Before you get to show off your well-practiced handshake and wax lyrical about your favourite project to your future boss, you've got to get your foot in the door for an interview. That means sending off lots of applications and lots of links to your portfolio. The application tells your future employer that you exist, but your portfolio tells them who you are and what you can do, so it’s vital you put your best foot forward.  

UX designers Sam and Rachael have some suggestions to help you do just that:

 

Tip #1: Make sure your portfolio is SELF EXPLANATORY.

 

You won’t be there to explain the work, so your portfolio needs to do the talking. For a User Experience project, that means anyone should be able to understand the challenge or “brief”, the user(s), your initial research & insights, your first draft solution, how you tested it and what the outcomes were, and your final or improved solution. (For extra credit, include a section on what you learned, or what you’d improve upon if you did it again.) 

To check your portfolio really speaks for itself, give it to a friend to read over, and ask them to talk you through a project; anything they miss or get wrong, you will know you need to fix.

 

Tip #2: A good UX portfolio piece will SHOW YOUR WORK.

 

Just like in maths, your solution doesn’t get much credit if we don’t know how you got there. Tell us why you decided to make a particular button really big, or what your users said that made you design a page a certain way. The journey you went on is more interesting to an employer than the destination.

 

Tip #3: Your wireframes should always have notes.

 

This one is pretty straightforward. Wireframes are typically barebones mockups. Sketches & Sketch files are equally acceptable, but they should be well annotated.

  • explain what buttons do & where they link to
  • if you have dummy text, tell us what type of messaging would go in there
  • if you’ve organised your pages a certain way, explain why
  • what kind of imagery/colour palette would you see working well?
  • your wireframes should speak for themselves, there's no such thing as too much detail.  

 

Tip #4: Attention to detail.

 

Employers love to put ‘attention to detail’ in their job requirements. They want people who care about every aspect of a job, even down to the last letter. Nothing shows lack of attention to detail more clearly than spelling and grammatical mistakes, especially in a document that is meant to be your first impression to a company. If you can’t be bothered checking over that, then you definitely can’t be bothered checking your work, day to day. Have at least two people proofread your portfolio, sometimes it needs a couple of pairs of fresh eyes to catch a rogue apostrophe or spelling error. 

Stand out for the right reasons. 

Now go out there and get that interview.