The highly competitive nature of the UX industry can make it seem challenging when looking for and securing a new job, especially with frequent reports of lay-offs from big tech companies.
So how do you make your UX designer resume stand out?!
We spoke to several highly regarded UX professionals and hiring managers to get their take on what’s needed to craft a winning UX designer resume. They shared the do’s, don’ts, and top tips to make your resume stand out in a competitive job market.
Whether you’re a seasoned UX professional or just starting in the industry, this article will help you create an impactful resume that showcases your skills and experience.
What you need to know to craft a winning UX designer resume
There are a few key elements to consider when creating a well-crafted UX designer resume. To get started, we've compiled the top four questions to consider according to our panel of UX professionals and hiring managers.
What information should you include in your resume?
A resume is as equally iterative as a design project. You should continue to tweak and change elements of your resume over time. Take the following cues from our panel of experts to review your resume.
Every resume needs to contain certain key elements of information. These are your non-negotiables and, according to Dan Winer, Head of Design at Smile.io, include:
A link to your portfolio or somewhere we can see some examples of your work.
A summary of who you are, what motivates you, and what makes you stand out.
Relevant work experience, starting with your most recent jobs. For each job: the company, employment dates, your role, and what you achieved there.
Skills, (higher) education, certifications, and awards can be good to include as well but not a deal-breaker.
While each section of your resume holds its own importance, Matthew Warzel, President of the resume writing firm, MJW Careers, LLC, emphasizes the significance of having a well-written summary section. “It's the first section that a hiring manager sees, so you want to make the most positive impression possible. WOW them!”
He continues to advise that your summary should be a single paragraph, about 3–5 sentences in length, that “captures the best of what you have to offer an employer.” Here’s how Matthew suggests breaking it down:
Sentence 1 (who you are): Overview statement including years of experience and career focus.
Sentences 2-3 (what you can achieve): Results you can accomplish for a company.
Sentences 4-5 (how you can achieve it): Your unique skill sets or areas of expertise.
How should I format my UX designer resume?
While the look of your resume can be a great way to showcase your personality, there are some essential considerations to keep in mind.
“Large headshots that overshadow content and infographic-style skills sections that were made popular recently should be avoided,” shares Kelly Jura, Vice President of Brand and User Experience at ScreenPal.
“Remember, your resume should be clean, thoughtfully designed, and include only relevant information. Your website gives you more of an opportunity to showcase design and delight your viewers.”
When it comes to the addition of color, Matthew Warzel advocates using a little color in your resume, specifically gray, dark gray or dark blue. This works as a great technique to draw the reader’s eye to key points of interest.
What information should I prioritize on my UX designer resume?
When marketing yourself through your resume, it's easy to feel overwhelmed with the amount of information you want to convey in order to secure a job. However, an information hierarchy can help you effectively organize your information.
“In the early stages of an application, a hiring manager will spend less than 1 minute on your resume. Use that time strategically: focus on the aspects of previous roles that were most relevant and the most impactful demonstrations of UX expertise,” shares Zoë Glas, Senior UX Researcher at Google.
“Make it easy for them to see clear connections between your past work (even if it’s not UX) and what you’re applying for.”
When organizing your information hierarchy, take time to tailor your resume to the specific job. This may include reprioritizing your skills so the most relevant sit at the top.
When highlighting these key skills, include “your experience with user research, prototyping, wireframing, and usability testing,” shares Shirley Borg, Head of Human Resources at Energy Casino. “It's also important to highlight experiences where you worked with cross-functional teams, provided presentations to stakeholders, or facilitated user testing sessions. This demonstrates your ability to collaborate and communicate effectively, which are highly valued skills in the field of UX design.”
How many pages should a UX designer resume be?
This is a common question when it comes to resume writing and, according to the insights from our panel, the answer is one to two pages. “Make your resume scannable, clear and concise,” shares Emilie Mazurek, Senior UX Designer at VEERUM. “I'm a big fan of keeping it to one page unless you have 10+ years of relevant industry experience.”
According to Anthony, Founder of the career advice site HQhire, resumes “should be within two pages, with the junior position being one page, and for the senior position a maximum of two pages.”
If your resume goes beyond two pages, take the time to edit it with an objective eye, focussing on what information is critical for you to secure the job. “Don't talk about your inspiration or include any fluff that is not related to the job you do as a UX designer. Go straight to the point and make your resume clear and concise,” adds Anthony.
The do’s and don’ts of a UX designer resumes
To help craft a winning resume, we asked our panel of UX professionals and hiring managers to share their do’s and definite don’ts.
The do’s of UX designer resumes
It can be a slippery slope when embellishing details of your work experience. Don't forget that throughout the screening process and, hopefully, interview, the information on your resume will need to be supported and, in some cases, demonstrated.
