CV and resume pointers for user experience designers

A friend of mine recently wanted to pick my brains on CVs and resumes in the User Experience field:

I need to update my CV, do you know of any good CV template websites?  Mine looks pretty old school now, so I’m keen to freshen it, and give it a new look. Also, any ideas on alternative formats, I remember seeing something about visual CVs?

I am posting a slightly edited version of my quick response below that has useful pointers to various online resources.

“In regards to CVs, you might want to have a look at these thought-provoking blog posts:

Here’s a recent job application that made a killing by Jason Zimdars, who is now working at 37signals.

The resume template itself is secondary really. But if you insist:

Some people like using sites like VisualCV but I am not a big fan personally. In all honestly, if it’s only facts you’re after, LinkedIn PDF export does a pretty good job.

Overall I would suggest finding out everything you can about the role and the people involved (managers and peers) and investing effort in putting together a very impressive cover letter and maybe a presentation for them, and spending less time on the resume.

In the end it’s all about your attitude rather than the paperwork!”

What other resources would you recommend for putting together a kick-ass User Experience CV?

Update: Make sure you read Five Tips for Kicking Ass at an Interview over at Carsonified, too.

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  1. Posted 01/08/2009 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

    I’d like to disagree on the value of the Carsonified article.

    Fine, they like handmade stuff for themselves but for example drawing a nice flower for the sake of drawing stuff sounds a bit naive general approach. Find out about the position and the company, then act accordingly.

    For UX position, I’d like the applicant answer the job post as precisely as possible, show intelligent and mature approach and have a voice on their own. Also having beliefs and principles is important–after all, UX deals with making tangible interactions for a bigger context, the society as a whole. And believing in nothing results often to ADHD-like falls for anything.

  2. Posted 01/08/2009 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

    And what come to the template—good, basic typography is a winner. Visualizations and clever infodesign are too if you truly kick ass in making them and/or want a job to utilize that skill.

    This leads to an important point—ask opinions and review + proofreading from a few different-minded friends. Nothing is worse than a resume that is meant to be edgy and cool but doesn’t quite go there…

  3. Posted 02/08/2009 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    Good points Sami and I agree on both counts. I think your comment that “UX deals with making tangible interactions for a bigger context” is spot on, and in a way that’s exactly what I wanted to raise with the whole post – It’s not just about the resume or the template or the cover letter in isolation, your job application and how you deliver it and handle the followup should be an integrated whole and more than just the “sum” of the parts listed above.

  4. Gene
    Posted 07/09/2009 at 5:16 am | Permalink

    Hey, you have some good links there. I’m a fan of simple resumes that give bullet points of projects you’ve worked on.

  5. Posted 30/04/2010 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Related: Mike Dunn recently posted an interesting article titled Building a better UX résumé, go have a read.

  6. Posted 31/08/2010 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    If you want to stand out from the crowd do like James Goldie in his Pollenizer Junior Project Manager Shoutout.

    Or go all out like Dave Berzack in his Killa Appz rap video.

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