Are Narrative Resumes the Future?
February 2, 2017
Julie Horvath is a product and user experience designer. During a recent job search, she published a narrative resume on Medium—a move that is unusual both for the style of the resume, and the method for attracting interest from employers. It's not something that will work for every industry—or that everyone would be comfortable doing—but in Julie's case, it seems to have paid dividends: she recently accepted a position as a Senior User Experience Designer at a company that, as yet, she has not revealed.
With Julie's permission, I am reposting that resume below as an example of an alternative approach to a traditional resume. As you will see, it pieces together Julie's work and educational history, personal interests and recommendations from past colleagues, and allows her personality to come through. That, combined with a well-chosen public forum (Medium is frequented by a lot of people with connections in the tech and startup community) makes this approach one that I would expect to see a lot more of in the future.
Julie Ann Horvath, Product Designer
Hey there, I’m Julie. Friends call me Jules. My mom calls me Juliebug. And my Spanish speaking friends and family call me Julieta. If you’re reading this post (Thank you!), it’s likely that I’m interested in working with you.
A little about me: I’m a multi-disciplinary product designer who enjoys designing and building user interfaces that help make information accessible, consumable, and beautiful.
I’m a designer who codes. But that doesn’t make me any less of a designer. In fact, coding and thinking about design through the lens of dynamic and component-based systems allows me to design scalable and usable experiences that don’t just look good, but feel and function well, too.
My educational background in writing and literature introduced me to the world of design. It empowered me to develop and hone the skills to design successful products around the foundation of every good user experience: words. Throughout my career, I’ve found that my passion for design always comes back to the ability to enable all people to use, access information and resources, and publish on the web.
I’ve had the opportunity to work for some tremendous companies doing great work in these areas. Some of them are:
As Clef’s Head of Design I lead and execute design work across the Clef native mobile applications, developer tools, and consumer-facing websites. In addition to UX, UI and Visual Design work, I’m directly responsible for growing and iterating on the Clef brand. In my short time working at Clef, I’ve managed to design, build, and ship a brand new mobile experience for logging in with Clef, an improved developer dashboard experience for users who want to install Clef on their website, and new pages on getclef.com to launch features like Distributed Authentication and our new pricing model, all under tight deadlines.
Some other projects I’ve worked on during my time at Clef include the standardization of our CSS and a front-end styleguide, contributing to our blog, Two Factor Authenticity, as well as experimenting with an interactive web security project for which I created assets and animations and prototyped with animate.css and wow.js.
While freelancing in early 2015, I had the opportunity to work with the Browse User Experience team at Amazon. Originally contracted to teach two junior designers to code and design-in-browser, after a successful bootcamp, I then stayed on with the team to design widgets for Amazon.com’s browse pages and to build out a responsive library of customizable components with CSS/SCSS, HTML, and Middleman to empower rapid prototyping in-the-browser for the team.
“As the manager of a team UX designers and web developers, I know first-hand how hard it is to find people who are truly exceptional at either craft. But Julie is truly remarkable and rare: she not only raises the bar as a practitioner of interface design and front-end development, she’s also a passionate and inspiring mentor with a proven track record of helping others improve their own skills. Not only did Julie do excellent design work on my team, creating interfaces that Amazon shoppers around the globe used in a variety of different retail categories, she also taught two junior designers with no previous coding experience how to design in the browser, prototype with HTML, and collaborate with my web developers on production front-end code. Julie’s impact as a mentor and a design leader was profound, not just for the designers she was teaching, but also on the entire team, who got to benefit from the significantly increased quality and quantity of design work output. The only regret I have from my time working with Julie is that I wasn’t quick enough to open a full-time position before she moved back to the Bay Area!”
PJ McCormick, Design Manager, Amazon
March 2014-January 2015
As &yet’s Senior Designer, I redesigned our customer-facing website to improve the way in which we communicated, through design, the products and services our consultancy offered, how we reached and effectively engaged with our community, and how our website and products generate new business.
