How to Make Your UX Portfolio Sell
The demand for User Experience (UX) designers has never been greater than it is right now. According to industry resources, the need for UX professionals has risen dramatically in major cities across the U.S. And, with record-breaking demand continuing to outstrip the talent supply, and companies in tight competition for potential employees with the right skills and experience, UX salaries have risen as well.
The BOSS Group Salary Guide for creative, marketing and digital positions now puts the median salary for UX designers at more than $96,000 a year. So if you are thinking about making a career move into the UX space, or you’re a recent graduate hoping to land a design job, now is the time to get in gear!
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Remember, though, that employers aren’t the only ones facing competition. It’s also a competitive market where talent is concerned. This means that job hunters need to know the do’s and don’ts when it comes to your personal portfolio! Here are some important tips:
- Your portfolio should showcase way more than just beautifully designed, final products. Explain your thinking in the form of case studies. Hiring managers want to see context and the step-by-step measures that were taken to solve the user’s problem. Your portfolio should tell a story about the challenge at hand and how it was resolved.
- Share the “not so pretty” parts of your process. UX employers are interested in your sketches, mock-ups, wireframing, and post-it’s, as they illustrate how your approach to design unfolds.
- This may be a no brainer to some, but have a website! A cleanly designed, responsive website that highlights your work will tell hiring managers volumes about your skills and expertise. Stay away from Behance, Wix and/or PDFs. Make the investment in a reliable content management system that’s current and works properly.
- Keep the design of your website simple. Busy patterns and backgrounds are distractions you don’t need. So is anything else that takes attention away from your case studies and the final solution/product. These are the stars of your story. Let them shine.
- Add a personal touch! Creating a bio page on your website can be truly helpful. Listing hobbies and interests adds a personal flare and can help establish common interests between you and the hiring manager.
- Make sure you properly highlight your contribution to the project. Give credit where credit is due by mentioning teammates you worked with to complete the project (such as UX researchers, writers, developers, etc.).
- If you have links in your profile make sure they work—and retest them often. Including a link to a finished, live product is a really nice touch; but one broken link will drop you to the bottom of the pack.
- Student projects are OK! If you’re a recent graduate, don't be afraid to create a portfolio consisting solely of course work. However, be sure to follow the rules above and clearly identify a course-related project as such in your case study.
- Think of your portfolio as a constant work in progress. Refresh and update it frequently, and make it a point to spotlight work that is particularly relevant to the positions you are applying for.
The competition is stiff in the UX design market. Be the talent who stands out amongst the crowd and take some smart design risks to set yourself apart. Adhere to the general blueprint above, and you’re sure to be a memorable candidate!
Want more information? Find Jamie-Lynn Simon on LinkedIn