As a designer that’s new to a crowded industry, securing clients can be hard at the best of times. When applying for your first job as a UX designer, you can’t just say that you’re good at what you do; you have to prove it, too.
But how, I hear you ask?
According to CareerFoundry, creating an eye-catching portfolio that showcases your skills is the way to go. But grabbing the viewers attention with sparkling samples and fancy copy doesn’t guarantee success. Just like your CV and cover letter, your portfolio has to be personal, and highlight why you’re different. A personal website (portfolio) is the best way to introduce yourself to the industry and tell your own unique story.
Why Are UX Design Portfolios Important?
If you’re reading this blog post, I’m guessing you’ve read a million more before it. So you’ll understand that there are important pieces of information you should include in your portfolio. When searching for a new career or potential client in UX design, methodology matters, so take this into account when creating your portfolio.
A great UX portfolio can be the difference between a rejection and an interview. Unlike most creative jobs, your education and experiences rarely come into play when it comes to landing your dream job. Of course, they help, but in the world of UX design, your portfolio is even more important than your CV. Things such as imagery will help to grab the viewers attention, while a coherent backstory will add personal value.
But aside from all the materialistic things, it’s equally as important to market yourself correctly and target a particular niche. It’s a well-known fact that a designer who “does a bit of everything” will be less in demand than a designer who specialises in UX Architects.
What Is The Purpose Of Your Portfolio?
The UX design market is fast expanding, with more and more designers applying for the same projects. It goes without saying, but it’s key that you stand out from the crowd. Your portfolio gives you this opportunity, so embrace it.
Your portfolio should define who you are, what you do, and what you specialise in. This information should be laid out in a clear and confident way. It should also show cultural suitability to the company where you are applying. And more importantly, don’t be afraid to add a personal touch.
What Should You Include In Your UX Portfolio?
The golden rule to producing a great portfolio is this: make sure you share the process. What I mean by this, is show the hard work and calculations behind the pretty pictures. Depending on the type of designer you are, the content you include in your portfolio will vary. The companies you want to work for and your seniority will also play a huge part in what you produce.
UX portfolios tend to have a very standardised template, which isn’t a bad thing as long as you make it your own with content. Using the basic layout of an existing portfolio is one way to guarantee a user-friendly result. If a recruiter is familiar with the design of your portfolio, they are more likely to spend time analysing the content.
Share the process
When you showcase your projects, share the process, tell the complete story. It’s simple but effective. Because what makes a good UX project is a deep understanding of the process and its purpose, and then being able to execute the final result.
When a new UX designer comes along, employers want to understand how they work, how they solve problems, etc. From an employers perspective, this is what they want to see.
Market yourself correctly
Landing your dream jobs comes from marketing yourself correctly. This sounds obvious, but leave very few questions to be asked by the employer.
Think about adding a striking sentence to the homepage of your portfolio, which outlines who you are and what you do. This can leave a positive and lasting impression on the employer. The same applies to your LinkedIn and Xing profiles, too.
How Should You Test Your Portfolio?
Conducting a simple user test is a great way to flag any problems with your portfolio. It also provides you with the necessary feedback required to tweak and improve your portfolio. On average, hiring managers spend 30 to 60 seconds looking through your application.
The simplest form of user testing requires asking a friend or family member to complete a series of tests or identify intricate details. Having the right information readily available shows the employer that your well-organised and capable of presenting to stakeholders.
Ultimately, the best way to advance your career in UX is to have a killer UX design portfolio. The present-day scenario is much more favourable for UX designers, which means you’re continuously competing against the best. So there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a killer portfolio which presents yourself in the best possible way. Without this, your life as a UX designer may be short-lived.