Your UX design portfolio doesn’t get you the job. Your story does.
At the end of the day, who you are and how you add value to your prospective employer or client seals the deal.
Think about it. Yes, your portfolio is the golden ticket that gets you into the interview chair. It’s absolutely required for safe passage. But everyone interviewing for the job or gig you want has one. Everyone.
Almost Everyone’s Portfolio Home Page
My job-seeking UX Coaching clients often come to me with what they think is a portfolio problem. Even if they only have one project to show, they have poured their heart and soul into polishing every pixel.
Unfortunately that great work gets obscured by a home page that doesn’t immediately communicate value. Instead, a typical UX design portfolio website opens with a headline that says something like, “Hi! I’m Jim and I’m a passionate UX designer. Look at me!”
How does a headline like that help the hiring manager, client or HR representative actually do their job? How does it make their life easier?
Use Your UX Skills To Get The Gig
As UX practitioners, we have a unique advantage with our own skill set that can help us get to the next level. Here’s how:
- Treat your job or client search as the design problem it is.
- Identify the personas that need to use your site along with their challenges and frustrations.
- Match them up with how you can solve their issues to achieve business goals (your desired fee or salary).
One Step Closer To Yes
Successful UX portfolios tell a story about how the candidate can actually help the person reviewing it.
As a potential candidate, you only have three seconds to get someone’s attention on your website. Three seconds. That’s much less than the attention span of a typical goldfish (about 12 seconds).
Your audience needs a solution to their problem right now. That’s why they’re visiting your site. Are you the answer to their prayers? How will they know?
What’s In It For Them?
Show what’s in it for them right from the start. A more effective headline (and sub-headline) might say, “Let’s tackle your toughest design problems together. My film background gives me an edge when designing an effective user experience”.
Immediately this person is different. With a carefully crafted headline and subhead, they have introduced a unique, compelling story that goes right to the heart of the visitor’s pains and problems.
They’ll stand out because they’re showing how they can immediately add value.
Of course, they’ll need to follow the thread of that story throughout the entire interview process. This is the secret sauce. They have congruency and complete clarity around who they are and what they offer.
What’s Your Story?
So how do you come up with a solid story? It takes time.
It begins way before you finalize your portfolio and/or resume and can take a lot of soul-searching.
For example, what are your true motivations? What drives you? Why do you do what you do?
Spend some focused time reflecting on and articulating your story. Not only will it likely lead to some healthy realizations, it will give you the raw material to create unique and compelling headlines that rise above the competition.
Why Your Story Matters
But more than just great website copy, you’ll gain a lot more confidence in yourself.
You’ll know your story inside and out. You’ll be so familiar with your UX portfolio and overall work experience that you’ll be able to weave those threads into any potential opportunity.