Career Transition to UX Design: Tips for Portfolios

Job Search Part 2

Jean Saung

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Photo by Anete Lūsiņa on Unsplash
Photo by Anete Lūsiņa on Unsplash

What I learned as someone building a portfolio and now reviewing them when I interview designers for my company is, what you decide to keep or omit in your portfolio will show hiring managers your ability to surface relevant information, communicate clearly, and your collaborative style as a team member.

I went through 6 different drafts of my portfolio before getting my first job offer. In that time I asked for feedback from 4 designers and 2 hiring mangers and 1 recruiter, who gave me valuable perspectives. It was a lot of asking for help, hard work, and a great learning experience overall.

Your portfolio is a platform for telling your story. The design of your portfolio is also another opportunity to showcase your design skills. My goal for this article is to point you towards key information and additions to your portfolio that will lend credibility to your design experiences.

This is part 2 in a 3 part series:

Part 1: Tips for Resumes

Part 2: Tips for Portfolios

Part 3: Tips for Applications

Please Keep In Mind

What skills make a candidate appealing is subjective. What design experiences are relevant will depend on the size and stage of the company, as well as their product and industry. The existing dynamics and skills of the design team affects the role for the next design hire. And then there is the background of the hiring manager, be they designers, product managers, or technical founders etc. which influences the kind of applicant that will stand out to them.

It may sound like a lot of variables, but what you need to think about is only what works for you. Your goal is not to bend yourself into a shape hiring managers will like. Your goal is to present yourself authentically and to the full extent of your skills and experiences.

Building your portfolio

As with your LinkedIn and Resumes, be clear about the context for each project. Surface the type of position (consulting, full-time), duration of the project, and your contributions (research, visual design, UI design, usability testing, design…

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Jean Saung

Senior Product Designer based in Asheville, NC. I write about design, leadership, resilience, and emotional intelligence. https://www.jeansaung.com/