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Ux writer cover letter

UX Cover Letters – a Step by Step Guide

Nearly every job hunter has one part of the job application process that they hate – creating a resume, designing a portfolio, preparing for a job interview or writing a cover letter. In preparing for my personal launch into a UX career, creating cover letters has been one the most difficult parts of the process.

| Written by Tara-Lee York, participant in the Design Writing Apprenticeship

These questions might have crossed your mind: What is the right way to do this? Do employers still even read cover letters? Does really make a difference What is the right format? Do I really still need to create one? Is this just a leftover artifact of job hunting?

During my own research, I’ve found the answer to these questions and I want to share them with you to simplify your process.

We’re going to cover:

  • Why you should write a cover letter
  • Exactly what to include and not include in your cover letter
  • Tips for making your cover letter successful
  • A UX Cover Letter Template so you can get started customizing your own cover letter

Let’s get started. Here’s your complete step-by-step guide to writing a UX cover letter that helps gets you the interview.

Purpose of the Cover Letter

The purpose of your cover letter is to sell yourself to your potential employer and show them why you are the best choice to hire. The difference between a resume and cover letter is a resume showcases your work experience and history; while a cover letter brings it all together to show how your experience is relevant to the job you are applying for. This means it’s necessary for cover letters to be personalized to each company and job you’re applying for, much more so than resumes.

These comments from Designer News clearly show the difference that a cover letter could make in your job application process:

“I think it absolutely still stands true, as an employer I’ve blitzed through more than a hundred applicants in a few days before, and once you get an eye for it you can absolutely tell if the person wants THAT job, or just A job. Portfolio is whether or not you’ll get an interview, cover letter could be whether or not I even look at your portfolio.” – Dan Sherratt

“…the worst thing you can do is grab a cover letter template and fling in carbon copy boilerplate stuff that pretty much summarises your (attached) CV. That’s not what a cover letter is for.” – Ferdi Wieling

“A great, relevant cover letter can make me think twice even about weak candidates—think what it can do for strong ones.” – Joel Califa

Getting Started

Before we jump into creating your cover letter, let’s cover some basics:

Follow directions – Before writing, make sure you read the prompt – if there is one – and answer it in the application. Some employers test applicants’ ability to read and follow basic directions, with quick prompts like “Please include in your application a response for this question: what’s your definition of UX design?”

Length – make sure your cover letter is short and focused. Keep the length of your cover letter to one page maximum.

Common Types of Cover Letters

  • Application Letter – used when applying for a role via job application.
  • Referral – used when you mention the name of the person who has referred you for the position.
  • Prospecting – used to let the company know you’re interested in any job positions that are open.
  • Networking – used to ask for help in your job search. You may not be asking directly for a position at the company but whether or not they of any job openings in your industry.

Additional resources about cover letter types:

When not to include a cover letter

  • The employee has stated in job application that they do not need one.
  • You have no way to include it such as an online job application.
  • You are applying using a email pitch instead, which is like a cover letter but usually used for applying to more temporary or informal job types, such as freelance assignments.

Creating A Cover Letter Outline

We’ll cover the basic structure of a cover letter. All sections are standardized except for sections noted as [Personalize section] – this is the “meat” of your cover letter that displays your unique experience as a designer, and as such these sections should not be taken as standardized formats, but rather suggestions on what to include.

Heading & Greeting

Your heading will start with contact details – your own info followed by the company’s contact details. If you know the person that you are applying or the company culture is more relaxed you may not need to include a heading. When applying to a larger or corporate company, however, you’ll want to keep the letter formal and include the header information.

Header Information:

  • Your Contact Information
  • Date of Letter
  • Your Name
  • Your Email address
  • Link to your portfolio or relevant personal website
  • Hiring Manager or Employer
  • Hiring Manager’s name (if available)
  • Position at the company

*Note: Removed “address” as a required header component. If you’re applying to a position, it’s assumed you looked at the location of the job.

Make this greeting as personal as you can. Do your research find out what the name of the hiring manager of that company that you are applying to. You’ll make a stronger impact with a personalized address like “Hi Sarah” than with generic greetings like “To whom it may concern” or “Dear Sir or Madam”.

[Personalize section] Grab the reader’s interest

  • The first sentence of your opening paragraph should get your reader’s attention, which can be achieved by providing a good reason (besides wanting a job) for reaching out. For example, your “hook” could be that you’re a power user of the company’s product.
  • Avoid starting your letter with “I am applying for” or “My name is ____ and I am applying for current job application position.
  • Optional: use your unique value proposition to stand out.