“Be cautious of temptation to make it ‘too easy’ – a resume still must be honest. If your title wasn't UX design, don’t claim it to be. While this might get you through an automated resume checker easier, it won’t get you through the interviews, and could have negative repercussions on how you are perceived down the road.”
– Zoë Glas
Measure impact, not input
Zoë emphasizes the importance of measuring the impact, not just input, of your work. Hiring managers want to see evidence of how you’ve made a difference.
“Impact is the result of what you did for your product, team, org, or even your discipline. Often, it shows up as the ‘why’ of a project – why it was important, why it mattered, or why you’re continuing to invest in it.”
“Input is the methods you used to get there – the journeys you mapped, prototypes you made, or people you partnered with. Input only tells me you did a thing, impact tells me you did it well,” adds Zoë.
This is further backed by Dan Winer, who offered an example of how to showcase your impact with the equation of “Accomplished [X], as measured by [Y], by doing [Z]."
“For example, instead of writing: 'Responsible for redesigning the onboarding,' write: 'Using a combination of funnel analysis, session recordings, and usability testing, I redesigned the onboarding flow, increasing subscription rates by 12%,',” he adds.
Keep it consistent and error-free
These days, it should be close to impossible to have spelling or grammar mistakes in your final resume. Numerous Chrome extensions, free grammar software, and even artificial intelligence writing tools are all available to help you.
“Don’t mix first and third person, present and past tense, and check for spelling and grammatical errors. Design roles require a high level of attention to detail, so try to demonstrate that in your resume.”
– Dan Winer
Be open to asking others to provide a sense check on your resume. “If you have a mentor or industry peer, have them review for content and tone. Don't forget to run your resume through grammar and spell check to prevent embarrassing errors,” shares Kelly Jura.
The don’ts of UX designer resumes
Avoid misrepresenting your work
There’s no need to embellish or exaggerate your resume, even at the start of your career. Keeping honest will give your new team a clear understanding of what skills you bring to the table when you start your new job.
“If you did project work as an experiment or in school, but not for the company, say that. ‘Mock work’ is still a hugely valuable exercise and can demonstrate skill and interest in learning, but representing it as though it was real work is dishonest,” shares Zoë.
“Further, it demonstrates a lack of understanding of the true complexity of UX, where working with others is an imperative part of our success.”
Steer clear of tangents
Stick to having a two-page limit. By doing this, you'll be able to keep your resume short, concise, and pertinent.
“Avoid including a lot of detail about experiences that aren’t highly relevant to the role you are applying for or happened a long time ago. In my experience, I only really care about the last two roles. After that, list them out but don’t bother going into much detail.”
– Dan Winer
Dan also emphasizes the importance of not solely focusing on technical skills in the experience section of your resume. Ensure you highlight interpersonal skills as well. "Talk about things, like who you collaborated with, running workshops, problem-solving, and communication skills.”
Avoid using technical jargon
While you’ll need to use some industry jargon, ensure your resume is easy to read and understand for anyone, regardless of their experience in UX.
Shirley Borg sees this mistake commonly. “While it's important to showcase your technical skills, it's equally important to communicate your ideas and experiences in a way that is clear and accessible to all readers.”
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4 top tips to make your UX designer resume stand out
In today's highly competitive job market, make the first impression of your resume count. Here are the top four tips advised by UX professionals to make your UX designer resume stand out so you can land your dream job.
Tell a story
Senior UX Researcher Zoë Glas offers this advice to help you get noticed. “Standing out, regardless of where you are in your career, is rarely a matter of specific skills – it’s a matter of storytelling. A great storyteller brings a team together and drives progress and understanding towards a user-centric vision.”
“If there is one question you should ask yourself while reviewing your own resume, it’s this: ‘What story am I telling here, do I like the narrative, and would I read this book?’”
This advice applies to various UX fields. For more specialized tips on crafting a successful UX researcher resume, stay tuned for Zoë's upcoming Medium article for more detailed insights.
Tailor your resume
Take the time to read the job description and customize your resume to highlight skills that match. If your strategy is email-blasting a generic version of your resume, then you're wasting your time, and that of the hiring manager.
“Sometimes you can really tell that a candidate has tailored their resume to the job description by talking about their experiences in a way that is highly relevant to the requirements mentioned in the job posting. That really makes the application stand out,” shares Dan Winer.
Optimize for Applicant Tracking Systems (APS)
If applying to larger companies, consider that your resume might end up getting parsed by an ATS. Dan adds the following steps to help your resume get approved through this process:
Follow a simple layout, avoiding multiple columns, graphics, and tables.
Include keywords and phrases from the job description. ATS systems can scan for them to see if you’re a good match.
