Artisan Blog

How to Create a Strong Workplace Culture

Nadia Osman - Wednesday, May 25, 2016
company-culture

Although managing a team might come naturally to some, retaining a team is another story. Building employee retention in a creative environment is key to keeping a strong creative team together. Happy and engaged employees are motivated, productive and have a positive impact on company culture. Below are some best practices to foster a good workplace culture for creatives:

Cultivate shared values and a strong mission. Hire and work with people who demonstrate your shared company values. Doing so helps support your company culture and gives employees a stronger sense of investment in their jobs. This is especially true for the millennial workforce, who want to know their work makes a difference. Have a purpose that’s bigger than the company, and be mindful of seeking to do good when you can.

Allow for employee empowerment. Micromanaging doesn’t help solve problems. Give your team the autonomy to resolve issues and express themselves. Consider an open-door policy so everyone’s ideas feel respected, and each team member can impact the company in a positive way. Besides, you never know when the next big idea could come to someone!

Give -- and ask -- for feedback. Yearly reviews are fine, but weekly, monthly, or quarterly check-ins can help prevent your creative team from feeling disconnected. A regular check-in can help smooth over any miscommunication, improve workflow procedures and create overall engagement. In addition to giving feedback, ask for some of your own. It’s a commitment to honesty and transparency that’ll open up communication between you and your team.

Engage with each other. If you’re quickly growing or offer the opportunity to work remotely, it’s essential that your team interact via Skype, GChat, Slack, or some other form of daily or weekly communication. Not only does this strengthen connections, it also helps everyone contribute to the overall mission. Team collaboration and engagement is key to creating a positive, open work environment.

Embrace your team’s passions. Encourage team-building opportunities. For instance, have an “art sale” for your graphic designers and let them share their work with the rest of the company, or start committees that bolster community and show off skills, like a baking club, community service opportunities, employee-led fitness classes, or a meditation group.

Celebrate successes. If your team wins, celebrate! Everyone wants to feel a sense of accomplishment when they achieve goals. Recognition, and an opportunity to celebrate a colleague is key to building a strong team.

Perks are great, but there is more to creating a happy work environment. Listen to your team, nurture their passions, and support the company culture to keep creatives on board for years to come!

Looking for great creative talent? Talk to us and we can help!

Are Cover Letters Necessary?

Nadia Osman - Wednesday, May 18, 2016

cover-letter-needed

If a job listing asks for a cover letter, you might wonder why is a hiring manager asking for it? Will anyone actually reading these?

Yes. Yes, they are. And they’re reading them for several good reasons.

First off, every part of an application needs to be as strong as possible. If your resume is a little weaker than you’d like (maybe you’re applying for a more senior role or a job within a different industry than you’ve experienced), a cover letter could provide additional information to a hiring manager about your capabilities.

Secondly, if a job listing requires a cover letter, it’s one way to see whether a candidate follows directions and reads the entire listing. Companies want to hire thoughtful individuals -- no matter your talent or experience, not following the simplest directions signals that you don’t really care.

If it’s between you and several other candidates, a great cover letter can make you stand out from other qualified candidates. Plus, a well-crafted cover letter shows off your writing skills. Even if your job doesn’t require writing, effective communication is a cornerstone for any position, creative or otherwise. Moreover, a cover letter allows you to demonstrate that you’ve done your research on this company or job, and can articulate why you are the best candidate.

What information should be included in your cover letter? Make sure it is not boilerplate. A generic cover letter will look like just that -- standard. You want to stand out, so share details about why you feel you’re a good fit for the job. If you’re looking at a graphic design job at a fashion company, explain how you started taking sewing lessons or how you follow trends closely.

Highlight successes at previous jobs. If you were responsible for driving traffic to a new website, your resume can only convey so much of that information. However, a cover letter offers you the opportunity to discuss your achievements in more detail (for example, you increased web traffic by 36 percent in a 9-month period).

