What are UX Resumes?
UX resumes are concise overviews in which designers summarize their work experience, education, skills and other relevant information to entice recruiters to hire them. To maximize their credibility and appeal, designers fine-tune their resumes for exact roles and include carefully crafted cover letters and portfolios.
“You may be thrown out of consideration for a position before being properly evaluated as a candidate because of common usability issues with your resume.”
—Ray Sensenbach, Product designer at Inductive Automation
UX Resumes are Windows into Designers’ Worlds
When looking for jobs in user experience (UX) design, designers should approach recruiters with three documents: UX cover letters, UX portfolios and UX resumes. A common misconception is that a UX portfolio will do the job of a UX resume (or CV)—if not do even better—because a portfolio should have more extensive content (e.g., case studies). However, the value of UX resumes is that recruiters don’t have to invest as much time in reading them. Instead, UX resumes—like resumes in other industries—should serve as quick reference points that showcase what you have to offer. Your challenge when creating your UX resume is to design a user-friendly document that appropriately promotes you as a valuable potential contributor to an organization. Because recruiters typically wade through many applications, you need a resume that’s easy on the eye and credible, has great usability and distinguishes you within moments. Therefore, you must fine-tune the most appropriate, concise, believable and impressive representation of:
- Who you are;
- What you do and have done;
- Where you studied, when and the results achieved; and
- What you have to offer.
When they look to fill UX roles, recruiters typically base their decision to contact applicants on well-crafted portfolios. Nevertheless, your UX resume is a vital bridge between your cover letter and portfolio as they scan to see if you’re a strong candidate. As with your other materials, you should adapt your resume to match the specific role.
How to Craft a Powerful UX Resume
After carefully reading the recruiter’s specifications, you should include everything they request in your resume. This typically includes:
- Personal details: Your name, job title (if appropriate) and contact information (e.g., email).
- Your photo: In a professional environment or a LinkedIn-style headshot picture.
- Work experience: Your current and previous jobs listed in reverse chronological order (latest first). Only include relevant roles (though some non-UX activities can show valuable personality traits – e.g., skydiving).
- Education: Only university/college/vocational-school-level achievements.
- A self-write-up: A brief professional summary of yourself. Highlight achievements in a few, objectively worded sentences that tell your story.
- Your skills and tools: If you have niche skills (e.g., in UX research) or are skilled in a broad range of UX tools, declare them but prioritize your skills.
- Relevant miscellany: Mention any experience you can leverage – e.g.,
- Teaching experience;
- Fluency in another language;
- Authoring of UX articles on (e.g.) Medium;
- Relevant achievements as a volunteer/hobbyist.
- A link to your LinkedIn profile: Recruiters consult LinkedIn to learn more about applicants. So, ensure your resume is consistent with your LinkedIn presence. You can create a viable (if generic-looking) resume using LinkedIn if you:
- Go to your profile;
- Click on the “More…” button; and
- Select “Save to PDF”.
Recruiters often use bots to scan resumes, so you should include valuable key words.
Additional Considerations for UX Resumes
Overall, your resume is a story summarizing an impressive image of yourself like your achievements should speak for themselves. The words you choose portray your attitude. So, convince recruiters that you’re a powerhouse without openly declaring so, but show you know the value you can bring them. Credibility is all-important, and your resume should lead users (recruiters) to a call to action (to examine your portfolio) just like anything else you design would.
Fingers Crossed Icon - Author/Copyright holder: Vincent Le Moign. Copyright terms and licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
Learn More about UX Resumes
Take our UX Portfolio course to see how to tweak your resume: https://www.interaction-design.org/courses/How-to-create-a-UX-portfolio
UX designer and entrepreneur Sarah Doody offers a wealth of tips and insights on creating your UX resume: https://dribbble.com/stories/2019/10/14/how-to-design-your-ux-resume
Case Study Club has a list of 21 great UX resumes: https://www.casestudy.club/journal/ux-designer-resume
See more UX resume samples: https://medium.com/@bestfolios/10-amazing-designer-resumes-that-passed-googles-bar-deedb315ec47
Ray Sensenbach offers valuable points on UX resumes: https://uxdesign.cc/designing-an-effective-ui-ux-resume-6ea24d6dd23f
Literature on UX Resumes
Here’s the entire UX literature on UX Resumes by the Interaction Design Foundation, collated in one place:
Learn more about UX Resumes
Take a deep dive into UX Resumes with our course How to Create a UX Portfolio .
Did you know the average UX recruiter spends less than 5 minutes skimming through your UX portfolio? If you want to join the growing and well-paid field of UX design, not only do you need a UX portfolio—you’ll need a great UX portfolio that showcases relevant skills and knowledge. Your UX portfolio will help you get your first job interviews and freelance clients, and it will also force you to stay relevant in your UX career. In other words, no matter what point you’re at in your UX career, you’re going to need a UX portfolio that’s in tip-top condition.
So, how do you build an enticing UX portfolio, especially if you’ve got no prior experience in UX design? Well, that’s exactly what you’ll learn in this course! You’ll cover everything so you can start from zero and end up with an incredible UX portfolio. For example, you’ll walk through the various UX job roles, since you can’t begin to create your portfolio without first understanding which job role you want to apply for! You’ll also learn how to create your first case studies for your portfolio even if you have no prior UX design work experience. You’ll even learn how to navigate non-disclosure agreements and create visuals for your UX case studies.
By the end of this practical, how to oriented course, you’ll have the skills needed to create your personal online UX portfolio site and PDF UX portfolio. You’ll receive tips and insights from recruiters and global UX design leads from SAP, Oracle and Google to give you an edge over your fellow candidates. You’ll learn how to craft your UX case studies so they’re compelling and relevant, and you’ll also learn how to engage recruiters through the use of Freytag’s dramatic structure and 8 killer tips to write effectively. What’s more, you’ll get to download and keep more than 10 useful templates and samples that will guide you closely as you craft your UX portfolio. To sum it up, if you want to create a UX portfolio and land your first job in the industry, this is the course for you!