With more and more companies starting to understand the benefit that a dedicated User Experience function can bring, there has never been a higher demand for top quality UX Designers. It can often be difficult to prove your potential value to a hiring manager/recruiter, especially if they are not a designer themselves. Fortunately, there are a number of “hard” and “soft” skills you can easily highlight in your CV or in a call to a recruiter to make you stand out. Here are the top design skills in demand…
Hard Design Skills
Hard skills are easy to quantify, they’re teachable skills that you will have learnt over the course of your education/career in UX. The top key hard skills in the UX industry are:
A background in psychology isn’t essential to being a good UX Designer, but the ability to truly understand what your customers want is. This means having the ability to plan and implement research sessions and analyse the data generated. Depending on your customer base, there are a variety of methods you can use to do this, but the most common include Survey’s/Questionnaires, Usability Tests, and A/B tests. Each have their pro’s and con’s, but you should be competent in a mix of methods and be able to demonstrate understanding of the results and their implications.
The obvious one, but core to work of a UX Designer. Wireframing is simply the blueprint for the interface and is used to demonstrate how something works rather than how it looks. It shows how each screen of the interface is interacted with and what components are necessary for function. Showcasing your wireframing skills in portfolios is important but you also need to describe the process around the wireframes, including your train of thought, understanding of toolkits and problem solving deduction.
Prototyping gives you the ability to test your products functionality. Does it match the end users needs identified in the research phase? You’ll need to be quick at prototyping, as it’s highly possible further needs/changes will be identified at this stage, meaning multiple prototypes may have to be constructed. You should prototype every possible iteration of your design, as each version can give new insight into user behaviour and flag any issues.
Soft Design Skills
Soft skills are much harder to measure, they’re your personal attributes and interpersonal skills which are developed throughout your life from childhood. Some key UX soft skills include the following:
Communication and Presentation
Remember taking exams at school and only getting top marks if you showed your workings out and thought process? Well UX is the same.
You might have the most intuitive, best designed product ideas known to man, but if you can’t communicate them effectively you’ll struggle to get them off the ground. A good UX Designer should be a storyteller, effectively conveying their ideas and the user centric reasoning behind them. You will also probably need to win over stakeholders with no background in or knowledge of design so you will need to act as a teacher in the many variants of UX design.
Empathy is your ability to understand the feelings and emotions of other people, and it’s absolutely critical in UX. To truly understand how to optimise your product for a customer you need to be able to understand how users feel when they’re using it. You don’t have to be Derren Brown but take the time to really listen to your customers and understand the emotions they feel when using your product. Does it bring them joy? Or frustration? Understand user psychology and your can address their wants and needs which will in turn optimise the usability and popularity of your product/service.
As a UX Designer you will never truly work alone, you will have to collaborate with developers, clients, product owners/designers and stakeholders. The ability to effectively work with your teammates and understand their objectives will make the whole project run a lot smoother with an outcome that works for everybody.
Demonstrating your ”hard” skills to recruiters/hiring managers should be the easy part, all you need is a well written CV with enough detail to emphasise the skills you have that are relevant to the role and a well thought out, user friendly portfolio to demonstrate your work. “Soft” skills are a lot easier to demonstrate once you’re face to face. Think about your body language, eye contact, language, and tone of voice – there are a plethora of articles out there giving interview advice, and any decent recruiter should invest as much time as you do in preparing you for the interview.
But how can you prove you’ve got them from the outset? Things like the way you write your CV, or the language, tone and content of your email conversations with the recruiter/manager will definitely have an impact.
Alternatively, our video interview platform can show your “soft” skills off to a hiring manager from the very beginning. If you’re interested in a design role, we’ll do a recorded video interview with you so you can discuss your design experience and skills. This is then sent on to the company that’s hiring to watch. It’s a great way to showcase your soft skills and can communicate more about your experience than any CV could.
If you’re looking for a new design role or want to find out more about our video interviews you can connect with me on LinkedIn.
This blog post was written by Sam Chamberlain, our awesome Digital Consultant, who specialises in Design Recruitment.
If you’re looking for a new a new design job you can connect with Sam on LinkedIn here
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