How to ace the UX job application

By Philip Morton

If you’re interested in getting a job in user experience (UX), what should you do to make a great first impression? Here’re some top tips to think about when putting together your CV, covering letter and portfolio.

If you’re interested in getting a job in user experience (UX), what should you do to make a great first impression? Here’re some top tips to think about when putting together your CV, covering letter and portfolio.

Your covering letter is your executive summary

Many people misunderstand the role of the covering letter. This is your sales pitch to engage the reader, while your CV provides the evidence. It’s not uncommon for applicants to spend a great deal of time on their CV, but not take the same care with their covering letter. Treat them as equally important and you’re more likely to get a job in UX.

Provide a portfolio of previous work

In addition to the usual CV and covering letter, applicants in the UX industry should also supply a portfolio. All three are a window into the applicant’s character, personality and style, and of course gives us a glimpse of what they will be like as a UX practitioner.

Pay attention to layout and design

In our role as consultants, we strive to make products and services easy and enjoyable to use. It follows that the information on your CV, covering letter and portfolio should be equally usable and engaging. If you can’t design your own work effectively, it doesn’t suggest that you’d be able to help clients do the same with theirs either.

Proofread your application

Perhaps an obvious one, but straightforward spelling and grammar errors can undo all of your hard work. Attention to detail is a key quality we look for. Have a few friends look over your CV and covering letter before you apply; it’s a quick and easy way of avoiding needless errors.

Be specific, not generic; understand our company, our culture

One of the most common mistakes people make is not taking enough time to make their application specific enough. It’s easy to tell if the same covering letter and CV have been sent to multiple employers, while a thoughtful and targeted application can make a real difference. Learn about the role, the company and its culture in detail and tailor your CV and covering letter to suit; it’ll pay off in the long run.

Tell a story

With so many applications to sift through, it can be difficult to stand out. One of the best ways to do this is by telling a story through your CV and covering letter. UX is a field with few dedicated bachelor degrees, so almost everyone comes from a different background; try to use this to your advantage by explaining how you became interested in the industry and company. A compelling narrative is much more memorable than a run-of-the-mill application.

We currently have vacancies for UX Consultants and UX Designers. Visit our careers page to find out more.

Philip Morton

I help businesses create better products and services by putting customer insight at the heart of the design process. In the last six years, I've worked with the likes of Sony PlayStation, HSBC, Sega, Tesco and TSB. In that time, I've seen our research, design and strategy work improve both the experience for customers and commercial outcomes for clients.

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