So you’re making your UX portfolio? Or, maybe you’re tweaking one you’ve had for a while. You’ve sat in front of your computer for hours and hours, trying to figure out…
- Where do you start?
- What do people want to see?
- What will help make you stand out?
I’ve seen a ton of UX portfolios over the course of my career. And, I’ve interviewed a lot of UX hiring managers and recruiters … so I know how they think. Take a few minutes to read these six tips and make sure you’re addressing what’s important to the people looking at your portfolio.
1. Don’t be ambiguous about your skills as a designer:
Titles in the field of UX mean different things to different people. Don’t just put your title. Be specific about the skills you have. User interviews? Analytics? Prototyping? Facilitating? What are your hardcore skills?
2. Specify what kind of UX designer you are:
Yes, many people are a UX team of one. But, there are distinct areas of UX. Are you a Researcher, Experience Designer, Visual Designer, Content Strategist, Product Strategist, Front End Developer? You have to state the type of design you’re in.
3. Determine what type of role do you want in your future job:
It’s always more attractive to hear someone say exactly what they want. It seems like they are confident in who they are and where they are in their career. Be specific about what you want. Do you want to get into management? Do you want to put a skill to use that’s currently underutilized?
4. Describe what type of company do you want to work at:
Not everyone is cut out for a startup. Some people thrive in a big company and others have the life sucked out of them. Which are you? Get clear about this before you apply anywhere, so you can focus your energy into the positions that suit you best. Also, you’ll want to tailor your portfolio projects to these types of companies.
5. Decide if you want to specialize in a certain area of UX:
Do you want to do more of something? More research? More content strategy? Less visual design? Think about what you love doing right now and what you want to do less of. This will help you figure out what roles to actually apply to.
6. Double-check the projects in your portfolio:
If you say you are a user researcher, your portfolio better have at least one amazing research project in it. And it better be very detailed about the problem, method, process, insights, your specific responsibilities and contribution, and the outcome? Do you provide context for all the visuals?. If you say you have a skill but that skill isn’t reflected in your portfolio, then no one would believe you.
Also, if you’ve been stuck doing a type of work you don’t want to do in the future (eg. a specific industry), then try not to have your whole portfolio be representative of that. Try to have examples of work related to what you want to do in the future, even if that is a mock project you do on your own.
Finally, have someone proofread your portfolio. It seems obvious, but we’re all guilty of this. Catch those spelling mistakes that we all make, including me!
That’s all I have for you! I hope these tips help you improve your UX portfolio and avoid common mistakes that you definitely don’t want to make.