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Designer Review Cheat Sheet

When I review a new applicant, I look at their information and decide whether to set up a zoom video conferencing call or not. The truth is that I WANT you to succeed. I want you to have multiple lucrative offers. So to help you, here is a cheat sheet to get past my review. I made a little score card. It is what I look for and how long I take to review.

Review Score Card

#In 3 to 5 minutesMinMax
1Cover letter01
2Referral05
3LinkedIn Recommendations02
4Resume is “designed”01
5Website Blink Test01
6Site is “different”05
7Has B2B application work03
8 Can see design work easily02
9Work is reasonable quality05
10“About Me” Page is authentic02
11Has Figma skills03
12Has technical skills03
13Marketing domain experience02
14Wix/Squarespace-1-1
15Only marketing/mobile-3-3
16Grammar mistakes-1-2

Now certainly, one can be subjective about some of these line items. I put in a mix and max where I have some discretion. You might be shocked (or maybe not) how many people score less than 5 points on my review.

I speak with an average of 4 candidates per day. The truth is that my bar for speaking with you via zoom is about 7 points. That’s it. You don’t need years of experience. You don’t need fancy degrees. You just need to do the basics.

To me the most important one is “Site is different”. Currently 95% of every designer website is stylistically identical. All you need to do is add some color and boom, you stand out. Add some interaction design and voila, uniqueness! It’s not that hard. Please design your sites to be differentiated.

But also there is low hanging fruit. “Can see design work easily”. Why do designers put pictures of their work super tiny with no way to zoom? I just want to see the work. Please let me see it!

Interestingly, I keep hearing from candidates who tell me that a mentor at the design bootcamp they went to told them to have a minimalistic site. In fact, they are graded on having it look 100% the same as everyone elses. White background, super long case studies. I have a message to those mentors. “You are wrong. You are ruining their websites. Stop making them blend in. You want to stand out!”

If you disagree with something above, please let me know. If you are a hiring manager and look for something else, I would also like to know. Let’s not make this a secret. We want people to get better, don’t we?

Whatya think?