Finally, a cover letter is a great way to show off your personality. Your writing style and what you choose to include helps paint a picture beyond your resume and portfolio. How are you a leader? What story can you tell? What makes you a great cultural fit for this environment?

In short, your cover letter is your calling card and can demonstrate additional information not readily available on your resume.

Looking for a job? Artisan always has open job listings for creatives!

10 Tips for Active Listening

Nadia Osman - Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Between texting, phone calls, emails, tweets, LinkedIn posts, Slack messages, Pinterest boards, Gchat, and so on, communicating with each other is at an all-time high. However, communication requires really, truly listening -- and active listening is a skill that tends to get lost in the sea of technology noise.

The good news is that anyone can improve their active listening skills. By doing so, everyone can build better relationships, resolve conflicts and understand issues, whether in the workplace or elsewhere. In short, becoming a great active listener can yield amazing benefits for your career and relationships.

The most important thing to remember is to try and NOT problem solve on the fly. Try and quiet your problem solving mind. When you are thinking ahead to the answers, or what to say next, you are no longer truly listening!

Read on for 10 tips to help you develop and hone active listening skills:

1. Maintain eye contact. Don't be distracted by the ping noise of your phone, or scan the room to see what else is happening. Give them the courtesy of your full attention. Better yet, put your on airplane mode when in conversation with someone in front of you.

2. Relax. On the other hand, paying attention to someone simply means that: pay attention. It doesn't mean you need to maintain a serious or fixed stare. Carry on as normal, nod, but remain attentive by being present.

3. Be empathetic. The soul of active listening is empathy. If the person you're listening to is sad, happy, fearful, or angry in your conversation, put yourself in their shoes. Pay attention to power words and repetitions such as, "I was really, really upset" or, "I was ecstatic to get my promotion".

4. Look for nonverbal cues. Their cadence, tone of voice and body language can offer a lot of information. Look for small signs of nervousness, enthusiasm, or anxiety for example in their mannerism, gestures, and posture to help determine how they really feel.

5. Create a mental image. If you're having trouble following along or paying attention, paint a visual image in your head to help stay focused.

6. Avoid interrupting. Sometimes, it seems like a good idea to finish someone else's sentences, especially if you think you know what's coming. Yet this can derail their train of thought or come off as impatient. Moreover, interrupting can also come off as aggressive or competitive, as though you're trying to "win" the conversation. Slow down to their speed so you can listen attentively.

7. Stay in the moment. It might seem like a good idea to jump ahead mentally and plan what to say next. However, doing so means you're not actively listening and only  listening only to part of it, while devoting mental energy to your next move. Rehearsing and listening at the same time doesn't work, so give your full attention to the other person.

8. Wait for pauses to ask questions. If you don't understand something, ask for an explanation, but, wait until there's a pause. Additionally, if your question takes the conversation off-topic, gently help steer it back on the right track.

9. Offer feedback. "Congratulations!" "What an awful ordeal!" "You must be excited!" show that you understand their feelings. You can also just nod along and show your understanding with facial expressions that match their emotion, like a smile or a frown.

10. Don't judge. Even if you feel like something they said was alarming or should be pointed out, resist the urge. Likewise, don’t jump to conclusions. A story with a rocky start may indeed have a happy ending!

Resignation Best Practices

Nadia Osman - Wednesday, May 04, 2016

A few times in one’s career, it may be necessary to write a resignation letter. Yet the resignation process can be intimidating, or even disheartening. How do you tell your employer goodbye and stay on good terms, especially if you’ve worked for them for a long time?

1. First off, figure out why you want to leave before you officially resign. No matter if it’s the salary, the commute, the team you work with, your manager, your responsibilities, a lack of creative challenge, or the desire to strike out on your own as a freelancer or entrepreneur, you sought after a new position for a reason. Be clear with yourself --it's not always about a salary! Know what's important before accepting any offer, as you might realize that your current position is still better than a new job for the interim.

