Artisan Blog

Turning Your Passion Into a Career

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Turning Your Passion Into a Career

How do you turn your passion into a career? People are often advised to follow their dreams and passions, but let’s face it--turning a passion into a career is easier said than done.

In the first blog of our new feature, Artisan Advice, we spoke with Basir, a writer we recently placed at our client’s Texas location. Basir is one of the few who turned his passion into a career.

When Basir was young, he voraciously read automotive blogs and publications. He dreamt of being an auto journalist and reviewing cars but ended up pursuing business and marketing--that is until he took a 180-degree turn and decided to chase his passion.

He’s since worked for the likes of the BBC and TIME in New York, startups in San Francisco and now as a writer working on automotive with our client. So how did he manage to achieve his dreams and what did it take to get there?

Find a Mentor

As a fresh graduate, Basir landed a writing job at the BBC. Their past interns were mostly journalism majors and lacked the same thing--automotive knowledge. Basir’s deep knowledge of the automotive industry impressed the Editor in Chief so much he hired him without any writing experience. Thanks to the Editor’s faith, Basir learned firsthand the skills needed to write well. Many people we’ve spoken to have shared similar experiences with us. Do you have a mentor or a former supervisor who has taken a chance on you?

Start Your Own Blog

Starting your own blog is solid advice, especially when you need to bolster your portfolio or submit some samples to an application. Think about what topics you’re passionate about and start a Medium or Wordpress site. “Your blog doesn’t have to be the next big thing, but when it’s time to apply to gigs you can send your samples. It develops your skills, too. Not only that, but clients can see how serious you are.” In Basir’s case, it’s clear that clients will take a chance if they see potential, but you need to prove yourself, too. A blog is a great way to quickly convey your interest and passion before you even get to the interview stage.

Know Your Value When You Lose Inspiration

How do you place a value on something you write or design and how do you know if it was a success? If you’re feeling like you’re stuck in a creative rut, take a look back at some of your successes and see how many times your article was viewed or shared. Seeing the fruits of your labor and results can help you to feel inspired again.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 482nd issue of our a.blog.  Get in touch today and start the conversation!


Personality Assessments and the Hiring Process

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Personality Assessments and the Hiring Process

"When you meet somebody for the first time, you're not meeting them. You're meeting their representative." - Chris Rock

Businesses struggle every day to hire and retain top talent. Making professional matches is as much an art as it is a science, and even the strongest minds in HR, recruiting, and management must sometimes learn from mistakes.

In their quest to find the best candidates, many top companies use a variety of personality and integrity tests to screen applicants during their interview processes. There's an ongoing debate around this practice, with strong arguments and research supporting either side. Should you consider implementing this sort of testing for potential new hires, it's important to know the pros and cons.

Pros

- You're in good company. According to a recent survey, more than 40% of Fortune 100 companies use some form of personality testing as part of their recruiting and onboarding procedures.

- It can get results. Studies have shown that retail businesses who used integrity testing in hiring reported a 50% reduction in inventory loss. Long-term results for some other forms of testing are less clear, but anything that weeds out clearly unqualified applicants obviously saves time for HR, and money for the company.

- It can eliminate biases. Individual interviewers may be biased toward candidates they personally like, or, worse, make decisions based on unconscious cultural biases. By establishing measurements that are more objective, at least theoretically, testing can correct for this tendency.

- It can be fun. Startups such as Knack offer gamified versions of some employment-related tests, which can infuse a spirit of play into your hiring process. Some companies also test current employees after they're hired, which can be a part of an employer-employee feedback loop that improves conditions at work.

-It's a good communication tool.  Learning more about ourselves and our colleagues is a great step towards better communication and connection.

Cons

- Tests themselves can be biased. Tests reflect the values and biases of their creators. Interpreting results requires training and judgment. Placing value on certain personality traits will always be controversial. Proceed with caution, research, and awareness.

- Potential new hires can "game" the tests. The main thing a test measures is how adept the subject is at taking the test. People who are determined to get hired, despite any reasons why they shouldn't, can find ways to manipulate their results.

