UX / Design Resumes: Top Easy Fixes + Recruiter Insights | Melissa G Kim | Skillshare

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UX / Design Resumes: Top Easy Fixes + Recruiter Insights

teacher avatar Melissa G Kim, UX Designer

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

10 Lessons (26m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Jobs & Recruiters

    • 3. Content

    • 4. Format & Hierarchy

    • 5. Copy

    • 6. Versioning

    • 7. Personal Brand

    • 8. Iterate

    • 9. Remember Your User

    • 10. Practice

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About This Class

Let’s talk about Resumes, specifically for UX/Design since each industry has different quirks. Especially if you’re looking for your first UX position, it’s hard to know what information to include in your resume or how to format it. When your resume is next to twenty others, what will make yours stand out versus end up in the recycling bin? What are recruiters looking for anyway? This class is designed for anyone looking to improve their resume and increase their chances of landing an internship or job.

What to include or exclude in your resume? How should you organize your experience whether you have only a little or a lot? We’ll cover how you can design your resume with your user (recruiter) in mind. Then, we’ll cover the basics (outline, wording, personalization) and then go a little deeper into how to make your resume stand out to hiring managers.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Melissa G Kim

UX Designer


I studied Interaction Design at California College of the Arts in San Francisco. My teachers were not only working professionals in the San Francisco Bay Area, but many of them are also highly respected experts in the UX field who fly around the world to share their expertise. I learned so much from them, I want to give back to the growing UX community—that includes you!

Though "UX Designer" is my title according to my resume, in my practice I also utilize my knowledge of UX Research, Content Strategy, Information Architecture, Graphic Design, Game Design, Illustration, Animation, Cinematography, Textiles/Fashion, and more! I've done projects with Ford Motor Company, ACLU Northern California, Women Talk Design LLC, and participated in design sprints and ... See full profile

