Why is it important to make my resume stand out to hiring managers?
So, you are looking to start your journey on a new career path in UI/UX. Congratulations! An important part of that journey will be building a strong resume and portfolio that makes employers want YOU.
Out of a hundred applicants, you probably are wondering how a hiring manager could possibly pick your resume, and what it actually takes to showcase your professional skills in a unique yet impressive way. One way to incorporate your true self while standing out is through Rise, as a place to amplify what makes your extraordinary, big and small.
To further help people breaking into UI/UX, we asked hiring managers the following questions:
Given that entry-level positions are extremely competitive, how does one stand out? What can I do to make myself look hirable? What do you look for?
“For me, it would be showing a good thought process. Wireframes, prototypes, good UX practices, etc., are things you can learn/improve as you go,” says Carolina Duque Ferrero.
Jami Eby says, “Thought process is huge thing in UX, the ability to present and give rationale on your decisions. Also your work portfolio should have the basic foundation and principles of design—typographic hierarchy, color, composition, etc. Everything else, like metrics and measurable success, is learned on the job.”
A Great Portfolio
“Work on having a diverse portfolio! I volunteered for a year while I was in a bootcamp, and it really helped me stand out and get a job quickly. There are a lot of online volunteer sites, I found mine through Volunteer Match.” says Lizzie Kim.
Kristi Gaudio says, “A good looking & easy to read resume and a great portfolio that highlights your user-centric approach to problem solving as well as your design abilities (if using a website, make sure your information architecture and navigation are on point and are usable on a mobile browser).”
Make the homepage of your portfolio scannable, said Josie Ho. Include past work in your resume, don’t use hyper-distorted or super tiny mockups, and as a tip do not password protect your portfolio as you want to make it easy for hiring managers to access.
One of the biggest mistakes Mary Knight says she sees in designers with portfolios is that they only show the solution. “Only showing the solution, doesn’t tell me how we might work together, your process, or your ability to handle complex problems. It only tells me you can make something look beautiful, which frankly isn’t enough.” A list of things Mary says she looks for in portfolios are:
– Clear identification of the problem being solved
– Articulation of who the problem is being solved for
– The process used to solve the problem
– The solution to the problem (in my opinion this is least important, the first three are most important.)
– Bonus: I really enjoy when designers reflect on their work and describe what they would do differently, what they learned, or what they would add if they spent more time – This shows awareness of areas of growth and gives me an understanding of where this candidate wants to grow.
The Importance of Keywords
To make your resume stand out from others, use specific keywords you use to showcase your experience. “To be honest, when reviewing resumes, I don’t even read the jobs where the titles don’t start with something related to the UX field.” Jayde Ly says. “Example titles I pay attention to: visual designer, graphic designer, user researcher, UX designer, developer/programmer. I would put skills that you can transition in the cover letter or resume summary section,” Jade continued.
Whitney Doyle says, “Tailor your resume with keywords like UX and UI to get past automated resume screeners, and to be found by recruiters who are searching by keywords.”
Make My Resume Stand out: Quality Over Quantity
When applying for various positions in your field, you may be tempted to add every single work experience you have had in the past, whether it be relevant or not, to your resume as well as portfolio. DO NOT DO THIS! It will clog up your resume/portfolio making it hard for employers to view your relevant work and experiences. “Resumes just should say enough to entice a hiring manager to look at your portfolio, and your portfolio just needs to have enough to entice a hiring manager to speak with you,” says Mary Knight. “I always recommend depth over breadth or quality over quantity, and recommend having three really solid projects. Typically when I’m looking to hire, I only look at one, maybe two, projects before I decide if this is someone I want to speak with.”
What do you do if you have no related experience in UI/UX to include in your resume?
It may seem frustrating when you are fresh out of graduating college and noticing that a lot of job descriptions require 5+ years of experience. You may have none relating to the professional field you want to go into, but that shouldn’t stop you from applying. As Viviana Garcia says, “make sure to include communication, problem solving, time management and empathy in your resume because those are strengths!” Coming from any background in customer service might seem like it is not enough, but it has taught you so many wonderful skills that are wanted by employers.
Once you build a successful resume and portfolio, there is still the question of “how else can I stand out?” or “what do I do now?” The entire resume building process can be a stressful one, and avoiding burnout during this process can be hard, but knowing the right things to put in one can make the experience less daunting when you are confident in what is on it. Rise is a great place to show off the skills that aren’t in the basic resume, and a place that can help you really shine on your own terms.