This is a guest post from Hannu Konttinen, UX Lead at F-Secure.
I have been doing a lot of UX recruitment lately and have seen a lot of applications. Some really impressive ones… and some not quite so impressive. Here’s my take on the application process, from the hiring manager’s point of view. Hope this helps you!
1) In most application forms there’s a free comment field or similar. Use it to write shortly your main qualifications for the job and why you are applying for this position (why it is of interest, why you would be a good candidate). This field is often the first information the hiring manager sees so this ensures a positive interest. But keep it short and friendly.
2) Always include a portfolio or a link to portfolio. This way you show that you are a real pro and your CV and Letter will be studied with much more attention.
3) Since there are often quite a few of applications, hiring managers often do a quick first round review to identify candidates who are missing the right qualifications, and select the ones that go to consideration for the interview phase. That’s why it’s good to keep the portfolio in already on the first application – even if you’re short of formal qualifications, your portfolio may ensure a place for further consideration.
4) Be very critical of your portfolio. It should show your best work and ideally different kinds of projects. If it is not clear what your contribution in a project has been, write it down! Notes are appreciated.
5) Don’t try to impress with big words… rather look for the key words that are actually relevant for the job at hand. You should know them and the hiring manager will quickly scan the letter or the CV for this information.
6) In the Letter, be yourself! Showing a little bit of personality is encouraged but remember that too much boasting or overconfidence may turn against you.
7) Make sure your CV, Letter and Portfolio are shiny and spotless. Always customize the Letter for the job (it must state why you are interested in this job and why you think you qualify), use a spell checker and remember that all these documents communicate about your ability to do information design and lay out a beautiful page.
8) Don’t get upset if you’re rejected. All positions and teams are unique and there’s always more factors at play than is written into the job ad. This time you just did not meet the requirements, but it does not say anything else about you. There are plenty of good jobs for you out there.
Good job hunting!
Your hiring manager
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