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UXPA2019 First impressions: How to design your resume and craft a killer portfolio that will get you that interview

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It may seem obvious, but the design of your resume and portfolio convey far more about your user experience skills and design aesthetic than you know. And you’d be surprised at what you’re saying to employers that you don’t intend to. In this talk, we’ll give you actionable steps you can take immediately to dramatically improve the design of your resume and your portfolio as well as tips on how to present it once you get the interview.
As hiring managers, we’ve seen hundreds of UX resumes and thousands of work samples. And to be honest, we are giving this talk as much for ourselves as for you. We want you to know what we’re looking for. We want you to succeed.

In this talk we’ll cover three areas:

The design and content for your resume
The design and content for your portfolio
Presentation tips once you get the interview

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UXPA2019 First impressions: How to design your resume and craft a killer portfolio that will get you that interview

  1. 1. CRAFTING YOUR UX RESUME AND DESIGNING YOUR PORTFOLIO Jen McGinn Director of User Experience, CloudHealth by VMware Bob Thomas Director of User Research, Liberty Mutual
  2. 2. 2 @jenmcginn @bobthomas #UXPA2019 June 26, 2019
  3. 3. 3 @jenmcginn @bobthomas #UXPA2019 June 26, 2019
  4. 4. 4 @jenmcginn @bobthomas #UXPA2019 June 26, 2019
  5. 5. 5 @jenmcginn @bobthomas #UXPA2019 June 26, 2019
  6. 6. 6 @jenmcginn @bobthomas #UXPA2019 June 26, 2019
  7. 7. 7 @jenmcginn @bobthomas #UXPA2019 June 26, 2019
  8. 8. 8 @jenmcginn @bobthomas #UXPA2019 June 26, 2019
  9. 9. 9 @jenmcginn @bobthomas #UXPA2019 June 26, 2019
  10. 10. 10 @jenmcginn @bobthomas #UXPA2019 June 26, 2019
  11. 11. 11 @jenmcginn @bobthomas #UXPA2019 June 26, 2019
  12. 12. 12 @jenmcginn @bobthomas #UXPA2019 June 26, 2019
  13. 13. 13 @jenmcginn @bobthomas #UXPA2019 June 26, 2019 https://blog.prototypr.io/5-secrets-to-design-an-excellent- ux-designer-resume-and-get-hired-981628826946 Reasons to reject a candidate • Objective doesn’t match job description • Cover letter is for a different job • Job hopping • Too many pages • Inconsistent typesetting • Sloppy design • Typos • Poor grammar • Bad writing • Poorly designed portfolio website • Lousy portfolio Resume Content Resume Format Writing Portfolio
  14. 14. THE RESUME Goal: get the recruiter to call you
  15. 15. 15 @jenmcginn @bobthomas #UXPA2019 June 26, 2019 Do some competitive analysis
  16. 16. 16 @jenmcginn @bobthomas #UXPA2019 June 26, 2019 Google “great UX resume”
  17. 17. 17 @jenmcginn @bobthomas #UXPA2019 June 26, 2019 Resume tips • Find examples of resumes that align with your design aesthetic • Buy and modify a template that you like • Know your fonts • Do not borrow the design of your friend or colleague (that just sounds lazy. because it is.) • Secret: you do not need to have EVERY qualification in the job description
  18. 18. 18 @jenmcginn @bobthomas #UXPA2019 June 26, 2019
  19. 19. 19 @jenmcginn @bobthomas #UXPA2019 June 26, 2019 Resume content • Name, contact email, phone number, portfolio link, link to blog (if you write one) • Objective/summary needs to align with the job you are applying for • Job titles, companies, dates of employment all need to be clear and in order (don’t confuse the recruiter) • Include relevant education & coursework • Should be consistent with your LinkedIn profile
  20. 20. 21 @jenmcginn @bobthomas #UXPA2019 June 26, 2019 Resume content • All signal, no noise • Tell the truth • “responsibilities included” -> Challenge – Actions – Results • Focus on what you do at work, not what you do outside of work • “Lead” vs. “Led” • Typos! (get proof-readers)
  21. 21. 22 @jenmcginn @bobthomas #UXPA2019 June 26, 2019 Resume design • One to two pages • Layout is well organized • Advanced organizers/titles/groups • Descriptions should be brief and scannable • Use Gestalt principles – alignment matters • Sufficient white space • Sufficient contrast between type and background
  22. 22. 24 @jenmcginn @bobthomas #UXPA2019 June 26, 2019 Resume design • Clean, readable font • Use color intentionally and sparingly • Use images and photos cautiously • A gradient drop-shadow logo is not going to get you a UX job • If you use a photo: • Take out the background or have a head shot taken for this purpose • Use the same photo as you have on LinkedIn • The interviewer should be able to recognize you in person from the picture
  23. 23. 25 @jenmcginn @bobthomas #UXPA2019 June 26, 2019 Resume design
  24. 24. 27 @jenmcginn @bobthomas #UXPA2019 June 26, 2019 Resources 5 Secrets to Design an Excellent UX Designer Resume and Get Hired: https://blog.prototypr.io/5-secrets-to-design- an-excellent-ux-designer-resume-and-get-hired- 981628826946 How to design your own resume: https://uxdesign.cc/how- to-design-your-resumes-3b86ff7d9f76 10 Amazing Designer Resumes that Passed Google’s Bar https://medium.com/@bestfolios/10-amazing-designer- resumes-that-passed-googles-bar-deedb315ec47