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1. Intro: My name is Melissa Kim. I'm a UX designer in the San Francisco Bay area, and today I want to talk to you about your resume. I'm pretty sure you know what a resume is, but sometimes I wonder if we forgotten why we actually make them. Before we dive into all the details, I want to remind you that resumes air often your first foot in the door to a potential opportunity. When you hand off your resume to recruiter either physically or digitally, they will use that document to determine if your portfolio is worth looking at. Because you're often competing with so many other candidates. Little or general mistakes could be the reason your resume ends up in the recycling bin. Each industry has its quirks, and UX design is no exception. What experiences should you include or exclude in your resume? How should you organize your experience? Whether you have only a little or a lot in this lesson will be focusing on the different kinds of people who are looking at your resumes and what pieces of specific content they're looking for. We'll also be talking about the actual resume. Everything from the layout to the content to strategies you can use to make your printed resume stand out. Making a resume seems pretty straightforward, but when I recently reviewed resumes for potential hires, I noticed there were a lot of common mistakes. Hopefully, this lesson will help anyone looking to improve their resume or even make their first resume. I'll include as many examples as I can. So no matter how little or how much experience you personally may have, you'll be able to put your best foot forward. See you soon. 2. Jobs & Recruiters: Let's start with the big picture you're applying to any UX design related job. Think about the stereotypical job description. It usually includes phrases like attention to detail. Creative, innovative, user centric, empathetic problem solving, design thinking, etcetera. Those are hard skills, the tools in your toolbox you have as a designer. There are also soft skills listed, like communication, collaboration, teamwork, etcetera. Pay attention to those words. How will your resume prove that you have these qualifications? Now? Let's pause for a moment. Who is looking at your resume? Different companies have different methods, depending on the size and policies, but in general there are three main types of recruiters or users, if you will artificial intelligence. For larger companies that receive thousands of applicants in a day, this is the logical choice. They can't possibly look at every single resume, so they get a machine to weed out ones that obviously don't fit. They also get the computer to highlight key words they're looking for on your resume. Recruiters use AI for other processes past just looking at your resume. But it doesn't matter if your resume doesn't get past the first screen in most situations, especially for the mid size companies, a university recruiter or general recruiter will be looking at your resume. They don't necessarily know what to look for. They won't be able to appreciate much in the content of your resume, apart from whether or not you reach the minimum requirements to pass on your resume to the product managers desk. Now the product manager is the ideal person to be looking at your resume. Here is a real person looking at your resume who has the qualifications to judge your fit in the company. They know exactly what kind of candidate they want, and they'll be checking your resume against what they're looking for. Hopefully, the job description you've seen will be true to what they're asking for. But that's not always the case in general. The best thing is to get your resume into the hands of a product manager through your connections, and ideally, your connections would also give you tips on what exactly the role is about. At the end of the day, you can't control who sees your resume, but you can control the content. You should have several versions of your resume focusing different skills that are more specific to certain companies. For example, if you're applying to a strictly traditional you I design role, they're going to be looking for that on your resume. It's probably not a good time to bring up your Children's book illustration. Experience. You can only put a few things on your resume, so choose the ones that best match the job you're applying to. 3. Content: as documents resumes, can be broken up into three main sections. Who you are and how to contact you Skills and experience. Each of these can be broken down into sub categories of information, but it all depends on how much you want to put out there. I'll do a brief overview of content based on mistakes I've seen in the past. If you don't already have a resume that you've been using, open up any text editor and start typing the information you want to include. You can also use the document I've uploaded called Resume text draft. I've also left some instructions and examples for you in the document. For now, don't worry about the format or the length of the info. You'll have time to make it perfect later. And if this information doesn't end up making it on your resume, you can always make sure that it ends up on Lincoln for who you are. You'll want to put your full name or nickname, your title and short summary of what you do or what your goal is. Your location and your contact info, professional email and or phone. Most people remember to put their name and an email. But let's talk about why you should put the other pieces of content there. Title or summary goal. You may not have an internship or job yet, but you should put either a title or a few words summary of what kind of work you do. For example, UX designer could be my title, and my goal or summary could include what my focus is our Beit storytelling psychology or something else. This will help recruiters immediately grasp what kind of candidate they're looking at. Don't make it too difficult for them. Location. Location can let the recruiter know right away where you're based. If you're in a major U X location like the San Francisco Bay Area, this can reflect positively on you. In general, this just lets the locals know that you're nearby. And sometimes let's recruiters and other states know that you're at the center of the action. Or you might ask for a relocation bonus, and the end location is not that important. So if you feel like you can't fit it in your resume, don't worry about it. Professional email. If you don't