UX Grads: The Application Process

What should be in your application? Should you have a cover letter and what goes in your portfolio?

UX Grads

You’ve graduated from your final course and decided exactly what you want to do. But what next?

Last week we began sharing practical advice for UX grads, especially those based in Singapore to help them get started. We discussed some top tips to get them up and running and this week we’re discussing how to apply, including advice on your portfolio and cover pages.

UX in Singapore has expanded both academically and commercially in popularity over the past year and has become a huge point of interest across various trades and professions outside the usual design practices most are familiar with.

The Q&As covered below are from genuine grads seeking assistance.

Q: What information aside from qualifications and past work experience should I be listing in my resume and intro? Does it matter if it’s not UX relevant?

Since there are mid-career starters in this field, it is worthwhile to show various industry and commercial experience of different fields, but be selective and brief about it, particularly advisable is to place hierarchy onto UX projects above all. Best to summarize what isn’t UX related into a short background intro and list them in last/bottom order. Having too much information without relevance to the position applied for won’t add credit rather, it’s likely to put off the hiring person going through your resume.

Most people go through information by skimming. Imagine purchasing a computer and having to skim through 2 full pages of information on a brochure that isn’t relevant to the product, only to see 1-2 useful sentences at the very beginning or end. You’d feel not only is it a badly presented product, but also it doesn’t have the right specifications you need to do the work. Resumes are an indicator of your personal branding as a candidate. Even more so the experience of viewing this document is important to emphasize who and what type of a UX professional you are.

Q: Since different companies focus on different UX needs. Should I be creating an intro to summarize my overall strengths or should it be targeted to the business nature only?

Like the question above, an intro of background experience helps pinpoint what your strengths are. If you’re aware the business nature is very niche or product specific, eg. Medical UX or a Delivery App, with this knowledge, it’s attractive to include tools and processes used in those spaces to connect your understanding of the role.

In addition, say it’s an agency with F&B clients they do UX work for building a delivery app, and you used to manage a café for several years or work in a logistic company before, that could be a plus to mention to the interviewer to create empathy that you understand the nature of business from a user perspective and not necessary to include as detailed write up.

Q:  With case studies, how in-depth and how many should I be sharing/compiling as part of my application package?

Your portfolio is the best asset to highlight your depth of knowledge in the UX spectrum. A good number of case studies vary around 3-5. Always include the process and design methodologies, not just the end-result images. Any images should be in clear resolution. A range from research findings, user journey mapping, sketches, intricate wireframes, clickable prototypes. Don’t forget to add descriptions of the problem assessed, end user goal definitions, some data pre-and-post market launch. Basically, a full cycle of what goes on in the UX delivery should be taken into consideration when compiling your case studies. Emphasising portions that you’re specialized in will naturally guide the viewer to understand better your forte as well.

We hope as an applicant you succeed in getting your first UX job!

While it’s unlikely new entrants to the job market in Singapore will be able to find a role through us, we hope to provide as much useful information to applicants by keeping abreast of shifts and trends in the industry. We’re also continuously building relations with academic institutions in preparation of talent immersion. If you’ve got your first gig and are looking to make the next shift, we’d be able to assistant in your job search more adequately so drop our UX consultant at the Singapore desk fanny.yap@cogsagency.com a nudge for a one on one session. Or visit the Cogs job board for new opportunities across the region.

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