Artisan Blog

Best Practices for Phone, Skype and Google Hangout Interviews

Nadia Osman - Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Interviews can already be a nerve wracking ordeal, and telephone and video interviews can be as uncomfortable as in-person interviews. Yet they’re a great "first step" in many interview processes, especially for candidates who are in another location. Screening calls can be one-on-one, or with a committee. Either way, the same rules apply as in-person interviews: make your best impression. 

Telephone Interview Tips

Here’s how to prep yourself telephone interviews:

  • The criteria is not the same as an in-person interview. Instead of eye contact, you’re using your voice and its tone to communicate how you feel.

  • Talk concisely. Your experience, accomplishments, and achievements are worth celebrating, but you don’t need to launch into a diatribe about each one. Clear and short responses will do just fine, and keep the interviewer engaged.

  • Be friendly! Just like an in-person interview, you want to convey enthusiasm. Smile over the phone. When you smile, they’ll hear it!

  • If there’s dead air during the conversation, use the moment to ask a prepared question. Find out about the company’s culture or more about the team.

  • Listen closely. Without body language cues, you’ll have to engage in active listening to “hear” between the lines. Take notes if it helps, and concentrate on what they tell you about responsibilities and expectations.

  • Don’t discuss salary or benefits. You’re talking to them to connect about the basics of the job. If you get into second and third interviews, then consider talking about it.

  • Make sure you are in a quiet place without technology or connection issues.

Video Interview Tips

Likewise, video interviews via Skype, Zoom, Facetime or Google Hangout come with their own best practices.  Here’s how to prep:

  • Practice questions before the interview. Have a friend talk to you via video so you can work out any tech kinks in advance.

  • Look at the camera! If you look at the screen, you’re not making eye contact. Remember to apply in-person interview eye contact to a video one as well.

  • Dress like you’re meeting the interviewer in person.

  • Make sure your space is well lighted. If you’re in a darker room, move a lamp nearby so they can see your face.

  • Pay close attention to what is being displayed on the wall behind you.  Ensure you have clean, professional backdrop.

  • Keep up the pace. Like on the phone, you want brief and memorable answers to their questions. Be mindful of how long it takes you to respond, and be aware of the time.

  • Confirm timezones, especially if you are in a different timezone that the other person.

  • Be mindful of tech issues. Check your microphone and Internet connection prior to the interview start.

  • For creative roles, you may need to screen share and show your portfolio. Be prepared with a clean, uncluttered desktop and have your portfolio ready to go!

What are your tried and true interview tips?

Getting Creative With Your Job Search

Nadia Osman - Wednesday, September 09, 2015


Let’s face it -- the job market is competitive. While some job seekers use extreme tactics to get noticed, like billboards or brewing their own beer, there are plenty of other ways to get creative with your job search. Follow these tips to find more opportunities beyond standard job hunting websites and boards that could lead you to the position you’ve always wanted!

Using Social Media to Find Jobs

We’ve talked extensively about how LinkedIn, Twitter, and other sites can help your search. Here are some key takeaways you can apply to any social media platform:

  • Share your valuable content. Use these platforms to discuss topics you care about and want to share with the world. Whether it’s graphic design you admire, marketing campaigns you think could use some improvement, or your own artistic creations, use social media to express your opinions and insights. If you feel you’re too busy to tweet all the time, use social media schedulers like Hootsuite and Buffer to do it for you.

  • Use search features. We post links for jobs all the time on our social media channels! Search for the jobs you want by trying different combinations of keywords. For example, “los angeles creative jobs” may yield different results than “UX jobs los angeles”

  • Network. Join groups on LinkedIn and interact with influencers. Reply to folks on Twitter, or strike up a discussion in Facebook. Keep your thoughts professional and courteous, but feel free to engage with others. Eventually, you’ll be more connected than ever -- and your potential job network will grow in the process!

Using Email to Find Jobs

You can job search right from your inbox! Do you want to work for a specific company? Set up a Google alert for your target organizations and what jobs they have open. You’ll be the first to see what new positions they have. Similarly, sign up for job notices from select websites that will offer you hyper-focused opportunities. And of course, always check Artisan Creative for new job openings every day and subscribe to our RSS feed.

