• A UX Designer Resume is important when you’re looking for a UX job, and as a designer, you get to be creative.
• Make sure your resume has the right information.
• Your resume is a great way to stand out in your market.
Does a UX Designer even need a resume? Yes, silly rabbit… you’re not that special. Don’t worry though, we’re special enough that our resumes get to be awesome.
First, let’s talk about why we should have one and we need to put some time into it.
The importance of a resume for a UX Designer
If you thought the digital world has killed the resume… you’re wrong. It may have wounded it a bit but it’s not dead.
Yes, the resume is not the only tool needed for a job search. But yet, it’s still very important, especially at companies that receive a large number of candidates. They’ll take any reason they can to get the number of options narrowed for the hiring manager.
Most of us received some resume guidance along the way, either from parents, friends, teachers or other school resources. While they were helpful, you need to realize that a resume for a UX Designer is different.
The field requires a breadth of skills and knowledge that most just don’t. There are unique characteristics in those that are in the field. The hiring manager is (or was) a designer. They might even be a little OCD. They will notice little things that most financial or operations managers won’t. For example, the alignment, spacing, fonts, and colors you used.
As a designer, your resume is almost on par with a work sample. You don’t have a client for this one. No blaming short comings on stakeholders or poor leadership decisions. Your resume is a reflection of YOU as a professional and a designer.
Now don’t get all stressed out about it. It’s an incredible opportunity to impress your future employer. Not to mention… we’re designers. We get to be creative! An accountant or financial advisor can’t put images and sexy typography in their resume. And heaven forbid if they used color… that’s just crazy.
If you are a little nervous about it, don’t worry… you’ll always be able to improve it over time.
What should a UX designer resume include?
While you don’t want your resume to be boring, there are certain things you should always include, such as: your contact information, your experience, and your education.
1. Your Contact Information – For the love of all things good, please include a good method to contact you. Contrary to your belief, people do forward and store resumes. Unless you’re a household name in your industry, it’s very unlikely that they will try to hunt you down. Make it easy for them and include several forms of contact. And depending on your target audience, get a little creative with it and include a Twitter handle, QR code, etc.
2. Your Experience (work history, skills, etc.) – Now just for the record, you do NOT have to include every little job you’ve ever held. If you were a cashier when you were 16, no one cares… sorry. And if you have 20 years of experience, I would seriously consider trimming it down to your most recent and relevant experience. If you do modify your experience like this, make sure to label the section as something like “Relevant Experience” or “Recent Work Experience” to ensure someone reading it doesn’t assume you were unemployed for years or months on end.
Alternatively, if you have limited work experience, you can do a skills based resume. It’s not a bad approach, especially for smaller companies. This type of resume would include a skill (say ‘Front-end development’) then include projects or examples of ways you’ve used it. At the core, the skills you have are way more important than the titles you’ve had. This is a great way to point those out while not getting caught up in your lack of experience.
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3. Your Education
Here’s another candidate attribute that’s taken a hit over the last decade or so. Growing up, college was so important to your employment prospects, and now everyone loves to say it’s not. Well, that depends. The important thing is that you’re educated. How you get there, will depend on the person. Ok… enough with the soapbox.
Regardless of your stance on higher education, your resume should speak to your education level. If you have a bachelors or masters, it should be there. If it’s in a major with little application to the field (like mine), you can have it subdued and keep it towards the bottom. If you don’t have a degree, it’s up to you. You can not list any education or you can have an “in progress” degree (if that’s true, of course). Yes, it’s a box a recruiter needs checked but it’s not impossible to get through the hiring process without one.
Quick note on non-traditional education, I would include those in there too. Graduate certificates, immersive bootcamps, individual courses, etc. They show more of a specialized focus which is generally a good thing.
What else to include?
There’s plenty of optional items you can choose from. You can include a skills charts (see the examples below for more detail). A mission statement or an objective. If you include an objective, put some time into it. It’s typically one of the first items read and can set the tone for how the rest is perceived. You can put a personal logo. We are designers after all. Work samples are another option. I especially like having them with positions to expand on your accomplishments in the role.
How to make your resume stand out in your market?
Now you have the content, it’s time to make your resume awesome. Before you start thinking you have to put 120 hours into just getting your color palette… slow down. Know your market and the company you’re applying for. You may stand out by just not having any spelling errors. I’ve seen hundreds of resumes and you’d be shocked how people represent themselves.
That being said… if you’re based in San Francisco and you’re applying for the hottest new tech company. You better come to play. Before you get started on your own resume, let’s take a look at what awesomeness looks like.
Meng To is a UI/UX Designer in San Francisco and everything he does is world class. I don’t know what Meng’s career goals are, but he should get an interview anywhere with a resume like this. If you’re UXD in the bay area, this is the type of competition you have.
What if you’re not living in the epicenter of technology? Well, you’re in luck. If you’re based somewhere like Dallas, you’ll have it a little easier. Why do you think I’m here?
But seriously, Dallas is a different market than San Francisco or Miami. The companies here are more enterprise and B2B in general. While they want UX professionals to be creative and innovative, they do want people that will fit in the culture of the team and organization. You’ll see a little more simplicity in the UX designer resumes.
My resume for example, is a little more traditional, but it still has a little flare compared to the market.
The color and font choices are deliberate to align with my portfolio (more on these in the future).
Hopefully that gets your mental wheels turning. One more piece of advice, get some objective set of eyes on it. Especially after you spend a lot of time staring at it.
Once you have your sparkling new resume done, post a link in the comments or email it to me. I’d love to see what you came up with!
Need more inspiration?
Check out these resources from around the web:
20 Cool Resume & CV Designs via Ultralinx
50 Awesome Resume Designs That Will Bag The Job via Hong Kiat
45 Creative Resumes To Seize Attention via Hong Kiat
27 Beautiful Résumé Designs You’ll Want To Steal via BuzzFeed
50 Creative Resume Designs of Year 2014 via The Neo Design