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4 Steps to a better UX/Design resume

Post Series: UX BLOG

Recruiters and employers wade through loads of our wonderful resumes, so they don't care about your 'professional objective' or 'design commandments'. They just want the crucial info fast. Impress them by making this as easy for them as possible. Keep it short, clear, concise, factual and leave them wanting to see more. Here's four steps to maximising impact with minimised content.

1. Minimise your copy

Make it easy for them to get the info they want, but cutting yours down to factual, clear, easy-to-read and minimal copy.

Headers
keep less than five words, keep as impact statements, not whole sentences
Job Summaries
Once you’ve written your previous job summaries, reread and rewrite stripping out any fluff or unnecessary wording.
Self-marketing
Keep any self-marketing statements (e.g. Innovative, creative) to a minimum. If you have quotes from clients, or validated data that shows the benefit your work did for the company/client, then use these s quotes your resume. Quite from others are powerful and generate trust, far more than any self-marketing blah blah.
No one cares about your commandments, unless you created them as a resource for your staff to follow. Otherwise it’s just hype obviously done for a resume. Let client quotes do the marketing for you.

2. Using graphics in your resume

It’s tempting, I know. Why not show case your amazing design skills by turning your resume into an illustrated work-of-art? I think you should make it have some distinct design features, just don’t over-do it. This is a two three page document, so keep graphics subtle (E.g. if you’re using a circle, just don’t use it for every container shape). The focus should be on the important copy, and keeping this readable.

3. The Reader’s Journey - keep the reader wanting more

Keep the number of pages to a minimum – three pages, max – leave your links/calls-to-action to the end, so the reader will actually read you resume first before going to ur website.

Put just a couple of design samples in your resume as a teaser. They should make them want to go to your website after reading your resume.
Look at this journey. How does the design sample page of your resume work as a tease, and leave them wanting more, and what do does the reader see when they go from your resume to your website – is there some sense of visual and style consistency? This will show your understanding of branding.

4. Cover Letter

A cover letter should be professional and formal in style, addressing the items in the job spec, or if you’re sending your resume out to random companies who haven’t advertised a job, address the standard requirements of the role, by saying how you satisfy them. Keep it concise and factual.
You need to keep your cover letter as text in your email. Some people don’t open all attachments and you might never even be read, so don’t get try to get fancy with some graphical version of this part of your application.

A sample three-page resume

Page 1: Your job history with highlights/achievements
Watch what content your layout highlights. For example, time periods of your previous roles – this is not the most important info about your roles. Don’t have them stand alone, as this will visually highlight this information, instead of things like the title or the achievements in each role. Highlight your achievements in pull-outs, as a summary of your summary.

Page 2: Design samples and feedback – this is all about what the client got from you
Combine work samples with client quote/feedback and/or validated data that shows how you work benefits the client/company.

Page 3 (Optional): Case Study
Highlight one key project that best showcases your abilities
Keep the text to a minimum.

Finish
Finish Page 2 or 3 with your contact details again, and links to email and web.

Impress with less

Remember, less fancy-schmancy words and visual fluff. Don’t cut back on what the reader needs to know, but make every element and piece of information count, and have a reason for being there.
Look at the journey from your resume to your website, and make consistent. Let the story about you evolve, while constantly weaving it back to how you benefit the client and/or company.