Hi, I’m Elle! I work as a product designer at Getaround and as an industry mentor here at Pathrise, where I help our fellows land great jobs in product design through technical workshops and 1-on-1s. Check out my article with important tips for your product design resume.
Updated in 2021
Demand for product design positions is continuing to increase in 2021. More and more people are looking for jobs in UX and UI design as the tech boom continues.
That means that recruiters are seeing product design resumes every day. Given the field, it’s important not to use Microsoft or Google templates because then your resume will look too similar to many other people. If you can’t stand out from a first glance, your resume runs the risk of being put aside. But, once your resume catches their eye, you need the best possible content to ensure you move forward.
Our mentors have looked over thousands of resumes, as both interviewers and mentors. Therefore, I wanted to share the 2 biggest mistakes I see as well as my biggest tips for product design resumes. If you keep these mistakes in mind and follow the tips, your resume will shine through and move you from application to interview.
2 biggest mistakes on your product design resume and how to avoid them:
Mistake 1 – Grunt vs. impact
Grunt is how we refer to resume points that are focused only on what you worked on because you were assigned to do it (aka grunt work). Sometimes you do need to include grunt statements (or grunt-like statement), but for the most part, you should avoid them. They are usually not an educational description of how you spent your time in any past experience or project. They usually look something like ‘Designed X for Y’ or ‘Worked on X using Y’.
Instead, we recommend that you optimize your resume by making use of…
Impact statements, which focus on what you accomplished and the results or scale of the project. Some examples of ways to structure these statements are ‘Accomplished X by implementing Y which led to Z’ or ‘Designed X to accomplish Y, resulting in Z’. They might be longer than your original statements, but they are worth it because they show that your work mattered.
Mistake 2 – Lack of quantification
It might be hard to quantify projects that might not have gotten the results you hoped for or haven’t launched yet. However, if you ask the right questions, you can quantify your work so that interviewers understand the impact.
Here are some questions that you can ask to help you quantify your work and impress the recruiter.
What was the scale?
- How many devices did I serve?
- Who did I manage? How many people or teams did I act as a liaison for?
- What scenarios/tests did I consider/handle?
- How many different methodologies did I implement?
What did I achieve as a result?
- How much time did I save the user or team?
- By what percentage did I improve our old process?
- How many users/groups used it?
- How many users did I launch to or will I launch to?
- What percentage of our old process did I replace?
- How much money did I produce in value?
Top 5 tips to make your product designer resume stand out
1. Use a modern font
Sans serif fonts are more modern-looking so we always recommend them for product designer resumes. When you use these fonts, you send the right first impression to the reviewers. This is especially important when you are applying for design positions in the tech industry, so that they know you have your finger on the pulse.
2. Add a pop of color
You probably know this as a designer, but colors help draw the eye to important elements. Use color to highlight your skills or any other important keywords on your resume. Just be sure to use cool colors like blues, greens, purples, and teal and avoid warm colors like red. It’s also important to stick with one color so your resume looks professional.
3. Readability is the most important
Your resume needs to be readable and that is the most important tip we can give. Even if the design of your resume is beautiful and abstract, if it can’t be easily scanned, it will not move you forward. Use a maximum of 2 columns and never use white or light-colored text. If you include links to your portfolio and additional websites/apps you’ve worked on (and you should!), make sure that they are clickable in the pdf format, so that your work can be seen.
4. Highlight important keywords
Recruiters and hiring managers spend only seconds looking at each resume. Make their jobs easier by emphasizing the keywords that matter most to them. Match the keywords directly to the job description. If they say you need knowledge of Adobe Suite and your resume says Adobe Creative Cloud, tailor it to match their words in case they are using an applicant tracking system.
5. Always include context
A frequent mistake that we see on applicants’ resume is that they don’t provide enough context to their work. When talking about the work you’ve done, make sure to include the important keywords, but also tell the story and purpose of the product, app, or system you worked on.
For more steps on how to become a UX designer by landing a great job, see our guide.
Pathrise is a career accelerator that works with students and young professionals 1-on-1 so they can land their dream job in tech. With these tips and guidance, we’ve seen up to a 20% increase in initial screen conversion and up to 80% increase in interview success from our fellows in the program.
If you want to work with any of our advisors 1-on-1 to optimize your product designer resume or with any other aspect of the job search, become a Pathrise fellow.