Artisan Blog

8 Tips to Help Your Resume and Portfolio Stand Out

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

8 Tips to Help Your Resume and Portfolio Stand Out

 

As agency recruiters and sourcers, our goal is to find amazing talent for the open positions our clients have and help make an impact for both.  In order to successfully do so, we review 50+ resumes a day before we get to the interview phase.  That makes over 250 a week, and more than 1,000 a month, conservatively guessing!

Below are 8 tips to help your resume and portfolio stand out.

INITIAL FACTORS

Every new search begins with the required elements of a position. We're here to help by working with you to see how and why your background may be fit for a role.  Here are a few things we take into consideration at the beginning of a search.

  1. Job Title & Responsibilities.  Your current job title & what your current responsibilities are.  For example, if you are looking for a graphic designer role but have not held that position in a while, we'll need your help to clarify why.
  2. Industry/Vertical Experience. If you looking to change verticals or have an industry preference but haven't been able to work professionally in it, consider taking on some freelance projects to gain exposure and industry experience.
  3. Years of Experience. Let us know why you are open to a more junior position, or why you may be qualified for a more senior one.
  4. Job Location.  An important factor is commute-time. If you are open to a position outside your local area, please be specific in your submission letter.

RESUMES, PROFILES, AND PORTFOLIOS

Once we have identified a pool of candidates for a specific role, the fun begins! When looking for creative roles, we like to browse the portfolio first.  We begin every search with a good understanding of the aesthetic and design style a talent has and whether it's a match for what a client is looking for.

  1. A clean, organized, and easy to navigate portfolio is a breath of fresh air!  Give your portfolio an extra "oomph" by showcasing your most recent and relevant work samples.  When selecting pieces to include, go for the projects that demonstrate your design strengths, add a little bit of diversity, and make sure images are high resolution.  Don't forget to include your favorite projects as well since your passion will shine through when talking about them.   List your involvement on the project—whether it was creative direction, or production….let your online portfolio be clear and concise.

If you are unable to create your own website, there are many online portfolio sites such as Behance, Dribbble and Coroflot to utilize.  A comprehensive list can be found on our resources page.

  1. A chronological resume is the easiest to browse, starting with the most recent work.  If you've worked at agencies, make sure to include a brief list of accounts you've worked on.  Descriptions of your roles and duties are essential, along with time spent in the company.   List your Education, dates, degrees, software proficiencies and expertise levels
  2. Longevity.  Clearly state if a role was freelance for a specific project. Otherwise several short-term assignments at different companies can be considered a red flag.  Help us understand the different career moves you've made and how you can be a stable and loyal addition to the team.  
  3. Typos are the first things to jump out on your resume and portfolio.  Even if you've reviewed it a hundred times, let a friend with a critical eye take a look before you send it out.  As Laszlo Bock, Senior VP of People Operations at Google, said, "Typos are deadly because employers interpret them as a lack of detail-orientation, as a failure to care about quality."  You don't want that to be their first impression of you so take a few extra measures for peace of mind.

Of course, this is a general approach at how the initial process of sourcing goes.  The depth of what we do as an agency and the core of how we take a different approach takes precedence during the interview stage where we dive deeper into your background and work with you on culture fit and career expectations.  

At Artisan Creative, we are in the business of connecting you to the right role so help us understand your strengths, values, and career objectives.  A clear understanding of these on our end, coupled with a well-written resume and beautifully designed portfolio on your end, can be the beginning of a great work relationship.

 By Jen Huynh, Sourcer at Artisan Creative


Entering the World of Recruiting

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Entering the World of Recruiting

 

Entering the World of Recruiting

I entered the world of recruiting the same way most recruiters do: by accident.  Except in my case, it was not so much of an accident as it was pure luck.  I spent the majority of my professional years in the customer service and administrative world where I helped people in minor ways.  I helped them pick out a new outfit, helped schedule an installation, helped an event, and so on.  I've always enjoyed the business of People but I wanted more.  I wanted my efforts to go towards a bigger cause but I wasn't sure what that cause should be. 

As luck would have it, an opportunity to join a creative staffing agency presented itself and it just all made sense: help connect good people to great work.  It wasn't as straight forward as abolishing world hunger or saving the whales but it was something feasible that I could put my skills towards and make a substantial impact to people's lives.  While I'm a firm believer your work should only make up a small percentage of your qualify of life; admittedly, it plays a big factor in facilitating everything else.  I recognized this and I was excited to have found my cause.   

The training process was an incredibly steep learning curve and I quickly discovered how psychologically savvy and mentally tough you really have to be in order to excel at this job.  You have to understand your candidates: what drives them to do what they do, where they want to be, and WHY.  Just as importantly, you have to understand your clients: what they want accomplished, who they want it accomplished by, and again, WHY.  My days were consumed with researching the creative industry, connecting with everyone I came across, and studying everything my team was doing. 

I realized the only way to succeed as a fresh recruiter in this fast paced industry is to tackle it full force with good intentions.  The best way to do that is to dig deep and ask the right questions.  Once I got around to picking up the phone, I was amazed by how passionate people are about their craft and how eager everybody is to learn, grow, and become a better version of themselves.  I admired their tenacity to not settle for less than what they deserved and it quickly became my mission to help get them to where they want to be. 

With about one month of experience under my belt, I can say this profession is not for everybody.  For those that stick it out, the reward of knowing you helped someone find not only work, but work that they are proud of, where they can hone their craft and continue to grow, that's a pretty amazing feat.  Of course, not all placements will be into a dream role but just as important in the path to where we want to be are the stepping stones leading us there.

Jen Huynh - Recruiter  Artisan Creative

 


The Savant

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Savant

Whether you’re a hiring manager, a recruiter or simply tasked with hiring new talent, there are various conclusions that we draw in order to determine if someone should be hired for a particular position. Do they have the relevant qualifications? