When you’re applying for UX jobs, your cover letter is really important because it helps to give an employer a bit of background into who you are as a candidate – and it also helps to explain why you actually applied for the job.
To give you a bit of guidance, on this page you can find our top Dos and Don’ts for user experience cover letters.
*And don’t forget; when you’ve got yours perfected, pay a visit to our jobs board to see what UX jobs we’re currently advertising.*
Name Check The Company & Role:
Whatever kind of UX job you’re applying for, it’s always important to name check the company and the job title in the first couple of paragraphs of your cover letter. Why? Because it not only shows the employer that you’ve personalised your cover letter – but it also helps to act as a bit of a reference, particularly if the hiring manager is trying to recruit for a number of similar UX jobs simultaneously.
Explain Why You Applied:
It probably goes without saying but in your cover letter you really need to explain why you applied for this particular role. Was it because they’re a great brand? The role sounded like a natural step up from your current job? You’ve been impressed with a UX campaign they ran for a previous client? Or the brand has a great prominent position within a competitive industry? This is your chance to show off your knowledge of the company and your motivations for applying – so don’t waste the opportunity because really, this is what could swing you an interview.
Explain Why You’re A Good Candidate:
In addition to explaining why you applied for the job, it’ also a good idea to explain how and why you’re a good candidate. Do you have everything they’re looking for? You need to tell them in your cover letter but you need to be able to back this claim up with solid examples from your career. For example, if they’re looking for someone with strong wire-framing skills, you could potentially say “I’m extremely proficient in wire-framing, having compiled effective wireframes for client A during my time at company B – evidence of this can be seen in my attached portfolio (page 10).” The more specific examples you give, the stronger your case will be for securing an interview.
While you should have already included some stats from previous UX campaigns in your CV, there’s no harm in throwing them into your cover letter too – particularly if they’re relevant to the role on offer. Just to clarify; I’m not saying include the stats for every project you’ve ever worked on in your cover letter – but I am saying it can be worth including the stats for one or two relevant campaigns because these can help to illustrate your successes as a UX designer or architect.
Everyone makes mistakes at some point or another but your cover letter is not the place for them. Why? Because in a competitive industry like UX design, recruiters and hiring managers will look for any reason to discount a candidate – and sometimes it can even come down to something as simple as a typo, particularly if it’s on something important like the company name. Before saving your cover letter as a PDF, be sure to spell check it – and it’s always a good idea to get someone else to give it a look over because mistakes can sometimes be more obvious to a fresh pair of eyes.
Submit A Poor Cover Letter:
While it’s important to include a cover letter with your UX job application, you’d actually be better off not submitting a cover letter at all over submitting a poor quality letter. That might sound strange but a poor cover letter which is totally generic and is full of mistakes can really work against you because it suggests to the employer that you’re lazy and have only sent a cover letter in because you think you should. OK, so not sending a cover letter in at all can leave you in the same dilemma – but at least if you don’t send one in at all, there’s no chance you can talk yourself out of the role in your cover letter.
Leave Any Questions Unanswered:
If you’ve got a whopping great gap in your employment history on your CV and you’ve failed to explain why, you really need to include a bit of explanation in your cover letter. Why? Because by failing to answer any questions which have a perfectly acceptable answer (eg. you were made redundant or you took a sabbatical to spend time with your family), you’re leaving the employer with a lot of questions which could cast a bit of a black cloud over your application. Remember, you don’t want to do anything which might jeopardise how seriously your application is taken in a competitive industry like UX.
Forget About The Layout/Design:
Think the format, layout and design of your cover letter doesn’t really matter? Think again! Your cover letter is just another part of your application so it really needs the same level of attention as your CV and UX portfolio. Consider things like the margins, paragraphs and typography – and work hard to ensure the design coincides with the design and layout of your CV and portfolio. Remember, they’re all part of your application so should be treated as one overall project.