Artisan Blog

Landing Your First Job in the Creative Industry

Laura Pell - Wednesday, January 28, 2015

 

Landing your first job is often a scary and exciting experience. Will your first job dictate the direction your career will go? What kind of benefits should you be considering? Have you already held several jobs and now want to transition into the creative world? What should you say during your interview? We’re sure you have many questions, so here are just a few important considerations to keep in mind when landing your first creative job.

Portfolio
Depending on the type of position you’re looking for, a portfolio will be a crucial part of your application process. Portfolio sites like Behance and CarbonMade are quick and easy to use. If you’re looking for design jobs, your portfolio must reflect your personality and skill-set. Does it show a broad range of work? Is it easy to navigate? If you haven’t had an opportunity to design, include mock-ups and sample work.

Mentorship and On the Job Training
We recommend that you read Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg which includes some perfect examples of how people go about finding mentorship and guidance. A mentor who has many years of experience will offer invaluable insight into careers and skills. If a mentor isn’t for you, find out if the company offers training. Some companies have an employee allowance to go on courses; others will let you train on the job.

Skill Sets and Marketability
Skill sets can be transferrable. If you’ve been managing clients at a corporate firm which involved extensive spreadsheets and budgets, you have the foundations and the base to move into account or even project management. With that in mind, how do you demonstrate that you should be hired to move into a creative role? General Assembly is often a go-to company for courses that quickly bring you up to speed and introduce new methods and skills. Volunteering with non-profts is also a wonderful way to give back while learning. Think about the skills required for your chosen career path and try to demonstrate how you’ve applied them to previous positions.

Network
Everyone you meet is a potential resource for finding new leads or gaining introductions to companies. Networking increases your chance of landing a job tenfold so send out follow-up and thank you notes to people you meet. Joining industry-specific groups can be beneficial for learning and finding a mentor. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice and guidance. People love to share experiences and help, ask about their careers and take an interest.

Do you have any advice to share on finding your first creative role?

Laura Pell - Artisan Creative

 


5 Online Courses to Make You More Marketable to Employers

Laura Pell - Tuesday, January 20, 2015


 

At Artisan we’re big fans of self-improvement and learning new skills which is why we’ve put together a list of our favorite online resources to expand your knowledge and make you more marketable to future employers.

Online courses are a perfect way to hone existing skills and build new ones if you don’t have the time or the money to do in-person workshops and lessons. The important thing to remember with online courses and discussing these with potential employers is that you must demonstrate how you used your newly-acquired skills e.g. “after learning X I then went on to create YZ.” Show that you can learn something on your own initiative and then apply it to something else. 

Excel
There aren’t many jobs we can think of in our industry that don’t require exposure to Excel at some point. While some may work in Excel day in and day out, if you don’t use it too often you can become rusty. “But I don’t use Excel!” we hear you scream. At some point, you probably will and nothing will win your employer over more than having someone on their team who can navigate their way around. Excel Is Fun is a comprehensive YouTube channel with over 2000 tutorials and clips led by Mike “excelisfun” Girvin, a business instructor. There’s also Reddit’s creation, Excel Exposure and Chandoo with extensive tutorials and advice.

Web Design
Udemy’s Introduction to Design course aims to teach you design principles and take you further than just using Photoshop. It’s free and includes over 12 lectures to bring you up to speed on design basics. If you want to take it one step further try Alison’s Applying Design Principles which is a more in-depth look at design including production and colors.

Languages
Learning languages doesn’t have to be about classrooms and textbooks when you have companies like Duolingo and Memrise. They both make language learning fun and entertaining by working with the theory that if you repeatedly learn, repeat and memorize a word, it will eventually stick. If you’ve just started working with a new client who is based in Europe, try impressing them on your next status call with your new-found vocabulary.

Photoshop
If you work in design, Photoshop should be second nature to you but perhaps you’re moving into a more creative role or you need to start file checking or updating documents. For just $19 you can take a 30+ hour course on Photoshop. This course aims to teach you the basics and beyond. If you’re looking for free courses, Adobe also offers a 13 hour introduction on how to quickly master Photoshop which we’re particularly fond of.

