Web illustration 4x

Art by Uran

Your ultimate guide to getting hired in UX design

If you want to get hired in UX design, you need to know what design managers are specifically looking for in their candidates. We’ve talked to design recruiters, hiring managers, and UX coaches to bring you an ultimate guide to getting hired in UX design.

With their help, we broke down the most important factors for UX designers to consider throughout the job search process—your portfolio, your UX resume, the interview itself, and everything in between. So let’s get started:

1. Your Portfolio

Crafting a UX portfolio is no small feat, but if you do it right, you’ll reap major dividends in the job search process. Design Recruiter at Figma Korin Harris has a few portfolio-building tips to share:

“I see a lot of portfolios as a design recruiter. Applicants often make the same mistakes again and again—from including far too much text in project highlights, to overcomplicating animations on their landing page. I recommend you build your product design portfolio the same way you would tackle any design challenge: Start by putting yourself in the shoes of your target audience.

Leaders like this are very busy. They’re always running to their next meeting, phone call, or candidate interview, so they have limited time to review a portfolio (we’re talking minutes or even seconds). They’re trying to quickly parse a lot of information in that short period of time:

  • What type of design you do
  • Where your talents and passions lie
  • Whether you have the right experience for this particular role
  • How you tackle design challenges
  • Your overall design abilities

You can’t expect them to dig through pages of content to figure this stuff out. Instead, you need to spoon-feed the most pertinent information for the particular role you’re applying for.”

Landing Page Tips:

How many clicks
 does it take to get to your work? Does your landing page only consist of “about you” content? Click. Is your “work” icon in the upper right-hand corner? Click. Are your projects laid out so you have to pick one? Click.

Your target audience can’t go hunting for information. Your homepage should give them an overview of your design projects, so they’re only one click away from your work.

Projects to display:

Tailor your project choices based on your career goals. Are you interested in mobile, web, or virtual reality design jobs? Make that clear by highlighting your experience in that area. Are you dying to quit the e-commerce industry and want to move into fintech, healthcare, or something else? Choose previous work accordingly.

“Tailor your projects” may seem like obvious advice, but applicants often struggle with this. They try to capture the entire breadth of their design career in one portfolio. They assume people will take the time to go through everything—but hiring managers often can’t.

For more UX portfolio tips see How to create a UX portfolio to land your first job

New Year, New Portfolio Site

New Year, New Portfolio Site

by Jonathan Holt

Happy 2020! I recently updated my portfolio site. I am still working on it, but it's at a point where I want to share it. I built the site in Webflow, and I loved it. Check out the live site here Thanks for looking!

View on Dribbble

2. Your Resume

To create a stand-out user experience resume, UX designer and coach Sarah Doody recommends doing the following:

  1. Tailor your resume to each role you apply to: Before you apply to a role, you should devour the job description because that’s where you can find out exactly what recruiters and hiring managers are looking for. Based on what you find in the job description, use this to tailor your resume for each role. By tailoring you could:
  2. Think of yourself as a product: The company is hiring you to do a job for them. What do great products do? They don’t just talk about their features. Instead, they highlight their benefits. By benefits, focus on the outcomes you’ve achieved. For past projects you worked on, what happened? What was the benefit to the team, business, or product?
  3. Include a title and a personal elevator pitch: Often times, especially in UX, job titles mean different things to different people. Ask 10 people what a “UX Designer” specifically does, and you’ll get 10 different answers. I recommend that you not only give yourself some type of title, but also have an elevator pitch. Your title quickly lets people know what you do at a high level. The elevator pitch helps clarify exactly what you do, and what you don’t do.

Check out the rest of Sarah’s resume building tips in her ultimate guide to designing a stand-out UX resume.

Minimal Figma CV/Resume Freebie

Minimal Figma CV/Resume Freebie

by Marina Lakotka

Hello dribbblers, Here is my first shot, a minimal CV/Resume template in Figma. Hope you guys will like it. Feel free to use it for your personal project! Kindly check it and let me know your comment below :) https://www.figma.com/file/qh3tQSbsvXEXrc...

