Artisan Blog

Career Path Objectives

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


7 Ways to Integrate your Life and your Work

Wednesday, July 06, 2016



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


7 Ways to Create an Outstanding Creative Portfolio Online

Wednesday, June 29, 2016



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Portfolio image by Sean Halpin.


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!


Our Favorite Places to Get Work Done in San Francisco

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?


5 Ways to Know if Working Remotely Works for You

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 Manage Multiple Clients at Once

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Many freelancers work with several clients simultaneously. However, juggling a large number of projects for multiple clients can go from easily doable to overwhelming, very quickly! As tasks pop up, it’s up to you to have a secure workflow system to deliver quality work on time. Here are some tips on how to make sure you and your clients stay happy while you handle different and diverse tasks at once:

Keep your calendar up to date. Whether you’re extremely organized or not, a calendar is your armor in the front line of freelancing. Label important dates, or create a system for due dates, such as “urgent”, “important”, and “later”. This will help you stay on task with the most significant aspects of these projects first before moving on to other parts that can wait. You can even create a project specific calendar and share it with your client.

Use a system that works. Management systems like Trello, BaseCamp and Asana work for lots of people because they help you keep all the small tasks organized, and allow your clients to see what’s in progress versus what’s finished. Find one that works for you, even if it’s a personal system you’ve devised. Just be sure everyone is on the same page and understands it so all parties know how far along a project is at any given moment.

Talk to your client. Always articulate to your clients your availability, your deadlines, and your deliverables. If you think a project for them will take a while, don’t be afraid to speak up. Communicate clearly by writing it down or checking in frequently so both parties know what’s expected of you.

Set boundaries. Developing relationships is how you keep business flowing, but you are allowed to set limits to how much work you can take on. Let your clients your availability for work, as well as availability for calls, meetings and your office hours.

Only promise what you can deliver. Emergencies happen, along with challenging work days and unexpected circumstances. If you send in an estimated due date for a project, budget in some extra time in case this stuff comes up. Also, leave yourself enough room in your schedule to do things like eat, take walks, exercise, meditate -- whatever is part of your daily routine.

Be realistic. As a freelancer, it's tough to say no to an assignment.  However, if you can’t deliver the project perfectly, on time and on budget, it may be best to find an alternative solution for your client.

As long as you’re consistent, communicative, and deliver to set expectations, your clients will feel you are partnering with them and will come back to you time and again.


Tax Tips for Freelancers in 2016

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Did you know 38% percent of millennials freelance? That means twenty and thirty-somethings who work differently from their parents, also need to do their taxes in a very different way from their folks.

While freelancing offers flexible work hours, creative opportunities, and a level of independence, it also means having to become your own HR department. Although tax season is several months away, freelancers can start preparing now by organizing expenses, 1099s, and more. Check out these tips and tools to make your 2016 tax season a breeze:

Determine what kind of return you need to file. Are you a freelance business as an LLC, or are you an independent contractor? Or did you work as a W2 with staffing agencies like Artisan Creative? Make sure you find the correct forms to file based on your business, as well as corresponding state and local forms.

$600 or more means you need a 1099. If you earn $600 or more from any one client, you need to report that income on your tax return using a 1099-MISC form. So if a client has yet to send you these forms by February 2, contact them and request one.

You need to pay both income tax and self-employment tax. While this may come as a surprise to freelancers, you are essentially taxed twice -- once as yourself, and once as a 1099 contractor. However, half of your self-employment tax is deductible as a business expense. If you haven’t set aside enough money to cover the cost of your taxes, start saving immediately so you can pay off at least some of your owed taxes. And if you determine you need to make estimated tax payments, make quarterly estimated tax payments on estimated income tax, including estimated self-employment tax.

Research tax breaks. The IRS offers a substantial number of tax breaks, which give freelancers a wonderful chance to get some additional deductions they’ve spent on their business. Deductions change from year to year, so look up common ways to determine your deductible expenses. For example, if you work from home, you can deduct the cost of your Internet bill, as it’s used while you work. Freelancers Union helps sort through this in its in-depth tax blog.

Set reminders. Do not wait until the week before April 15 to file your taxes unless you love stressing yourself out! Use calendars -- from Google to iCal to the Sunrise app and more, there are plenty of online choices to keep track. Set aside enough time to complete a set of tasks, like determining deductions or adding up your total income or expenses from 2015. Filing taxes is a pain, but it’s an even bigger pain to do it under a tight deadline.

Organize receipts and expenses. To help maximize tax deductions and keep the IRS happy, it’s best to stay organized and keep updated records of receipts, expenses, and payments. Have all these things stored and easily accessible to reduce the stress of filing. For instance, if you’re creating a digital archive, Shoeboxed is a great app for storing, processing, and organizing pictures of receipts on your phone.

