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Today we want to share for lovely dev.to community article about tips on creating a resume to land your dream job.
You’ve got a resume right? It’s part of your basic job-seeker-toolbox, like your portfolio (having trouble with that too?). But are you sure it’s getting past the automated screening when you apply to your dream job?
We talked to one job seeker who recently submitted two resumes to two different jobs at the same company. She meticulously crafted her submissions for the exact job descriptions and still got an immediate rejection saying she doesn’t have the required experience. Amy Smith quotes an 85% rejection rate due to automated screening in her article, “5 Secrets To Design An Excellent UX Designer Resume and Get Hired”. Trying to figure out the magic combination to get you past the algorithms and HR can be overwhelming and the screening process isn’t perfect, but you can take a few simple steps to give your resume a fighting chance.
Nothing turns off a hiring manager like typos and bad spelling.
It’s easy to spend too much time staring at your screen, bleary eyed with the words swimming around. But don’t let yourself skip basic editing. Walk away for a bit, or a day, and come back to proofread your resume. Run spell check, compare the headings to make sure they are consistent, double check your verbs, and try a tool like Grammarly or Hemmingway App. Then, hand it to a friend or two who you know will be brutally honest with you. Rinse and repeat.
When it comes to content, don’t just list your companies, dates, and a bulleted list of expectations. Craft each point to show an accomplishment. You may have heard this advice before, use quantitative results. But qualitative results work too, and are just as important in UI/UX work where the user outcomes are the true result.
Every resume writer and hiring manager will give you a different answer on the perfect resume format. You’ve seen the kid who sent donuts to his dream employer(s) right? While it’s different and unexpected, unless you are specifically targeting a company and not responding to a job posting, you don’t need to buy donuts for the whole world. Plus, it’s already been done and been circling the internet for years now.
You should plan to create a couple of different versions for different purposes and to customize a little for each job you apply to though.
Job Board and Direct Submissions
For your typical resume submission in response to a posted job listing, simple is best. This can be tough since we are creative types, but don’t worry; you can also have a fancy version for other uses. Think of this version as the wire frame or content plan.
- Use a single font, two if you must. Avoid dated fonts (Times New Roman for example) and hard to read or informal script-type fonts. Try to keep between 10.5–11.5 points for legibility.
- Keep it black and white or, again if you must, you can add a single color for emphasis.
- Stick to the rule of one page, two at most. If you have two pages, add a header just in case it’s being passed around in hard copy and gets separated.
- Make good use of white space.
- Include standard headers like Experience and Education and plenty of key words.
- Add a summary and skills section that you tailor for each specific job you apply to. Take a look at the bottom of the posting and pull any tools (Axure, Sketch, Invision) that they list and you use into your skills list.
- Skip the bar graphs and graphical elements. Automated parsers can’t read them and don’t care what you look like.
From Microsoft’s Online Career Profile Submission Process
The goal here is to have a simple, text-based Word file that can be easily parsed by automated systems. Many companies allow you to import from a file, LinkedIn, or other source but then require their form to be filled out as well. Others allow you to copy and paste the whole thing. A simple text-based format will make this much easier for you.
It should also look neat because HR might print it out for the hiring manager. Microsoft Office provides simple, free resumes that work just fine for this and you can easily customize the headers and order.
Interviews, Job Fairs, and Networking
This is where you can put all that UX design savvy to use and create a high-fidelity version. Apply your know-how in user analysis, flow, and content hierarchy. You are the product, and hiring managers are the users.
Go ahead and use Illustrator or your favorite tool to build an eye catching piece of art. Print it out and take it with you to your interview, or if you could end up running into UX managers and other influencers.
- Keep “on-brand”. Make sure that the tone, color scheme, graphics, etc. match your other brand collateral (your portfolio, business cards, LinkedIn profile, etc.)
- Tailor it to the type of job you want, not a specific job. There is less room in an info-graphic style resume so key words are less important. Give a short summary of each project instead of a laundry list of bullet points for each employer.
- Get creative with how you present your details. This is where you can go ahead and use a bar chart for your skills or a timeline for education and experience.
- Don’t forget to include all the standard sections of contact information, education, experience, and skills.
Just like with portfolios there are plenty of template sources for this kind of resume, just Google “resume template”. The “Complete Guide to UX Resumes + 3 Free Templates” offers up a step by step recipe of what to include and how to pull it all together. Sadly the 3 free templates seem to be MIA.
A non-traditional approach can work for these occasions if it is consistent with your career goals and not gimmicky, unlike say, donuts. Vandana Didi R. shared her augmented reality business card on LinkedIn and because it aligns with her interests it’s a great way for her to generate attention.
We’ve already mentioned sticking to a personal brand. When you are job hunting, you are marketing yourself (you are the product right?). What will really make you stand out isn’t fancy fonts and clever icons. Present yourself in a consistent, professional light that represents you as a person and potential employee. This way when you land the interview the team feels like they already know you, and want to find out even more. They have a feel for your process because you included your portfolio and LinkedIn info on the resume, and you’ve given them enough to click through to an interview.
- Use language that represents your personality. Keep it professional, but whether you call yourself a jedi, rock star, or say you’re stellar says more about you than you might think.
- Keep it consistent across all your marketing collateral; resume, portfolio, business cards, and LinkedIn profile.
- Practice good SEO by linking all your collateral back to each other. And of course use those key words consistently and frequently.
Staying consistent between your resume and LinkedIn offers the added benefit of applying with your profile for many job sites and companies. Stand out, and save time.
From Microsoft’s Online Career Profile Submission Process
Keep it Up to Date
Just like we advised in our portfolio article, keep your resume up to date. You never know when you might end up needing it, or when an opportunity might crop up. Making sure your resume is always current saves you time and energy because you won’t be wracking your brain to remember old start dates.
If you’ve followed our portfolio advice and scheduled yourself some time to reflect on your accomplishments and polish your portfolio, update your resume at the same time. You’ll be ready when you meet a hiring manager at a networking event and might discover some new path you want to explore.
Taking the time to create custom resumes for different uses and job postings will not only get you past the gates, but hopefully get you the job too. The resume update process is a great time to reflect and focus on what you want from your next step in your career. Let us know where you got your favorite resume template!