Artisan Blog

The Competitor in Us All

Katty Douraghy - Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Olympics bring out the best in everyone— from pride, to perseverance to passion for the competition.   Those stories about athletes who overcome personal and professional obstacles to make it to the games inspire many.

Time and time again, as these athletes compete, win or lose, they get back in the game, proving that a defeat is just that—a momentary loss.  Of course, it’s painful to lose, however, the one constant is getting up, dusting off and trying again.

We are all competitors—whether we recognize this or not.  We pitch to the same clients, we apply to the same job boards, we complete for the same RFPs, and we look for the same talent skillsets.

How can we best adhere to the same competitive principals, as we tackle goals and challenges that arise in our daily lives or work? 

Here are 5 lessons we’ve learned from the Olympics:

  1.   Even though you compete in the same arena & in the same game— the mindset you bring is yours and only yours.
  2. You enter the track with many other competitors— the preparation you do beforehand is yours and yours alone.
  3. You may experience a defeat, or miss a target by .003 seconds— your reaction, acceptance and perseverance to come back the next time is your decision.
  4. You may fall down — the decision to get up is yours
  5. You may work long hours to pursue your goals, train hard, have a coach, have an accountability partner— how you apply the lessons learned and improve your game is up to you.

 What do you do to stay in the game and create a winning mindset?

 

 

Resume Refresh: What to Keep Versus What to Change

Nadia Osman - Wednesday, August 17, 2016

What has been the response rate to your resume submission?

If you are not getting the responses you had hope for you may want review your resume. Here are some steps you can take to improve your resume and make an impact without starting from scratch.

Use SEO and Keywords. Some applicant tracking systems and resume management systems use keywords to highlight submissions. Make sure your resume is SEO friendly and utilizes keywords that align with the role you are applying for.

Focus on ROI. Paint a picture of what each job you’ve had is like and what you achieved while there. How did you make an impact? Look through each position and find a way to list your accomplishments and impacted the team’s bottom line and productivity.For example if you designed a logo, you “developed and created a new logo that led to a 30% increase in conversions to their website”.

Be Concise. Use bullet points or easy-to-read sentences. Hiring managers and recruiters often have little time to skim through hundreds of resumes for each job they are recruiting--make your accomplishments stand out. Focus on what strengthens your candidacy and highlight those.

Use a common font. Arial, Helvetica, or Times New Roman are all easy to read. Stick with these simpler fonts instead of fancy ones. Pay special attention to the requirements of the applicant tracking systems and the readability of your resume. The exception to this is if you’re a designer, in which case you’ll want to make sure your resume showcases your design skills. Want to further improve readability? Increase the line spacing so there’s more white space.

Delete objectives. Those statements at the top of your resume are unnecessary and waste valuable space. Instead of stating what you want in your resume, move it to your cover letter, where you can explain in more detail what you’re looking for. Consider adding in more description about your previous positions instead. Did you just help your manager reach quarterly goals, or did you create some kind of system to help them do that better?

In short, keep your resume creative, relevant, and results-based. What are your resume refresh tips?

Career Path Objectives

Nadia Osman - Wednesday, August 10, 2016

 

Career growth and having a clear path to expand your skills is important. No matter where you’re working, or whether there is a formal succession plan in place, it’s important to have an open dialog with your manager. Learn about the company’s objectives and share your career goals to see the synergy between the two. Here’s how to start a conversation with your manager about your career goals:


Prepare and research. Think about the things you do well in your position, and how you can perform successfully in the next role within your company. What are your key accomplishments? What do you have to offer the organization? How can you be more instrumental to create impact? Be prepared so you can be strategic in reviewing your achievements! If there are openings on the team, express your interest.

Have a purpose. When you talk to your manager, start with an objective: “I’d like to talk about growth opportunities within this company. I really like this organization and would like to know how to grow with it”.  Share your vision of where you fit in the future and go into the meeting with clarity to help guide the meeting.

Think of ideas that benefit the greater good. Being a part of a company means contributing ideas to solve problems and make an impact for the team. Discuss your ideas and show your boss you’re willing to take initiative and create a plan of action.

Listen to feedback. Your boss probably has some valuable advice to share with you, so hear what they say. Whether it’s constructive criticism on your performance, ways to improve and grow, or how to get through a tough situation, they are there to help you. For example, if you need to learn additional skills or specific programs for your next role, then you can plan for it accordingly.

