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A case study to understand pain points in tailoring resumes when applying for multiple jobs
Imagine you’re a university student on the hunt for the perfect graduate job. You spend countless hours scouring job listings, crafting cover letters, and perfecting your resume. You have the skills and experience to excel in these roles, but the challenge lies in showcasing those attributes to potential employers.
You start tailoring your resume to match each job description, carefully selecting the most relevant experiences and skills to highlight. But soon you realize that this is an incredibly time-consuming and tedious process.
And it’s not just you — 54% of applicants do not tailor their resumes. This means more than half of job seekers are missing out on opportunities to stand out from the competition and catch the attention of potential employers.
54% of job seekers do not tailor their resume and are missing out on opportunities to stand out from the competition.
But what if there was a better way? What if you could streamline the resume-tailoring process and ensure that you’re always presenting the best version of yourself to potential employers? That’s exactly what we set out to do with our project as a team of UX designers — improve the resume-tailoring process and help job seekers like you land their dream roles.
Before we dive into the design process, we wanted to understand peoples’ actual pain points when it comes to applying for multiple jobs. In this article, I’ll share our user research process and how we used these insights to guide our design decisions for the perfect job application companion.
To get a better understanding of our target user’s needs, we used two research techniques: contextual inquiry and online surveys.
The core premise of contextual inquiry is very simple: go where the customer works, observe the customer as he or she works, and talk to the customer about the work. – Contextual Design, Beyer and Holtzblatt
We conducted contextual inquiries with 5 participants who were actively looking for jobs in different fields. We conducted the interviews such that the interviewee was in their ‘natural habitat’, which was their desk with their computer so that they had context when answering our questions. This allowed us to get a firsthand look at how people apply for jobs, what challenges they face, and what goals they have.
Contextual inquiries allowed us to get a firsthand look at how people apply for jobs, what challenges they face, and what goals they have.
We asked the interviewees to walk us through how they prepare their resumes for a particular job application, and we recorded their actions and comments. By doing this, we were following the Master-Apprentice model, where we played the role of the ‘apprentice’ so that the interviewee/user naturally becomes the ‘master’ and teaches their ‘art’ of tailoring resumes to the apprentice. This technique allowed us to observe the user’s actions and frustrations during the process, and understand their pain points to ask meaningful follow-up questions. We also encouraged them to think aloud to better understand their thought process.
Our research showed us the importance of conducting user research to understand the pain points of the target audience before designing any product. While we initially focused on resume-tailoring only, the research helped us understand what are the other challenges and needs that people have when applying for jobs. We learned that it’s essential to observe people’s actions and frustrations while performing a specific task and ask follow-up questions to gain deeper insights about how they feel rather than asking leading questions. Combining qualitative and quantitative data provided a more comprehensive understanding of the user’s needs, wants, and expectations.
We’ve learned a lot from our user research about the challenges and needs of job applicants when it comes to resume tailoring. We’ve discovered that people want a simple and fast way to customize their resumes for each job description, without having to juggle multiple tools or waste time on formatting and proofreading. They also want a convenient way to keep track of their job applications and their progress.
Our findings showed that job applicants needed a tool that could help them analyse job descriptions, automatically tailor their resume to it and keep track of their job applications.
Based on these insights, we’re designing an app that will streamline resume-tailoring and help job applicants land their dream jobs. Our user research process has shown us the importance of understanding the target audience’s pain points before designing any product, a valuable lesson for all beginner UX researchers.
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