As UX professionals, we know all the usability principles by heart, we build great products that are usable, emotional and visually appealing. Everyday we teach and preach about getting to know the target group and designing for their goals and needs. But when it comes to designing a CV (curriculum vitae or resume), we often forget about the target group and make some basic mistakes.
Based on our experience in screening and interviewing UX designers and researchers for Zalando, we want to encourage UX professionals to apply the same principles to their CV as to the products they are developing.
We’d like to share these principles for improving the UX of your CV or resume …
Put yourself in their shoes.
As a UX professional we expect you to be able to empathise with your users, in this case the readers of your CV. Put yourself in our shoes and ask yourself what a UX recruiter or hiring manager needs to understand. And remember that some of them see hundreds of CVs per week and even those screening less applications are under significant time pressure.
A good CV / resume should answer these 3 questions within 3 minutes:
- Who are you?
- What have you done in the past?
- Do you fit to our current needs?
And to really make an impact, it could also bring to life your motivation to work in this job.
You can achieve that by following these principles:
Structure your information
While applying for a UX position, the first demonstration of your skills in design starts with the page structure. If you understand IA and page layout principles, you should be able to give us something that is well organised, easy to scan and visually attractive.
Preferably you have an area with:
- All names + addresses (email, mail, LinkedIn, own website/portfolio, dribble, Twitter etc)
- Small summary about yourself: tell us who you are, highlight your motivation, career objective and experience level
- Past experiences
- Strengths in methods, software, languages etc
In every section please make sure that you highlight the most important information.
Methods, Tools and Achivements.
To make a decision, we need to understand how you work. In addition to date and duration of jobs, your role and the company you worked for, tell us along with each job, really succinctly about the methods, tools and achievements. It is very interesting for us to see how (and with whom) you tackled a problem in the past.
The golden rule is: show us what you have actually done. Using UX buzzwords is fine for us, but be sure you are able to explain them later, as we might discuss them with you in the next call.
Summarize your responsibilities in 3-6 bullets. Don’t include too much content for each job. Keep it relevant. Put the most important information first. Organize it well. We will skim your resume anyway, so you don’t have to be too strict with keeping it short. (But a 5-page CV / resume can make it hard to hone in on the right details.) Find a balance. Say everything important and no more.
Be honest and let us know in the job title if you were a trainee or junior. This is also something we will ask about anyway in the job interview.
I’m good at this, but not at that.
Give us an overview about your individual skill set. That can include the software you are using, soft skills, but also languages (of course here we’re mainly interested in your English). If you are a UX Researcher list some methods that you apply and your experience level with them. Try to quantify your skills in a meaningful way and be honest to yourself and us. A good self reflection is always better than overselling. We are not hunting for UX unicorns.
Don’t rely on brand badges.
Many people who work in agencies mention big brands they worked for. Gloria, who works with our fashion brand partners, says, “This is not as impressive as it might seem, because usually the bigger the brand, the smaller the influence.” And for Jay, this is a yellow flag: “Designers who include client logos as badges are generally from the agency world. I then worry if they can make the jump to an in-house a.k.a. client-side environment.”
It’s time to get personal.
Not only the cover letter but also your CV / resume can look different for every position you apply for.
Do some research about the company, their working culture and their UX approach and highlight things that are relevant to them. If applying to Zalando, for instance, this could be your experience in e-commerce, but also your attitude or special approach in how to apply Lean UX.
Maybe personalization could mean highlighting the aspects of your standard CV that are particularly relevant to the job at hand. Maybe it’s re-ordering or even re-writing the bullet points for your past jobs. Maybe it’s writing a custom objective statement.
But do it right. Our UX recruiter Matthias Schmeisser says he feels like people sometimes try to trick recruiters — because career agents tell them to customize their CVs, “People tend to copy and paste our job description in the end which is also a big fail.”
Making the minimal effort to customize your CV will get our attention; deliver on the promise by following through with details, putting the message into your own words, and highlighting synchronicities.
User-test your CV
As in all well-done user-centered design projects, you should test your product before rolling it out. It might be very difficult for you to test your CV / resume with the exact target group — UX hiring managers — but maybe you have a friend working in the same industry that can give you feedback. Do they understand the general structure; is it easy to read; what questions do they have? A nice exercise: Hand your CV to the tester, take it away after 2 min and then ask them to recall what they remember. This way you learn what sticks out. If this doesn’t match the image of yourself that you want to sell, you know what you need to do — iterate!
CV Q&A: Send in the Qs! Next month, we’d like to share some advice based on your questions. Send your questions to [email protected] and the Zalando hiring team will answer as many as we can.
Source link https://www.uxswitch.com/improve-the-ux-of-your-cv-resume/