  25. 25. THE PORTFOLIO Goal: get the interview by showing you can do the job
  26. 26. 29 @jenmcginn @bobthomas #UXPA2019 June 26, 2019 Do some competitive analysis
  27. 27. 30 @jenmcginn @bobthomas #UXPA2019 June 26, 2019 Google “great UX portfolio”
  28. 28. 31 @jenmcginn @bobthomas #UXPA2019 June 26, 2019 Portfolio tips • All the design tips from creating your resume, PLUS • It’s a website, not a dropbox, not a google drive, not paper in your hand (could be a slideshare) • Use a website template that aligns with your design aesthetic • Customize it yourself • Or get help from someone with web dev skills and/or visual design skills • If you use a vendor’s portfolio site, be sure you love their UX
  29. 29. 32 @jenmcginn @bobthomas #UXPA2019 June 26, 2019 Portfolio content • All signal, no noise • Name, contact email, link to blog • PDF resume • About me • Photo • can be more personal or creative than your headshot • How you define yourself • Skills/work summary • Design/research philosophy • 2 paragraphs, max
  30. 30. 33 @jenmcginn @bobthomas #UXPA2019 June 26, 2019 Portfolio content: work samples • Zoom out, blur areas, use fake data to protect your previous employers and their customers • No proprietary information • No customer names • No slides marked proprietary or Confidential or Internal Only • No user research results • Tell a story: beginning, middle, end • Design: before, during, after • Research: Goal/challenge, method, impact
  31. 31. 34 @jenmcginn @bobthomas #UXPA2019 June 26, 2019 My Portfolio Piece I designed this. The End. Emphasizing Process Only Step 1: I did this Step 2: Then I did this Step 3: And this is the final design. Ta da! All Text, All the Time Lots of text, no headings
  32. 32. 35 @jenmcginn @bobthomas #UXPA2019 June 26, 2019 Portfolio design • Work samples should be labeled and organized by type of work • The URL should make sense to the recruiter/hiring manager • Your name • Easy navigation • No “creative” interactions • Piles of images • Non-clickable buttons • Giant fonts • Mobile layout on the web • Animated logos
  33. 33. 36 @jenmcginn @bobthomas #UXPA2019 June 26, 2019 Resources 10 Tips for a killer UX portfolio: https://blog.usejournal.com/10-tips-for-a-killer-ux-portfolio-c918ae5ccb50 Three tips for creating a better UX portfolio: https://www.interaction- design.org/literature/article/three-tips-for-creating-a-better-ux-portfolio Great UX Portfolios: https://www.slideshare.net/MaryWharmby/great-ux-portfolios-39212601 How to wow me with your UX research portfolio: https://www.userfocus.co.uk/articles/wow-me-with-your-ux-portfolio.html 8 UX Mistakes To Avoid On Your UX Portfolio Website: https://hackernoon.com/8-ux- mistakes-to-avoid-on-your-ux-portfolio-website-4d6dd437cf21 UX Portfolios: How to tell your story: https://www.slideshare.net/usabilitycounts/ux- portfolios-how-to-tell-your-story
  34. 34. THE PORTFOLIO REVIEW Goal: demonstrate to the team that you can do the job
  35. 35. 38 @jenmcginn @bobthomas #UXPA2019 June 26, 2019 Portfolio review content • Curate: Tell a few good stories from your portfolio • 3 to 5 things that you are proud of • Story has 3 parts: • beginning, middle, end • challenge, action, results
  36. 36. 39 @jenmcginn @bobthomas #UXPA2019 June 26, 2019 Portfolio review design • Do you re-use your portfolio site? What if you can’t get on the wifi? • Slides – another opportunity to show your information design skills and design aesthetic • Keep it clean and simple • Love the slide template you use • If you have visual design skills, use them • If you have photography skills, use them
  37. 37. 40 @jenmcginn @bobthomas #UXPA2019 June 26, 2019 During the presentation • Know how to work your computer • We all get nervous • Let the portfolio be the only thing open and on the desktop • Bring a dongle if you’ll need one • Bring a backup (or two) • What will you do if there’s no wifi? • What will you do if you have to use another person’s system?
  38. 38. 41 @jenmcginn @bobthomas #UXPA2019 June 26, 2019 During the presentation • Manage your time effectively • Talk about your work, not about the product • Be the expert on your work • Make eye contact with everyone • Answer questions that are asked • Consider the feedback being offered
  39. 39. 42 @jenmcginn @bobthomas #UXPA2019 June 26, 2019 Interview tips • Be friendly • Be enthusiastic about your work, the role, the company • Ask questions about the role, what it’s like to work there • At the end • Ask what the next steps are • Ask for feedback • Write thank-you notes or emails
  40. 40. THANK YOU! @jenmcginn Jen McGinn Director of User Experience, CloudHealth by VMware @bobthomas Bob Thomas Director of User Research, Liberty Mutual

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