Moreover, referrals are a great way to get in the door, and your family and friends are just the people to recommend you. Rely on them to help your job search. Send out emails to close family and friends asking them to keep an eye out. Then, work your way outwards by contacting old colleagues, mentors, college friends, and whoever else you think could help you out. And don’t forget to reach out via LinkedIn and add recommendations, as well as see who is connected. Someone might be willing to make a virtual -- and possibly in-person -- connection on your behalf!

Using Your Website to Find Jobs

If you’re looking for creative jobs, an online portfolio will highlight your amazing work. It’s the quickest and easiest way to have someone find you! Remember to add your URL to your email signature or social media profiles. If you’re not sure where to start, check out SquareSpace or WordPress to help build your own site, or there are many online portfolio sites such as Behance or Coroflot. Furthermore, start blogging! Become a subject matter expert in your field. Much like with social media, blogging is a terrific way to share insights while positioning yourself as an expert in your field.

A helpful hint: if you’re applying for a specific position, pay attention to the company profile and skills they want. Fashion companies want to see fashion samples instead of health care samples, so create space on the site to showcase those samples and make it easy for hiring managers to see relevant work right away.

Using Networking to Find Jobs

When it comes to job searching, your alma mater is a goldmine of possibilities. Connect with alumni by emailing or connecting online. Go to alumni meeting and grow your network, adding new alumni every week. Network and discuss your work to improve your job search opportunities, or suggest ideas of your own for their company they might want to hear.  Reciprocate and help them out where possible.

Another way is to connect with people is through events. Professional organizations, charities, and meetups are great ways to meet new people and get the word out about your valuable skill set. Talk to at least a couple of new people at each meeting you haven’t met yet, and follow up (without imposing) to continue growing the relationship. Volunteer where possible and get connected within the community you are interested in.

What have you done to get creative with your job search?

Photo Credit: kate hiscock via Flickr under a Creative Commons license

12 Email Productivity Hacks So You Can Get Back to Work

Nadia Osman - Thursday, September 03, 2015

Worried about your inbox? It might be stressful to look at all those messages, whether answered or unanswered, sitting there. The good news is it’s an easy fix! Read these 12 email productivity hacks to help you develop good email habits, get your inbox under control, and go on with your day:

1. Every time you open an email, use RAFD. Reply (write back), Archive (save it), Forward (send along to whoever needs to see it), or Delete (trash it).

2. Follow the 2 minute rule. Is answering that email going to take longer than two minutes? Then write back immediately. If you need time to think about your answer, hold off until you have time to compose your thoughts.

3. Shorten your sentences. When you reply to an email, keep your responses to three sentences or less. If you need more to write more than that, evaluate: will it be faster to add this to your to-do list, or to pick up the phone and call them?

4. Prioritize your most important mail first. Now, if you decide to write a longer email, write the one that needs the most attention. Then work your way down the list.

5. Set up a specific time to check your email. Don’t feel beholden to answer every email that comes through your inbox. Instead, choose a few select times during the day to check -- for example, look through your emails later in the morning, then after lunch, and before the work day ends.

6. Use filters to manage incoming messages. Inbound emails that are automatically filtered into a folder system lets you scan emails and figure out who needs a response right away. Try setting up a filtered folder for emails from your supervisor, or redirect emails into your inbox for high-priority clients.

7. Separate individuals from groups. If you work in a large organization and lots of mass emails are sent, it’s useful to prioritize personal communication over company memos.

8. Try Mailbox. It might sound hyperbolic, but this is one of those apps that could seriously change your life. Perfect for on-the-go email checking, use the app to schedule a time to read emails later, whether it’s that night, tomorrow, or next month.

9. Add extra data. Are you afraid to delete emails because you may need to reference them later? Consider purchasing more data for your account. It’s a small price to pay for piece of mind.

10. Don’t use your inbox as a to-do list. This one is very important! Use apps, notebooks, or Post-It notes to write down your daily to-do’s, but when you use your inbox, it keeps it cluttered. It also doesn’t help you remember what you need to do!