Discuss your growth vs just asking for a raise. If your true objective is growth, more responsibility, leadership development and learning new skills, then focus on that conversation. With more responsibility there will be an opportunity to discuss a higher compensation.

Take ownership of your career. It’s your career, so be invested in it.

Looking for creative jobs? We have tons of job listings for all kinds of creatives in Los Angeles and San Francisco!

Job Interview Questions Designed to Make You Think

Nadia Osman - Wednesday, August 03, 2016


Job interviews can be anxiety-inducing, especially if you really want the job. Your resume and cover letter were good enough to land the interview, but meeting face-to-face (or via Skype or Google Hangouts) is a whole other story. And nowadays, it’s not enough to ask the standard interview questions. In fact, many top companies ask their potential candidates an array of surprising and unfamiliar questions to help get your creative juices flowing and see how you respond on the fly to thinking analytically and developing solutions. It’s a chance for you to loosen up, relax, and show the interviewer the real you.

We’ve put together a list of real-life interview questions from top companies around the world courtesy of Glassdoor and beyond, from companies including Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon, Intel, and Trader Joe’s. Try practicing answers to questions like these, and see what fun answers you come up with on your own!
  • If you could only choose one song to play every time you walked into a room for the rest of your life, what would it be?
  • Choose a city and estimate how many piano tuners operate a business there.
  • If you could be remembered for one sentence, what would it be?
  • Why are manhole covers round?
  • Design an evacuation plan for this building.
  • How many Big Macs does McDonald’s sell each year in the U.S.?
  • 25 racehorses, no stopwatch. 5 tracks. Figure out the top three fastest horses in the fewest number of races.
  • How much do you charge to wash every window in Seattle?
  • If I was talking to your best friend, what is the one thing they would you say you need to work on?
  • How many children are born every day?
  • If you were a pizza delivery man, how would you benefit from scissors?
  • How would you breakdown the cost of this pen?
  • If you have 2 eggs, and you want to figure out what’s the highest floor from which you can drop the egg without breaking it, how would you do it? What’s the optimal solution?
  • How would you solve problems if you were from Mars?
  • Design a spice rack for the blind.
  • What do you think of garden gnomes?
  • You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?
Image by Meilun.


Artisan Creative is celebrating our 20th year staffing and recruiting Creative, Digital and Marketing roles. Please visit Roles We Place for a complete listing of our expertise.



Click here if you are looking to hire. Click here if you are looking for work.

For information on hiring best practices, interview tips and industry news, please join our social networks on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Instagram.


Volunteering is Great for Your Resume (And You)

Nadia Osman - Wednesday, July 27, 2016


Volunteering is good for your community, and for you. However between work, family, friends, relationships, personal passions, and so on, it may seem difficult to find the time to give back. Here’s 5 reasons why volunteering can be great asset and has additional benefits:

Enhances a resume. Volunteering demonstrates your acumen for leadership roles and being a team player with a passion for a cause. It can also help reduce gaps in a resume if you are in between jobs.

Networking & Referrals. Volunteering expands your network. Having more people to reach out to about job opportunities is never a bad thing! Volunteer for an organization which in line with your passions and meet other like-minded individuals who might have connections to other companies.

References. Much like expanding your network, volunteer organizers can serve as valuable references, especially for younger job candidates.

Demonstrates initiative. Volunteering demonstrates a desire to solve problems, take on new challenges, and remain engaged to the community.

Expands skills. Offer your expertise, expand your portfolio and help a great cause. For example if you are graphic designer volunteer to design the logo or an event flyer for a local foundation, pro bono. 

If you’ve been on the job hunt for a long time, volunteering helps keep your skills sharp and keep you engaged.

Tell us about your volunteer experience on Facebook or LinkedIn!