I’m interested in joining your team as a UX Designer because I’ve been a fan of your the ACME app for years, and my experience can help your team improve upon this already great work.

Example 2 (unique value proposition):

My background as a former nurse has taught me the importance of empathy and attention to detail, which I’ve combined with my user experience skills to help healthcare companies such as yours.

Additional resources to help you get create your own value propositions:

    • Introduce yourself with a personal tagline

    [Personalize section] What does the company need, and how can you help them?

    In the next 2-3 sentences, you’ll want to answer the questions:

    • What are your skills?
    • Do you have relevant education or experience?
    • How can your skills benefit the company you are applying for
    • Explain how you used this skill – and relate it the position you are applying for

    Tip: frame one design experience that relates to what the company needs and offer to show how a portfolio piece that relates to this. You can look at this by picking out skills and experience desired listed in a job posting, then use their wording in your response:

    Screenshot for UX/UI posting

    Using the above example, you can talk about a portfolio piece in which you’ve created responsive web designs or native apps for iOS and Android.

    My experience as a UI/UX designer for the past 3 years includes crafting beautiful web and mobile applications for several clients. I’d love to apply my expertise in design and experience collaborating cross-functionally with product management and development teams to help you build your product.

    [Personalize section] Why are you applying for this job?

    In this paragraph, address the following questions:

    • What interests you most about this job? Why are you excited to apply?
    • Why do you think you and the company are a good fit?
    • Why do you want to work at this company?
    • What specifically about this company that interests you?
    • Do you have relevant education or experience that relates to this position?

    I’m applying for this job because of ACME company’s culture – your mission statement to protect the environment resonates strongly with my values as a designer. As someone who volunteers for the wildlife preserve and cares and believes in improving the health of our planet, I believe I can be a great cultural fit for your company.

    Quick review. A solid, personalized middle section of your cover letter can be built with these components:

    • Grab the reader’s interest
    • What does the company need, and how can you help them?
    • Why are you applying for this job?

    Keep in mind that these components can be mixed and matched to build the body of your cover letter, and do not have to be used in any particular order.

    Ending Paragraph: Close Your Letter

    Limit your ending paragraph to a short 2-3 sentences.

    You can use your final paragraph to:

    • Iterate your interest in the position
    • Thank the company for their time
    • Let them know that you want to hear from them
    • Let them know of any relevant materials you included – resume/portfolio
    • Let them that you will be following up

    Example: I’d love to apply my expertise in design and experience collaborating within product teams to help you build your product. You can learn more about my work experience and education by viewing my attached resume and portfolio.

    Closing out your UX Cover Letter

    Time for the final touch on your cover letter. You can use phrases like “Thank for your time,” “I look forward to hearing from you,” or simply “Sincerely, Best, or Thank You” followed by your name.

    If you’re struggling to come up with sign-off take a look at this article with several examples to end your cover letter.

    Best Practices for UX Cover Letters

    Do… Don’t…
    Use language found in job app materials Lie or mislead in your application
    Check spelling and grammar Ramble on and on – keep your cover letter short and focused
    Research company before applying Use just one cover letter template for each job posting – tailor each cover to the job position that you applying to.
    Keep personal branding consistent with resume and portfolio – use the same fonts, and colors Use unprofessional fonts such as comic sans, handwritten, or cute fonts that may be hard to read
    Keep online job sites and Linkedin profile up to date/consistent with your resume and portfolio Be boring – show your personality.
    Follow guidelines if the company gives for creating a cover letter
    Focus on how you can bring value to the company, not how it will benefit you

    UX Cover Letter Template

    To speed up your process, we have created a cover letter template for you to use and edit to your own. Subscribe below to get the UXBeginner email newsletter to get the link.

    User Experience Designer Cover Letter

    Demand is increasing for User Experience Designers, which means competition is heating up as well.

    Your resume and portfolio may show what you can do in terms of the job duties, but your UX Designer cover letter will help to set you apart.

    Some may argue that cover letters are becoming obsolete. This is hardly the case, and falling into this trap could end up costing you the job.

    The fact remains that applications that include a cover letter get more attention than those that don’t. Some hiring managers consider it a deal-breaker; they won’t even look at your resume without one.

    The only reason not to include a cover letter is if the job listing states you shouldn’t.

    A resume is designed to showcase your work history, education, and experience. Your portfolio helps to provide a more visual representation of your work. But a cover letter helps you to highlight the relevant information and expand on it.