11. Unsubscribe! Are you still getting emails from that one website you bought a t-shirt from six years ago? What about that nonprofit you have no passion for, but you’re on the email list because one time you signed a petition online? It’s time to click unsubscribe. is a great way to extract yourself from lists quickly, or set aside a half hour to do it all at once.

12. Deal with personal messages after work. Avoid answering personal emails until you’ve clocked out. It helps create a productive mindset and lets you take time to read that article or watch that video.

What are your favorite email hacks?

Photo: xJason.Rogerx via Flickr under Creative Commons license

How To Say Yes At Work Without Driving Yourself Crazy

Nadia Osman - Wednesday, August 26, 2015

As a creative, your unique set of skills is in high demand! What’s great about this is that there’s always a business or organization that needs you. On the other hand, when friends or acquaintances need some help designing a website or crafting copy, they may turn to you when your plate is too full. Or perhaps you’ve added several new clients who take up a lot of your time, but you love working for each one. We all want to say “yes” to as much as possible, but how can you say yes without feeling like you’ve taken on too much?

Before you take on the next big thing, consider some of these factors so you can continue to balance work and life while taking on the best and brightest opportunities:

Passion: Is this project for a cause you believe in, or area of interest you love? If it’s something you’re passionate about, chances are you’re going to pour more of your heart into it since it’s personally fulfilling. For instance, those who are committed to a healthy lifestyle may likely have a better time creating logo designs for a new health or fitness client rather than a fashion one.

Development: Taking on projects that help you grow your skills is a smart move. Whether you’ll be working with someone who can help mentor your career or add new strengths to your resume, a project where you’ll learn is a great way to gain new experiences and fill in any gaps in your work history.

Fear: Think long and hard about whether you feel like want to decline a project due to time constraints, or because you’re afraid to take it on. Never fear! The jobs that scare us a little are often the ones where you learn the most!

Being a Team Player: Your job might want you to take on a few extra responsibilities, and as long as they’re doable and you can devote attention to them, it makes sense to showcase your ability to work in a team rather than saying no. However, if these responsibilities start to encroach on your existing job duties, you may want to bring up the idea of an intern or assistant with your boss.

Money: Of course, we’re working to make money, but there are so many other factors beyond a paycheck that make an impact.. The best case scenario is a project you’re excited about that also pays well! But don’t turn down a project with less pay if it’s something that energizes your spirit.

If you do have to say “no” to a project, it’s better to politely decline than risk burnout. It’s better to evaluate your commitments and choose the ones you love best rather than take on new projects that might lead to a drop in productivity. Allow yourself to continue working on projects you care deeply about, and keep an eye open for the opportunities you want to take on!

5 Surefire Signs It’s Time to Find New Job Opportunities

Nadia Osman - Thursday, August 20, 2015

Quitting your job is a scary prospect -- even if the economy is slowly but surely turning itself around, there’s never a guarantee that you will be able to find another position. Nevertheless, if you feel a shudder when you get to work, it’s unlikely you’ll regret quitting for something better. Here are five ways to evaluate whether it’s time to leave your current job for new horizons.

1. You dread going to work. You wake up in the morning and are filled with impending doom. You dream of quitting. You consider using up your sick time to stay home because you don’t want to go to work. Life's too short -- it’s time to start looking for a new job!

2. You know more than your supervisor. You want to feel good about the decisions being made at your company. If you feel frustrated that the leadership at your job is making poor choices, it could affect your job performance. Stay ahead of the curve and search for a new role.

3. You don’t know what’s happening. Are you the last to hear about major changes or events at work? Maybe you’re left out of important meetings or don’t know about big projects. Your bosses may only see you as a desk warmer rather than a valuable team member. Look for a place where they will appreciate your unique skills and insight.

4. You’ve lost that loving feeling. Even if you enjoy your boss, co-workers, and Friday happy hours with everyone, it’s time to move on if you have stopped caring about the work. Passion, especially in creative fields, is a key ingredient to success. A lack of enthusiasm won’t serve you or the work family you love -- but a new career move will invigorate your spirits.