Programming
There are a huge amount of online courses for programming, it can be hard to know where to begin. If you’re looking to move into a pure development role, it’s best to look at intensive courses where you can be hands-on but if you’re wanting to expand your understanding and come to terms with the more technical side, an introductory course can be helpful. Code School is an interactive way to learn front end development. They teach you by doing, so you’re not just watching online tutorials but you’re putting what you learn into practice via lesson plans and coding challenges. They cover HTML, CSS, Responsive Design and much more. We also recommend Team Treehouse, too. With a beautiful interface and easy-to-understand modules, learning programming languages has never been easier.

Have you tried online courses before? Which of these courses is the most useful to you?

 

Laura Pell - Artisan Creative

 

First Day on the Job: How to Make Your First Day a Success

Laura Pell - Wednesday, January 14, 2015

 

The first day at a new job is nerve-wracking for everyone and first day nerves should be expected as you prepare to meet your new team members, managers and departments. To make sure it's a positive experience for both you and your new company, we put together a few of our favorite points to make your first day an absolute success.

First day success falls into two categories:  Operational and Interpersonal. 

The first step for Operational success starts before the start day. 

What are the orientation or training plans?  Does your new company or assignment have an on-boarding plan in place?  Will there be a workstation waiting for you?  Will you be working on a Mac or PC?  Will there be a team of people or will you be the solo designer for the day?  If you are working with a recruiter, they should provide these details for you ahead of time.

Equally important are the Interpersonal skills such as meeting and interacting with your new supervisors and coworkers.  Before you start, take a look at LinkedIn and your new company's social media pages to get a sense of the team, interests and company culture.

 

Introductions

Introducing yourself to new people can be daunting, especially if you're an introvert, but making an effort at the start will have its benefits in the long run. First impressions are lasting impressions so make a point to introduce yourself to your new team and have a quick chat with people you meet in the kitchen, the elevator or just around the office. Ask questions about what they do at the company and what they like about working there. Let them know what department you are joining and offer to help if they need anything from your team.

Treats

We'll let you into a not-so-secret secret. Everyone loves cupcakes or some kind of treat. Taking in a box of cupcakes or candy for your team is a delicious little ice-breaker and gives you a reason to walk up to new people and make your introductions. Setup business lunches to make more formal introductions and learn as much as you can about the company and its people.

Positivity

At the early stages, it’s best to listen more than to talk. Get to know everyone’s communication styles and personalities. You should be absorbing as much information as you can and asking questions so you can quickly get up to speed. Don’t be afraid to say you don’t know something, there’s always a learning curve with new jobs and it’s usually expected. Show up 15 minutes early, grab a coffee and be ready to tackle anything thrown your way. Oh, and don’t forget to smile!

How was your first day at your new job? Did you try any of these tips to get you through your first day?

 

Laura Pell - Artisan Creative

 

Achieving Goals: Why a Theme is More Effective Than a New Year’s Resolution

Laura Pell - Wednesday, January 07, 2015


How many times have you set a specific goal for yourself at the start of a year and achieved it? In a recent survey of over 1000 Americans, just 45% said they set resolutions for themselves. If you’re the type of person to say “I want to lose x amount of lbs” or “I’m going to read x amount of books each month” but have never quite attained your goals, consider setting yourself a theme instead.

 

What do we mean by theme?

A theme is an overarching mindset that you carry with you throughout the year – it can just be a single word. If your goal is to become healthier, ignore the introductory gym memberships and instead of setting rigid rules, try implementing healthier habits into your routine. With every decision you make, think of your theme or word.

This can be applied to just about any subject. If your goal is to find a new job this year, rather than set yourself the task of finding a new job, try thinking of a theme like “building relationships” or “making new connections”.  If you spend a whole year putting effort into business and personal relationships, at the end of the year you should have a much easier time with your expansive network.

Much like good design, you want to keep your themes simple. They need to be easy to navigate and clear. Without having to focus on specific measurables, you may find you’ve adopted new habits without even realizing it. Remember to stay open to new possibilities and changes in direction; the significant thing about having a theme instead of a resolution is that you never quite know where it will lead you.