-Testing can entrench a fixed mindset. "Growth mindset" refers to the attitude that perceived weaknesses present opportunities for improvement. According psychology professor Art Markman, there is a significant risk in testing if it carries the message that skills and characteristics are innate or that people are fixed entities, hardwired from birth for success or failure. Employees deserve the chance to improve over time through their own initiative, which is easier if they don't think of themselves as fixed data points on a scale.

One tool that the Artisan Creative team uses as a group is the CliftonStrengths Assessment, where we use our top 5 strengths to communicate via a common language on a regular basis.

With decades of experience as creative recruiters, we know hiring is easier when you don't have to do it alone. Contact Artisan Creative today and leverage our expertise to make your next great match!

 

We hope you've enjoyed the 481st issue of our a.blog.


Giving and Receiving Constructive Feedback

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Giving and Receiving Constructive Feedback

In order to be constructive, feedback must be mindful, purposeful, well-informed, and well-intentioned. It must also be clearly understood and easy to act upon. The purpose of constructive feedback is not to reward or punish; it is to share valuable information and insights so the entire team will be in a better position to accomplish its goals.

Whether you're giving or receiving feedback after an interview, portfolio review, annual employee performance session, or client presentation you can benefit from ideas in the highly regarded book Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High, by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler. This book offers a lot of insight, along with a helpful checklist to keep in mind, whether you want to share notes with your colleagues or want to listen more deeply to mutually uncover opportunities for improvement.

"Start With the Heart"

Your observations will be of more value if you practice seeing (and feeling) the world from the recipient's perspective. Likewise, if you can hear the hopes, fears, and emotions behind the feedback you receive, you may be more able to appreciate it as a gift. If you struggle with compassion or often find yourself on the defensive, the toolkit of Nonviolent Communication can change your perspective.

"Stay in Dialogue"

For feedback to be constructive, both parties must talk to each other, not at each other. Our relevant content on active listening has workable ideas on how to keep the paths of communication open.

"Make it Safe"

Safety is one of the most fundamental human needs; if safety is in doubt, addressing higher-level needs is not as easy. Part of building strong relationships is giving colleagues space, to be honest with each other without anyone feeling threatened. The most constructive moments happen in a calm environment within an atmosphere of mutual respect and only after any tensions or distractions have been dealt with.

"Don't Get Hooked By Emotion (Or Hook Them)"

Clear communication happens above the noise and static of aggression, manipulation, or games of status. To give and receive constructive feedback, you must work around any emotional tactics and triggers and maintain your focus on what is true, what is useful, and the objectives you share.

"Agree on a Mutual Purpose"

Make sure constructive feedback is shared on a common ground. This means setting your goals upfront, being transparent about what you hope to gain, and recognizing each other as allies on the same journey, headed in the same direction.

"Separate Facts from Story"

We, humans, excel at constructing narratives; we use this skill to find patterns in our experiences and to make sense of the world. To remain open to new information and wisdom, we must practice setting aside our stories and pay attention to things objectively, as they are, in a way both parties can understand and agree upon. Things are almost never precisely what they may seem!

"Agree on a Clear Action Plan"

Every transmission of constructive feedback should conclude with a set of concrete, realistic, shared goals. The best feedback often results in a plan of action, and once the plan of action is followed through to everyone's satisfaction, then you know the feedback was constructive!

At Artisan Creative, we believe the surest path to professional growth is through better communication. Get in touch today and start the conversation!

 

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 480th issue of our a.blog.

 


5 Free Online Courses for Creatives

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

5 Free Online Courses for Creatives

Another long, hot summer is upon us! If your business takes on a slower pace and you’re planning to take some time off, we’d like to recommend taking this opportunity to build on your professional skills and enrich your creative awareness by taking free online courses.

Coursera is one of several popular online platforms for massive open online classes (MOOCs). It offers engaging college-level courses in partnership with major universities, in a variety of creative disciplines and new technologies, all free of charge. Along with video lectures and reading material, many of these include tests, graded homework, discussion forums and some offer certificates of completion that add more experience to your resume or LinkedIn profile.

Here are five free creative courses that can give you a professional upgrade.

While predicting the future isn’t easy, there are some core thinking skills and mental models that can help leverage change and prepare for whatever comes next. This knowledge is widely applicable to those who do any sort of creative or entrepreneurial work and need to remain relevant to stay successful.

