In a recent discussion we held online, we invited a panel of experts to discuss the important topic of how to shape up your portfolio to ace your next UX interview.
In this discussion, our Notably co-founders, Allison Marshall and Brittany Fuller, sat down with Sarah Doody and Tanner Christensen, who gave their knowledgeable insights into how you should be fine-tuning your UX interview process. Click here to view the full recording, or keep reading for the event highlights.
Before we dive right into their commentary , let's meet our guests and take a quick look at what a UX portfolio is, and why it is important.
We were so excited to have Sarah and Tanner join us as guests during this event.
Sarah Doody is the Founder & CEO of Career Strategy Lab, is passionate about helping UX people create effective portfolios, resumes, & get hired w/o applying to 100's of roles. You can read more in depth about UX job interviews from Sarah here, and be sure to listen to her podcast interviews here on Spotify.
We often get a lot of questions about how to create a UX portfolio. First, we need to really understand what this is.
A UX portfolio is a collection of your work that showcases your skills, experience, and achievements in the field of user experience. It can be used to demonstrate your expertise to potential employers, clients or investors.
The contents of a UX portfolio will vary depending on your level of experience and the type of role you are applying for. However, there are some key elements that should be included in all UX portfolios:
1. A selection of your best work that showcases your skills and experience.
2. An explanation of the process you used to complete each project.
3. The results achieved from each project.
4. Any awards or recognition you have received for your work.
5. Any positive feedback you have received from clients or users.
So, why are portfolios so important anyway?
A UX portfolio is a crucial tool in the job application process. It allows you to showcase your skills and experience to potential employers and helps you stand out from the crowd.
A well-crafted UX portfolio will demonstrate your ability to solve real-world problems and deliver results. It will also show that you are up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies.
When applying for a job, your portfolio is often the first thing that potential employers will look at. This makes it essential that you put time and effort into creating a portfolio that showcases your best work and highlights your skills and experience.
Next, let's take a look at some tips from our speakers on how to make your winning portfolio shine.
To kick things off, our speakers they covered practical tips for creating a UX portfolio.
There's no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the contents of a portfolio will vary depending on your level of experience, the type of UX work you're applying for, and even the company you're applying to.
The focus of this topic was on how you should be introducing yourself. How much should you focus on yourself, your background, and what should be included?
Sarah Doody, our first speaker, and a UX designer started with the comment, "Put yourself in the shoes of the hiring manager or people reading your introduction." So, don't be boring!
She gave the following few tips:
One of Sarah's key comments was about how you can make yourself stand out. So, ask yourself the question, “what can I do in my about statement that really sets me apart from others in the market?”
Tanner Christensen then gave his advice on how designers should be communicating.
Our panel then discussed how to choose the right work for the job you want to land. This was focused on what projects to get under your belt if there is a specific job you are looking for.
Here are a few key takeaways from this part of the session:
The next part of the session was all about how to effectively communicate in a UX interview. This is so important as it allows you to showcase your work in the best possible light and demonstrate why you are the best candidate for the job.
Once you have your portfolio ready and you've applied, you want to get to the next step - the interview.
Here our speakers first covered three important topics:
· What does a typical UX interview look like?
· Why does this format work?
· Who will you be interviewing with?
There is quite a lot to unpack on these three topics that we can't include here, but head to this video at the 15-minute mark to hear all of their key insights.
One of the best things you can do when building a portfolio is to keep it fairly high level. When you are presenting your work, craft your story based on who the interviewer is, their role in the company, etc.
First write your story out, in a case study format. When you do build out your keynote or your presentation, this really should be large talking points or headlines based on the case study that you have created. As an interviewee, you should be able to recall bits and pieces of the story from the case study, speaking to certain specifics depending on who is interviewing you. Don't cram all the text into the portfolio!
Your portfolio should also not sound like answers to a UX exam. Rather keep it high level and use the highlights as talking points during the interview process.
The remainder of the discussion then shifted to taking a look at a live portfolio review. The team spoke to a few key considerations, all of which you can watch from the 26-minute mark in the video.
If you are wondering how to break into UX design, then we highly recommend you watch the entire video with Sarah, Tanner, and our Notably team. Their valuable insights will set you on your UX design career journey, where you'll be equipped with the many tools needed to ace your UX interview.
We hope you enjoyed this summary as much as we loved creating it. Be sure to watch the full event recording for far more insights and tips on how you can improve your UX interview.