    The relevant information will vary from job to job and company to company, so you will need to personalize your cover letter for each position you are applying for. There is no one-size-fits-all here.

    Just as you would with any product or service user experience you are designing, you need to tailor your application to the user. In this case, the user is your potential employer.

    As a UX Designer, you are expected to wear many different hats and have a deep understanding of design, technology, psychology, business, and market research. Your ability to align the goals of the company with the needs of the target audience is key.

    The projects you are involved in will vary dramatically depending on the company or client you are working for, even if you are looking for positions in the same industry.

    So, the context provided in the cover letter can help you to show your potential employer that you aren’t just an excellent UX Designer; you’re the right UX Designer for the job.

    Parts of a User Experience Designer Cover Letter

    As a UX Designer, user experience is all that matters in the end. You want your user to have a good experience from start to finish. Your cover letter is no different.

    If you want the reader (your user in this instance) to have a good experience, you need to stick with the standard cover letter format and include all of the key elements in your cover letter.

    Header. It doesn’t matter what you call it — cover letter, letter of introduction, motivation letter, letter of application — it is a formal business letter you are submitting. As with any business letter, you will need to begin with your header.

    To provide a better user experience, you may want to match your cover letter header design with your resume for a cohesive look.

    The header consists of basic information on both you and the company you are applying to. Some elements of your header are considered required, while others are optional.

    Your header should include:

    Your full name
    (Optional) Your current address
    Your phone number
    Your professional email address
    Your online portfolio
    (Optional) Your website, LinkedIn

    Date of submission

    Hiring manager’s name
    Hiring manager’s title within the company
    Company name
    (Optional) Company address

    Put into practice, it should look something like this:

    Abigayle Gill
    234 User Terrace
    Los Angeles, CA 90001
    555-123-4567
    [email protected]
    onlineportfolio.com/abigaylegill

    January 1, 2021

    Zachary Bonnel
    Director of Human Resources
    XYZ Online
    123 Business Avenue
    Los Angeles, CA 90001

    Your current address and the company’s address are considered optional since you are most likely applying online.

    That said, many employers want to know that you live within commuting distance from their location. So, even if you don’t feel comfortable including your full address, you may want to include your city of residence.

    Your online portfolio is often considered optional when submitting applications. However, as someone who relies on visual representations of their work, including your portfolio is not optional as a UX Designer.

    Greeting (Salutation). Personalization matters. If you work with email, web-based applications, or apps, you are familiar with the impact personalization can have.

    Your cover letter should begin with a personal greeting. It should be addressed to someone specific: the hiring manager.

    Opening paragraph. Your opening lines are equivalent to your elevator pitch. You only have a few lines to capture your reader and leave them wanting more. They should be clear, concise, and convincing.

    You want to be clear about which position you are applying for and include an attention-grabbing statement, fact, or achievement. Show them what sets you apart and entice them to read on.

    Body paragraph(s). Your resume and your portfolio will show them a lot about you and your work. But you want to use your cover letter to elaborate on the information you’re providing.

    Use your body paragraph(s) to highlight what sets you apart from the competition.

    Closing lines. You want to close strong and leave a lasting impression — one that has them reaching for the phone to schedule an interview.

    Reiterate both your interest and your skills. Thank them for their time. Then, and this is very important, give them a reason to reach out to you.

    Sign-off. As we mentioned above, a cover letter is simply a formal business letter. So, it should include a formal closing.

    You want to use a professional sign-off:

    Below your sign-off, you should include your full name. You also have the option of including some of your contact information below your name. Typically, you would include your email address and phone number again here.

    Postscript (optional). This is a lesser-used but highly impactful element of a cover letter. Since it is used so infrequently, the hiring manager may notice this before anything else.

    If you include a P.S with your cover letter, it should be worth it. It needs to make an impact, so it should be both attention-grabbing and action-inducing.

    UX Designer Cover Letter Opening

    This is your introduction, your handshake if you will. It should be strong, firm, and not last too long.

    If your opening isn’t strong enough, the hiring manager will not continue reading. They won’t see the effort you put into your cover letter, your resume, or your portfolio. You’ll be tossed into the discard pile and forgotten.

    You don’t want that.

    Channel your elevator pitch and hook the reader. Then, use the rest of your cover letter to reel them in and land the interview.

