Early-career UXers: Your most impressive work is missing from your portfolio

Jared M. Spool
7 min readFeb 6, 2021
Kew Gardens, London, 2015

Let’s talk about what early-career UX folks should emphasize in their portfolio and in interviews, especially when searching for the first few jobs.

I review a lot of portfolios and talk to many UX folks looking for work. (It’s a regular part of the job when you create a UX design school, conduct UX professional development on a massive scale, and operate a job board for UX careers. I love it.)

In reviewing these portfolios, I see the same mistake over and over. While the Interwebs are filled with advice on what to put in your portfolio and how to present yourself in your interviews, none of that advice talks about this incredibly common mistake.

Here’s the thing. This common mistake? It could be the thing that’s preventing you from getting called back, or even called in the first place. Yet, nobody talks about it.

Today, we’re fixing that.

The mistake: Focusing on the designs you’ve created

A mistake I see folks make is when they focus on the designs they’ve created. For UX professionals just starting out, these are school or side projects. For folks looking for their next job, they are the work projects from their first or second position.



Jared M. Spool

Maker of Awesomeness at Center Centre - UIE. Helping designers everywhere help their organizations deliver well-designed products and services.