2. Schedule a time to speak with your manager. Set up a resignation meeting with your current employer. Present your resignation letter which states your last date and reason for leaving. Wish your manager and the company continued success in the future.

3. Plan your exit strategy. Prepare your exit strategy before meeting with your manager. Create a plan for all the items you are currently handling. Provide a list of all assets, passwords, and works in progress. Have a succession plan -- your exit can provide a great step up for someone else on your team. Reassure your manager that while you will no longer be employed, you want to begin the hand over process as soon as possible. Offer your cooperation on training or documentation for ongoing projects or projected plans. Once you know what needs to be done before you leave, continue working as normal. Although you might feel “senioritis” at your job, don’t change your work ethic!

4. A word on reactions... While many employers will act respectfully upon hearing a resignation, some may not. However they react, you should remain calm and professional. By being prepared for your exit, you can help alleviate some of the stress your manager may be feeling.

5. Don’t accept a counteroffer. If the reasons you stated in point #1 are valid, then accepting a counteroffer doesn’t make sense. Not only does your employer know you’ve been looking to make a move from your current position, but they may think you only wanted more money. And if there are other things you’re unhappy about in your position, like the team or the responsibility, those won’t change even if your salary is higher. Your decision should be final, so don’t leave them room to talk you out of it!

Before deciding to make a move, be certain of your own motivation and opportunities for growth. Once you are certain, it will become easier to plan for your resignation professionally.

7 Apps That Will Make Job Searching Easier

Nadia Osman - Wednesday, April 27, 2016

job-search-apps

If you’re on-the-go or want to search for a job away from your laptop/desktop, you’ll probably find it more efficient to download one of these amazing job searching apps.

In today’s job market, the competition is higher than ever. To stay on top of the latest job opportunities, you need to maintain that competitive edge. That means having constant access to professional networks so you can quickly make connections and send out resumes on the fly.

Here are seven great apps that will help make your job hunt that much easier beyond the usual suspects:

Indeed: One of the most powerful job search aggregators, this app collects job openings from all major search engines and job boards, listing them into a convenient location for you to peruse. You can narrow your search and save specific searches (e.g. “social media coordinator”) to see if there’s anything new.

LinkedIn: An essential app, LinkedIn’s app lets you access your professional network and job search in a flash. You can stay up-to-date with groups and share content, thus helping increase your job opportunities. Pro Tip: We’re on LinkedIn -- and we have links to daily job postings!

Switch: Think of Switch like a dating app for jobs. Swipe right if you’re interested in the opportunity, or left if you’re not. Hiring managers can do the same to you, giving you a “yay” or “nay” on your job profile. If you both connect, you’ll be able to network and chat directly about the position.

ZipRecruiter: Much like other job board sites, their app offers more potential job options. Save your resume in your mail, DropBox, Google Drive, or browser so you can quickly apply, or set up job alerts for certain companies and job postings.

Pocket Resume: If you need to fix your resume fast, this app lets you craft one directly on your phone. The PDF rendering technology sorts through layout and design for you, and lets you store and sent from your device. This works especially well if you need send resumes during peak working hours.

BeKnown: Launched by Monster.com, this app works with your Facebook timeline to create a career identity on Facebook so you can share professional and educational experience without revealing your current timeline or friend network and interactions. You can recommend colleagues and companies, or collect with alumni to see if someone from your school is hiring!

Anthology (formerly Poachable): For those who are looking for a new job, but already have a job, this app allows you to connect with hiring managers in secret. Fill out a detailed questionnaire, then let the algorithm match you with employers. If both of you are interested, they’ll send an email introduction.

Artisan Creative has new jobs in creative and digital fields all the time! Check out our the page or find us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest, or subscribe to our RSS feed to see what new jobs in marketing, copywriting, graphic design, UX/UI design, illustration, project management, and more pop up!

