UI/UX designers have one of the most important jobs in software development. If they do their jobs right, they create an interface that users love, driving adoption of the software. If they fail, users will quickly abandon the software for a smoother rival. The ideal UI/UX designer resume will show off how the candidate designed lovely products that helped their previous employers succeed.
Although UI and UX are often used interchangeably, they’re fundamentally different. “UX” stands for “user experience design,” which is how users interact with a product (whether it’s an app, service, game, or something else). “UI” is “user interface design,” a digital-centric term for a product’s feel and interactivity. Many designers specialize in one or the other; for a designer who’s seeking a job that utilizes both disciplines simultaneously, you need to craft a UI/UX designer resume that shows off your mastery of both.
We spoke with several experts who told us exactly what they’re looking for when hiring UI/UX designers, and how to tailor your UI/UX designer resume for the best possible chance of landing the job.
UI/UX Designers: Master Your Storytelling Techniques
A resume and portfolio are your first opportunity to shine as a UI/UX designer; as such, these should present a compelling narrative that put your skills in the best possible light. Potential employers are interested in not only your final results, but also the iterative process that brought you there.
“UI/UX Designers have an opportunity to demonstrate their expertise through a cleanly formatted, well-thought-out resume,” says Jen Wells, founder and president of TalentID Group. “This is the number-one thing we look at when a UI/UX resume comes through. That means the resume uses bullet points, is easy to skim, fonts aren’t too small, and they provide a good overview of experiences and specific tools/programs with which they have experience. Secondly, we want to see a link to a portfolio. In a field like UI/UX, a portfolio is going to tell us what types of projects they have worked on, the complexity of those projects and the kind of work product they have experience creating.”
Egor Sokhan, lead UI/UX Designer at QArea, adds: “As soon a portfolio is presented, the candidate needs to show their communication skills. It’s very important to find a designer who can be on the same page with the product team and be a good player inside the design squad.”
UI/UX Designer Resume Template
Need a UI/UX designer resume template? This one might give you some good ideas about how to best format your own resume:
What UI/UX Designers Need Their Resume to Say
“I typically look for experience with wireframing and prototyping tools,” Yang Zhang, co-founder at Plasmic, tells Dice. “Most UI/UX designers are good on their own, but the proficiency you have with these modern tools is what helps you stand out and get work done faster and more effectively. I have mixed feelings on resumes that are themselves intuitively designed or ‘clever.’ While they are an easy way to showcase your skills, they can also hamper my ability to understand your skills and experience.”
Imran Raiz, head of user experience at System Soft Technologies, says he wants the resume to list the products or services a UI/UX Designer has enhanced. “What stands out for me on the resume of a UI/UX designer is the kind of work they have done or initiatives they have taken to improve the UX of a product or service,” he tells Dice.
Sokhan suggests that the resume formatting itself can say a lot about a UI/UX designer: “At first, I pay attention to the design and layout of the resume. It says a lot about a person and what they are looking for. It shows motivation, accuracy, and creativity. I think it’s the quantity and quality of projects they were involved in [is also important].”
A UI/UX Designer’s Portfolio Matters, Too
While your resume is crucial from the very beginning of the hiring process, you might not need to submit a portfolio to prospective employers at the outset; it might take an interview or two before the hiring manager asks to see your work. (Your portfolio may also determine whether you land a second interview.)
A UI/UX designer portfolio should be as easy to navigate and understand as your resume. Think about structure: Do you want to organize things chronologically (or reverse-chronologically)? Do you want to make your best work the most prominent element? If you’ve worked as an independent or freelance designer, which clients do you want to highlight?
Whatever your choices around structure, make sure to showcase small improvements that made a huge impact in project outcomes. When a company can see your designs deliver “bang for the buck,” there’s increased trust and confidence you’ll be the right hire. Not only should your portfolio dig into the nuances of design, but it should show how each piece of work met the goals and desires of the employer/client. Design is subjective, but ROI is not.
“You need to know how to speak with both business and strategy folks as well as technical teams,” Wells says. “You need to be able to marry the two to make clear, solid recommendations. The ability to use data to draw insights is needed to inform strategy and set the project up for success also matter. Lastly, the ability to tell a story with the information you have that is customized to your audience, both internal and/or external, is needed to help others see the clear path forward to designing something others want to use and can use with ease.”
UI/UX Designer Certifications are Great… With a Great Portfolio
“We love certifications where the individual has gained real world hands-on experience that can be demonstrated through a portfolio,” Wells says. In other words, while some technologists put a lot of emphasis on certifications, potential employers ultimately want to see if you can get the job done. Listing any relevant certifications on your resume is fine, but focus your energies on ensuring your resume shows your skills and achievements.
“I always appreciate candidates with unusual or alternative career paths,” Zhang adds. “Certifications can make worthwhile stand-ins for diplomas and degrees, but at the end of the day, you need a strong portfolio to prove the certification’s worth. I’m sure there are hiring managers out there who can identify a particular certification and just know that a candidate merits interest simply for having it. I’m not one of those people, but I know what good UI/UX looks like in a project.”