View on Dribbble

3. The Interview Process

Now that you’ve got your portfolio and resume ready, it’s time to prepare for the actual interview! Design Recruiter at Facebook, Carl Wheatley explains why proactive storytelling in a UX design interview is one of the most powerful techniques for demonstrating your expertise and communication skills:

“I’ve understood something from my many years of experience with UX interview sessions, which is the difference between telling your interviewers about you and showing them something about you. Which do you think is more powerful? I choose the latter because it’s been my greatest weapon in winning interview sessions and landing the job.

There’s no better way to shine during an interview than sharing a few compelling stories about your best design work. Your interviewers are always interested in learning about your past experiences, especially when you share them through captivating stories that help them make informed decisions faster. Anyone can tell an interviewer “I know how to run a usability test.” Instead, share the story about how you once ran a usability test and what the outcome was.

Hiring managers, like most people, are more captivated by stories than facts or data alone. Just remember not to go off tangent by sharing stories that aren’t related to the position you’re applying for. You don’t need to share stories about your degrees, family, or whatever. Focus on your working experiences, awards if any, your ultimate roles, the changes you’ve enacted, and the teams you’ve worked with.”

Here’s a list of 21 questions to expect in a UX interview and how to approach answering each one.

interview

interview

by Albee Shen

Try to use mixed mode to draw this illustration, I hope you like this style. Next, I will try to keep drawing T T Last but not least, hit "L" on that keyboard to share some ❤️ and stick around for future inspiration. Thank you all. Follow me to see more.

View on Dribbble

4. Negotiating Your Salary

Remember, the sharpest candidates also spend time researching and preparing for one of the most important yet often anxiety-inducing questions: “What salary are you looking to make?”

Based on her experience facilitating interviews between designers and hiring managers, Alayna Burton shares a few tips for approaching the salary conversation:

  • Do your research. What is the average salary for your design discipline? How many years of experience do you have? Know your numbers.
  • It’s always acceptable to bring up your salary expectations in an interview. You’ll end up saving both you and the employer’s time if it’s not the right fit.
  • The initial offer is typically not the final offer. Don’t be afraid to counter the first offer if it’s not too far off from what you asked for. There’s likely a little wiggle room.
  • Don’t forget to discuss your compensation package (health insurance, perks, etc.)—negotiations can also be made in this area.
  • Know your worth. It’s ok to walk away from a job offer if it isn’t right.

For more salary negotiation tips from Alayna, check out How to negotiate your design salary like a pro

Asking For a Raise

Asking For a Raise

by Mia Ditmanson for Siege Media

Part of a larger infographic about how to ask for a pay raise.

View on Dribbble

5. The Follow-Up

Never underestimate the power of a follow-up message! Design Recruiter at Facebook Carl Wheatley explains why this is important and suggests some helpful language to use:

After applying to a company, send a nice message to their recruiter or hiring manager letting them know you applied and are very interested in the role. This goes a long way. I recommend following up twice within the first month you applied. After that, I’d wait a month before you message them again. It always helps to follow up! Not everyone will reply, but it’s certainly worth doing. Here’s an example of the type of messaging you can use:

“Dear Carl, I’m a huge fan of Dribbble and how you connect all of us designers around the world. I applied to your UX Designer position and believe I could add a lot of value to your team. Please review my portfolio and feel free to reach out with any questions regarding my experience.”

Message Sent

Message Sent

by Nata Schepy

Fly, bird, fly! Instagram

View on Dribbble

Takeaways

We hope you found all of these tips helpful! At the end of the day, remember that hiring managers especially want to see that you are a stellar communicator and have confidence in your expertise. Put yourself in their shoes when crafting your portfolio and resume, and remember that the interview process is where you should let your communication skills shine. With the help of these tips, you’ll be well on your way to landing your next best UX design job.


More UX Hiring Resources:

Find more Process stories on our blog Courtside. Have a suggestion? Contact stories@dribbble.com.


Icon shot x light