How to Make the Most of Brainstorming Sessions

Nadia Osman - Wednesday, July 13, 2016


Collaboration is key for creative teams. Here ere are a few tips to maximize your productivity in group brainstorming sessions:
  • Define a goal before the meeting. Send out an agenda in advance to let team members mull over the purpose of the session so they have time to come in with a few good ideas.
  • Set ground rules. If all ideas are good or you’re going for a “blue sky” atmosphere, let everyone know that so they feel confident to share. Whatever your ground rules are, state them at the top so everyone understands, and feel free to chime in if the rules are being broken. 
  • Encourage openness. Sometimes, brainstorming sessions fail because team members feel pressured to conform to certain ideas on the spot. Set a tone of non-judgement and invite all ideas to be voiced in a comfortable setting.
  • Don’t discuss or problem solve ideas. Set this as one your ground rules. Problem solving will hamper the creative free flow of ideas and eat away at the timelines. Capture all concepts first and then explore further.
  • Assign a facilitator or scribe. This person can capture all the ideas on the board. They will be facilitating and not part of the brainstorming itself and can ensures all team voices are heard equally. They can helps the group on track, take notes, assign follow up and next steps.
  • Set timetables. Give everyone thirty seconds and go around the table and capture one word ideas or one phrase ideas. Go around the room as often as possible to capture as many ideas as possible within your set time parameters.
  • Get creative. If your group needs help to get started, play improv games, doodle, stand and walk while pitching, or create mood boards to help the team get out of their heads. Encourage everyone to offer their own ways of busting out of a creative rut, and apply it to the group dynamic.
  • Don’t decide on the spot. Plan for reflection time for the team to think and react to the ideas they heard, then ask them to share their top choices. If scheduling a second meeting is not possible, then take a 10 minute-break. Allow the team to stretch their legs, get some fresh air and reflect, and then come back together to discuss decision and executing on the chosen ideas.
What are some of your tips for making the most out of a brainstorming session?

Artisan Creative is celebrating our 20th year staffing and recruiting Creative, Digital and Marketing roles. Please visit Roles We Place for a complete listing of our expertise.

Click here if you are looking to hire. Click here if you are looking for work.

For information on hiring best practices, interview tips and industry news, please join our social networks on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

7 Ways to Integrate your Life and your Work

Nadia Osman - Wednesday, July 06, 2016


Achieving optimal work and life integration is one of the great life challenges we all face. Theoretically, it’s possible……. But can it -- will it -- ever happen? It can and it takes a lot of planning and up front effort to make it all come together. Here are seven ways you can start out with:

1. Declutter. Minimize your workload by getting organized. Cut down on communication waste -- send an IM instead of another email. Organize similar meetings and tasks together so you can focus on one thing at a time. Get your inbox down to zero. Use the Pomodoro method to focus on work, then take brief breaks before refocusing.

2. Ask about telecommuting. For those with a 9-to-5 gig at the office, there might be a chance to telecommute. Even working from home for one day a week can help. For example, it can reduce the stress caused by traffic. Ask!

3. Schedule dedicated time with others (and yourself). Whether you’re in a relationship, married, or have a group of friends, it’s essential you schedule everything. If you schedule an appointment for a haircut, what about an appointment for a date night? This will help decrease the odds you’ll have to cancel. The same concept applies to you. Set aside time to unwind at the spa, run a marathon, catch up on Netflix -- whatever you love doing by yourself, give yourself that gift!

4. Plan for vacations. If you’re a freelancer, you know how stressful it can be to take time off work to enjoy life. Taking time far away from work can help rejuvenate your spirits and improve your productivity, allowing you to return to work with more energy. Figure out what it’ll take (in terms of time and money) to take the vacation -- or multiple trips -- you want. Have a plan for what you’ll do as soon as you return.

5. Wake up earlier. Mornings are a staple of productive types. That doesn’t mean just rolling over and answering emails. Try waking up earlier than usual and spending a set amount of time (as little at 15 minutes or as long as a few hours) doing other things: going for a jog, making breakfast, reading a book that’s not work related, writing your thoughts and commitments for the week in a journal.

6. Get involved in a project outside of work. If your job is wearing you down, think about hobbies, pursuits, and meaningful passions. Look for opportunities to volunteer, ways to expand your education, or find outlets that allow you to express creativity in a non-work setting, like building furniture or taking an improv class.

7. Cut some slack. Those shirts that say “Beyonce has the same 24 hours in a day as you” forget that she has a huge team of experts and professionals helping her! Instead of trying to do it all, be honest with your time, demands, and priorities. Make a list of things that are important to you, like seeing your kid’s ballet recital, and make that moment happen. You might not make every event due to work commitments, by making it a priority to do so, and that will help motivate you.

Even if work seems to overwhelm your life (and your sanity), there is so much value in building in a healthy interaction between time spent at work and time spent living.

Artisan Creative is celebrating our 20th year staffing and recruiting Creative, Digital and Marketing roles. Please visit Roles We Place for a complete listing of our expertise.

