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Designing a UX Portfolio by Ian Fenn

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5 Getting the basics right

“Obey standards unless you’ve got a darn good reason not to.”— Alan Cooper

Few hiring managers review portfolios because they want to. Reviewing portfolios is a means to an end. They want to exclude as many candidates as possible until they have a list of interviewees that is as short as they feel comfortable with.

In a 2015 blog post, UX coach Christina Wodtke wrote1 “the hiring manager hires five minutes at a time, between meetings. The recruiter, whose full-time job is hiring, probably doesn’t know how to evaluate a portfolio. So they pass all sorts of garbage to the hiring manager. The hiring manager, however, is doing their other twelve jobs: coaching, meetings with peers, meetings with upper-level folks, maybe even designing.”

The founder of Austin Center for Design, Jon Kolko, wrote in 20122: “The sad reality of sending a portfolio to a consultancy is that your chances of getting a job are a weighted dice roll, based on a mixture of extremely fast first impressions, serendipitous timing, and who you know. When I would receive a portfolio from someone I’d never heard of, I tried my best to actually look at it, but if my schedule was three-deep back to back meetings all day long, the email was ignored. Sometimes, if the sender got lucky, they might send it on the same day that a plea for hiring went out, usually based on a sales cycle accelerating or a deal closing unexpectedly. In these cases, they got the benefit of the doubt.”

In these challenging ...

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