have a professional email yet, you should make one I am still surprised by how many students use their school or personal email, which often includes random numbers and isn't easy to remember. Don't make it long or complicated. It could be just your name or related to what you do. If you have a common name, you could also make your own domain, which gives you a little bit more flexibility. These pieces of information belong together. Don't try to get fancy and put them in different places. Yes, I have seen people put their email address or their portfolio somewhere else. If you make it too difficult for the recruiter to find what they're looking for, that's just one more reason to toss your resume in the bin. Skills could be subdivided into three parts, depending on how much space you have and what your qualifications are, what you do, what you use and languages. Use the most popular industry name for your skills and tools, and don't be shy to include language skills. Just don't be too thorough. For example, you could separate Adobe Sweet into individual tools, or you could simply type Adobe CC to save space. This also includes types of coding or prototyping software experience can be subdivided into numerous sections. Depending on how much you have for each experience you list, you should list your title or role, the company or organization, how long you were there and a short description of what you accomplished in general. You'll want to list your experiences in chronological order with your most recent experience at the top. At this time, I'll put this list up for you to look at. Take the time to pause this video and type of all the experiences you've had so far that could potentially make it on your resume. Education, design related extracurriculars, awards or other recognition, Non design extracurriculars or cool projects that highlight your abilities. Are accomplishments in practice done? How long has your document is it barely a page? Is it multiple pages? Don't worry. Let's go back through it all and make sure you have the right information and haven't for gotten anything. Education. If you're still a student, you may consider putting your undergrad and grad experiences in a separate category as well . Some companies only offer internships to students, so they want to see if you even qualify right away. Type the name of your college, your major and the date you've graduated. If you haven't graduated yet, make sure you put pending or expected May 2019 or another equivalent design experience. Of course, you'll want to list all your design experiences so far, like internships or jobs. This can also include your involvement in hackathons design sprints, teacher assistant work, voluntary activities like teaching design courses on skill share. Any design related, volunteer or paid position can be put in this bucket. No, If you don't have much experience, you could create a new section called Projects. There You can showcase your best, most relevant projects that might apply to the job. You likely also have non design related experiences that you'd like to highlight. If you're coming from a different field and or you have other experiences that might reveal more about who you are and what you worked on, this is the place to put it. Just make sure you're not including it for the sake of including it on your resume. Every word counts 4. Format & Hierarchy: format and hierarchy content should always drive format. This is basic content strategy, but it's also something every designer should be aware of. Let's say, for example, you're aiming to get a job that requires you to work on you. I If you do get the job, you will probably be working on the structure of a Web or mobile application. You want to know what the dimensions of the screen are, what brand style guidelines you need to follow. What types of info will be going where you'll also be following General UX rules. The search bar should be near the top. The men. You should be at the top or on the left hand side, and there should be a clear sense of hierarchy. Think about your resume in a similar way. You have only one page. How Maney columns Could you fit on that page? What kind of grid layout are you using? Will you list your who information at the top or on the side? Don't ignore the details. Poor formatting and pixel perfect issues will imply that you don't have the skills to do you why, and that's the last thing you want to convey through your resume, you can experiment with all the options later. It's an iterative process. For now. Just count the number of experiences and choose the template you think would be best later . When you start putting your text into the format or template, be sure to be aware of three things. One order of events in general. Your most recent experiences should be at the top of each section. The only time you should change the timeline is if one of your experiences is more important than a more recent one. For example, I put my full time position first, even though technically, my skill share experience should come first chronologically to clutter. Don't let all your experiences clutter the page. Be picky about which ones you choose. Three focal points. Pay attention to how the four month draws your eyes to certain areas. For example, you wouldn't want the focus to be on the dates of your experiences over the experiences themselves or more. Suddenly, you wouldn't want it to be difficult for recruiters to find your portfolio website because it isn't highlighted enough on that note. Make sure there's a clear hierarchy. Your name should be the largest font size, and your section titles need to be the second largest. Having a strong sense of hierarchy will help guide your recruiter towards the sections they're most interested in. I happened to have a bad habit of cluttering the page, which doesn't work in my favor, so I let myself clutter naturally. But then I take a step back and compare my resume with other resumes I see online would mind stand out. Designing your resume is an iterative process, and I'm certainly not done with mine. But hopefully my silly mistakes can help you make an even better resume. 