UX Design Resume & Cover Letter Guide: Get A UX Job

The perfect UX designer resume isn’t difficult to achieve. But there’s some caveats and significant differences when thinking about your resume that needs to be considered. In contrast to any other type of resume, a UX designer needs to show flexibility, creativity and support of a business or digital ecosystem with proven results. This can make it challenging to put something together. In fact, even more challenging can be for digital designers or creative minds in general, spending the time to sell yourself correctly. I understand this difficult process more than others, creatively driven people sometimes think very selflessly, mostly because empathy is such a significantly core part of any creative work that it becomes quite normal for you not to be considering yourself in your work. This process though, building a resume and cover letter for a UX design position in particular, will be one that you need to spend the time to realize your own value. You have value. Trust me. You do. Spend the time to confidently put together a description of yourself, your previous work and your future potential so that a future employer has the same level of confidence in your work as you do in yourself.

In this article, we’re going to cover some UX design resume examples, cover letter, core points of interest, common mistakes and much more. If you’re here, you are most likely looking to put together a resume for yourself. The first thing I must mention to you is that it's important you make every single part of the experience of describing yourself, unique to you. Meaning, while I may supply a resume template, it's critical that you don’t copy that template verbatim. Try to use it as a resource for which you can improve upon and make your own unique selling points and display of work experience.

Let's begin.

Important factors in a UX Resume

The first most important factor is understanding your functional area. A functional area is a point of responsibility in a business that can be described similar to a function. Your job function and functional area, are similar. But when thinking about your fiction, try to think through all of the steps and processes that you do on a regular basis. From interacting with the executive team on their goals for annual and quarterly planning to interacting with engineers, to mapping out prototypes, using wireframes, and even how you help the scrum master do their job better. Think through every level of detail from start to finish, in the cycle that is your UX role. Because UX roles vary depending on the organization or business you are part of, I have to be slightly less descriptive here than you may appreciate. But what I can say is that in any job function, you will be producing a certain revolution on a periodic basis. Most commonly for a quarterly or three-month span. Think through what that is and try to write down those points. Then take those points and put them together in a simple way. For example, my responsibility was to help the technology and product executive team transform their vision into working prototypes for our engineers who then turned those prototypes into working products for our customers. Something along those lines is a great high-level start.

When you think through writing your prior experience, try to be sure you are covering achievements in the workplace. Some fantastic examples of achievements are contributions to a well-known release of software. This is particularly of value to those who have worked at Apple, Facebook, and Google. Because most of the time a general consumer, who happens to be someone who may be hiring, has seen or experienced a well-known product that a UX designer has contributed to. But if you are more entry level, you may have to show the product via a public link or at least explain it, then be sure to cover the highlights of your contributions and what that led to at the end of the day. That means, for example, things like user growth. Or maybe customer happiness levels. Or reduction of customer service requests for instance. All of these metrics are something for which UX can be properly benchmarked against.

Keep these area’s of interest in mind when crafting your UX resume. In fact, these factors are so important to me when I’ve hired for the UX or Product Design role in the past that I would also encourage you to use these types of stories in your cover letter as well, but we’ll cover that later.

Skills & Tools

What types of skills should be included in the UX design resume? The most vital skills are those that go slightly beyond the UX design role in particular. For example, user testing is a great skill. Or UX research is also another great skill. Any coding languages or reiteration of prototyping tools, design tools, and testing tools can be extremely powerful. Things like usertesting.com to Moqups to Photoshop or Sketch. Any of the tools of which you’ve had significant experience utilizing, I would include in the skills section.

Coding languages

More and more UX designers are encouraged to have a firmer understanding of coding languages. The main reasoning for this is that they’re able to either build functional prototypes, which can be helpful for engineering teams to build higher quality products that are more influenced by design and User Experience. And also for UX designers to better understand how to communicate user stories or features to engineers in ways that can help them to save significant amounts of time. These two main factors are why UX designers who display their coding abilities end up being hired more frequently by leadership.