Did you achieve last year’s resolutions? What theme will you set for yourself in 2015?

 Laura Pell - Artisan Creative


Happy Holidays from Artisan Creative

Laura Pell - Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Holiday Shopping for Designers: 6 Gifts for the Creative in Your Life

Laura Pell - Wednesday, December 17, 2014

 

Christmas is a little over a week away and we’re betting that most of you have presents wrapped and ready to go. For the small handful of you that have left everything to the last minute, we picked out some of our favorite gifts for your creative team mates or friends. Amazon Prime is a sure way to get your online deliveries before the big day, although many companies are offering last minute shipping. We love giving unique gifts, things that people wouldn’t buy for themselves but will frequently use and appreciate so we picked out gifts we think designers will love.

DIY Print Shop
For those designers who love to create their own shirts or graphics, why not buy them a DIY print kit? They have a range of options including gig posters, table printing and shirts. It’s a nifty way to learn the screen printing trade at a relatively cheap price. They are taking orders for Christmas delivery until December 22nd

Bamboo Keyboard and Mouse
A biodegradable and environmentally friendly keyboard and mouse made entirely out of bamboo. This is an interesting way to make your desk stand out at work or at a home office. If you really want to go all out, you can even buy a matching calculator. The letters are engraved into the wood, offering a really unique way to get your work done.

Tuts Premium Membership
Tuts is an online resource to help people build upon their creative skills by self-directed learning. You can go at your own pace and learn a multitude of topics across code, design and illustration. If you’ve overheard conversations about wanting to create an app or brush up on photography skills, this is your chance to put the wheels in motion. They have over 18,000 tutorials available online by expert instructors. Find out more on their website.

Field Notes
If you watched this week’s viral design video, Lynda’s logo design challenge, you would have spotted the quick mention of Field Notes booklets. Inspired by old school vintage agricultural books, they are made in the USA and include some limited colors and editions. These are a must-have for any creative. 

Doxie One Photo and Document Scanner
We mentioned doc scanners in last week’s blog about managing finances and the need for managing documents. With the Doxie One Scanner you don’t have the hassle of connecting to computers and scanning your work – it sends directly to your favorite apps.

Inside The Sketchbooks of the World’s Greatest Designers
A glimpse into the minds of the world’s greatest designers and illustrators, this wonderful book aims to inspire creativity. Informative and visual, you never quite know what each page will bring. Different techniques and ideas are shown along with visual representations of some of the most creative minds. For designers who are always on a quest for new inspiration and ideas, this would be a cherished book.

What are your favorite gifts for creatives? What do you think of the gifts we’ve chosen? Share your ideas with us on Twitter @artisanupdates.

Laura Pell - Recruiter at Artisan Creative

Managing Finances as a Freelancer: Five Tips to Better Manage Your Income

Laura Pell - Wednesday, December 10, 2014

 

As a freelancer, part of your job is to keep on top of your money and your financial plan. Managing finances may not be part of your job description but it’s obviously an important part of leading a successful freelance career. How do you manage your income? Are you leaving it up to a third party or an accountant or perhaps you’re taking each week as it comes? We’ve compiled a list of best practices for you to better manage your income and keep you money in order.

Create a Budget
Make a list of everything you need each month, both business and personal and keep track of what you’re spending. Mint has a great free resource for budgeting and they even send alerts to let you know how you’re doing. Make sure you pay yourself and budget for your own personal allowance. If you have a few months where you come in below your budget, you may need to rethink your freelance strategy or take on more work.

Manage Expenses
Here’s where the bookkeeping comes in. Familiarize yourself with a program to help you track expenses with ease. We recommend QuickBooks or a similar software program -- when it comes to tax season, it makes everything that much quicker. Apps such as DocScanner are a wonderful little tool to upload documents from your phone and help you to de-clutter your office space. Ana Rubio, Artisan’s Financial Controller states, “Tracking income and expenses can also be easily done on a spreadsheet listed by each week so you know where each check is going ahead of time. Keep track of all cash expenditures for a month so you know where your ATM withdrawals are going!”

