Building a better UX resume

The dreaded résumé. How can one love something meant to condense and cram a person’s life and career into a handful of pages? We as job hunters hate them because they never seem to sufficiently convey what we do or how we do it, and it’s usually the first impression any potential employer gets of us. Employers have a love/hate relationship with them because they do, at first, provide an apparently good abstraction of a potential hire, but it’s a thin veneer that quickly rubs away when they come face to face with an individual that barely seems to match up with that first impression.

A couple of years ago I experimented with treating my résumé as a UX project, applying user-centric principles and methodologies on myself in the hopes of landing a better job. In this session I’ll go over the process that led me to my design, discuss ‘user’ reaction to the design, and outline some ideas that can help everybody build a better résumé, UX or otherwise.


  • Mike Dunn, Exec Producer & Managing Editor (Gaming Trend)



What story is my resume telling? I’m a triple hybrid (sysadmin, developer, writer). The UX of my resume should tell that story at a glance, in depth, and with efficiency. I should use all the same principles of UX and branding?

Start by looking at your resume as a project.

Take stock of what kind of story it’s telling now. Define the audience, identify the problems with the current resume, look for peer innovators, design/iterate, test (submit).


Recruiters can be generalists for the most part, not strong discipline understanding. Looking for ways you meet minimum requirements. What they DO know is the culture of their company. Recruiters can also be specialists, and can represent you sometimes better than you can represent yourself. the hiring managers (your report-to) have less time to spend with you.


How am I communicating my projects, my expertise, my education? Am I just mentioning tools? Proficiency? How I am presenting my history/timeline and connecting it to the person I’m sending my resume to? UX is about designing for people.

Am I balancing narrative with scanability?

How often have I incorporated feedback/questions into revisions to my resume?


Think about other storytelling modes (persona, profiles, character builders, infographics).


Design to give prominence to the aspect of you that is the most important to the type of career you want. History = infograph timeline (can visually fill in gaps to show you never stopped working). Project successes/skill improvement?

Conversational profile/discussion of projects. Reflect on what motivates you, the kind of environment you are looking for (big collaborative team, figured things out already, vision). Who do I want to align with?


It’s important to know your audience, and the storytelling approach helps you do so (but expect it to weed out companies that don’t align with that approach, which can be a good thing). You’re interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you.

The web resume is a starting place, a curated launching pad piece to connect you to the job and lead people to your online publications and work.

Related Tools: vizify,