I recently just reviewed 217 applications for ONE role, for a junior UX gig, not even for full-time. I’ll be honest, from the hiring perspective, it is extremely hard. All 217 applicants were genuine people, no trolls, answered the questions thoroughly and had great portfolio (seriously, there was nobody that I looked at and instantly rated 0).
With this much competition, small errors made a big difference. It kills me to dock someone for tiny errors or portfolio things since we’re all learning, but there had to be some way to filter high volume. The thing that was hard, was I could randomly choose from 95% of the applicants, and they’d be a good fit.
I made a list of things that I observed from reviewing all these portfolios that you need to do, to really stand out as an applicant:
- Personality, personality, personality.
- That was the #1 things that helped people who continued on. Have an about page - have some context that isn’t generic “I’m a problem solver” and that’s all you say. People hire people, not stats on a page.
- This is soooo important to help people know who you are. It’s okay to write more casually on your About Page.
- Do you have a fun fact? Why do you love UX? (Don’t just say to “change the world”) What are you like outside of work?
- I cannot stress this step enough. I’m sure if I got coffee with any of them, they’d be fantastic, but when it’s this competitive, you have to show yourself as well.
- Have context for your process with each step. Don’t just drop some screenshots for the wireframes and UI design. Write a brief blurb about what you did in that step, or why it was important, etc.
- Follow-up or try to come through via someone in their Network
- Include a Key Learnings section at the end to show you’re reflective and forward thinking
- If you use a template, make sure the template text prompt is erased, and you write your own.
- If you have a page that is not ready, remove it.
- OR if you want to show that you’re actively working on something, have a “Preview page” where you say what you’re working on and projected deliverables. But do not have the very first case study be non-clickable.
- Make sure your photos aren’t blurry.
- Make sure your contact buttons work - I saw several with broken Linkedin and email buttons.
- If you have a private Instagram, remove it from Linkedin (a potential employer isn’t going to follow your private account).
- Make sure your role and UX deliverables are mentioned at the top of the case study so I know what to anticipate.
- Spell check - I get it, it happens. But definitely double check your headers are at least correct.
- If you’re multi-disciplinary, make sure it’s clear which are UX case studies. Some weren’t labelled, and it made it hard for websites with applicants that were visual and UX designers. Pro-tip, separate your specialties into 2 different pages: UX and “Additional Work.”
- Bonus points: Talk about accessibility. If you didn’t factor it in during the process, what would you have done differently?
Context about the posting:
- Part-time UX role
- Looking for new UX designers with little to no “real-life” work experience in UX so they could have their first opportunity
- People were not penalized for having only school or bootcamp case studies.