If you are a someone applying for the role of a product designer, this post is for you. In this post, I want to tell you why your application may not make it to the first round and why you should not apply in hurry and instead, spend sometime over the role and rather prepare for it.
Here are 4 things that most get wrong and how you could do a better job at it:
1. More talk than show
I receive a lot of resumes where candidates choose to write about their work without actually compiling their projects with walkthroughs and examples. It does not help understand their specific contribution in the project.
Don’t just write you did “research” instead demonstrate what it entailed. Was it competitive benchmarking? User Interviews? Focus group discussions? Try to explain in detail what you did and how that contributed to the project.
If you have experience in working in a certain organisation for a few months/ years, don’t just write you did 10 things in the org. Give examples of your design leadership, how you grew the team, how were you involved in decision making etc.
Most end up stating that they are unicorn designers having expert level experience from research to ui to ux to unicorn rainbows! You can’t possibly sell that.
Sell the few things that you’re the most confident about and demonstrate that you want to learn the others.
In short, complement the ‘talk’ with some show — in the form of design, examples of discussions, experiences and so on.
2. Infographics of your skillset does not help
Putting together a fancy infographic to show your skills in Photoshop, Sketch, Motion, UX, UI … DOES NOT HELP. I am not diving into the flaws of that form of representation. But, if you really want your potential interviewer to know that you are a 90% in UI design skills, a 40% in motion design and so on, just show it.
Example: You made a home page. Mention what you specifically did in that home page — Visual Design, a Marvel prototype that you may have required to test (share the link as well), UX (enlist usability and flow concerns and solutions addressed by the page). This will give us more insight on your skill competency than a bar graph.
3. Not a good cover letter
I would want to have a great conversation with people I’ll be meeting during the interview process. To shortlist, I would need to know a person more than their resume and portfolio link(s). Only a small percentage of people who apply do spend time in writing about their work, their experience and try to build some context around their way of working, how they are as a person before diving straight into their work.
We are not rushing to hire someone yesterday. So, spend some quality time and talk about yourself, what kind of work have you done, what kind of experiences you have had and most importantly why are you interested in working with us.
4. There’s no impact shown in your work
You have tons of screens and flows in your portfolio which are the visual outputs but none of them truly demonstrate what impact it had and to what problem statement. Did it improve any measurable data you were targeting? Conversion, sales, repeat, engagement, browsing, time spent…?
Remember, you are applying not for a visual designer position but a product designer. In product design, you need to have problem and impact showcased with the help of your designs.
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