Click here if you are looking to hire. Click here if you are looking for work.

For information on hiring best practices, interview tips and industry news, please join our social networks on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

7 Ways to Create an Outstanding Creative Portfolio Online

Nadia Osman - Wednesday, June 29, 2016


Creating an amazing creative portfolio that highlights your skills and experience is a necessary one! As a creative professional it’s best to keep your portfolio up-to-date and ready-to-go in case a prospective project or client comes your way. Here are some best practices to create a successful portfolio:

1. Determine your goals. Are you trying to get hired, boost business, or just showcasing your work? Is this a portfolio designed for building relationships or your brand? Clear criteria will help serve you best. If you want to get hired, display work that is relevant and current to get hiring managers at your dream company to notice you.

2. Put your best design forward...within limitations. Hiring managers (and everyone else) want to see your best work, but they also need to review lots of potential applicants in a hurry. Feature your best work prominently on a user-friendly site that showcases your work front and center.

3. Be concise. You may feel the need to say a lot in a small amount of space. However, best to keep it simple and organized, and repeat the “less is more” mantra. If you’re a freelancer who offers multiple services, or has several skillsets, try your best to demonstrate the key pieces or case studies.

4. Think about situations where you solved a problem. Was it a creative challenge? Were there limited resources? Look at samples that have a story behind them and list clear objective and how you resolved the design challenge.

5. Consider who you want to work for. Are you looking for work in a corporate field like finance or law? Present clean, successful design instead of edgy or artsy work. In other words, select portfolio pieces which are in line with the work you are seeking. (Remember, multiple portfolios, or organized tabs might be useful if you’re interested in working within multiple industries!)

6. Usability trumps artistic vision. While it might look really cool to change the navigation on your online portfolio, it can also be really confusing. Stick to web standards that keep the portfolio organized and implement SEO in case someone is searching. Consider readability, typography, and ease -- what will be easier to update on a regular basis?

7. Make it yours! Whether you’re designing something for conservative or nontraditional clients, your portfolio needs to be 100 percent you. Infuse your personality into the design of the portfolio, let your creativity do the talking, and have fun in showing the world what you can do. If you don’t have the time or resources for your own website, then utilize the many portfolio sites that offer free resources such as Behance, Coroflot, Krop, etc.

Lastly, it should be easy to contact you, so make sure your contact information is easy to find!

Do you have an outstanding portfolio? Share it with us! We might be able to help land your next gig!

Artisan Creative is celebrating our 20th year staffing and recruiting Creative, Digital and Marketing roles. Please visit Roles We Place for a complete listing of our expertise.

Click here if you are looking to hire. Click here if you are looking for work.

For information on hiring best practices, interview tips and industry news, please join our social networks on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Portfolio image by Sean Halpin.

6 Not-As-Common Interview Prep Tips

Nadia Osman - Wednesday, June 22, 2016


We know the things you have to do for every job interview (dress appropriately). And we know the things you should never do in an interview (don’t be late!). But what are ways to go above and beyond? Read these six interview tips to prepare for the next (and possibly biggest) interview:

1. Research the company’s blog posts. Let’s say you have an interview with a well-known tech company. And let’s say they ask you pointed questions about the company. You could name drop a product, or you could mention something specific you read, like how much you love that they won a humanitarian award. Neither is a wrong approach, but talking in specifics shows you’ve done your research. And doing your research shows you actually care about the position and the company.

2. Schedule your interview for… Tuesday at 10:30am. According to Glassdoor, this is the ideal time to have your interview. It’s great because it’s not bookended by the weekend, it’s not around lunch, and it’s after everyone’s had a chance to have their coffee and perk up. However, if the job needs to be filled fast, take the soonest available slot.

3. Answer the weird questions. Some companies are famous for asking out-of-left-field, oddball interview questions. This is done to test how you think on your feet, but it can really throw you off your game if you don’t have something in mind. Figure out what you would say if you were asked…

How would you double $1,000 in 24 hours?
What would the name of your debut album be?
How many basketballs would fit in this room?


4. Who tells your story? Many interviewers start by asking about yourself, or for you to walk them through your work experience. Craft a story statement that stands out. What influenced you in your childhood to make you work in advertising? Why did your last job inspire this specific design? Make sure your story includes a bit about your life before work, why you do what you do, and how you want to make an impact in your current field.

