode!

🔥 Find a recruiter to help polish your communication!

Work with a recruiter to help tweak your portfolio and LinkedIn profile verbiage. You want your communication to be aligned with the industry and company you want to work. Making sure the recruiter or hiring manager knows what you are trying to tell them is a great step toward grabbing their attention and getting an interview.

📢 Get interviewing!

Schedule interviews with several companies to gain experience and hone your interviewing techniques. In the meantime, research the companies that you want to work for. Try making connections on LinkedIn to find out the needs of the company. Once you find your interview rhythm, apply for your top companies and be prepared to dazzle them with how your skills can solve their problems!

💰 Earn money and more experience!

Take a chance and become a contractor. This will not only gain you valuable experience to add to your portfolio and LinkedIn profile, but it could lead to a job once they see how much value you would bring to the company full-time!

Switching Subjects: From Teacher to UX Researcher

In episode 47 of The Product Design Podcast, Seth Coelen interviews Jason Garrison, Qualitative UX Researcher at AnswerLab, a full-service user experience insights firm helping create experiences people love.

During our chat, Jason shares his UX journey and path from internship to full-time UX Researcher. He offers fantastic insights into what led him to his current role, including strategies on portfolio development, networking, interviewing, and how to accept feedback from your manager or team once you land the job you want! This episode is filled with excellent advice for anyone looking to get into UX, especially if they are curious about becoming a UX Researcher!

Jason Garrison and Seth Coelen on The Product Design Podcast

How Jason decided to switch to UX from teaching

Jason started his career in teaching but always had a deep interest in social studies and human behavior. After his time in education, he spent a few years in Malaysia working for a non-profit, researching with a group of people to better understand the culture of the people there. Jason really enjoyed studying and learning more there, but his time in Malaysia ended because of Covid.

Jason was unsure what was next for him, but he was soon introduced to UX by his long-time friend, Seth Coelen. Jason liked that his interest in human behavior would tie into this new opportunity, and ultimately, he became the inspiration behind the original UX Cabin internship program.

How to land your first full-time UX Research job

During the internship, Jason realized that UX research was the best direction for him to go next. He is excited to do something he loves that ties into his interests! In this episode, Jason shares his learnings on moving from the internship to contracting and then to a full-time UX Research position. Here are a few key insights he shared during this interesting episode!

📍 Recruiters are like your personal GPS.

Jason worked with a recruiter to ensure he presented himself best to be seen by companies and other recruiters. This process helped him change the verbiage in his LinkedIn profile and portfolio to land his current role! You must put your best foot forward to make a lasting impression on recruiters and companies. Get some insider tips from an experienced pro on sprucing up your LinkedIn profile and portfolio, making them irresistible.

"I had someone work with me on my LinkedIn and portfolio to align industry language to what I was trying to describe because when you just describe yourself, you have in your mind the message that you're trying to get across, but it's really important to speak in terms that can be understood by recruiters and by companies."

👏 Master your interview.

Jason did this by applying for enough jobs to land several interviews before he started getting focused on the companies he wanted to work for. Practice your interviewing skills by scheduling multiple interviews. As you interview more, you can anticipate the questions you will be asked and be better prepared for the interviews with the companies you really want to work for.

📚 Do your research!

While mastering your interview techniques, research the top companies you want to work for. Try to find out where they need support through networking online, and determine where you can fill in the gaps. If you understand the pain points you can resolve with your skill set, you are setting yourself up for success. Knowing what the company is trying to accomplish is like having the answers to a test before you take it. It'll show them you're prepared and eager to help them achieve their goals.

💡 Contract while you interview.

During Jason’s path from the UX Cabin internship to his full-time role as a Qualitative UX Researcher, he worked as a contractor. This gave him great experience and earned him an income while he worked on landing his current job. Consider contracting for a company and show them what you're made of. They might fall head over heels for you and offer you a permanent position.

Jason Garrison
"It's a fun time to be a part of this group of people that are saying: what are people's needs, what are their preferences, and how do we elevate those voices to the people that are designing for them to make the world a safer, more beautiful and elegant place."

Thank you so much, Jason!

It was so fun having Jason on the show! Sending a big thanks to him for talking to us about the knowledge he gathered on his journey to becoming a UX Researcher. From making a career pivot, getting valuable experience, polishing his portfolio and LinkedIn profile, and contracting for an income while he worked on getting his full-time role! There is a lot of value to take from this episode and put into action along your career path!

Listen to the complete episode on The Product Design Podcast, which gives a great perspective on productively receiving feedback, and what qualities Jason believes help someone become a great UX Researcher. Don't forget to follow Jason on LinkedIn and check out his website!

Where to find Jason

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