5. Copy: copy copy is just another word for words, but do not underestimate the power of words. Your resume could be the most eye catching, beautifully designed resume in the world. But once you have a recruiters attention, they'll start reading the words. If your copy is sending them red flags, your beautiful resume could still end up in the bin. I've attached links in the resource pdf, but I want to highlight the general principles in no particular order. First, use industry words. Some companies use artificial intelligence to highlight keywords. It's in your best interests to use common terminology to use powerful action verbs. Words are powerful, and if you use them right, that will make you sound like a powerful designer. Third, always qualify experience. Say you did X, which led to why, by doing Z or something similar to that format. Context conveys relevance and importance. For example, you may have written very simply, helped users improve performance, but that doesn't explain very much. Change it to something like this. Increased profile completion by 15% by restructuring information architecture of the Web site or the on boarding experience. Fourth, use consistent tents present or past. Choose one. Or at least make sure that a past experience is written in the past. While a current experience is written in the present, this technicalities don't matter. While I'm not encouraging you toe lie on your resume. It's definitely okay changing an unconventional title to something more industry standard. For example, as part of a student group, I was called the coordinator on my resume. I changed that to president because they mean the same thing. But the industry is more familiar with the word president. The resume Police won't arrest you for that. Six. Censorship does matter If you work for a company that has info under nd a policies or have in the past, make sure none of those pieces of information ends up on your resume. You can give vague tribute to it, but don't publish company news on your resume. If people pick up on that, they won't be able to trust you to keep quiet about their company's information. Most colleges have career development centers, but most of them don't have someone who will check your resume word for word. But this is important. And one way or another, you should spend the time or bribe a friend with snacks to get the job done. Common copy mistakes I've seen are one. It's too wordy. People will react to your resume like they do to terms and conditions. They won't read it. Second, hiding information. Don't try to be clever or sneaky. Make it as easy as possible for the recruiters on that note. If you need a visa, consider saying so on your resume that will help you avoid companies who can't afford you and save you weeks of email. Wait time in the recruiting process. Three. Weak verbs or descriptions. Never use words like help. Own your contribution. At least use a different word like assist or contribute that the Saurus is your friend. Fourth typos and current ING problems. Like I said earlier, blatant mistakes will hurt you. At best. It's just a mistake. More likely, it makes it look like you aren't attentive to detail, which is really bad for a designer. Take a page out of the graphic designers book and really pay attention to how the letters aligned with each other. Fifth half truths or deceptions. Lying never makes a great impression. Don't make it seem like he worked for a company when it was just a hackathon or a design exercise. Be honest and very clear. These are the ones that I see most consistently or are huge deal breakers. Copy is really, really hard. If you struggle with writing, just keep iterating and rewriting until you find the perfect combination of words. Also, remember to check out the resource is pdf on your own time. 6. Versioning: Unless you have only one type of job you're looking for, you'll need different versions of your resume highlighting the most relevant skills. For example, if you're applying to an interdisciplinary UX design position, they're going to want to see more than digital interface designs and prototyping. But if you apply to a U I specific job, they won't be as interested in the interdisciplinary. Remember to look at the job description for hints. Deviating from a one page 8.5 by 11 format can make you stand out, but think about your user. The person looking at your resume will probably print it out on cheap paper in black and white. So assuming you have the max number of resume versions, this is what you would have. If you want to be fancy, you can have a special physical version any size. People have brought cupcakes with their resume. Information on the box were brought a different size paper when they brought it to the recruiter. Just make sure that you also have a one page online version. Standard RGB 8.5 by 11 inch with hyperlinks. If someone looks at your resume online, you'll want to hyper link it to make it as easy as possible for them to access your portfolio or your email. You should also have a one page print version. Remember CM Wake a this time 8.5 by 11 inch with deleted or written links. Your portfolio and email should be fine, but if you have any other links like articles you've written, be sure to take advantage of bit dot L. Y or tiny Ural to shorten those girls and make it easy as possible for people to access. After that, you might have different versions for different jobs and then, beyond that unformed, matted text only version in case someone asked for it. When recruiters ask for a text only or a word doc version of your resume, this means that they're editing your resume to match their standards before they pass it on . They're either reorganizing the information or deleting irrelevant information that they don't really need to see. When you print out your resume, don't order it from some official printing site. Your resume should be constantly changing, which means you'll waste lots of money on copies of resumes. You never passed out. You can print on nice printers if you have access to one. But be warned that nice paper will only benefit you if the rest of your resume is put together. Trust me, recruiters know what's up. But if there's typos and weird formatting, the nice paper will just look like you're compensating for something. On the other hand, if you have a great resume with no obvious mistakes, nice paper will make it look like you have nice attention to detail. All I ask is that if you want your resume to have color, just make sure you use only one or two toe. Highlight important information and make sure you use a CME like a document. Also, make sure your printer can actually print in color. That way, if you suddenly need to print out your resume as soon as possible, there won't be any surprises. 