5. Psych yourself up. You might get nervous before an interview, so find ways to get amped like athletes do before games or actors do before shows. Listen to a great playlist of take-on-the-world songs. Primal scream in the car. Concentrate on the emotional -- what do your friends and family believe in you? Whatever works for you!

6. Be bold! This is a very gutsy move, but it can work. Before your interview ends, ask this: Is there anything you feel is missing from my background or resume that I may be able to expand on? If you ask honestly, it shows you’re self-assured, passionate, optimistic, and willing to take a risk, which are all highly regarded qualities in any employee. It also gives the interviewer an opportunity to clarify anything they like. Remember, fortune favors the bold!

Get more interview tips by subscribing to the RSS feed on our blog or following us on Twitter -- and check out our open job listings for new and exciting freelance and full-time creative careers!

15 Ways to Jumpstart Your Creative Process Now

Nadia Osman - Wednesday, June 15, 2016


As a creative professional, it’s your job to create. But sometimes, that creative spark you’re known for just won’t ignite. Here are 15 ways you can jumpstart your creativity, right now and later:

Right Now:

  • Go for a walk. Physical movement can get your brain going in a way that staring at the wall cannot. If you meditate, consider a walking meditation to clear your head space. 
  • Listen to music. Whether it’s classics you love, something new, or even ambient noise, fire up a playlist. It’s about getting in the right mood to free your mind and get ideas flowing.
  • Read something new. The Internet has a seemingly endless supply of content that goes beyond cat videos or Buzzfeed quizzes. Give yourself a time limit and go down a creative wormhole by searching designers, writers, and other artists you admire. (Our Pinterest page is full of illustrations and designs that inspire us!)
  • Change colors. Blue activates a “promotion focus” and helps enhances performance on creative tasks, according to this study. Change your desktop background picture, or study nature-drive photos of blue oceans, skies, and so on.
  • Doodle. Even if you draw for a living, bust out a pen and paper and draw. Don’t think. If you prefer to free write instead, do that. Or play a game on your phone, or use your desk supplies as wannabe Legos. Enjoy the physical sensation of touch, and let the mind wander.
On the Weekends:

  • Turn off your brain. Watch a silly movie, an uplifting documentary, or some crazy reality TV to give your brain the break it deserves. 
  • Keep a journal. Even if you don’t write in it religiously, having a journal (or a sketchbook) is a great way to express your inner thoughts and feelings. Something you jot down as a half thought could become the start of something big!
  • Do the dishes. Tasks like sweeping, vacuuming, or mowing the lawn allow your subconscious to do its thing and not think too hard so new ideas can enter. 
  • Make a list. Sometimes the simple act of writing it all out can free up brain space. Write down everything you think you need to do -- and be specific! If you’re preoccupied with redecorating your bedroom, list out each item and its task (go to the store, choose paint color, buy paint, etc)
  • Go outside your comfort zone. Branch out. Have lunch with a different friend. Try a new form of exercise. Read a book you wouldn’t normally buy. Plan a trip to a museum. Head to the beach if you’re a “mountain” person. It might be your next source of inspiration.
In General:

  • Exercise! Release those endorphins and help boost your creativity.
  • Don’t try to be perfect. The more you focus on trying to make something perfect, the more likely you’ll drive yourself crazy. Allow yourself to be messy, unpolished, and well...unperfect. You can always edit or change something later. Just try to go with the creative flow!
  • Silence your critic. Your inner critic -- the voice that tells you “this isn’t good enough” -- is just as bad as perfectionism. Color outside the lines and tell that negative voice inside of you to be quiet until you’re finished drawing. 
  • Reverse think. If you’re struggling with a specific problem, go at it from another angle. Try reversing your assumptions about the issue at hand, and see what ideas pop up from that. Getting to the point where you can effectively describe a problem’s contradictions will get you on your way to solving it. 
  • Look for connections. Combine something you’re thinking of with something that inspires you. Through idea generation exercises, force unrelated ideas to fit, and see if anything sticks.
  • Carve out time for you. To the best of your ability, think ahead and carve out some “me” time at the office. It doesn’t have to be long (it could be as short as 15 minutes), but it does have to be time for you to breathe and be, without worrying about meetings, emails, or busywork.
How to do recharge and reboot your creative process? Share your tips and tricks with us on our Facebook page!

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