5. You are not learning anything new. If you think you’ll spend the next five years doing the same thing, you’re doing yourself a disservice by staying in the same role. Challenge yourself to embolden your creativity and look for roles that will stimulate.

After evaluating, if you feel like the relationships you’ve built at your job are great or the rewards are significant, stay the course. However, if you dream of other opportunities for growth or feel a deep pit in your stomach thinking about your job, consider freelancing and searching for other roles. If you do choose to leave, don’t burn bridges. Just explain you want to pursue another opportunity, then leave on friendly terms. And remember -- if you decide to look for a new role, Artisan Creative can help place you in your dream job!

5 Ways You Can Manage Your Personal Brand

Nadia Osman - Wednesday, August 12, 2015

As a freelancer or entrepreneur, you are a brand. That means you have an identity, a mission, and a product -- your skill set! Branding is only successful when it reflects consistency, so you must maintain yours across all online platforms. Here are five ways to manage your personal brand:

1. Website: This is an entire site dedicated to one thing -- you. Make your brand count. Set up a blog and write about your creative endeavors, whether they are successes or challenges. Show off your best work, and update it frequently. Let people get to know you or your company better with an extensive About page, and make it simple for them to contact you.

2. Social Media: Set up a Facebook Page for yourself as a business, as well as a Twitter page and LinkedIn page for networking. Then keep using them! Populate all your social media with content as often as you can. Consider social media schedulers like HootSuite if you find you’re too busy to tweet. Use Namechk to find out whether your username is registered across multiple social media sites. Register your name on sites you don’t plan to use just in case those platforms suddenly make sense for you to use or become popular very quickly.

3. Logo/Image: If you have a company or brand name, use the logo as the image in your social media profiles. For those who freelance, using a professional photo of yourself is a great way to represent your brand. Remember, consistency is key -- use the same photo across your website, online portfolio, and all social media platforms

4. Mission and values: Every inch of bio space can be an opportunity to spread your mission statement. Who are you, what are you enthusiastic about, and why do you do what you do? If you’re a designer, now is your chance to briefly showcase your personality and passion for design. Again, keep that statement consistent.

5. Creative online outlets: Are you a copywriting maven? Blog about it. Are you an expert in your field? Create how-to videos on YouTube and share your knowledge with the world. Do you have a side business crafting a homemade product? Pinterest might be a place for you to become active. Or let people into your creative process via Periscope. Don’t be limited to a website and a few tweets. Create personal brand leverage by figuring out who you want to speak to the most, and which online platforms will allow you to reach that audience.

One final note: be sure to provide links to your pages, profiles, and portfolio wherever you can! Create an email signature, print up business cards with your website, and include them on your resume. The goal is to make it as easy as possible for people to find out who are you and what you do. That way, they’re more likely to contact you for work!

By becoming comfortable with creating an online presence, highlighting what you believe in, and developing a “voice”, you’ll help help broaden your networking opportunities among acquaintances, ex-colleagues, and future employers. Establish yourself as an expert, and then manage that expert brand on a regular basis!

The Importance of Proofreading Your Resume (And Everything Else)

Nadia Osman - Wednesday, August 05, 2015

According to a survey conducted by Grammarly on, the average job seeker has at least one punctuation error on their resume, and 60 percent of errors are grammatical.

If the job requires attention to detail or if you promote yourself as “meticulous,” how can a hiring manager trust that you are those things if your resume has simple spelling mistakes and typos?

Those tiny errors could make them think twice about calling you for the role.

One cannot underestimate the importance of proofreading. Here are a few tips to keep in mind during this necessary step in applying for jobs:

Proofreading does not equal spell check. Misspellings and grammatical mistakes are common, and they happen to everyone. But spell check cannot replace your sharp eye. Most spell check programs do not recognize contextual spelling errors (like “achieve” versus “achievement”).

Don’t rush your email. When you see the perfect job, it’s easy to get excited and click “send” before thoroughly reading it over. However, if you spelled the name of the company incorrectly, it’s very unlikely they’ll be emailing back!

