Artisan Blog

7 Ways to Create an Outstanding Creative Portfolio Online

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.

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Portfolio image by Sean Halpin.


6 Not-As-Common Interview Prep Tips

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

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!


Using the "Active Voice" in Your Resume

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

resume-active-voice

Using the passive voice -- where the subject is acted upon by something else -- is not impactful on a resume. Yet it happens all the time!

While we may express ourselves daily using the passive voice, the problem with using it on a resume is that it downplays your accomplishments. You are responsible for your own career, so why make it sound like you stood on the sidelines and watched it happen when you were directly involved? You must use the active voice in order to take responsibility for your actions and prove you get results.

Typically, you don’t use “I” on a resume, so how can you tweak statements to show your active voice? Start each bullet point with an action verb that connects your work to what goals you accomplished. For example:
  • Increased Twitter engagement by six percent
  • Created wireframes for new company website
  • Implemented new design standards for the department
  • Hired new interns as part of creative team
  • Managed copywriting calendar
By phrasing each achievement in the active voice, it makes your involvement and accomplishment clear and easy to understand for the hiring manager. You didn’t experience an increase in social media engagement -- you led the growth. That distinction is the thing that can set you apart. Of course, you should include “my or our team” or something similar when it applies to a group effort, however the active voice lets you take credit for your best work.

Remember, your resume has a very finite amount of real estate, yet limitations can breed creativity!

Ignore the passive voice and use action verbs that will define your specific and unique skills and experiences.

Looking for a new freelance or full-time job? Send us your resume. We'll help you land the next gig!


The Real Point of Having a Polished Resume

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

resume-ready

Many of us have a resume ready to go in case someone should ask, especially those of us who work as freelancers and are constantly approached (or are approaching others) for work. But the resume that’s in your digital desk drawer may not be impeccable, or even adequate for a hiring manager! Let’s talk about the real point of having a polished, ready-to-go resume:

Tactical only goes so far. Sure, you may know you need to list your experience, education, and achievements at previous jobs, but your resume is a snapshot of your work life. It needs to express depth and breadth in a meaningful way, as well as further showcase your personal brand. Consider a full rewrite of your resume that’s strategically written instead of just written to exist.

It’s likely a human being will read your resume. Some companies use keyword screening software to help sort through resumes, but many companies, particularly mid-sized and smaller ones, have someone else read them. Therefore, your resume needs to be written in a way that anyone could understand. Was there some aspect of a previous job that might be harder to explain in detail, like running a social media marketing campaign? Find a way.

Introspection is your friend. Take the time to review your illustrious career before rewriting your resume. What challenges did you face? What actions did you take to solve problems? What results did you gain thanks to your initiatives? For example, list team building and leadership roles and use this time to tell the story of a unique person with highly enviable opportunities: you!

You need specifics. Command the hiring manager or recruiter’s attention by building up your reputation via specific, measurable results. It’s not just about whether you were in charge of a team -- how many people did you manage on a daily basis, and what did your department do to help the company overall? Did your design overhaul on a website directly lead to an influx of new sales?

Pay attention to the basics. Make sure your page margins and spacing are all in order. Include contact info. Take out “orphan” words that are hanging on a line by themselves and rewrite those parts. Use a basic font and bullet points to create a cleaner, more readable look. If you’re a designer, consider a more graphically oriented resume that shows your creative side. And always proofread and spell check, no matter what!

To best position for future roles, create a polished resume that exemplifies your career expertise with passion and practicality. Being personable, performance-driven, and pragmatic all on one page will not just make it clearer whether you’re a great cultural fit at the next great company, but it’ll also lead you closer to your dream job!



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