Our Favorite Places to Get Work Done in San Francisco

Nadia Osman - Wednesday, April 20, 2016

san-francisco-work-spaces

For those that work from home or have flexible office situations, it can be a nice option to try a new work location from time to time. We know the Bay Area is teeming with fabulous coffee shops and cafes that can offer a respite from the home office. Here are some picks to get work done in San Francisco while enjoying some tasty treats.

Coffee Bar (Mission): While the name might not stand out as special, the coffee sure does! (All the benas are sourced directly from local roaster Mr. Espresso.) Known for being a start-up hangout, this cafe is especially great for those who need to power through a work marathon. When you get hungry, grab some food from their full lunch menu.

Haus (Mission): This space offers Scandinavian minimalism and plenty of tables and chairs to accommodate all kinds of busy bees. Simple and elegant, Haus has coffee, tea, kombucha, and baked good. Best of all, on warmer days, you can work outside on the back patio with lots of seating.

Matching Half Cafe (Western Addition): Warm and charming, the floor-to-ceiling windows at this corner coffee shop lets in plenty of sun and serves pour-over Sightglass coffee, along with some lighter fare for breakfast and lunch. For those popping in towards the end of the work day, there’s local draft beer and wine, plus happy hour specials.

The Social Study (Fillmore): Vintage in its approach (exposed brick, pendant lighting, used books and globes scattered throughout for decor), this spot delivers on its name, making it a great place to study and socialize -- like, say, meet a co-worker to go over a project, or set up a meeting with a client after hours. Hip-hop, disco, funk, and every other groovy beat that gets piped in through the speakers keeps you pumped throughout the day.

Nook (Nob Hill): For those in need of a hearty breakfast or lunch to fuel them, this neighborhood cafe has plenty of good eats, from a well-known Caesar salad to their vegan German chocolate cake. Watch as the cable car rolls past the sidewalk seating, or come in later in the day when you need a break for their daily happy hour and finish up the work day with a delicious Sangria.

Java Beach Cafe (Outer Sunset): Why work from home when you can work by the beach? Simple coffee, bagel sandwiches, and surfer clientele keep this place busy, even if it might look a little dated by SF standards. Cozy and comfortable, you can take in the sand dune views and watch the sunset while you wrap up the remaining pieces on that project.

Where are your favorite San Francisco coffee shops and cafes to get work done?

How to Be Happier at the Office, Virtual or Not

Nadia Osman - Wednesday, April 13, 2016

happier-office-remote

Although productivity, efficiency, and creativity are important ideas to nurture and improve upon in the workplace, so is your mental health. It’s as necessary to be personally and professionally happy as it is to draft the copy, pitch the design, or get the project done. How can you be happier at the office, whether you’re commuting or working from home?

In short spurts, stepping away from your desk and getting out is a good thing. Doodle, shoot some hoops, have a dance party, or play a videogame to clear your head for a moment.

Rock out. Music can definitely improve your mood. Keep your favorite songs on file, or cull multiple playlists so you always have your favorite tunes at the ready.

Meditate. This is an excellent way to clear your head and improve your mental and emotional state. Find a quiet place (or put on headphones) and take five minutes to breathe. You can also use apps like Headspace to help guide you.

Get some greenery. Find a pretty vase and stock up every so often on fresh flowers to brighten up the day. Or, try some small plants that can withstand office lighting, like bamboo.

Stock up on water and better snacks. While you may be tempted to eat free chips at the office or fill up your desk drawer with candy, we recommend lots of water throughout the day and high-nutrient snacks that will fuel you through the day to keep you feeling healthy, not sluggish.

Exercise before work. Getting in a run, swim, or some kind of cardio before you start your day can help improve your energy for the rest of the day.

Focus on gratitude. Identify three things daily that you’re grateful for. Doing so has shown to offer greater psychological and emotional benefits. Moreover, show yourself some kindness. Instead of listing major milestone achievements, keep a running tab of the tiny wins.

Be social. Connect and engage with your co-workers. invite them to a lunch or happy hour. Don’t let social awkwardness or anxiety get in the way -- you just might make a new friend!