    Dear Mr. Bonnel,

    As a UX Designer with a proven track record of success designing intuitive, user-centric digital experiences, I am excited to submit my application for the UX Designer position with XYZ Online.

    For over seven years, I have combined my graphic design knowledge with my BA in Design and Technology to design, implement, and improve websites and web-based interfaces.

    UX Designer Cover Letter Body

    It’s time to sell yourself as the best candidate for the job. Your cover letter body should highlight your relevant skills and experience.

    How do you know which skills and experience are relevant?

    Simple. The job listing.

    The job listing will include all the information you need to tailor this application to the potential employer. Use the job description to identify the most important technical skills and soft skills for this position and speak to them.

    You want to keep the focus on the company and its needs. That is what matters to them, after all. It doesn’t matter what you are discussing from your experience, skills, or achievements. If you are speaking to it in your cover letter, you need to know why the company should care.

    They are less interested in what you can do and more interested in how you can help them.

    In addition to my work with companies such as Atlanta Tech and ABC Online, I am often contracted to fix urgent UX errors and comfortable performing under pressure. Though I am comfortable assisting in launch processes, my expertise lies in identifying customer pain points in current designs and implementing solutions.

    By coordinating with Customer Support and Sales teams, I was able to introduce changes that decreased abandoned carts by 45% and increased mobile conversions by 65%.

    My interest in this position goes much deeper than my desire to continue my work in UX Design. XYZ Online’s commitment to the environment and the underprivileged communities resonates strongly with me. You are doing your part to help make the world a better place. That is a mission I want to be part of.

    UX Designer Cover Letter Closing Lines

    Your opening is intended to hook the reader. The body of your cover letter should paint you as the ideal candidate.

    Your closing should focus on one thing: getting you the interview.

    Like your opening paragraph, your closing clines should be clear, concise, and convincing. Remind them why you are the right person for this position, then invite them to engage with you.

    As XYZ Online continues to grow and expand, I can bring the insight, innovation, and experience you need to keep customers happy from the moment they enter your site until the moment they finish the checkout process. I would welcome the opportunity to discuss this role and how I can help you surpass your goals. Thank you for your time and consideration.

    Respectfully,
    Abigayle Gill
    [email protected]
    555-123-4567

    Example of a UX Designer Cover Letter

    Abigayle Gill
    815 Executive Avenue
    Los Angeles, CA 90001
    555-123-4567
    [email protected]
    onlineportfolio.com/abigaylegill

    January 1, 2021

    Zachary Bonnel
    Director of Human Resources
    XYZ Online
    123 Business Avenue
    Los Angeles, CA 90001

    Dear Mr. Bonnel,

    As a UX Designer with a proven track record of success designing intuitive, user-centric digital experiences, I am excited to submit my application for the UX Designer position with XYZ Online.

    For over seven years, I have combined my graphic design knowledge with my BA in Design and Technology to design, implement, and improve websites and web-based interfaces.

    In addition to my work with companies such as Atlanta Tech and ABC Online, I am often contracted to fix urgent UX errors and comfortable performing under pressure. Though I am comfortable assisting in launch processes, my expertise lies in identifying customer pain points in current designs and implementing solutions.

    By coordinating with Customer Support and Sales teams, I was able to introduce changes that decreased abandoned carts by 45% and increased mobile conversions by 65%.

    My interest in this position goes much deeper than my desire to continue my work in UX Design. XYZ Online’s commitment to the environment and the underprivileged communities resonates strongly with me. You are doing your part to help make the world a better place. That is a mission I want to be part of.

    As XYZ Online continues to grow and expand, I can bring the insight, innovation, and experience you need to keep customers happy from the moment they enter your site until the moment they finish the checkout process. I would welcome the opportunity to discuss this role and how I can help you surpass your goals. Thank you for your time and consideration.

    Respectfully,
    Abigayle Gill
    [email protected]
    555-123-4567

    User Experience Designer Cover Letter Tips

    Sometimes the job description is lacking. It may be vague or not include a healthy list of qualifications and experience they’re expecting.

    If you find yourself floundering to identify the skills to highlight, you can rely on the basic set of skills that all UX Designers should have.

    UX Designers wear many different hats and are expected to have expertise and experience in a variety of different subjects. While these will vary based on the type of product or service you are working with, some skills are universal.

    Technical skills. These are the hard skills you should possess as a UX Designer.

    Wireframing and prototyping

    HTML, CSS, JavaScript, etc.

    Soft skills. These skills are less tangible. They are qualities, habits, and personality traits that are desirable.