User experience design (UXD) lets you use your creativity, research skills and technological expertise to shape how others view the world. If you want to excel at building your UX resume, be prepared to impress employers with new ways to solve problems. You also need a skill set that’s grounded in UX fundamentals, yet shows synergistic capability.
Put another way, compelling UX resumes showcase your talents and tell your story in a way that makes prospective employers eager to learn more about you. Here's how a single sheet of paper can make a big impression.
Start With a Blank Slate.
Think of your UXD resume as a design challenge and a story that needs telling. You want to create something that looks visually stunning. White space, balance and column alignment are important.
If you're going to use multiple fonts, do so sparingly. It's better to create continuity by using the same typeface with different weights—bold for job titles, italics for your resume summary statement—than to create visual distraction. The same is true for color. The use of a single contrasting color, properly balanced, has visual appeal. Using more than one color change is probably overdoing it.
The element of storytelling is also essential. UX design is an adaptive field, building on the experience of designers who have come before you. When you first start drafting your UX resume, think about how your experiences and skills position you to move the industry forward. Not sure how to bring it all together? Grab a sketchbook and plan the layout before you start to write the content.
First Impressions Matter, So Master the Basics.
Your UX resume should be no more than a single page. Be clear and concise. Choose your words carefully so that they have the greatest impact. Weed out jobs and experiences that don't have direct relevance to your UX design journey.
Make absolutely certain that everything is spelled correctly, using proper grammar and punctuation. Ask a trusted friend or colleague to review your resume carefully.
Read your resume aloud and ask your friend to do the same. If you find yourself stumbling over phrases, rewrite them. Removing unnecessary adverbs like “really” and “closely” will elevate the simplicity and clarity of your language.
Delineate Your Skills, Talents and Experiences.
Your resume should have a top-down structure, but it's not necessary to work in a strictly linear sequence. If you take a look through enough sample UX design resumes1, you'll notice that many UX designers use columns to create organizational structure. Often, one column explains who you are (skills, tools, awards, proficiency with other languages), while the other details your work experience.
Be sure you include these categories:
Name and contact information Put your name, current title and contact information at the top. The resume summary statement, if you decide to have one, goes underneath.
Experience This is where you list relevant jobs, internships and projects. Start your list with the most recent experience and work your way down. Include the employer's name, start and end dates, and location. Underneath the recent experience information, craft a brief description of your responsibilities.
Education As with "Experience," put your most recent educational credential first, including the name of the institution, the degree awarded (or to be awarded), and the dates.
Awards, Skills and/or Tools, and Other Languages These headers round out a solid UX design resume
The distinction between "skills" and "tools" can be subtle. Is Adobe Creative Suite a tool, or is it a skill? Ultimately, you get to decide.
You have some creative latitude in the way to title your headings. It’s a chance to flex your UX muscle. One of the most effective ways to stand out is to make creative, yet unobtrusive, changes to common headings. Instead of "skills," try "competency." "Awards" might become "recognitions." These subtle differences help get hiring managers’ attention and allow them to focus on what is unique about your story.
Include the Skills That Get You Noticed. Don’t Forget the Keywords.
Employers aren’t just looking for software proficiency. They also want employees who have strong communication, leadership and presentation skills.2 It’s important to highlight any opportunities you have had to mentor others or present work to senior stakeholders.
Note your collaboration opportunities, research experience, content writing and data reduction. You should also list all directly relevant UX design skills, including coding, wireframing, storyboarding, 3D modeling and printing, prototyping, and sketching/rendering.
When listing skills and crafting job descriptions, consider that the job recruiter might be using an applicant tracking system, which is designed to search for relevant keywords in your application. The best way to get hits is to use the job ad as your guide, using words and phrases directly from the ad when applicable.
It's okay to list skills that you have, but haven't completely mastered. The hiring manager is more interested in how your skill set comes together than whether you are proficient in every single application.3
Take It to the Next Level With Storytelling.
As you pare down your skills and experience to streamlined brevity, never stop thinking about story arcs. Ultimately, your resume shouldn't just be a static list of achievements. It should be a coherent narrative that explains how your experience has been a journey that led you to UX design.
Make Your Resume Stand Out.
Transform user experiences and leverage digital spaces of all kinds for effective brand-building with the skills you need to be a UX designer. One of the most affordable fully online UXD programs in the country, the online Master of Science in User Experience Design at Kent State will provide you with a comprehensive UXD curriculum and practical real-world opportunities to build a robust digital portfolio.
1 Retrieved on June 4, 2020 from casestudy.club/journal/ux-designer-resume
2 Retrieved on June 4, 2020 from usabilitygeek.com/what-recruiters-wish-ux-design-applicants-knew-before-applying/
3 Retrieved on June 4, 2020 from monster.com/career-advice/article/how-to-use-keywords-resume-0916#:~:text=Sprinkle%20keywords%20throughout,can%20be%20a%20red%20flag