7. Personal Brand: your personal brand. It's difficult to put personality in a resume. On one hand, unique content or a unique look could make your resume stand out. But on the other, recruiters and managers air just using your resume to get basic information about you. Just make sure that whatever stylistic choices you make, your reasoning is justified, and it all fits into your personal brand. At first glance, what does your resume say about your sense of design style? Don't believe me. Try changing the colors on your resume. Suddenly. It has a different feeling, doesn't it? Here are some examples online. As you can see, each one conveys something different about the person. This is achieved by the layout, the font, the colors, etcetera. If there's a specific company you want to work for, you should capture a visual style on your resume and portfolio that would grab their attention. Just make sure the size of your smallest font is at least size 10 if not higher. If you happen to get an older manager, they will not be happy if they have trouble reading your super minimal light grey text. This is also an opportunity for you to put a logo or picture of yourself in your resume. You don't need one. But a nicely designed clever logo or professional photo could help you stand out. For recruiters who are at events meeting lots of students, a picture could help them remember you. Now this is just visual commentary. What about the content? Does it tell a story about what kind of designer you are? Does it look and read like one person made your resume, business card and portfolio? Hopefully, if not, you have some editing to do When it comes to personal hobbies that are not completely designed related people disagree. In general, someone giving your resume a quick glance just wants to digest the most relevant information as quickly as possible. Those who will look at your resume for longer than 10 seconds may remember your resume better if there's a specific topic that stands out to them. So really, it's up to you. Just make sure that the focus and purpose of your resume is still solid. 8. Iterate: edit, get feedback and edit again. If you think two hours is too long to spend on your resume, think again. Treat this like an ongoing design project. As you can see, there are so many factors and design decisions to consider as you pivot. Amateur is a designer. Your resume style will change, and one day you may not need a portfolio to get hired. But until that day, make sure you ask your peers and mentors for feedback. They'll notice quick fixes you haven't seen and find your broken links and typos. If you're an international student, be very sure you get a native English speaker toe. Look through your copy. It could be appear. Just buy them a snack or something in exchange. Don't let your poor grammar be the thing that stands out to recruiters for editing. Here are some good steps to cycle through over and over. Iterating take breaks, come back with fresh eyes and get feedback. Qualify that feedback because you're going to get different pieces of feedback from different people, and some of it will be contradictory. You need to listen to all that feedback, qualify it and choose what you're going to follow, then test print by test print. I mean, literally print out your resume and mark mistakes and pen. For some reason, mistakes are always more obvious after you print. 9. Remember Your User: then test print by test print. I mean literally print out your resume and mark mistakes and pen. For some reason, mistakes are always more obvious. After you print as a student, it was difficult for me to get into the mindset of a recruiter, but it's super important. Imagine that you've sent in your online application. If it's a large company, they might have a computer highlighting keywords and filtering through a large stack of resumes before it sends a batch to the design manager for review. If it's a smaller company, the first person to see your resume maybe a recruiter who isn't trained to recognize subtle nuances between what makes one resume or portfolio better than the other. Their job is just to be the gatekeeper between you and the busy design manager. Neither person has ever met you. And when your resume doesn't raise any red flags, that recruiter or manager will print out your resume on a black and white printer, along with several others who made the cut. The manager already has specific design skills in mind, so they quickly scan through the resumes about 10 seconds each, pulling out a few that seem to match their job description, which could actually be different from what's on their website. Hopefully not, but it can happen. The manager finds the link to your portfolio and types it into their computer. They quickly browse the projects that grab their attention, barely reading but trying to get a sense of whether they should ask the recruiter to reach out to you. Just as they're about to send an email to the recruiter, they get a message from a designer on their team who was referring someone they know. The manager decides to interview that person instead of you. Sorry I had to throw that in there at the end. But there's a lot of drama behind the scenes that applicants are just not privy to. Even if you get rejections, don't take it too personally. You may have a great background and resume, but the circumstances on the company's and we're not quite right. Trust that the right opportunity will come in due time. Now, in general, this recruitment process looks a little different, depending on the size of the company and the maturity of their design team. But no matter the size, the best situation is always a referral. In many cases, if you get a referral, it's a guarantee that wants your resume is in the hands of a manager. You will be seriously considered for a role, but even then, your resume should be representing who you are as a designer and what you're capable of. That's a lot to fulfill, but you should think of your resume as your ticket to an interview. Once you're in the door, you can show how great you are in an interview. Better than you can tell in a resume. But that's a lesson for another time. 10. Practice: practice below this video, you'll find your class project and some links I've left for you in a pdf file. Some of the links are from references I've used in this video. While others will be helpful to you as you work on your class project and grow as a designer wherever you may be on your journey, I wish you the best. If you do upload your assignment, I'd be happy to give you feedback, so make sure to take advantage of that. See you next time.