If you’re in the market for a new job, there’s a good chance you’ll need to have a portfolio showcasing your past projects and skills. Hiring managers will typically do a quick walk through of your portfolio before deciding if they want to bring you in person or talk on the phone for an interview.
Because of this, you’ll want to make sure the information you display is enough for someone to understand the project and your contributions to it, while leaving enough room for you to elaborate in an interview. A good U.S. portfolio will follow a case study structure with high level details about the project, a breakdown of activities you facilitated, and screenshots are photos of final designs, research plans or other artifacts you created throughout the process. With that in mind, let’s talk about some do’s and don’ts. First, don’t go overboard with details in the portfolio you send out when you apply for the job, including too much detail will have a hiring manager scrolling right past important information. Save the specific details for when you can talk directly with someone. When you get to the interview stage, don’t just give a tour of your portfolio. Don’t talk someone through what they can see in front of them or what they’ve already seen when they screen your application. Now is the time that hiring managers want to hear what went on behind the scenes.
Pick one or two things from your top projects that you can talk about in detail. Maybe in one project you tried out a new technique or framework and you want to discuss how you adapted it to your situation. Maybe in another project you ran into an especially difficult challenge and you want to showcase how you handled the conflict and came out to your end result. Take your interviewer on the journey of your projects. It’s one thing to just show artifacts and deliverables, but you’ll have a much more successful interview. If your interviewer has an understanding of what it’s like to work with you and how you approach your process.
Folks in charge of hiring want to hear about what goes on beyond the Polish portfolio pieces so that they can try to envision themselves working with you. Confidence in your work in process will go a long way in presenting your portfolio. In an interview, put together some solid case studies plan to tell a few interesting stories about projects you’ve worked on and be prepared to talk about the strengths that you can bring to a team. .
UX Lessons I Wished I Learned Early
Many new U.S. practitioners often put tremendous pressure on themselves to be perfect, to make the perfect decisions, make the perfect designs, but there’s no such thing as a perfect interface. I wish I had learned early in my career that there are things that you can do to alleviate some of this pressure from yourself. First, don’t aim for perfection. If features or ideas don’t get implemented during the current release, it’s not the end of the world. In software development, you are never done.
Software continuously changes and it should change as user needs change.
So don’t fret if you don’t get all your ideas implemented now aim for incremental change. So if the usability needle moves in the right direction, even if it slowly count each tick as an opportunity and count it as a win, so look for opportunities and other ways in the future to make change. But don’t put too much pressure on yourself to do everything at the same time or at the same moment. Secondly, consider the business needs to set aside extreme usability idealism. If you focus on creating optimal experiences for the end users while neglecting business goals, you will face many challenges. Many novice UX specialists make the mistake of proposing recommendations that are unrealistic or don’t support user goals. So, for example, in a usability study, if customers say I don’t like ads that, does that mean we should remove them altogether? Businesses need to be profitable in order to exist.
So in this instance, it’s better to recommend ways for ads to coexist with the interface, but without interfering the users tasks, especially if this is how your company makes money. Your recommendations should consider the tradeoffs between user needs and business needs and keep them balanced. Lastly, being effective is more important than being right. Keep sight of the end game.
It doesn’t matter if you’re an expert and know all the answers to every design question. What’s more important is whether or not you get by it and you can get things done. Establishing credibility is important, especially if you’re new. Sometimes you must take extra steps, even if it feels laborious to collaborate with other team members to ask for feedback. Team members who face challenges and victories together tend to have stronger bond.