Check your online portfolio. Hiring managers, especially in creative fields, are going to look at your website. If you’ve misspelled a few words, or have grammar errors, it will negatively impact your beautiful photos or exquisite design. They’ll remember that you weren’t fastidious enough to double check your own website.

Keep it consistent. If you’re still employed at a position, use present tense -- use past tense if you’re no longer there. Stay consistent and use an active voice (“developed strategy,” “created designs”). Catching errors in consistency is part of proofreading.

Have a friend help you! If you’ve already combed through all your hiring materials, ask a friend (or several) help you proofread as well just to be on the safe side.

The good news is that your resume, LinkedIn profile, and online portfolio are easy to fix. All you have to do is take the time to proofread and make sure there are no errors.

So proofread your resume. Proofread your cover letter. Proofread your online portfolio. Proofread your writing samples. Proofread your blog. Proofread your email to a recruiter or hiring manager. Proofread, proofread, proofread. You can thank us later after you score the job!

Is Working Remotely Right for You?

Nadia Osman - Thursday, July 30, 2015

If you crave a more flexible work schedule or a nonexistent commute, working full-time or freelancing off-site is a great option. Although working remotely can be rewarding and exciting, it does present its own challenges. Here are a few things to consider about freelancing or full-time work off-site:

Is flexibility important? When you work off-site, it’s more likely you’ll be able to set your own schedule. If you need to watch the kids, you can take time off and finish your work later. If you prefer early morning or late evenings, you can get your work done then to run errands in the afternoon. Generally, it can offer a better work and life balance since you’re able to better determine how and when your work time is spent.

Can you manage your time well? Self-managing takes a lot of focus and discipline. It’s easy to get distracted at home. When you work from home, you’re expected to be responsible for finishing deadlines, even intense ones, without being managed by someone else. Consider whether you’re the kind of person who needs a supervisor or co-worker to help keep you on task, or if you feel your time management skills could use some improvement.

Do you want to save money? The cost of working adds up! Think of how much you spend per year on gas for your commute, lunches with co-workers, and appropriate business attire add up. When you work remotely, you can save money by not driving or eating at home. Even if you occasionally work from a coffee shop, you still will probably not end up spending as much as you might when you stop in for a latte every day on your morning commute. Also you may be able to claim some tax deductions on office supplies and tools you use like your Internet bill (see a tax specialist who can tell you more about this).

Is your workspace full of distractions? If you have small children at home, a needy pet, or other disturbances, your home workspace may make it hard for you to concentrate on your job. Then there’s your Netflix queue calling at 2pm when you want to procrastinate. Think about how you can separate yourself from your home and your home office, or if you’re able to set up shop in another workplace to create a distinction between work and home.

Do you prefer to work alone? Some people thrive in a group setting, while others prefer closed doors so they can focus on work. Some feel they get too distracted by others and others get too siloed on your own.  Find out which one is best for your working style before you commit to working offsite

Are you able to adapt quickly? Working from home, whether freelance or full-time, means you could be “on call” in the early morning or late evening. It depends on the job, but an expectation may be set that you’ll be able to answer emails any time you’re at home. Additionally, if you’re a freelancer, the needs of your clients can change drastically, so you have to be ready to support them. And for those working for a company full-time from home, their needs can change suddenly as well. Being able to adapt fast to new situation is key.  

For those who enjoy working independently and have great time management skills, working remotely might be your next big move!

Using LinkedIn to Find Your Dream Job

Nadia Osman - Thursday, July 23, 2015

Despite how much LinkedIn can help people find jobs, many people don’t necessarily think to start there. In fact, people may not even think about joining LinkedIn in the first place. The fact is that it’s one of your greatest assets not just in searching for new roles, but also in connecting with prospective employers. Whether you’re a freelancer or a full-time employee, LinkedIn is crucial for building past, current, and future relationships that can lead to work.