Save, Save, Save!
You may be working now, but what happens at the end of your current contract? Unless you’re very lucky, there may be gaps between jobs so having some kind of backup emergency fund to keep you going is the key to longevity. Try to have at least a few months of savings based on your monthly budget – by doing this it will mean you can afford to choose the next freelance job that you actually want, not one that you need.

File Your Taxes
Tax season can be a pretty confusing time, especially if you haven’t been too organized throughout the year. It can take hours to file so keep all of your 1099 (for independent contractors) or W2 forms (for temp employees) saved. Clients should send these out by January 31st so start chasing them if you haven’t received yours by February. If you’re able to pay your taxes quarterly, take advantage of being able to pay off small chunks throughout the year to avoid being hit with a big bill when April comes around. If it’s within your budget, hiring an accountant can save you a lot of worry and time but it does come at a price.

Open a Business Account
By keeping personal and business accounts separate, you can avoid overspending and keep track of your income more easily. Pay yourself from your business account to your personal account so you have a dependable and steady income.

What advice would you share with freelancers? Have you learned from any mistakes? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter @ArtisanUpdates.

Laura Pell - Recruiter at Artisan Creative

Goal Setting: 10 Best Practices for Setting Goals

Katty Douraghy - Wednesday, December 03, 2014

 

Around this time of year, people start reflecting on the previous months and begin setting goals (and resolutions) for the coming year.

I’ve also always done this until a recent event changed my perspective completely.  It happened by chance on my birthday at the 180th Meridian, the international date line.  In a split second I was simultaneously standing in today and yesterday.  Quite amazing, however, it made me realize that a date is just an arbitrary number -- a line literally drawn on a map.

As I reflected on a new “birth year”, it made me realize that “start dates” can be counter-productive when it comes to setting goals and resolutions. Why wait until an arbitrary date in the future like Jan 1, or next week, or even tomorrow to make a change that will be impactful in your life or in your career?

Why wait to plan that once-in a-lifetime trip, why wait to plan your financial future, why wait to get healthy and fit?  All goals will require time and action steps to accomplish, so why delay the start until sometime in the future?

As human beings, we fall into a second trap of mistaking our daily to-do lists with our goals.  We often set too many goals and try to change too many things at once—and then we get busy with life and only accomplish a few of them.   Once we get busy, it’s easy to lose focus, and have the day-to-day to-dos of work, kids, school etc. take over the goals we want to accomplish.  How many times have we all said, “ I don’t have time to go to the gym”, or “I don’t have time to go on vacation!”

“You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage—pleasantly, smilingly and unapologetically— to say “no” to other things.” -Stephen Covey

Here are 10 Best Practices for setting goals that I have learned:

1)     Set only one or two (maximum) Key Goals you want to accomplish in a certain period of time
2)     Write down your goal and WHY is it important for you to accomplish this goal
3)     What do you need to STOP doing in order to accomplish this goal?
4)     Set a specific timeframe & metrics needed to accomplish the goal
5)     Work backwards from the date above and calendar the steps below
6)     Set the specific, actionable and controllable steps needed to reach that goal
7)     Ask yourself, am I in control of these action steps, or are they dependent on someone else? If so, change your action steps because you can’t let someone else control your goal, or plan an accountability metric and share it with that person
8)     Set check points along the way to track your progress
9)     Share your goals and action items with someone else and engage them as your accountability partner
10) 
Don’t wait…Start today!

Without specific mini steps along the way, the goal has the danger of becoming just a wish.

 Katty Douraghy - President at Artisan Creative

 

Gratitude

Laura Pell - Wednesday, November 26, 2014

 

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a very small heart, it could hold rather a large amount of gratitude.” – A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

With the hustle and bustle of the Holidays right around the corner, we’d like to take a moment and express our gratitude to those around us.
We spoke with some of our talent and the Artisan team to see what they are grateful for in 2014.

