What to include in your cover letter for a UX role
Cover letters can be very challenging to write regardless of your profession. However, it can be even more stressful for a designer because it’s extremely hard to articulate a medium that is mostly visual. Cover letters are not mandatory for a lot of job applications, but they increase your chances of getting callbacks from recruiters and hiring managers.
Keeping those in mind, here are a few tips and tactics to follow when writing your cover letter.
Don’t replicate your resume
Your resume’s purpose is to give the first impression about you as a designer. In addition, it’s also the key to bypass the ATS. UX resumes for the most part are pretty similar. 90% of them would list your skills, tools, education, work experience and personal information with a small section highlighting your career objective. This reduces the individual identity of each designer’s profile (sans the amount of content in work experience).
However, this should not be carried forward to your cover letter. If a recruiter or hiring manager has read your resume, why would they want to read the same content again in your cover letter?
Your cover letter is a more personal form of communication. Each cover letter is unique because there is no standard format or template to be followed. As UX designers, we each have our own design goal and our perceptions about being a designer. It’s very important to articulate that in your cover letter.
Include your team-collaboration skills
Like it or not, UX design is all about teamwork. As a designer, you’ll be interacting with multiple individuals who are all part of the design process in one way or the other. These include project managers, developers, data-scientists, marketers, product owners, other designers, and most importantly, your end-users.
Your cover letter should highlight all the stakeholders and team-members that you interacted with in all your projects and include milestones you’ve achieved and challenges you’ve faced (and overcame) in a team-based setting.
This shows how well you fit in when it comes to a cross-functional team. The success of any project is heavily driven by proper integration of team members.
Include your objective(s) as a UX designer
This is where you get an incredible opportunity to distance yourself from the pack. A lot of designers get into the profession for different reasons. UX Design has less job security than other careers like software development where there’s always more demand than supply. This essentially means that designers are very passionate about what they do and and you need to elaborate on that in your objective.
Here are a few samples
“I want to eliminate usability issues for users with vision impairments so they can use apps like regular users”
“I want to prove that color theory stimulates extreme emotions in users thereby influencing their behavior with apps”
“I want to drastically reduce the learning curve for the elderly when it comes to technology through better user experience”
Talk about your potential employer
Copying and pasting the same cover letter for multiple companies might save time, but it’s not going to work in the long run. Recruiters see thousands of cover letters, and they can sense when a cover letter has been mass manufactured. The first sign is when nothing about the employer is mentioned in the letter.
It’s extremely time-consuming to tailor each cover letter for each job application. In such a scenario, it’s good to customize your letter for companies that you really want to work for / know you’re a good fit. Here are a few topics you can cover (no pun intended) in your letter.
- A specific project / feature of their flagship product that really inspired you as a designer.
- How you would improve a feature or product in their portfolio.
- What makes the company unique and why you applied for a job there.
- What you can bring to the design team at the company.
There’s no formula that can guarantee that your cover letter is going to get you a callback. A lot of designers despise writing cover letters and these tips are meant to help ease the pain.
There’s always room to improve your cover letter. These tips will definitely help make your cover letter stand out from your competition. They’re a good starting point and every cover letter you write will make you more efficient.