“Julie is an outstanding designer and front-end developer…[She] works extremely hard and seems able at any time to engage a mental focus gear that few people get to. After strategy conversations with Julie, I often left with a long list of new ideas and a whole lot to think about. She is driven to write cruft-free copy. In the best way, she’s positively ruthless as an editor — keeping the copy always focused on the goal. She is driven to make whatever she’s working on better, clearer, sharper, more effective. Julie is sharp-minded — one of those people who is already about five steps ahead of everyone in the room. She gives detailed, cogent feedback and is always able to make a strong case and explain her points when expressing an opinion — but she is also eager to listen and open to having her mind changed.”
Adam Brault, Founder and President, &yet
At GitHub I delivered on several different projects ranging from marketing sites for new products and features, well-designed documentation for open source projects, GitHub.com, GitHub for mobile, the GitHub Blog, and GitHub Enterprise, as well as internal tools to enable our (mostly remote) team to communicate more effectively.
I was also responsible for launching and running GitHub’s first diversity initiative, Passion Projects, as well as its first free public speaking workshop for women where we brought together a diverse set of mentors, public speakers, and leaders in the web community from around the world to work with aspiring public speakers in the SF tech community.
I was a well-recognized diversity advocate and public speaker who represented GitHub at conferences all around the world to speak about effective design tools and processes, the GitHub “flow”, designing in-browser, and the importance of working as a team.
“[Julie’s] creativity, technical experience, and willingness to build up the people around her made her an fantastic collaborator who I would love to work with again. Julie combines an intentional approach to understanding and reasoning about a problem with creative vision for getting to a solution. Similarly, she balances thinking about problems at a high level with diving into the details when a solution comes into focus. Her talent as a designer/developer has been honed by experience on a wide variety of projects, and her skill at making complex applications into a conceptually straightforward UI has been demonstrated again and again. Additionally, her developer background has made her an easy collaborator across the team.”
Rachel Myers, Software Developer, GitHub
February 2009-August 2011
As an early employee at Yammer, I served as a technical resource for the marketing team where I built Yammer’s first lead generation system using HTML marketing campaigns, static web pages, and free resources like Webinars and other materials generated and designed by our team.
“When I first started working with Julie, when she was intern, I thought “She would make a fantastic copywriter.” Then after awhile I realized she would make a fantastic anything. I’m excited to see what she does next and look forward to (if I’m really lucky) someday hiring her for myself. Because she will totally rock the anti-matter plasma ray at my secret Mars base.”
Thea Boodhoo, Content Strategist, Yammer
Community Is Everything
In addition to having designed and built products for some great companies, I’m also an active advocate for diversity and inclusion in the tech industry, a volunteer, an advisor and a published author online.
I currently help organize the Oakland CreativeMornings chapter, and I sit on the Board of Directors of the print publication Nat. Brut, “a journal of art and literature dedicated to advancing equality and inclusivity in all creative fields.”
Exploring Ideas Through Writing
Beyond writing specifically to publish and share with my peers and communities online, I do a lot of writing around product design. I find a lot of value in writing about design problems and potential solutions. When I started my most recent position at Clef, I focused on building a healthy amount of writing into my product work both to draw ideas out and onto paper, but also in an effort to engage other designers and engineers in my process and to get early buy-in on product direction from stakeholders and co-conspirators alike.
In addition to writing, I tweet about and start discussions around good examples of user-experience design on the hashtag #UXSCHOOL.
I also love to read. A few of my favorite authors are Christopher Moore, Chuck Klosterman, and Flannery O’Connor. In addition to creative fiction and pop culture criticism, I have a lot of love for graphic novels and comics, most recently Monstress, written by Marjorie Liu and illustrated by Sana Takeda.
I’m looking to work with a team of awesome designers to build products that empower and connect people. Some things that are important to me when working with other people are: Trust, respect, openness, and a collaborative working environment.
by Phil Stott