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An excellent CV is the UX designer’s best chance of getting a callback from a job application. But what makes for a great UX design resume? 

In this post, we’re taking a look at some top tips for creating a UX design CV that can grab the attention of recruiters and hiring managers, showing off your skills and experience to best effect. 

Second only to the resume is the UX designer’s portfolio. So when you’ve got your CV sorted, check out some of our UX design portfolio tips too!

1. Understand what a resume is for

Your resume alone is very unlikely to get you the job. So before going any further, let’s make sure we’ve covered what the core purpose of a resume is. 

The role of a resume is very limited: it’s for getting you shortlisted. A well-crafted CV significantly increases your chance of getting picked out from the initial pool of applications (which might number hundreds or, occasionally, even thousands), and moved one step along the process, to an email screen or interview. 

For this reason, the UX designer resume needs to be optimized for the stage in the hiring journey it serves. It will be looked at alongside dozens or even hundreds of other resumes. It will be reviewed by a hiring manager in a matter of seconds rather than minutes. That manager might well be tired, bored, trying to read your resume on their phone, or juggling a pile of paper while stood up on public transport. 

2. Address the hiring manager’s needs

Given that the primary purpose of a resume is to get you shortlisted, it makes sense to put the needs of the person doing the shortlisting at the center of your resume decision-making.

You probably won’t know much about the hiring manager as an individual, but consider the following possible factors:

  • They probably have a lot of applications to sort through
  • They may not have much time or patience for the task
  • They could be reading resumes on their phone
  • They could be trying to juggle printouts while standing up in a busy subway car
  • They might be making their “yes/no” shortlisting decision in seconds rather than minutes

The remaining tips in this post are really about how to meet these needs. Remember, if you get shortlisted, you will earn the opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and experience in more detail at the next stage of the recruitment process. An effective resume is one that encourages the hiring manager to give you that opportunity.

3. Keep it short

An important skill for UX designers is the power to analyze, simplify, and organize information—and your UX design resume itself is an opportunity to show off these skills, above all by keeping things brief!

A concise document will also allow the hiring manager to quickly understand your work background and what skills you offer, making it easier for them to put your resume in the “call back” pile.

A good rule of thumb is to keep your resume to a single side of paper (so, a 1-page PDF). We’ll come back to some examples later in this piece!

Jonas Mai’s resume conveys a lot of information with very few words

4. Choose relevant information

Design resumes shouldn’t be comprehensive. Hiring managers don’t need to know the names of your childhood pet, or even, most of the time, your high school grades. 

They’re looking for evidence that you have the skills and experience to do the job you’ve applied for; and that you are someone with curiosity and other interests beyond your day-to-day work.

At a more detailed level, ideally tailor the information you include in your resume to the specific role you’ve applied for. If the position is focused more on UI and visual design, emphasize areas of your education and previous work that demonstrate those skills. 

5. Make it look professional, but not flash

There are two big visual red flags in a design resume.

The first is if the document looks very amateurish—for example, if you’ve used Microsoft Word, not adjusted the margins, and not changed the font from Calibri.

The second is if the document is trying too hard to be flash. The graphic design of your resume needs to convey professionalism, and communicate the content calmly and clearly. More often than not, an “over-designed” resume just gets in the way of the message.

Haley Park’s resume looks sleek and professional, without being “too much”

6. Don’t make PDF text too small

10-point text might seem fine when you open up the PDF on your laptop, but what if someone is trying to review your application on their phone? Most phone handsets now have a pixel density that make this possible—but make sure you don’t go below 12 points so that an A4-sized PDF is still readable when viewed on a phone.

7. Show attention to detail

Nothing will ensure your resume ends up in the trash quicker than sloppiness. Get friends and colleagues to review your resume before sending it off. They’ll be a fresh pair of eyes on the document, and it’s more likely that they’ll pick up mistakes like typos, spelling errors, or inconsistent formatting. 

8. Organize, organize, organize

The information in your resume should be clearly and carefully structured. Here’s a common set of sections that you could use as a starting point:

  • Name
  • Contact information
  • Work experience
  • Education
  • Skills
  • Awards and achievements

Joanne Cho’s resume shows exemplary organization, with multiple heading levels

9. Include up-to-date, usable contact information

Here’s the crucial information to have at the top of your resume:

  • Name
  • Email address (a professional one)
  • Telephone number where you can be reached most easily

Depending on the role, you might also want to add a postal address and professional social media details (like your Instagram, Twitter, Behance, or LinkedIn profiles).

10. List college-level education and up

Although this won’t necessarily be directly relevant to the role, many job postings still have a college-education requirement, so if you have those credentials, make sure to include them. Also list any other relevant design courses you’ve taken or certificates you’ve earned.

11. Add responsibilities in previous roles

Particularly in the design industry, job titles may not say very much about the work we actually do. There are thousands of people working as a “UX designer”, but the work those people do varies widely depending on the product, company, and team size. 

Therefore, under each position you list on your resume, include a short paragraph or a few bullet points that summarize the responsibilities you fulfilled in the role, and any major projects you led.

Elias Ruiz Monserrat’s resume has concise summaries of each position

12. Use numbers where possible

Even better than listing project and responsibilities, try to include numbers that give an indication of the scale of the work, and ideally of its success. For example, if your work on a product contributed to a doubling in the size of the user base, or a reduction in bounce rate, show these results off! They will add weight and credibility to your application.

13. Avoid gimmicks

Infographics about your values, personality type, or Hogwarts house might look cool, but most of the time they’re not particularly meaningful, and aren’t something that hiring managers are able to consider.

Assessing soft skills is usually the job of interviews and trial projects, so focus on allowing the resume to do its job rather than adding unnecessary distractions. Remember, the resume is about establishing that you have the required skills and work experience to move forward to interview.

14. Add a touch of personality

While the resume should focus on your objective achievements and suitability for the position you’re applying for, it’s also nice to have a small touch that hints at your personality and wider interests. If you do voluntary work or have any cool hobbies or interests, you could list them at the end. It could even be your favorite book, or a quotation that inspires you!

Further resources

Considering a job in the UX design industry? Check out our intensive UX Academy program

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