The essence of “design thinking” is “doing more with less.” This course explores how to pull off brilliant innovations under challenging and shifting circumstances, with ideas that are essential in UX or product design and relevant to anyone in business.

This is the first in Professor Scott Klemmer’s series of classes on interaction design, highly acclaimed by those in UX, information design, and computer science. You’ll learn the basic skills of ideation, research, and rapid prototyping that drive the latest trends in human-centered design, which is the art of working with your users and customers.

Content marketing uses the skills of advertising, branding, storytelling, and journalism to hook audiences and drive conversions. While this class is about communication and messaging strategy, its knowledge applies to anyone who wants to do business in the always-on digital age.

This course takes a serious, analytical look at the cutthroat social dynamics of high school that have inspired comedic films such as Mean Girls. By tackling a taboo topic with rigor and compassion, it has become one of the most popular MOOCs of all time. Its lessons have profound implications in design, in marketing, and across the cultural and professional spectrum.

Besides online courses, this is a great time to revamp your design portfolio and resume with updated information.

At Artisan Creative, we believe that the best opportunities are always reserved for those creative professionals who are most eager to learn. Contact us today to see how we can help you enrich your career, and yourself!

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 479th issue of our a.blog.


Setting Six-Month Resolutions

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Setting Six-Month Resolutions

We celebrated the Summer Solstice on June 21st. The end of June marks the halfway point of the year and at such times of transition, it can be useful to pause, reflect, and consider where you've been, where you are and where you plan to go.

By now, you may have kept some of your New Year's resolutions, while others may have fallen by the wayside or diminished in importance. This is an excellent time to reflect on your progress so far and to make a few simple "six-month resolutions", re-focus and re-set intentions. Here are a few broad and useful ones that are easy to keep.

Tie Up Loose Ends

What simple tasks have you been putting off? If tasks, expectations or obligations have been hanging around on your to-do list for months, you can use a simple system such as GTD to knock out the small but important ones today.

If there are larger concerns weighing you down, consider if they’re worth your time and energy. Prioritize tasks and considerations that relate to the larger themes of the career and the life you want.

If you plan to take time off over the summer, now is the time to prepare and make sure everything is in place, so you can more fully relax and recharge during the hot and slow season.

Nurture Your Relationships

Take the time to reach out to important people in your professional life with whom you want to maintain your ties. This can be as simple as sending a quick check-in note or checking their LinkedIn pages to see what they're up to.

Relationships require attention, and it is always wise to offer more attention than you expect to receive. If you keep your connections strong over time, you will find it easier to ask for help when you need it. And, if you are there for others when they need help, it can work wonders for your career and overall sense of well-being.

Follow the Green Lights

It is important to reflect on the challenges you've faced this year and explore opportunities for improvement. It is equally (if not more) important to acknowledge what went well, how you've improved, and what new opportunities you've created for yourself.

What new skills have you built up in the last six months? What have you accomplished that you would not have expected to have completed six months ago? What new options have you created now because of your growth and hard work?

When you take stock of your accomplishments, you realize you can do a lot in a small slice of time. Now, you are primed to do even bigger things with the back half of your year!

If you didn’t create a http://www.artisancreative.com/artisan-blog/creating-your-2018-vision-board vision board in the beginning of the year, you can create one now for the remainder of 2018. Every day is a new opportunity to set our goals in motion. As Emily Dickenson says “Dwell in Possibilites”. The year isn’t half-way over, instead we have 6 months to start new initiatives.

At Artisan Creative, we embrace a growth mindset and we are thrilled to help you make the most of your hard work so far, and figure out where you want to go next. Contact us today to learn more.

 

We hope you've enjoyed the 477th issue of our a.blog. Contact us to learn more.

 


Making Time vs. Having Time

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Making Time vs. Having Time

I realized I had been in a negative relationship with TIME, until now. I was always catching up, falling behind, stressed, and challenged with the ticking of the clock. Time was always running out, and I was always trying to slow it down. Time always had the upper hand, and I felt inferior.

