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ux portfolio tips advice

May 2016 – Jay Kaufmann

In his upcoming series of articles, Jay Kaufmann will share advice for designers and researchers gleaned from his intensive and extensive experience as a UX hiring manager at Zalando. Jay sees over 100 applications per month, interviews just under 2 designers per day, and has hired a dozen UXers over the past 12 months.

Last week I turned down an applicant based on his not-relevant-to-what-we-need cover letter and a quick double-check of his CV. I mentioned, as an aside, that he should have included a portfolio.

In fact, he did.

It was a link at the bottom of his cover letter. I missed it.

Now, I don’t mind links. Some UX recruiters insist you send a PDF portfolio, but I don’t care what form your portfolio takes. I am looking at your application in a series of browser tabs anyway, and I like interactivity.

Just keep in mind that a link is harder to find than an attachment.

In the tool we use to manage your application (and in many other recruiting UIs), an attachment is 20x bigger, shown with a preview and located in a consistent place. It’s easy to find.

If you submit your portfolio as a link in the defined field on our website when you apply, it will show up in a consistent place. But given that most applicants don’t use it, I’m not primed to look there first. I’m not primed to look anywhere first because portfolio links are all over the map in the applications I see — sometimes in the header, sometimes in the text, sometimes in the footer … of either the CV or the cover letter.

And pretty much always only once.

How can you make sure I get to your online work fast? Applicants who used these strategies led me to their portfolio faster:


  • Repeat the portfolio link in both header and body text — and on both CV and cover letter.
  • Make it stand alone: Make it a single bullet or get some white space around it.
  • Place your portfolio link in a separate document attached to your application.
  • Include both a hyperlink and the full text of the URL. (In certain application management software, the preview of the resume doesn’t properly support PDF hyperlinks.)
  • Include several deep links to highlight the most relevant work. This does double-duty since the list of links takes up more space (and thus gets more attention) and helps me get to the most meaningful examples first.


Your portfolio is the most important part of your application, so I’m itching to see it. If you follow some of the advice above, you will make my life a little easier. With less friction finding your work, I can more fully enjoy the designs themselves. For your thoughtful designing of information with the hiring manager’s joy of use in mind, I say “Thank you!”

jay kaufmann uxswitch zalando


Jay Kaufmann is currently “UX Lead: Talent” at Zalando. He has been designing interfaces since 1996. He built up user experience teams at two previous companies and hired designers for a half-dozen clients as a consultant before joining Zalando.

Zalando is Europe’s most fashionable tech company. We’re hiring.


More portfolio tips from UXswitch >>

Tips for the UX interview >>

Source link https://www.uxswitch.com/make-sure-your-ux-portfolio-gets-seen/


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