Hi, I’m Bryce, a former product designer at Airbnb and now advisor at Pathrise. I work with hundreds of product designers to help them land their dream job.
Demand for product design positions is continuing to increase. More and more people are looking for jobs in UX and UI design as the tech boom continues.
That means that recruiters will soon be inundated with product designer resumes. Given the field, it’s important not to use Microsoft or Google templates, because if you can’t stand out from a first glance, your resume runs the risk of being put aside in favor of ones that do. Once your resume catches their eye, you need the best possible content to ensure you move forward.
Our advisors have looked over thousands of resumes, as both interviewers and advisors, and so we asked them to share the 2 biggest mistakes they see and the most important tips for product designer 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 product designer resumes and how to avoid them:
Mistake 1 – Grunt vs. impact
Grunt is the word we use when referring to resume points that are focused only on what you worked on and what you were assigned to do, essentially grunt work. Grunt statements are sometimes a necessary evil, but should always try to be avoided. These types of statements are usually not a helpful or 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, optimize your resume by making use of…
Impact statements, which focus on what you have accomplished and the results you have achieved. The best ways to structure these statements are similar to ‘Accomplished X by implementing Y which led to Z’ or ‘Designed X to accomplish Y, resulting in Z’. They might sometimes be a little bit longer than your original statements, but they are worth it because they show the recruiter 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. 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?
- How many people did I manage or how many teams did I act as a liaison for?
- How many scenarios/tests did I consider/handle?
- How many different methodologies did I implement?
What did I achieve as a result?
- By what percentage did I improve our old process?
- How much time did I save the team or the user?
- How many users/groups used it?
- How many users did I launch to or will I launch to?
- How much money did I produce in value?
- What percentage of our old process did I replace?
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.
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. Just be sure to use cool colors like blues, greens, purples, and teal and avoid warm colors like red because red sets off a fear alarm in humans. It’s also important to stick with one color so your resume looks professional.
3. Readability is the most important
If you take one thing away from this, it is that your resume needs to be readable. 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 your 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.
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.