In an ever-changing, highly-competitive digital age, landing your next creative gig can seem overwhelming. Being a good designer and/or developer doesn’t cut it. Presenting your background in a unified, well-organized manner, is critical. Recruiters review hundreds of portfolios and resumes daily, and if the user experience (UX) is lacking, or the digital presence disjointed, it will be easy for a recruiter to move on to the next profile.
Here are three things to keep in mind when applying for your next creative job:
1. It is imperative to have an integrated digital presence. It is unlikely you will be able to land any creative job – let alone your dream job – if you don’t have an online portfolio.
“We are hiring for digital and live in a digital world… an online portfolio is expected. While I realize a lot of designers aren't coders, there are plenty of free sites and templates you can use without knowing how to code,” says Molly Deutmeyer, manager of user experience (UX) and sr. front end developer at Conversant who sits on hiring panels.
It’s not just good enough to have an online portfolio; you need to consider its UX and if it accurately represents you and your skill set. Your portfolio can be the difference between landing that dream job you have been searching for or ensuring you will not get a call back. Even if you are not a developer or a web designer, this should not prevent you from going on the internet. A few options at your disposal are Behance, Coroflot, Dribbble, Squarespace and WordPress. And believe me, creative recruiters are on them daily. If you already have a portfolio, it is important to keep it up-to-date and organized, with examples showing your hand in each project, and clearly explaining your design process.
2. Much like your portfolio, a resume/CV is equally important.
“Your resume should also be a ‘good experience’ and consider best UX practices. This means that regardless of length, it should be clean, organized, easy to absorb and a little design flair doesn't hurt,” notes Molly. Yes, you can add some “flair,” but at the end of the day, if it doesn’t represent your skill set, projects and responsibilities, and have great user experience, it will be an easy “next” for most hiring managers. Attention to detail is another crucial element to consider; there should be no broken links, spelling errors, inconsistent behavior, etc. Be sure to include links to a portfolio, LinkedIn profile and contact information.
3. A lot of people can learn how to be a good designer or developer. What sets people apart is passion.
“Passion goes a long way in the UX space,” says Molly. “During interviews, are you passionate about design? It needs to be obvious that UX and design is something you truly care about and that you're willing and able to stand your ground to fight for. Good UX designers are constantly trying to keep up with the latest web design and interaction trends which means we have to know a lot about what's going on in the web world. It is important that you're a heavy web user yourself so you can understand how we can incorporate user expectations into our own products. Are you using Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Amazon, etc.? If not, you should be.”
This comment is true not only for UX designers, but anyone working in digital media. Being an avid student of technology is imperative to stay competitive. Passion projects are another way to set yourself apart and showcase your passion for design. It can be anything from pro-bono or freelance work to sidewalk chalk illustrations. Whatever your “passion project” might be, be sure to share that experience with hiring managers. You never know what they might be interested in, and leaving something like this out might lead to a missed connection.
From creatives, engineers and data scientists to marketing, sales and client services professionals, Conversant is always looking to add top talent to our ever-growing team. If you're a passionate digital professional interested in taking your career to the next level, please visit our Careers Page to review our open positions.