I have read many articles, and listened to many lectures about time, and how we have limited time--only 525,600 minutes in a day or 8,760 hours in a year, etc. Comments such as either “manage time or it manages you” were my mantra for years. However, I was in a losing battle, as time was always managing me! No matter how many time management tools I used and how precise my calendar was, I was always chasing time.

A typical image of time management on any stock photo site shows frustrated, desperate, and frazzled individuals. That used to be me as well until I read Gay Hendricks’ book The Big Leap.

That’s when I decided I'd had enough. No more being the victim of time.  It was time to change my negative relationship with time!

In his book, Hendricks describes the concept of Newtonian time vs. Einstein time.

Newtonian time is the concept of time where time is finite, and it will run out. We either have time or we don’t. This is very much the notion of time most prevalent in society and in business. He says “ The Newtonian paradigm assumes that there’s a scarcity of time, which leads to an uncomfortable feeling on time urgency inside us.”

Einstein time, as Hendricks explains, is the notion that we are time…and we make time. We make time for things that are important, that have meaning or that we must focus on. He says “Take ownership of time, and it will stop owning you”.

He suggests going on a time diet, which I have been practicing as of late.

This move requires a complete end to complaining about time and moving away from the victim mindset as it pertains to time. Start by paying attention to how often you are playing time-catch-up and saying the following:

  • Where did time go?
  • There simply isn’t enough hours in a day
  • I don’t have time right now to…..
  • I wish I had time to…..

Eliminate the above phrases from your daily conversation. Time is not a pressure from outside as Hendrick states..it's one that we place on ourselves.

Instead, focus on what you want to focus on, and do what you love to do. Focus on your passions, and your creativity and your loved ones and the career you love.

It’s a notion that is simple to grasp—perhaps not as easy to do unless we shift our perception of time entirely.

I now spend each day with an intention and focus to make time for what is a priority for me. If I veer off course, I come back to my intention. My colleague Jen introduced me to the concept of saying a time-mantra “I Am Now” as in "I am now doing xyz". This time mindfulness has allowed me to make time.

And I discovered that by making time for what I love doing, I have more time for everything else.

Happy time-making!

~ Katty Douraghy

We hope you've enjoyed the 475th issue of our a.blogContact us to learn more.


Creating Inspiring Presentations

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Creating Inspiring Presentations

In a good presentation, you are presenting useful and important ideas. In a great presentation, you are inviting your audience to join in, creating engagement and interaction.

There are various techniques that will help you set the stage for a more effective presentation. In short, best practices are a) understand how human thought and behavior work, and b) take concrete measures to let these things work for your presentation, rather than against it.

But what should your presentation be? What should the content consist of? And how should it convey its core ideas to its audience?

Know Your Big Ideas

Before you begin to structure your presentation, you should distill it down to a few important ideas. If you can't break it down into a few core concepts, then it probably lacks a coherent message. Applying more thought and effort to the central thesis of your presentation will give it the beating heart that it needs to come alive.

Script It Out

Write out everything you plan to say, more or less verbatim.

First, create a rough draft. Although it may not be great, yet, you need to start somewhere, and your rough draft is that place. (Creativity coach Beth Lapides refers to the first draft as, "something to put a coffee ring on.” That’s all it needs to be.)

Then, edit, with vigor and ruthlessness. You can nitpick and fuss over your precise choice of words, to ensure your language is as economical and compelling as it can be.

This process can sometimes take a good amount of time. When you know your presentation is strong, it can be wise to quit while you're ahead. Some presentations that sing on the 16th draft can turn flat on the 23rd. With time and experience, you will get better at knowing when your presentation is as good as it needs to be.

Create Your World

This is the step that often separates a great presentation from a good one.

Now that you know exactly what you want to say, translate those words and ideas into pictures, sounds, and feelings.

Then... forget the words.

Think of your presentation not as a static inventory of words and sentences you want to say, but as a three-dimensional word composed of pictures, sounds, and feelings. When you rehearse your presentation, practice living in this world. Keep practicing until you are comfortable and familiar with this world, able to explain your surroundings to others. (Comedian Greg Dean has a "rehearsal process" you can borrow.)

When it's time to present, think of it as an opportunity to invite your guests into your world and show them around.