While you’re busy applying to jobs directly on your own or looking for work with Artisan Creative, LinkedIn can help empower your job search, reenergize your resume, reconnect with old colleagues, network, and more! Here are just a few ways you can use LinkedIn to enhance your chances to land that perfect role:

You help create or contribute to a personal brand. Your LinkedIn profile is part of your brand, just like other social media profiles. Don’t just include past employment or accomplishments. Showcase who you are and what you can do, as well as what you love doing.

You can make your research more efficient. If you’re asked to come in for an interview, LinkedIn will help you connect with the hiring manager and find interesting things only you two have in common. It also helps you get a sense for the company’s culture and who they are likely to hire.

You can build credibility. Join a members-only or open group and ask questions. Find out what people in your industry are talking about and become an influencer by providing insight. Interact with groups to display your expertise in a certain field. Comment and start discussions that let employers know you’re actively curious and looking to expand and/or share your knowledge base.

You can make new introductions. Grow your list of connections and monitor target companies or positions. However, remember that LinkedIn is a place to network with people you know from your work or personal life -- focus on high quality connections with people you actually know in real life, not just a high number of connections of strangers. Make those connections introduce you to new ones, and continue the networking party online or in person.

You can make a good impression before meeting anyone. Choose a profile picture that’s professional but personal. Make sure to update it regularly with recent educational advances like a class you took over the summer, volunteering work you do on the weekends, or personal achievements like running in a marathon or visiting Japan for the first time. Request recommendations from colleagues you’ve worked with in the past to help you get started.

Have you used LinkedIn to help you find out a job before? Tell us about your experience!

5 Tips for Getting The Job You're Actually Qualified For

Nadia Osman - Thursday, July 16, 2015

Do you consider yourself to be a marketing manager, and yet, also a writer, but also a designer? Are you someone who juggles a dozen skills across multiple jobs? Ever heard of the phrase “jack of all trades, master of none”?

Maybe you are an excellent copy editor and graphic designer and technology manager. However, chances are you have a focus or interest in one area more than the other, i.e. an excellent copy editor who knows a few basics about graphic design who also  had to manage an IT guy once. Having a lot of skills is great, but it makes placing people in a job that suits them best difficult. Imagine being an interviewer and seeing all these skills on a resume and unclear where someone’s interest lies, when you’re really just searching for someone who’s most qualified for this position.

In creative services, having a resume that isn’t focused can hurt instead of help. Here are five ways to improve your resume and the chance that you’ll be offered the opportunity:

1. Narrow down what you do best to two things. Talent managers (like the ones here at Artisan Creative) and hiring managers have to review hundreds of resumes. Make yours stand out by picking your top two areas of expertise, then highlighting them in your cover letter and resume. When you’re on the phone or in an interview, continue expanding on why you are so fantastic in these two specific areas of expertise.

2. Deliver your message consistently. Don’t change what you do halfway through. In your message to potential employers, keep hammering in those two things you do well. If a particular position doesn’t quite suit you, it’s fine. You’ll find the right one, and you’ll ace the interview and get the job because it’s a job that fits.

3. Be memorable. You want your resume and cover letter to call attention to your proficiency in a couple of areas. If you list yourself as someone who knows something vague (marketing) or as someone who does too much (marketing guru meets social media and website analyst by way of dog trainer), you’re of less value than someone who lists accomplishments related to one area (develops brand campaigns for Twitter).

4. Know what you want. Do you actually want a job proofreading? Would you rather be a content writer? Look for work you want, not work you could have. It’ll save both you and employers wasted time. Focus on the job you’d love to have, then take actionable steps to get yourself there, like taking a class or crafting portfolio samples.

5. Expand your skill set with other skills that go together. Certain skills are not mutually exclusive. Telling a hiring manager that you’re a graphic artist and account manager may be hard for them to determine a place for you, but learning how to blog helps improve your writing resume. Learn Maya and After Effects. Understand broadcast producing and agency producing. Know what it takes to be a communications manager as well as a public relations manager.

Take a look at your work history. What do you do best? Do your resume and portfolio exhibit the best of your personal mastery? Is there some unexplored yet related skill set you can acquire a firm knowledge of? Knowing what you’re actually qualified for is what will get you in the door!

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