Acing The UX Job Hunt — Part 1: The Resume
I think everybody struggles with their resume. Well unless you’re the resume guru of course. That’s not me though. I’m no guru but I’ve got trial and error on my side. I’ll be giving you some tips that could help you get one step closer to landing that elusive interview.
So let’s get started!
If you don’t do anything else in this piece do this one. I know it can be tempting to add some fluff to make you look better but don’t. I’m sure there are tons of people who have fluffed up their resumes to land interviews but it could backfire. If you lied about your skills or previous experience and the company finds out, you could be blacklisted. Don’t think that you’re clear just because you got out of the interview without them finding out. Some companies verify your work history and your education during their background checks.
It’s not worth it. Just be honest and open about who you are and what you can do.
It’s exponentially more valuable for you to put a short summary of your best accomplishments than it is to just regurgitate the job description.
List accomplishments, not job descriptions.
To be honest, this is the pit that I’m currently crawling out of. This point is really about adding value to your resume. It’s exponentially more valuable for you to put a summary of your best accomplishments than it is to just regurgitate the job description. This will really come in handy if your job title and what you actually did within that position don’t align. This is easier said than done for sure, but there are a few things you can do to help make the transition a little less stressful.
- Use action verbs. Words like Implemented, Facilitated, Enhanced, etc.
- Use numbers. Incorporating quantitative facts into your resume will help qualify your accomplishments.
- Use the PAR method. Problem — Action — Result. You can use this formula to help structure your accomplishments into simple bullet points.
Highlight Transferrable Skills
If you’re looking to break into UX then this is where you want to focus. UX is unique in the fact that most people who are in UX didn’t start their careers there. Getting a degree in UX isn’t a thing. Yes, you can get a Computer Science degree or HCI degree but not a UX one. So all of that is just to say you will probably need to highlight skills from a previous career.
If you can show that you have experience with solving complex problems, critical thinking, research, effective communication, leading workshops, teamwork, and the list can go on and on. If you look at it this way you have more experience than you think. One thing I try to do is align those transferable skills with the skills that a company is searching for in their job description.
We’re designers. Be creative. Show some personality. You’re not a lawyer or accountant so show some color. Your resume doesn’t have to be a black and white word document that blends in with every other resume. Make yours stand out from the pack. Let that hiring manager get a glimpse of your style. My one caveat is DO NOT go crazy with your typography. Keep it simple with the typography but everything else is fair game. It’s all about landing that interview so if you can make sure your resume stands out and gets seen by hiring managers. Being seen is half the battle. Now make sure they like what they see with the tips above.
Okay, I lied. I have a second caveat. It’s the dreaded ATS bots. If you get creative with your resume make sure you have an ATS friendly version. This doesn’t mean you won’t ever use your regular version. It just won’t come into play until later within your job hunt. When you land that interview send them your regular resume ahead of time. That way they still get to see your personality and a sense of how you design. They should get some of your personality from your portfolio but it can’t hurt to give them another dose of it on your resume.
Umm yeah, that’s all I got.
It’s hard being judged so harshly off of a piece of paper. The job hunt can be brutal at times but keep your head up and stay positive. Control the things you can control and don’t worry about the rest. You have complete control over how you present yourself on your resume. Put your best foot forward and keep applying and I do not doubt that you will land the interview you’re looking for. I believe in you! Keep striving for knowledge and keep moving forward on your UX journey. Please feel free to share your resume tips or comment with any questions.
Hi! I’m Jarvis. I’m a UX Designer based in Oklahoma City, OK. Let me know if you found this helpful because my goal is to extend a helping hand to the next generation of designers. Also, reach out if you have any questions or want to talk design. I’d be happy to chat. Let’s connect! Twitter | LinkedIn