If you are not comfortable public speaking or presenting to a large group there are great resources to utilize to get you comfortable. Toastmasters is an international resource with chapters in many cities

When you live in the world you want to explain, you will have a far more powerful ability to transmit your ideas - and their emotional impact - to others.

At Artisan Creative, we believe in taking your work to the next level. Because if you're reading this, you're obviously ready to go "from good to great," as a creative professional. Contact us today to take the next step.

We hope you enjoy the 474th issue of our a.blog.


Using Video to Impact Your Brand

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Using Video to Impact Your Brand

Whether you're a small business or an enterprise-level company, there's one thing you can do that's just as important as attracting new clients and customers, and that's attracting top talent. Just as you can use the tools of the internet and social media to communicate your value proposition to potential buyers, you can use them just as well to showcase your brand's culture and story for potential new hires, the people whose skills and hustle you need to succeed into the future.

A full 82% of Fortune 500 executives don't believe their companies recruit highly talented people. Attracting top talent gives you a serious competitive advantage. To make an unforgettable first impression, make full use of online video.

You don't need a Hollywood backlot to create video content that engages highly skilled job seekers. Just keep these tips in mind, and to make your brand a star.

Be Transparent, Be Authentic

Honesty and authenticity work wonders on the internet. Take pride in who you are and what you do. Videos that feature members of your company team will strike a more authentic chord than those with actors or special effects. If you can, shoot in your own offices and facilities, and provide a visual sense of what a day at your company is really like. If you present your company culture in a way that's fun, true, and realistic, you will attract talent that will be excited to work with you and appreciate the things that make it special.

Approach Potential Hires as Potential Customers

According to Glassdoor, more and more job-seekers are taking a consumer approach to the job hunt, treating it more like comparison shopping. 70% read company reviews before they apply, and most look at multiple competing opportunities before zooming in on one. Therefore, in order for your video to stand out from the competition, it must address the hopes and ambitions of your ideal candidate with empathy and enthusiasm. When planning your video or writing your script, be specific - not every job-seeker will be right for your team or vice versa. Craft your pitch for the ones who are.

Tell Your Story

In order to communicate your brand value, be clear on your mission, your culture, and what sets you apart. Your core principles set the foundation for any message your video will communicate. When you are clear on these, ask yourself, "how can we present our story in an intriguing and memorable way?" Does your company or its founder have a relatable story of risk or overcoming adversity? How are you changing the world? Determine how to tell your story visually, in a way that will stick, and then familiarize yourself with some of the insider tips and best practices of video storytelling.

Be Creative

Be willing to experiment with a fresh, out-of-the-box approach to your video. Check out some of the innovative, reasonably priced tools that are available, and brainstorm different approaches until you decide on the one that best suits your message.

At Artisan Creative, attracting top talent and matching them with career-making opportunities is our mission. Contact us today and discover new ways to elevate your recruiting and put your brand in the limelight.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 472nd issue of our a.blog.

 

 



Working with Non-Millennials

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Working with Non-Millennials

In the last few decades technology has changed the world of business rapidly and profoundly. This rate of change continues to accelerate. To overcome the widening gap in knowledge and to be able to collaborate more effectively, it is essential for members of different generations to understand each other in a spirit of teamwork, empathy, and mutual respect.

With their range of experiences, Baby Boomers, Generation X-ers, and Millennials can often generate more useful and exciting ideas together. Cross-generational diversity and cross-collaboration can become a great organizational strength and lead to expanded creatvity and new solutions to solving challenges.

We've explored some of the cultural attitudes that make members of the Millennial generation unique and valuable coworkers. Today, we'll share tips for Millennials who strive to work more effectively with seasoned teammates.

Respect Their Independence and Set Expectations

Members of Generation X, in particular, are often distinguished by a rebellious, skeptical, and iconoclastic spirit. They grew up mostly before the advent of smartphone communications and always-on social networking. Compared to Millennials, they tend to be motivated less by community and more by a sense of individuality, as do many Boomers.

"When working with an X-er, don’t be surprised or offended if they choose to work alone," writes Mira Zaslove in Fortune . She adds, "X-ers tend to be hands-off, low face-time managers. So when working for an X-er, ask them to clearly define their expectations. When you do receive a compliment from an X-er, you’ve done a great job."