Get help from a seasoned tax professional. Because tax deductions change so often, it may be best to hire a CPA to help so you can take advantage and save money. NerdWallet is an excellent educational blog to help you make smarter financial decisions, and can tell you which tax breaks you’re qualified for.  Just make sure if you hire a CPA, they are accredited and come recommended. The last thing you want is someone who’s untrustworthy handling your tax information!

Set yourself up for next year’s success. If you find that this year’s filing has been stressful, help take out some of the work for 2017 by setting yourself up to function more as an independent contractor next year. Create a separate bank account for your business to funnel payments through that account as well as pay any business expenses like insurance and tech maintenance through that account. Then use your organization system to keep track of receipts and such, as well as how much you think you’ll need to set aside to pay next year’s taxes.

With these tax tips, your freelance tax season will be the most time-saving -- and money-saving -- one you’ve had yet!


10 Best Practices for Your Resume

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

10 Best Practices for Your Resume


We’ve talked at length about the things to include on your resume. However there are  just as many things to avoid if you want to land an interview. Given that you’ve a mere few  seconds to impress a hiring manager, your resume needs to stand out! Here are 10 things to eliminate from on your resume in order to highlight your work experience, skills, education, and achievements to be distinctive:

1. Objectives. These descriptions at the top of a resume not only feel antiquated, but they don’t add anything to your resume. Moreover, they focus on what want rather than what you can offer to the company. If you feel this job is the best next step for your career, talk about it in your cover letter.

2. Photos. Unless you’re auditioning for a TV pilot or modeling gig, don’t include your photos.  Chances are your online portfolio, website, or LinkedIn profile already includes your photo.

3. Subjective traits. You may feel you possess amazing leadership skills or are an innovative thinker in design, however employers ignore these subjective traits because they can’t be measured. Instead, focus on objective facts and metrics If you really are an amazing leader, include how many team members you’ve managed, or include a quick example in your cover letter explaining how you’ve led your team to success, or achieved ROI in a campaign.

4. More than one page. We’ve debated this, but the short answer is--either in OK.  It all depends on your work experience, whether you have been freelancing at multiple places or been at the same company for several years.  The key is to include relevant, accurate and current information.

5. Salary history. This is a major faux paus, as well as a bad idea, as it compromises your ability to negotiate for a higher salary later! Leave it off so you can have some negotiating power later.

6. Short-term jobs. You don’t want to come across as job-hopping, so make sure to emphasize freelance or contract in the job title.

7. Leave out overused words. Here’s just a sampling of words that are redundant and don’t give employers concrete information: capable, skillful, effective, hardworking, innovative, and motivated are all qualities they hope you already have without you having to say so. Instead, search for synonyms that more closely fit your personality. For instance, as an “effective” employee you “engage in creative tasks”.

8. “References Available Upon Request”. If an employer wants references, they will ask. Save precious resume space for other accomplishments rather than including this sentence at the bottom.

9. Education. If you’re just out of high school and applying to your first jobs, it makes sense to include the information. Otherwise, focus on college and graduate information as well as degrees earned.

10. Misspellings, grammar issues, and typos. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again -- proofread, proofread, proofread! Nothing can make the resume  less professional than resume errors.  

A resume is a snapshot of your work experience -- not only should it be well written, it should highlight the best possible version of your experience and how you will be contributing to a new team. Take out irrelevant information, and polish up your resume so represents your experience in the best light possible.


How to Take Time Off from Freelancing Over the Holidays

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Maintaining your freelance work during the holidays can be really stressful. Along with holiday shopping, travel, social events, volunteering, and so on, you have to juggle multiple clients and projects that may very well be likely wrapping up by the end of the year.

The challenge and beauty of freelancing is that it is unpredictable. It may be hard to predict when the next assignment will take place, so how can you enjoy the holidays without worrying about the bottom line?

Schedule moments of free time: Carve out specific calendar time for yourself, family, and friends throughout the holiday. You’ll feel less guilty about taking off an evening for a party or running errands if it’s been scheduled as time off already.

Post date all your work: Schedule social media, blogs, and emails in advance. Use tools like Hootsuite, Buffer, and Boomerang to take care of emails to clients or tweets for the company in advance.

Take advantage of free time: If work slows down on its own, consider it a gift of time to spend with your loved ones. Even if your cards are mailed and your cookies are baked, you can still enjoy other festivities or just take some time for yourself!

Work on next year’s work: Chances are your clients are out for the holidays as well, so use the quiet time to do things such as updating your portfolio, sprucing up your website, or working on personal projects. You’ll get a head start on your New Year’s resolutions without worrying about taking time away from work!

Plan for another time: It might be too late to take time off this year, but you can make a plan to take a vacation during the winter, spring, or next holiday. Figure out your expenses to cover the costs of your travel or time off, and then put a plan in action to make it happen. You deserve a break, even if it’s not during the holidays!

From all of us at Artisan Creative, have a wonderful and merry holiday season!



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