Use typical section headings that the system is expecting, like Experience, Education, and Skills.
Strike a balance between creativity and clarity
According to Shirley Borg, an immediate red flag is a cluttered or confusing resume, so spend time finding the sweet spot between creativity and clarity. She adds, “A well-designed and visually appealing resume can demonstrate a candidate's creativity and attention to detail, which are essential qualities for a UX designer.”
What to include in your resume when you’re new to UX design
As a newcomer to the UX design world, it can be challenging to know what to include and how to structure your resume without much, if any, prior industry experience. So how can you stand out to potential employers? We asked our experts to share their tips and advice on how to showcase your skills and abilities, even if you don’t have extensive work experience.
According to Dan Winer, “It’s a tough market for new designers at the moment, as tough as it’s ever been.” However, even without much professional design experience, there are still plenty of elements to include in your resume, including “Relevant courses and training, transferable skills, side projects or personal work, and any volunteer work or internships.”
Senior UX designer, Emilie Mazurek, offers examples of giving your skills and past experiences a UX makeover. “For example, Waitress - ‘served 6 table sections, food and drink’ vs. ‘listened to customer needs and created the ultimate guest experience for over 50 customers on a daily basis’."
If you're unsure about what skills are transferable to a UX design role, don't hesitate to reach out to recruiters for guidance. Tech recruiters are industry experts and have a good understanding of the skills that their clients are seeking in potential hires. They can also help you identify transferable skills within your current work experience so you can tailor your resume accordingly.
Matthew Warzel adds, “Recruiters cannot help you if you, nor they, know what you want to do. Most people have skills and experience that can transfer nicely to another industry or job. The key is knowing how those skills reasonably transfer, and what sort of value they bring to the prospective employer.”
At the end of the day, everyone has to start somewhere. “Resumes are stressful – often, they feel like the only thing we can truly control in a confusing, frustrating hiring process. But, as much as possible, don’t stress too much,” shares Zoe.
“To make a fishing analogy, your resume is a hook. It’s an imperative part of landing a job, but it is not enough on its own. Everything else – networking, interviews, presentations – will ultimately be the things that land the job.
“Which is to say this: make your resume as good as possible, but do not spend forever on it. The perfect resume does not exist. Ensure you have a full tackle box of everything else.”
What do hiring managers look for when recruiting?
By understanding the priorities and expectations of hiring managers, you can increase your chances of landing your dream job in UX design.
It's not only about having the necessary skills and experience but also being able to present yourself in the best way possible on your resume and during the interview process.
When speaking with Kelly Jura about what she looks for during the hiring process she shared, “I prefer to understand skills and methodology over tools when reviewing resumes and conducting interviews. Tools change over time, and I am confident that good UX designers and researchers can learn any software/tools.
“Do your research. You should have a baseline understanding of the company, what they offer, and its core audience. It shows when someone personalizes their resume based on the job description and company,” advises Kelly.
“Conversations are also more natural when you are prepared and understand the job, the company, and the person conducting the interview.”
Human Resources Director at Family Destinations Guide, Bonnie Whitfield, prioritizes examples of problem-solving skills, a characteristic that’s crucial to the UX discipline. “A UX designer should be able to identify problems and come up with creative and innovative solutions to address them. They should be able to think critically, analyze data, and collaborate with cross-functional teams to deliver successful projects,” shares Bonnie.
3 UX designer resume examples to spark inspiration
Resumes, much like designs, can be subjective and require iteration. Ultimately, it's important to feel confident in how your resume represents you when applying for UX design roles.
“Your resume should not be a perfect representation of everything you did in a role. Not only would this take a ton of space, but it also may not highlight the right skills.”
– Zoe Glas
We gathered some of the best UX designer resume examples to help inspire and guide you. These examples showcase a range of styles and approaches that have successfully caught the attention of hiring managers in the industry.
Emme's summary at the top of her resume provides an excellent introduction for the hiring manager to quickly grasp who they are and what they bring to the table. The format is easy to navigate and presents a clear picture of their skills and achievements.
Yingyu Lui has expressed more of their personality with pops of color and fonts to help differentiate the information. The content is organized in an easy-to-follow manner, with concise details under the experience section.
Shavonne, a newcomer to the UX industry, has created a well-crafted resume that showcases their achievements and projects to date. Shavonne has also included links to their social media channels and website, providing the hiring manager with easy access to more information. This is a great strategy for anyone looking to make a strong impression and stand out from other applicants.
Ultimately, a successful UX designer resume is not just about listing experience and skills but also about demonstrating a strong understanding of the user experience and the ability to communicate that understanding effectively.
With the tips and advice shared by our panel of experts, you’ll be able to create a standout resume that catches the attention of hiring managers and sets you on the path to a successful career in UX design. Good luck!
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