The Reason You’re Getting Overlooked for Job Opportunities as a UX Designer

Headshot of CareerFoundry contributor Sarah Doody.

Do you find yourself asking the question, “Why am I applying to UX design jobs, even getting interviews, but not getting job offers?”

The answer to that is exactly what I’ll be sharing today.

I’ll take a wild guess that at some point in your career you didn’t get a job offer or interview, and as a result, you thought to yourself, “I need to rewrite my resume for the fifth or 15th time.” Or maybe you thought about your portfolio or your LinkedIn profile.

So many candidates think the solution to not getting interviews or job offers is to redo their resume or portfolio. If so, you’re making a mistake. You’re jumping to a solution without understanding the underlying symptom. 

Let’s give an example: I’ve had a lot of positive experiences with acupuncture for various aches and pains and injuries. Acupuncture is based on balancing the flow of chi or life force in the body. One of the interesting things I learned about acupuncture early on is that if I have pain in my ankle, that’s a sign that the chi or energy might be blocked somewhere else far away from my ankle.

This is why the acupuncturist might not put needles in my ankle, but instead, they might put them in different parts of my body. This is because the root problem might be far away from my ankle so even if I iced and rested and stretched my ankle, it might not get better. 

The same concept of identifying the root cause of a problem applies to your job search. 

You can keep rewriting or redesigning your resume, your portfolio, and hope that this version will be the winner. However, standing out when you apply and during interviews goes way beyond wordsmithing, bullet points, and massaging pixels. 

The problem is not your resume or your portfolio. The root problem is your inability to connect the dots and tell the whole story of your work and life experience and how that relates to the job you’re applying to.

This is exactly why your resume and portfolio don’t stand out in the sea of other candidates, and this is also why you don’t stand out in interviews. You may be great at talking in interviews, but if what you’re talking about only scratches the surface, you’ll sell yourself short.

Your resume and your portfolio may be beautifully designed and have perfect spelling and grammar. But again, if the content of your resume and portfolio doesn’t sell your skills and experience, you’re not going to stand out. 

So how do you overcome this? You have to learn a new way to connect the dots about your experience in a written, visual, and audible format.

In other words, you have to know the words to write, and how to design and lay out your resume and portfolio so those words stand out to busy recruiters and hiring managers. You have to know how to verbally talk about your experience in interviews. 

No amount of rewriting or redesigning can help if your story isn’t solid. It’s kind of like that saying, right? You can’t put lipstick on a pig. 

You have to look at your work history and learn the process of developing your career experience story so you can share it and help the right people understand why you’d be an awesome candidate.

This is why paying to have your resume written isn’t worth it because if you can’t connect the dots, how is the person you hired to write it going to be able to write it effectively? 

Here’s what you need to do to improve the quality of writing of your resume and portfolio:

  1. Review the job description for the jobs you are applying to.
  2. Identify the skills and experience the companies are looking for. 
  3. Thoughtfully consider your previous experience and identify examples of when you’ve used the skills and experience mentioned in the job description. 
  4. Work those examples into your resume, portfolio, and what you say in your interviews.

Recruiters and hiring managers don’t just want to hear about what you did, they want to hear about why you did it, how you did it, and what happened. They want the receipts! 

They want to hear your process and don’t be afraid if your process had twists and turns and didn’t follow the traditional way that you think something should have been done.

I’ve talked to enough recruiters and hiring managers to confidently tell you that they want to hear about when things didn’t go perfectly when things went off course, and what you did to overcome that.

Did you find this article useful? These articles will help you avoid being overlooked for job opportunities as a UX designer, too:

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