The ideal user experience (UX) designer resume should always focus on displaying the candidate’s multifaceted strengths in design, technology, and psychology. A great resume will list technical and “soft” skills (such as communication and empathy), and hint at how those skills will allow the candidate to succeed in the position.
Ryan Ollerenshaw, president of UX recruitment firm Consortia, explained how being able to deliver information in a concise and efficient way is the hallmark of an outstanding UX designer resume. “You want to be able to convey the problem you solved and the results you obtained by doing so,” he said. “Telling that kind of story going to resonate better with the hiring community because they're going to understand that you're not just wire framing or prototyping, but there's full reasoning behind it.”
Instead of listing ten projects that resulted in ten different outcomes, for example, focus on the projects and positions that allowed you to best demonstrate your strengths as a storyteller, and which showed you made a demonstrative positive impact on the organization. Emphasizing your teamwork is also key, while also carving out space for individual achievement.
“Most people are part of a team, so try and think about the impact you personally had, because if you work in an organization where you've got lots of designers working on a project, each CV could potentially look very similar,” he said. “You need to kind of highlight the impact you've personally had in that project where you can.”
It’s important to add keywords that demonstrate experience in specific fields, especially since most resumes undergo an automatic screening process that searches for those keywords. “If you're in software as a service and you're solving problems on retaining customers by making the product better, then use keywords like ‘B2B software service,’ ‘B2C e-commerce,’ ‘high transactional data visualization,’ anything which is more unique,” Ollerenshaw added.
Hiring managers also want to know whether UX individuals have experience collaborating with engineers, product managers, and the wider business, so be sure to mention specific stakeholders when describing your collaborations.
UX Designer Resume Template
If you're currently writing a UX designer resume, here's a template for you to consider:
Making the End-User Experience the Focus of the Resume
“The end user should be a central focus of the designer’s work samples,” said Gregory Coburn, Director of Talent Screening at Toptal. “The resume should be cohesive and organized like an essay—key points should be introduced in the bio/intro paragraph at the top and then concrete evidence for those points should be defended below with work experience and outcomes.”
Coburn said the work of a UX designer is often hard to measure given the relative subjectiveness of user experience design. Given that, a UX designer resume should tell a concise and captivating story about a given project, challenges addressed, outcome, and measurable business results.
“The ideal UX designer’s resume should briefly describe the goal for a given project and the quantifiable business outcomes,” he said. “Visual imagery is also immensely helpful to provide perspective on the person’s design taste and skills.” It’s also important to highlight how they deciphered the customer requirements and delivered results that met or exceeded their expectations.
Highlight Use of Your Design in the Real World
Josh Oakhurst, vice president of product management at Bayard Advertising, said a working UX designer should demonstrate that they have created software, apps or websites that are in production and being used by real people and businesses.
Ideally, the resume should feature links to a digital portfolio that includes assets from past UX design projects. When tying creative strengths to quantifiable business outcomes that prove their value, Oakhurst advised that if financial metrics are unknown, the number of users or visitors is a good proxy for business outcomes.
“When it comes to showcasing previous work experience, a UX designer should provide a description—two to three bullet points—of the achievements they have garnered through their previous jobs, along with of how they successfully collaborated with UI designers and product managers,” he said.
For projects, they should provide links to their previous work, listing out the title, their role, and the project’s focus, including relevant tools/resources and skills used during production. Listing soft skills is best done in a show-don’t-tell manner: A UX designer should tell simple stories about how prior friction in digital experiences created negative business outcomes for customers or internal users—and how they helped fix those issues.
“The narrative structure here is just like any infomercial; the sepia-toned problem magically wiped away with the full-color solution,” Oakhurst said. “You need to actually tell a compelling story.”
Listing Skills and Education in a Concise Way
In terms of soft skills, Coburn said empathy is a must-have: A UX designer should consider the end user every step of the way for any project. Skilled team leadership is also important, since the UX designer is often the glue that holds much of the team and processes together. Last but certainly not least, creativity and problem-solving are needed in pretty much any design context.
When it comes to education, Ollerenshaw said putting your formal educational background towards the bottom is perfectly fine; employers will look to see that it is there, but putting it any higher on the resume risks that you overshadow your own accomplishments. “What you're basically saying is, ‘Hey, look at me, this is my story. And then here at the bottom is my educational experience,’” he said. “I think if you put it at the top, then you might have opinions being formed too early.”
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