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 800+ people land great jobs in tech through our workshops and 1-on-1 mentorship.
A strong resume is one of the key contributors to success in your job search. On average, recruiters spend 6-15 seconds on each resume, which means they are often looking for specific elements. How can you be sure that your resume includes all of these pieces so that you get a second look, and a phone call, from the recruiters?
At Pathrise, we work with job-seekers on their resumes every day, so we know what works and what doesn’t. And now, we wanted to share our top UX design resume tips to help you optimize your resume so it makes it past quick recruiter glances and onto the next round.
As a designer, you probably want to make sure your style chops shine through, but unfortunately, resumes are not the place to do that. You need to keep your resume styles simple because companies might be using third party applicant tracking systems to parse your resume. An ATS is not the most advanced, which means that anything you might deem “funky” or “interesting” will likely be considered too confusing for the system. This can lead to your resume being parsed incorrectly and your chances of making it to the next round nonexistent. For more information on the best resume format for ATS, check out our guide.
Even if the company is not using an ATS to parse their resumes, recruiters who spend seconds reading resumes are doing something very similar. This is especially the case if you are applying for new grad or early career positions at large tech companies like Apple or Amazon because they are going through hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of resumes for these roles.
Make it as easy as possible for the recruiter by formatting your resume in a neat and clean fashion, which will make it easy for them to skim. They are likely looking for specific keywords that relate to the job description, so read their description carefully and then make sure to include those exact words on your resume where applicable. For example, if the JD calls for knowledge of “Adobe Suite” and you have “Photoshop and InDesign” on your resume, change the wording to match theirs. Then, highlight the keyword so that they can see it very easily.
We recommend that you include a Tools section where you can house all of these important keywords in one place. That being said, you should include the tool names in your statements as well. This helps recruiters understand how you were doing the tasks and gives context to your knowledge of the platforms.
When you are writing your resume statements, make sure that you are telling a complete story. Remember: the recruiter doesn’t know anything about your work, so make sure you are giving a lot of context. You should also make sure that you quantify the scale and/or results of your work. Explain how many people you worked with, how many iterations you did, the timeline you met, and the results you achieved so that you can really show the recruiter the impact of your work. Plus, numbers jump out at the reader and often look impressive, which will help when the recruiter is skimming your resume.
Here’s an example of an unoptimized resume statement:
“Designed an app for nonperishable food distribution”
Now, let’s strengthen this statement by adding context and quantification:
“Led ideation and design for mobile-first app (system agnostic) that allows food-insecure individuals and families to claim nonperishables at nearby food banks, increasing food access by 45% for more than 300 people in Brooklyn.”
The second version is longer, yes, but it also tells a complete story and explains exactly why the project was important. A recruiter reading that statement is more likely to be interested in having a conversation with this designer.
These tips are just the beginning. We have an annotated editable UX design resume template that you can use to optimize and enhance your own resume. Then, you can begin sending cold emails to hiring managers and recruiters with the knowledge that you’re sending an extremely strong resume. Our fellows have seen their application responses triple after updating their resumes with these examples and sending out compelling cold emails. You can also check out our guide on how to become a UX designer, which has even more helpful tips and templates you can use.
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 & technical interviewing, and negotiation. If you are interested in joining Pathrise, apply here.