Katty
To me gratitude means to be appreciative of things on a daily basis. I write down three gratitudes every day. In the rush of daily to-dos, this allows me to focus on the important things in life. Today I’m grateful that my family, friends and Artisan team are healthy, of Artisan’s virtual office setting that allows me to work yet be close to loved ones, and grateful for the beautiful weather in LA.

Margaret
I’m grateful for a job that allows a lot of flexibility, for a husband who I love very much and so lucky to have and a supportive Family who is there for me no matter what.

Jamie
I thank God every day for my family and friends.  I am thankful that my children are growing up surrounded by a loving community and I am thankful to share my life with some really kind and wonderful people.  For me gratitude is recognizing even the smallest blessing or gesture and not taking anything for granted, especially my health and well-being.

Jen
I'm thankful for good health, strong friendships, and a happy family. Grateful to work in the creative space where I get to connect with and be inspired by brilliant, passionate, and talented individuals and so lucky that it's through an agency that values people, trust, and respect.

Laura
I’m grateful to have such a supportive, kind family with a devoted husband. I’m grateful to be in a position to have saved two rescue dogs and work for a company who has integrity and respect.

Jamie
Gratitude is that deeper feeling one is left with after having been a part of contributing to, or being the recipient of, someone’s contribution to a greater good.

Vicky
I am thankful my family is healthy this year. Both my husband and I have some advancement in our career. And I met a great agent, Jen at Artisan around Thanksgiving time!

Deborah
I'm thankful for my dog, Pepper! In March, my boyfriend and I adopted an abandoned mini pincher mix from the rescue organization Dogs Without Borders. She's the most delightful, playful little bundle of joy and adopting her was the best decision we've ever made. Not only is it wonderful to have a dog, but by virtue of having a dog, we've ended up getting out and meeting many of our neighbors, making our neighborhood really feel like home

Robert Emmons, the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude states, “Gratitude makes us appreciate the value of something, and when we appreciate the value of something, we extract more benefits from it; we’re less likely to take it for granted.”

What are you grateful for this Thanksgiving? Share your responses with us on Twitter @artisanupdates.

Laura Pell - Recruiter at Artisan Creative

Agency vs. Client Side

Laura Pell - Wednesday, November 19, 2014

 

For many people, there comes a time in your career when you start considering what it would be like to work on the other side. There’s no right answer: agency life can often involve long hours and multiple clients, but it can also be very rewarding. Perhaps working for a brand is more suited to you if you like to specialize in one area and take ownership? Many of our candidates talk about their desires to work for the other team so what better way to help you make the decision than by comparing them side by side.

What’s it like to work at an agency?
Agency life can often have a reputation for long days and hard work, but on the upside you get to flex your creativity and have exposure to many different accounts and brands. You can be working on a last minute project one day then quickly switch gears onto a pitch or something entirely different the next. Multitasking is king so you must be switched on and ready to take anything thrown your way.

For designers, an agency is a perfect way to build your portfolio. You can show a breadth of work with multiple brands while proving to future hiring managers you have what it takes to survive in a fast-paced and deadline-driven environment. This rings true for those in marketing, client services or similar verticals.  Being exposed to many different brands also means you will qualify for more jobs in the future so think about where you want to be in 5-10 years and make sure your current responsibilities are in alignment with your future goals.

What’s it like to work client side?
Unlike agency life which can be very seasonal, workflow in-house is often more stable and predictable. Projects are usually repeated (and improved upon) each year so you know what to expect and when. There’s also a sense of brand familiarity. You will live and breathe one brand and their message so you can become specialized in their area, such as CPG or technology. There’s also the added job security -- agencies are reliant upon business from their clients; if one client leaves it can put jobs at risk. We’re not saying that layoffs don’t happen for in-house companies because sadly they do, but it can be less of a concern.

In the end, it comes down to what you want to get out of your career. If you like high energy and a variety of work, perhaps the agency world is where you will thrive, but if you feel you want brand familiarity, it could be time to look at client side.

Have you worked on both sides before? How did the experiences differ? Share your thoughts and experiences with us on Twitter @artisanupdates.

 Laura Pell - Recruiter at Artisan Creative


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