How to Build a Great UX Writing Portfolio

One of the best ways to show you are capable of handling a challenging job is to prove that you have the required skills. Lip service only goes so far. Hiring managers want to see clear evidence of your abilities.

This is as true for UX writing jobs as it is for any other writing or design-related discipline. Your best tool is a great UX writing profile.

You can get started by checking out this helpful guide. Take a look at a quick overview of the job of the UX writer, and the difference is between a UX writing profile and a standard design profile. Finally, we have some great tips on how to build a UX portfolio for writers.

What Does a UX Writer Do?

UX Writer

When you interact with software, apps, or websites, you are presented with a variety of images and text. Some of that text is written for the purpose of making navigation more intuitive and presenting you with a conversational user-friendly interface. That is UX writing. It includes:

  • Error message text
  • Help text
  • Navigation cues
  • Tips

UX writing is a relatively new field that has just recently begun to come into its own. Because of that, many UX writing jobs are still advertised as content writing or copywriting jobs. You may also find positions titled UX writer or UX copywriter. This can make searching for a job a bit challenging.

It can also be challenging to produce a UX writing portfolio that contains the elements that hiring managers want to see. After all, in many cases, the hiring managers are also developing their understanding of this role. Still, there are some great best practices to follow.

The Key Components of a UX Writing Portfolio

It is important to remember that there are clear differences between the role of a UX designer and a UX writer. A UX designer works with prototypes and other tools. Their final products are the screens that users view, and the flow of those screens. Because of this, their portfolios tend to focus on visual elements.

Key Components

That’s not the case for UX writers who are in charge of producing the text that users see as part of the interface. That’s why the UX content strategist portfolio will focus on the use of words to solve various problems as they relate to the user experience.

Here are the key elements of the UX writer’s portfolio.

Bio and Contact Information

Ultimately, your portfolio should allow your work to speak for itself. However, it is helpful to include a complete bio. This can give some insights into your working style, even your personality. Remember that hiring managers are interested in finding someone who will fit in with their team.

When it comes to your contact information, think about making as many networking contacts as possible. Of course, you should include your email and phone number but add your social media links as well. Even if someone isn’t ready to hire you today, they might want to connect with you on LinkedIn.

Samples of Your Work and Case Studies

This is the meat of your portfolio. You’ll want to include writing samples. Keep in mind that all of your writing samples don’t have to be related to UX. Instead, they should show the depth and breadth of your writing skills. However, they should be focused, and relevant to the goals of your current job search.

References and Testimonials

If you have worked with people who are willing to provide written testimonials or act as a reference for you, that’s wonderful. However, this is not an absolute must-have. If you do include these, include the reference’s name, place of work, position, and connection to you.

Tips For Selecting UX Writing Samples And Case Studies

UX Writing Samples

Understand Your Target Audience

Before you decide what you want to include in your portfolio, you have to understand the needs of the recruiters and hiring managers whom you are trying to impress. You should also understand the job market in your area, as it applies to UX writing jobs. Use this knowledge to influence what you choose to include in your portfolio.

You can start by searching out for job listings that are most attractive to you. Don’t worry about the location or matching your skills and experience at this point. The idea is to identify a common set of skills between the jobs that are most attractive to you.

Now, based on these job listings, consider what hiring managers would be looking for. What capabilities would they want to see evidenced in your portfolio?

You may worry that creating a portfolio to appeal to such a specific set of desired skills will be limiting. That’s not the case. Instead, this will give your portfolio a boost. Hiring managers will consider this as you’re having a specific style and vision. Otherwise, it could appear to be so generic that it simply doesn’t stand out.

Carefully Select Work Samples to Show Your Skills

Here, minimalism is a good thing. Don’t overwhelm recruiters with dozens of pages of work samples. Instead, select three to six projects that really do an excellent job of highlighting your top skills. There’s no need to give space to every single project you worked on, order shows the entirety of your skill-set. To put it bluntly, no hiring manager is going to spend a significant amount of time paging through the story of your career via your portfolio.

So, what happens if you’re at the other end of the spectrum? You don’t have much experience, and you’re struggling to even find a few samples to include in your beginner UX portfolio.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do. You can take part in a UX copywriting contest. You can also take an existing interface, and improve on it to show what you can do. Now is also a great time to seek out some open source development projects that need UX contributors. You may also show one or two writing samples that aren’t related to UX. Just be sure they are descriptive and impactful. A well-crafted social media post or product description would be preferable to a 1200-word article.

Get Inspiration from Others

The great thing about portfolios is that the folks who make them want them to be seen by as many people as possible. That’s why they tend to be open for public viewing. You won’t have any problem finding UX writing portfolios to use for inspiration. Take a look at as many of them as you can, and take notes on what stands out to you. Look for UX portfolio examples that you believe will most likely appeal to your target audience.

If the information is publicly available, check out any resumes or CV attached to the portfolios you review. This will help you connect attractive portfolios to the kind of skills and experience they represent.

Contextualize Your Work

Contextualize Your Work

A snapshot of a screen often misses more information than it shares. It’s up to you to fill in the blanks by telling the story behind the text and images. You can do this by creating a short case study to provide helpful context. As you write, keep the following in mind:

  • Describe the situation or problem that would lead users to that screen/text.
  • Give a brief description of your thought process.
  • Write out the solution in brief but clear terms.
  • Detail the value of the solution to the project and to the end-user.

If you need to, it is okay to provide related screenshots. This can add the context you need to give your readers a clear picture of what you were accomplishing.

Create a Cohesive UX Portfolio

Hiring managers spend very little time reviewing resumes. Don’t expect them to spend much more time looking over your portfolio, at least not without a significant effort to draw them in. One way to do that is to ensure that your portfolio is cohesive. It should tell a story, and that story should unfold with each work example you present. This will keep the reader engaged, and then moving from one screenshot to the next.

Take this approach as a means to prioritize your portfolio as well. Imagine that the first item the hiring manager sees will be the one that they remember most. Doesn’t it make sense to use your best work first? Here are some other points to remember as you consider the order and format of your UX portfolio:

  • The first page will leave the biggest impression.
  • The order of the images and case studies can motivate the reader to look further.
  • Concrete descriptions ensure the right information is communicated.
  • Readability is paramount.
Give it Visual Appeal

Visual Appeal

You are in a unique position. Your work is text-based, but you work within a highly visual field. Your portfolio and the examples you include must reflect that. This means the samples you select should be examples of good design, not just good UX writing. Unfortunately, you may find this to be a bit limiting.

There are also things you can do to directly impact the look of your portfolio. For example, you can be careful to select high-quality images to share. You can also select an attractive template for your portfolio. If you choose to design or use a website builder to house your portfolio, choose carefully. Review other portfolios, and see what designers and writers are using.

Finally, seek out constructive feedback. Show your work to colleagues and others with experience in user experience design. They will be able to provide you with helpful feedback, and an objective point of view.

Final Thoughts

Building a UX portfolio for a content writer is a big undertaking. It requires you to analyze your current work to select the perfect examples, understand the needs of hiring managers in your field, and present a finished project that is attractive and compelling. Keep the tips here in mind, to achieve the best results.

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