I’ve scanned through 500+ applications for Product Designer role and this is what you’re missing the most

In my years of leading and building design team, the hardest part of the job is to recruit member. Sometimes it takes more than 6 months to find the right member for the team. The most challenging work is to identify who could be the potential one to do interview, this was done by scanning the application including CV, portfolios and website. What are missing the most?

Not showing how you solve problems

In most cases, applications usually contain a Resume, a Portfolio on Behance or Dribbble. With Behance and Dribbble, they often show nice screenshots and UI of the projects that candidates have worked in the past. Which, is not a right or a wrong thing, but it misses out the most of important questions that Hiring manage will ask:

  • What have you contributed to this project?
  • What kind of team player you were in this project?
  • What problem did you solve?
  • How did you solve it?
  • What you have learnt from it?

I’ll give you an example of how it may look like:


What can be better?

Simply change the Title

Instead of saying this is the project for Company A, or some application name, please put in the problems or the goal of the project that you designed for. Such as

  • How we [did something] at [company A] to [action] [something] for [someone]
  • [Done some action] for [Project A] in order to achieve [something]
  • What I’ve learnt from [action] for [Project A]…

The purpose is to show right away the experience you got from working in the previous companies or projects, and it helps hiring manager understand more clearer about you and your work. It will of course leave an impression about you comparing to other candidates

What if I’m fresh, no experience at all?

In most cases, you can only show your graduation projects or some case studies that you have done to show your understanding and skills for the jobs. In this case, choose a case studies that are relevant, or at least more close to the industry that you are about to apply to.

You had all your time to prepare for your first job, so choose smartly and not too personal. The most easiest way is choose to solve a very small problem that you saw everyday with any digital products you might use. That gonna buy more.

And not just title, but the content as well

Don’t just put in a list of screenshots of UI, write your understanding, write your statement, it shows one of the most important skills that Hiring manager are always actively looking for: presenting and explaining your work to others.

That’s also why just using Behance is not enough, because Behance is better for displaying the visual aspect of the work. I’m not saying that Behance is not good, it’s just not enough for your Product Design job application, because in reality when working as a Product Designer, you’ll write a lot.

Here is the template for writing any work-portfolio for Product Designer:

It’s not about the UI or the UX in a Product Designer Portfolio

It’s about:

  • How you approached to solve a problem
  • How you analysis the issues, how you understand the problems
  • How you idea for the solution
  • How the final UI reflects your solution

And if you are looking for senior position, it’s about:

  • How you deal with existing constrains
  • How you deal with other stakeholders
  • How you influence others people involved
  • How you make an impact

Start finding a way to showcase all above

You can choose to go as simple as possible, just register for a free writing platform such as wordpress, substack. Don’t need to be fancy, the content you deliver is more important. If the UI you did is beautiful enough, then it’ll be beautiful. Some of the most popular platform to start with:

  • Wordpress
  • Substack
  • Webflow
  • Notion
  • Medium

Thanks for reading

I’m Lam Thai, a Product Designer and a Community builder for UX Vietnam. Read more about me