Meet Julia Grosman, a Senior UX/UI Designer and mentor from Silicon Valley. We collaborated with Julia and came up with the list of proven methods (secrets!) to upgrade your resume. These have kept her at the top of the game for many years now and helped her mentees get through the hiring process.
Use these guidelines when creating a resume to increase your chances of getting invited for an interview. You’ve probably seen some of these before, so they might be familiar to you. I hope you’ll find helpful tips and meaningful advice here. If you’re more productive when the music is on, check out these Spotify Playlists for Getting Things Done to set the right mood and get you through the whole process.
1. Research the Desired Position and Focus On its Title and Description
Before you start, research the desired position and its description. Print it out, or have it open in a tab. When editing your own resume, focus on that position. Ideally, your previous experience and desired opportunity should have same/ similar wording as in the desired position. Remember that similar positions can have different titles, but very similar descriptions. The reason is that each company has a different nomenclature and there is no single industry standard to adhere to. When formatting the resume, think about visual hierarchy. Your resume should be clear and easy to read.
Tip: Save some line space by aligning dates to the right side. Does your resume have a unified feel and look?
2. Go Easy on Textures and Colors
When applying for a UX/UI position, we usually want to showcase our design skills and how artsy we are, right? Yes, and your portfolio is the perfect place for that! As to your resume, please remove any textures and gradients. The key here is readability. Very often recruiters print out a resume (and they don’t always use color printers), so it has to look good in printed format.
Tip: Try printing out your resume in black and white and see how it looks like. Ideally, it should look great in both colored and grayscale versions.
3. Make Your Contact Info Easy to Find and Read
Your contact details should always be on top of the page for easy finding. Being creative is great, but most likely the person who is going to initiate the contact with you is not creative and has a very busy schedule. Try to make their lives easier by formatting your resume correctly. After all, the whole point of your resume is for the potential employer contacting you. All web links in your resume should be customized in a way that they include your name and are short. For example, customize your LinkedIn profile URL, and remove unnecessary numbers and symbols.
Tip: If no clean URL is available, try to come up with a creative solution, like add a word “designer” there.
4. Make Yourself Visible Online
Before connecting with you, a recruiter will research your name online, so it’s important to check every detail of your online presence. When a recruiter googles your name, what information will show up? Are your dribbble or behance accounts showing up? How about your portfolio website? In all these cases, do you have a cohesive first and last names across your profiles? How about the avatar picture?
Tip: Type your name in google, what kind of information is coming up?
5. Add a Professional Description of Yourself
Write a brief description of who you are professionally. First, analyze what’s needed in the industry. You can easily do this by finding at least 5 positions you’re very interested in. Then, rewrite these statements, so they don’t sound too generic. One of the great ways to do that is via using synonyms, which can be found in any dictionary. Adding a relevant and clear description of yourself is a great way to stand out as a candidate. Finally, make sure to reread these sentences! This is a very important step.
Tip: If you’re not a native speaker, ask a friendly native speaker to help you out. Preferably, ask a professional who is familiar with the industry you’re trying to find employment in.
6. Adjust the Terminology of Your Skills and Tools
Skills and tools’ terminology you’re advertising in your resume should be relevant to the position you’re applying to. Please be detailed and research how these terms are appearing on LinkedIn, dribbble or any other network. The reason is that many people who initiate contact with you, have little to no idea about the position they’re hiring for. They’re following the job description they’ve received. When what is written on your resume does not match with what they have as a reference, there is a big chance your resume will be rejected early on.
7. Prove your Skills and Tools in your Portfolio
Skills and tools you’re advertising on your resume should match what’s shown in your portfolio. If you say something like “Conceptual thinking,” but not providing a whiteboarding exercise photo or not mentioning it anywhere else, it is a red flag to your potential employer. Back up the skills on your resume by your portfolio.
Tip: Go over each skill and check if it’s reflected in your portfolio.
8. Reframe your Experience
Reframe your experience. Design industry changes really fast. The terminology may differ from year to year. Sometimes, your job title is not reflecting your day-to-day activities. Keep in mind that you don’t have to disclose all the information in your resume. Try to stick to the best possible version of reality, but unless you’re applying to a position which will do a background check or something related to legal, you have a little wiggle room in how to present yourself.
9. Describe Your Most Relevant Experience in Detail
Analyze what soft skills from previous position/s are relevant and could be a great complement in your new position/s. It could be a whole array of competence like collaboration, teamwork, creation or development of processes, problem-solving, etc. I encourage you to research this topic and compile a list of soft skills that describes you and your experiences the best. When describing your relevant experience, please think what big problem you were trying to solve? Typically, companies are hiring experts to solve a problem and save the company time and resources. Think about what were the end results of your actions. Were there any measurable metrics of efficiency? Soft metrics? Can you connect with your previous workplace or a friendly person there and ask them about any available metrics?
Tip: Company’s website or sales materials are also good places to search for these. While not everything can or should be quantified, having some metrics available to you will allow your potential employer to see more value in your expertise.
10. Include your Full Name in Resume File Name
When sending your resume or uploading it to the job application, make sure the name of your document, a file name, has your full name! Even better if the file name has a position you’re applying to, but it is optional. Often recruiters may suggest a different position based on your skills and the opening within a company. However, when they are downloading your resume to their computer, they should be able to find it among others.
11. Get Your (Online) Story Straight
Your resume should be similar to your professional presence on the internet. When looking for a job, maintain at least several profiles on different platforms. Here are some of the mainstream ones: LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Indeed, Monster, Dice, AngelList (for early-stage startups), your portfolio website, dribbble, behance, etc. All these profiles should have a similar if not an identical story. You can have a bit more detailed description on a digital profile because there is no concern for a page length, but the core of your profile should be the same.
Finally, remember: No magic solution will help you land a great position. Some of these practices change as time goes. Please look around, be curious, and adapt to the changes the life throws your way!