Help Them Understand New Technologies and Trends

Many Millennial workers are digital natives, having had access to fast paced technologies and the internet their entire lives. Thus, it may be difficult for them to appreciate how wondrous and strange these innovations can seem to those who did not always have them, or who witnessed their rapid proliferation firsthand from the 1980s through today.

When working with colleagues on new technology, "never say, 'This is so easy,'" writes Ann Friedman of The Los Angeles Times . "Recognize that baby boomers have a lot of fear and anger about technology, and tread gently."

It is important to appreciate how glorious our new technological breakthroughs really are. Demonstrating the utility of a new application or device to someone who doesn't regularly use it may even renew your own sense of delight.

It All Comes Down to Communication

When communication is optimized, almost any group of people can come together to pursue shared goals. Working to achieve that understanding is how we mine the greatest value from our work and our lives.

Appreciating and working with our differences requires well-honed active listening skills, along with an appreciation for different learning styles and preferences in communication and collaboration.

When we respect our shared and individual goals and work together to continuously improve our company cultures, our differences make us much stronger through our diverstiy.

At Artisan Creative, our experience has shown us how great teams are built among individuals from all walks of life. Contact us today to take your career or your business to the next level.

We hope you enjoy our 471th a.blog.

 



Maximizing Your LinkedIn Profile

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Maximizing Your LinkedIn Profile

If you are looking for work, considering a change, or have any interest in industry networking, we all know that a profile on LinkedIn, the top social media network for professionals is the place to go. Potential employers and recruiters may find it unusual if you aren't on the site in today’s highly competitive job market. It only takes a few minutes to launch your profile, and with a bit more time and effort, you can make your LinkedIn profile a powerful tool for advancing your career and achieving your goals.

Here are a few tips to help maximize the potential of your LinkedIn presence, build your network online and offline, and gain access to opportunities that others might miss.

Complete Your Profile

Only 51% of LinkedIn users have fully completed their profiles, and LinkedIn's search algorithm strongly favors those who have. Take the extra time to flesh out and optimize all areas of your profile, including education and work history as well as volunteer roles and interests, to gain a significant advantage in your job search.

Be Real and Be Specific

When writing descriptions for yourself and your previous roles, eliminate fuzzy buzzwords and replace them with metrics, achievements, and real-life examples of what you've accomplished. Your headline should be succinct, and your profile should communicate a clear idea of who you are, what you can do, and what you value in your work. Be true to yourself, and you will stand out from the crowd. And, of course, always keep it positive - highlight what you've learned and how you've grown. Your profile should reflect well on you and on those who have given you their trust and invested in your career.

Use Multimedia

Media presentations add detail and credibility to your profile. If you have design portfolio samples, slide decks, videos, articles, or other files that showcase your work your expertise and your overall approach to business, be sure to include them where they best fit.

Connect Strategically

Profiles with 300+ connections get more attention and appear more substantial, so endeavor to build a robust network. When you reach that threshold, be more judicious about whom you add, to ensure that your feed remains useful and that your virtual network reflects your real life. When you request a connection, send a personalized message to let the recipient know why you value their work, their trust, and their time. Make sure your network is focused on those with some leverage in your industry. At a glance, it should give you credibility with anyone you might want to work with in the future.

Participate in Groups

LinkedIn Groups can be a useful way    to monitor trends and participate in discussions, and they have some less obvious perks as well. For example, when you join a LinkedIn Group, you can privately message any other member. This can afford opportunities to connect with people who are passionate about the same things as you but may be harder to reach through traditional channels.

Update Regularly

Every few months, inspect your LinkedIn profile from top to bottom, and update anything that's out of date or that could simply use a polish. Take the opportunity to improve your profile on a regular basis, not just when you're looking for work. Over time, you will build a much stronger presence than the vast majority of users. And, you may be surprised at the opportunities you discover through LinkedIn.

At Artisan Creative, we help top creative professionals get the most out of their careers. Contact us today, and we'll help you master digital networking and take your work to the next level.

We hope you've enjoyed the 470th issue of our a.blog

 



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