Here are a few questions that are on everyone’s minds – unless you are working in a marketing agency, in which case we hope that besides having all the answers, you are acting in the best interest of the kids.
Design is everywhere – it’s in the coffee mug you’re holding while you’re reading this article, the laptop or smartphone you’re looking at right now, and that app you’re using for making grocery lists.
Behind each of these physical and digital products, there is a village of people who put their minds together to create something that can serve you or solve some of your problems. More importantly, they are building a solution that is also pleasing to the eye and provides a seamless product experience.
In particular, it is a product designer who makes sure all those things fall into place.
When we first started researching the subject, we had the idea of compiling a resume-style list of all the skills and software products product designers of today might find valuable. We thought that the list might be fun for those who are pursuing a job in such a fast-paced and competitive industry.
Instead, we decided to take a different approach and tell you more about Vera Chen – a young professional who is successfully building her career as a product designer and also belongs to the .ME community.
What a wonderful coincidence! 😉
The Truth About the Interview Process
The demand for digital products is ever-growing and, luckily, that means that more and more people are needed in the tech industry.
Still, when the HR service gets a ton of resumes and portfolios, they have a limited amount of time to find that one great thing that will put you through the second round of phone call or an in-person interview. When they go through a candidate’s resume, they spend 10 seconds (if that!) and flick through the portfolio looking for key information and something that sticks out.
You have 10 seconds to show them what you’ve got!
Why do we mention this? Because Vera knows how to use this short window of opportunity wisely. Here’s how she does it:
1. Using a Website as a Portfolio
One strategy that VeraChen.ME is using is having an online portfolio website, and we firmly believe this is the main point anyone considering a career in product design needs to cover. After all, what will get you to the next round is showing what you have to offer, and nothing gives you as much freedom as a platform you fully control.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve worked on uni or college projects only, or helped out a friend with the cover for their new music album – everything counts. You don’t have to be a seasoned pro to nail a job today because tech is evolving and new positions open up daily.
In Vera’s example, we see some name-dropping right at her home page. Kudos Vera!
Please, use this tactic by all means, because it’s definitely something that catches the eye.
Seeing that she has worked for big companies like Uber and Facebook sends out a signal that she probably has something valuable to bring to the table, since giants like those two have hired her in the past.
2. Listing Details About Individual Projects
Apart from giving us a glimpse of her past collaborations, Vera does this great thing and gets into more detail about the projects she worked on.
Why is this important?
When an interviewer flicks through your portfolio and sees something they like, their next step usually involves trying to find out more about it. In Vera’s case, on her home page or Work section, she tells us about her experiences – in constructive detail.
Her projects’ overviews look like curated lessons, diary entries which seem to function both as the author’s way of learning and reinforcing knowledge and a way of sharing her findings as well.
Most importantly, she presents her final design solutions and how it pushed the businesses forward. As a product designer, you need to introduce yourself as a creative individual who also understands business’ end goals. Your solution needs to be wrapped up in a product that is profitable for the company. Hence, showing how your final design provided an optimized experience for the user while staying efficient and in alignment with the strategic end goal is a clear winner.
3. Designing your Project Design
In each of her amazing one-pagers, Vera speaks about the product design process end-to-end – from visual design, interaction design and prototyping, to collecting feedback and conducting research.
Vera uses hero images of the projects she’s worked on along with thumbnails and personal photos.
As we said, in a pile of resumes and competitive candidates, you have to be able to sell yourself quickly. So, to-the-point information about the projects you have under your belt and high-fidelity visuals of your best work are game-changers.
The conclusion to be drawn from here is quite straightforward – if you’re a digital product designer, your digital presence has to be an example of your design.
4. Including your Resume
A perfect move would be to put your resume on your portfolio website – and that’s precisely what Vera did.
Her resume is a one-page presentation which points out her education, skills, projects, and working experience with a brief description of her role and work.
As we can see from her experience, her career is on an upward trajectory. Vera’s ambition and hard work got her hired by some of the biggest companies in the world.
5. Branding and Choosing a Personal Domain Name
As there are many fantastic product designers in the tech industry today, sometimes the smallest of differences make ALL the difference. This is especially true if you’re trying to get that internship or land a job at a high-profile West Coast company. 🙂
Creating a strong online personal brand is a must for anyone in the tech industry, and Vera is successfully working on it. Her website, connected to a personal domain with her name, serves as her online hub.
Not only does a personal domain name help her create a strong online presence, but it also tells visitors that there is a person behind it. In the world of product design where the ability to understand others is one of, if not the most essential quality, that says that a real human being will be designing for people and creating meaningful products that drive user engagement.
There are great ways to showcase your talents and skills which can help you with sharing who you are with the world and potential employers.
Young professionals like Vera Chen are an excellent example of a remarkable person and a well-rounded professional who is prepared to develop her skills continuously.
Never stop working on your craft, grow both as a person and a professional, and remember to find a way to share your achievements with others. Work hard and everything else should fall into place on your path to a fantastic product designer career!