Resume layout

When designing your layout, for a UX designer, in particular, you should try to lean into easily readable layouts. What I might suggest is to move your education into more of a secondary position. Meaning, you want to highlight your experience and career highlights first, then speak to your education. For UX, education is helpful but unless its a very special focus, like Human-Computer Interaction, it will be less applicable than the experience you’ve had. Use this consideration when building your resume layout.

Download a UX Design Resume Sample



Here’s a UX Designer Resume Sample for download in InDesign. InDesign is one of my favorite tools to design a resume in since it takes into account the proper perspectives and font sizing when thinking about a printable page. I would recommend you use the same.

UX Design Cover Letter

Your UX design portfolio will be more heavily reviewed than your cover letter. But its still a vital part of the professional review process. And in your cover letter in particular, you can use this space to speak to some of your great accomplishments and future desires. It is also a great place to speak to the benefits of hiring you. But what I wouldn’t cover are the usuals, why someone should hire you or what you hope to do at the Company. It's better to express what you know you can do based on experience and your desire to bring that to what appears like already a great team. Let's go through a simple example of a UX design cover letter.

Dear Mr. Smith —

Thank you in advance for your consideration of my employment. As you know, UX can be a powerful component to the success of any business. In my opinion, its practice is about making better products and services to customers. And I firmly believe, from experience, happy customers lead to better businesses. The function is one that goes beyond the delivery of great experiences for customers, too. I’ve used the UX design function to help many departments inside an organization better connect with the personas of our customers, driving success in more ways than one. From the sales team, the customer support team, marketing team and more.

One of the best examples of this is when I was able to reduce the time it took for our front-end engineering department to deliver on feature requirements by presenting customer persona stories, feature specs, functional prototypes and ultimately user stories to be put into the SCRUM. I successfully helped us deliver product 30% earlier in Q2 than in Q1 of 2013 at Technology Company, Inc.

Below are some career highlights I’ve had as part of my experience. Through these experiences. I’ve developed the pros and cons of various parts to the UX design process which I'd love to share with you in person. It shows my passion for the design process and design in general. And I’d love to bring that experience to the table at Technology Company, Inc. Those highlights are:

• Reduced customer support requests by 25% YoY through the development of a resource center and help tutorial UI system

• Increased customer happiness by 52% through the exposure of user friction performed through UX research and customer interview sessions which then was solved through UI design modifications in Q2 at Technology Company, Inc.

• Directly hired 5 UX designers of which I personally developed a team structure and process which allowed us to collaborate, build and design with fluid and synchronized branding/execution

My employment at Technology Company, Inc. would be one that I believe could add to my achievements. I resonate deeply with the customer your products are executing against and the opportunity to add to my career through your environment would be a significant honor.

Thank you for your employment consideration. Please contact me if you have any questions regarding my prior experience.

Sincerely,
Steve Smith
UX Design Professional


Conclusions

For your cover letter, it's important that you present yourself in the way you know best. Use your own language. Clear communication is an important skill in any job. But in a design career, it can be even more important. While you are not leading people directly, indirectly you will provide a sense of guidance to those who need it. Providing both visual and written communication against features, functionality, and concepts which can sometimes be difficult for your leadership to describe. Meaning, you may be writing, presenting and designing on behalf of many employees. That makes your role especially important in the process. Your written skills will help show your familiarity with this responsibility and make hiring managers feel more secure about proceeding to the next steps.

What you might experience after submitting your resume is both a verbal interview that takes place over the phone and then sometimes a portfolio review process which takes place either in person or digitally. In the latter event, you should be prepared to show highlights of your work and key examples of where and what you did in digital products. I would be sure to include a variety of works, both mobile, and web. And both Android and iOS if you can. If you do not have these works, showing independent projects that you’ve worked on can be just as powerful.

I hope this breakdown has helped you plan out your resume and cover letter for the UX design role. This was written after years of experience as both a professional UX designer and someone who has moved to an operational and leadership role where I’ve hired and deployed many UX designers. These are the types of things I look for when reviewing the materials in a resume pack. If you have contributions to this article, please contact me and I would be happy to include it as part of this. Many UX beginners are seeking jobs and yet the resources for UX designers specifically is still quite thin.

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams.

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