UX writer portfolios can feel like a necessary evil.
They take a ton of time to build, and they’re imperative to landing a UX writing job.
What if I told you UX writing portfolios didn’t have to be this ginormous mountain you have to climb – that you didn’t need to build out five full-fledged UX writing case studies that take 3+ hours each to make.
What if I told you your UX writer portfolio could be made up of simple, project overviews that take ~45 minutes each, and that kind of UX writing portfolio is even more hiring manager friendly.
Well, that’s exactly what I’m telling you.
I landed UX writing jobs at companies like Netflix, Fitbit, Afterpay, and many more using a simple, overview-based UX writing portfolio that took a fraction of the time to create.
This UX writing portfolio approach is perfect if you’re looking to become a UX writer, don’t know how to build a UX writing portfolio with no experience, or you’re already a UX writing pro.
Why your UX writing portfolio should be overview-based
IMO, your UX writer portfolio doesn’t need to be made up of full-fledged UX writing case studies that outline every detail of the project. Save that for the UX writing portfolio presentation.
Because your portfolio is viewed at the beginning stages of the hiring process, your UX writing portfolio should be simple, scannable, and easily digestible.
You can peel back more layers of context as you progress through the hiring process. But at the start, you’re one of many, many candidates being looked at, and you want someone to grasp your value and skills as quickly as possible. That’s what the best UX writing portfolios do.
Hiring managers and recruiters are busy people. If someone can easily and quickly comprehend your portfolio, you’re gonna have a better chance at getting to the next round.
Instead, if the hiring manager or recruiter has to invest a lot of time reading your portfolio, you’re taking a risk that they have the time to devote to giving your UX writing portfolio a real, thorough read. And that’s not a given.
What does this magical UX writing portfolio look like?
Looking for a UX writing portfolio example of this? Here’s exactly what I do in my UX writing portfolio which, again, has landed me UX writing jobs at companies like Netflix, Verizon, Fitbit, and more:
It’s pretty brief. So brief, a hiring manager can read it in ~5 minutes and understand my value and skill set and decide if I’m a good fit for the role.
If you want to go this UX writer portfolio route, there are only 4 sections you need to include:
This is where you give just enough context for the hiring manager or recruiter to understand the project background.
Emphasis on “just enough” — you want to share a little as possible for someone to still understand what’s happening. That keeps you from overwhelming the reader and keeps them focused on only the context that matters. Less is more in this UX writer portfolio example.
Again, this is necessary background for the reader to understand the point of the project. Keep your hypothesis to a brief, specific, and measured statement that’s not too wordy.
This is where you give some light context as to your design process and the work you did to produce the result.
I may differ from other UX writers and content designers here in that I don’t think you need to say a lot here. Put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes — at this stage in the interview process, they’re not invested enough to dive deep into your design process. They just needed to know at a high level if you’re talented enough to continue in the interview process.
Here, I like to add another layer of context, or share one interesting tidbit about how I collaborated or applied a certain skill, like what I do in this Twine UX writing case study:
This is where you tie it all together. You might think you need to have a positive or impressive result for an impressive UX case study, but I don’t think that’s true.
Your result should focus on either:
- A measurable success or improvement
- What you learned from the project
If you’re building a UX writing portfolio with no experience and have no results, sharing key takeaways, learnings, and reflections do just as much for the hiring manager as an on-paper success.
And that’s it
By keeping your portfolio short, easily digestible, and high level, you optimize for where the reader is in the user journey of hiring you (aka mildly interested and only looking to know if you’re talented enough to move forward.)
Give it all in your formal UX portfolio presentation — that’s where the specifics, collaborations, and your thought process need to really shine.
If you want to save time and apply for UX writing jobs more effectively, I can’t recommend this UX writer portfolio approach enough. It’s landed me UX writing jobs at companies like Netflix, Fitbit, and Afterpay, and I’m confident it can do the same for you.
Happy UX writing 🖖
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