About the author: This guest post was provided by Pathrise, an online mentorship program that works with students and professionals on every component of their job search. We have helped 500+ people land great jobs in tech through our workshops and 1-on-1 mentorship.
If you’re getting started on your job search after graduating from school or an online bootcamp, you need to ensure you have a strong product design resume and portfolio so that you can put your best foot forward in your applications.
You should think about your resume and portfolio as two sides of the same coin. Your resume is focused on showing the impact of your work and how you achieved results. It should intrigue the reader enough that they want to visit your portfolio, which is where you can fully explain each project you worked on, what your design process looked like, and provide mockups and links they can explore.
A strong UX portfolio is intuitive, clean, and professional. UX designers should think of their portfolios as a mini project that shows recruiters and hiring managers they know how to make effective websites that look good and are easy-to-use. Recent grads who might not have as much industry experience can really show their skills with a strong portfolio.
When you’re planning your portfolio, make sure your homepage is easy to navigate and gives the reader a sense of who you are. Don’t make it too busy, instead include some information about yourself, the type of roles you are interested in, a photo (if you want), and potentially some of your hobbies or interests. Keep the colors neutral, nothing too bright or flashy. Remember: this is an extension of your resume, so you want to make sure you’re being professional above all else.
From your homepage, it should be extremely easy for the reader to find your work. Sometimes that means including boxes or descriptions that link out to the different projects below the fold, but you can also choose to do a navigation bar at the top of the page like a traditional website. Just make sure the links are not hidden. Recruiters and hiring managers are likely not spending a lot of time on your portfolio, so you want to make it as easy as possible for them.
Once they navigate to your specific portfolio pages, they should be able to clearly understand the project, your role, the design process, and the results. Think about these pages as case studies that include everything the reader needs to know about your work and the impact. Try to include as many mockups, charts, and visual details as possible in case they are skimming your portfolio.
A successful UX portfolio should include the following:
- Context on the project, including your role and the number of team members (if any)
- The problem you and your team tried to solve, including the goals
- Research & methodology, including your hypothesis, insights, and competitive analysis
- User personas, including their journeys, needs, and wants
- The design process, including wireframes, sketches, usability maps, and mockups
- Specific design choices, including feature details, mistakes, design language, and iterations
- The final product, including details about the launch, impact, results, learnings, reflections, and next steps
While this might feel like a lot to remember, it helps if you take notes and draft up your portfolio pages while you work on projects so that you remember exactly what you’re doing. If you wait until after you have done all the work, your portfolio might lack some of the necessary details to fully tell your story and impress the recruiters and hiring managers.
With these tips and guidance, you should be well on your way to building a strong UX portfolio that ensures you move forward with application processes so you can land your dream job.
Pathrise is an online program that works with students and professionals to land their dream job. Mentors work 1-on-1 with fellows on each component of their job search, including resume, LinkedIn, and portfolio optimization, cold emailing, behavioral and technical interviewing, and negotiation. If you are looking to join Pathrise, apply today.