Just like a graphic design job, when applying for a UX job, a portfolio is a key part of the application because it helps to demonstrate your existing skills and experience as a UX professional to a prospective employer.
And, just like everything else in the job application process, there are some definite Dos and Don’ts when it comes to putting your UX portfolio together. On this page you can find our top recommendations.
*Don’t forget; when you’ve got your UX portfolio nailed, it’s worth paying our jobs board a visit to see what user experience vacancies are currently up for grabs.*
Include The Journey:
When it comes to UX, the finished product, website or app is only a small part of the puzzle – so while it’s OK to include some examples of the finished end product, it’s also important to show some of the journey and some of the processes that led up to the final product. This could include custom sketches, user flow diagrams, wireframes and even some user research.
Following on from the last point, it’s important to try and include some annotations in your UX portfolio to explain exactly what it is that an employer is looking at. Just to clarify; this doesn’t have to be large, complex blocks of text – instead your annotations should include key information such as client name, date, technique and the company you were working for at the time (if applicable). If you’ve included some of the journey processes, you might also want to include which stage this piece of work appeared in the process and how important this piece was for the project overall.
Try & Showcase The Skills & Techniques They’re Looking For:
When it comes to selecting the work you want to include in your portfolio, if you’ve got the particular skills and techniques the employer has asked for in the job advert, it’s a good idea to choose work which showcases these in your portfolio. By showcasing these skills in your portfolio, you’re helping to support your CV (eg. backing up your skills with physical examples) and you’re also showing the employer first-hand that you’ve got the skills they’re looking for.
If you’ve got lots of UX experience under your belt, it can be tempting to throw it all into your portfolio – but we’d urge you to think again. An employer or hiring manager only has a limited amount of time to spend looking over your portfolio so you need to make sure that the work you include counts. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to include work for a range of clients that fully showcases your key skills as a UX designer or architect.
Forget To Tell A Story:
Think the order of your portfolio doesn’t really matter? Think again! Just like a website, your portfolio should have a clear user journey which takes a hiring manager along a clear path. There’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to set out your UX portfolio as such – but whatever layout you choose, you need to make sure it tells a clear story and demonstrates your skills and experience in the best possible light.
Rely On Links:
While it’s great to have your portfolio available online on your own website or on a site like Behance, it’s important not to just rely on these links in your portfolio. Why? Because employers and hiring managers are busy people and they don’t really want to have to go off trying to find your work on lots of different platforms. Similarly, when reviewing applications, some employers like to print off portfolios for review – something which isn’t easy to do if your work is spread over lots of different sites.
Focus On One Brand:
Done an amazing job for one particular client that you’re really proud of? That’s great – but it’s really important to try and include work that you’ve done for a range of different clients in your portfolio, even if you don’t feel they demonstrate your best work. There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, including work from a range of clients helps to demonstrate your diversity as a designer/architect. And secondly; including a range of work demonstrates that you’ve worked successfully with a number of different clients and teams – something which every employer wants to see.
Send An Outdated Portfolio:
If you’re in a rush and you haven’t gotten around to updating your UX portfolio recently, it can be tempting to apply with your old one – but we’d really urge you to avoid doing this. If you’ve included dates in your portfolio, sending an outdated portfolio can suggest to an employer that you haven’t completed any relevant work recently – which can instantly make them question your suitability for the role. What’s more; during your career, you develop as a professional so by sending in old work, you run the risk of not demonstrating the quality and expertise of your current work.