Praise. Praising your co-workers won’t just make them feel better -- it’ll make you feel better, leading to an increase in empathy and decrease in stress. Write a note, give them credit in a meeting, or start team bonding traditions.

Want some inspiration for cool office spaces? Check out our Pinterest board!

9 Things to Avoid During a Job Interview

Nadia Osman - Wednesday, April 06, 2016

tips-avoid-job-interview

Interviews necessitate that you make a good impression, however nerves or being unprepared can hold you back from presenting yourself in the best light. Other factors can also erode confidence such as what you're wearing, when you arrive, or whether you're focused, present and actually listening to your interview. Here are nine things to avoid during any job interview.

  1. Being unprepared. Anticipate questions about your resume and experience, and have answers for the most common interview questions. Do your research to get an idea of company culture, products and where your skills may translate. A quick search of the company’s website and social media channels will prepare you.

  2. Forgetting your manners. There are simple things you can do to solidify your impression as a thoughtful and considerate person this company wants to hire. Arrive on time, say thank you, be respectful to all and have a positive attitude.

  3. Unprofessional attire. Is your outfit wrinkled or messy? A sloppy ensemble signals to your interviewer that you didn’t care enough to notice the details. Have a couple of alternative outfits picked out in case your normal go-to outfit has something wrong, and always make sure all of your interview outfits are pressed and ready to go.

  4. Discussing salary. Best not to discuss salary in a first interview. Only discuss it if the interviewer asks you about it first.  Otherwise best to focus on the role and company culture and discuss salary in  follow-up interviews. If you are working with a recruiter, they will have shared your parameters ahead of time, so leave the negotiation to your recruiter.

  5. Not listening. What is your interviewer asking you? If you're not paying attention and either answer the wrong question or ask them to repeat it, you imply that your attention span or attention to detail is low. Show that you can follow directions and keep an open mind by simply listening.

  6. Rambling, fidgeting, or getting too nervous. Yes, interviews can be nerve wracking, but you're here to show you are best for this job. When you go on and on, elaborating on every answer, you're supplying too much information and offering irrelevant anecdotes. On the other hand, freezing up is equally bad! If you think you could get nervous, practice your answers beforehand in the mirror so you’ll feel confident in the room.  Be concise, articulate and to the point.

  7. Putting down a former boss or company. Even if your former employer was a nightmare for you to work with, nothing will make you look worse than speaking ill about them. You also never know who knows who! If a previous job situation was truly terrible, practice explaining what didn't work for you in that position in a positive way.

  8. Answering your phone. Turn off your cell phone and put it away while you're interviewing. Picking it up when it buzzes might be instinct that shows the interviewer you can't focus, or you care more about what someone texted you than this job opportunity.

  9. Being late. ABOT: Always Be On Time. If you don't know where the company is, map it out before driving (or taking public transit or an Uber) so you know how long it'll take to get there and can plan accordingly. If there is an outstanding situation for being late, like a car accident or a sick child, have the hiring manager's phone number on dial so you can call and let them know what's going on.

Are you a hiring manager, or a long-time job interviewee? What are your tips on what to avoid in a job interview? Tell us on Twitter!

5 Ways to Know if Working Remotely Works for You

Nadia Osman - Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Telecommuting is quickly becoming less of a trend and more of the norm. In fact, 37% of U.S. workers say they're done it! Part of this is the practicality of the modern workplace -- for many positions, it's not necessary to be in an office. And for many workers, maintaining a healthy work-life balance is preferable to a higher salary.

So, where would you like to work? At your home office, or on the sofa? What about in a co-working space or a coffee shop? You might think that telecommuting would make a great part of your daily work routine, but it takes a surprising amount of self-discipline, concentration, and effort. See if working remotely is right for you by asking these five questions:

  1. Can you communicate well online or via video chat? Interacting with a team in-person is very different from being online. You need multiple communications tools to connect. If you feel like email is the only way to get in touch, you need to shake it up and practice communicating with instant messaging, video conferences, and teamwork platforms like Slack and Asana. Get comfortable using these technologies, and know when it's best to hop on the phone. One last thing: if you can't be available when everyone else is, you'll either have to work twice as hard to stay on top of what's happening, or need to connect more often to stay abreast of changes.

  2. Are you able to initiate conversations and projects? You can't be shy when you work remotely! Starting conversations with your co-workers or manager so you can get the ball rolling on projects is necessary. And if you're a manager, it can be hard to be present and available when telecommuting. You'll need to reach out to team members regularly, and set very clear goals and expectations, as well as offer support from afar.

  3. Can you be a great team player without seeing the team? Since you won't be interacting with colleagues in the breakroom or over lunch, you need to think about how you reach out and connect to co-workers. This means having team calls to catch up, setting up video conferences to brainstorm ideas, or scheduling virtual lunch dates. You may also have to boost team engagement by recreating "water cooler" conversation. Ask about personal topics like vacation plans or what was on TV last night.

  4. Do you have a great task management system in place? Many telecommuters report they are just as productive as on-site employees, but poor management and engagement could mean telecommuting doesn't work for a company -- or for you! A lack of oversight can lead to major issues later. If you're working as part of a team, talk to your manager about what work productivity really means, and how to prove it. If you're a manager, make sure your team understands those goals, and hold them accountable. And if you struggle with personal responsibility, working remotely may not be the best option for you.

  5. Is it possible to still meet occasionally? Okay, the whole point of telecommuting...is to not go into the office! But if you're working for a company that's located in the same city as you, it can't hurt to visit the office now and then. This way, you can review things like quarterly goals or evaluate projects with the whole team at once, and then get back to work. Think of it as a fun way to catch up with people, too! Try to schedule a happy hour or some kind of after work activity so you bond and get to know the people you're working with online.

Flexible work hours bring a specific set of challenges, but also many rewards! The needs of working remotely vary from those of the traditional office, so as long as you keep in mind these ideas, you'll be able to keep your team engaged and motivated.

How to Enter the World of Recruiting

Nadia Osman - Wednesday, March 23, 2016

entering-recruiting-jobs

You may not know it yet, however recruitment is a more exciting career than being skydiving instructor or secret agent!  Where else can you impact people’s lives by finding them an impactful opportunity!  Whether it’s a 2-day assignment, or a life changing full time move across country, recruiters are matchmakers between candidates and clients.

Here are just some of the things you’ll need to know when entering the world of recruiting:

Become a detective! You need to listen, search and connect the dots by discovering your client’s need. You then have to find the perfect candidate for that role. Finally, you need to learn how to bring the two together. It’s your responsibility to make sure  the opportunity is right for both the candidate and the client.

Hone your communication skills. You have to speak confidently about a candidate’s skills and background as well as a job or company’s features and benefits. Your writing skills are key in writing job descriptions to capture a company’s needs for that position, while presenting an attractive offer to potential candidates. You also need impeccable writing and presentation skills when highlighting your candidate and their key qualifications.

Ask the right questions. Being naturally inquisitive goes a long way in recruitment. Getting to the heart of what hiring managers are looking for means asking questions about what they really need. Additionally, you need to know what to ask candidates so you can find the one who meets all the requirements or is the best fit.

Listen! Listen to your clients’ needs and candidates’ wants. These have to be in sync with one another.

A positive attitude goes a long way. Know you are making an impact. Recruiters help a company make key hires that impact their culture and their success. They help find the impactful and sometimes life changing opportunities for their candidates. The match may not happen overnight. Don’t be afraid of rejection, and know you are making a difference.

Be passionate! Recruiting is a job where you literally get to impact people’s lives! You could be the missing link between connecting someone to their dream job.

Want to join our team? Talk to us about joining Artisan Creative as a recruiter!


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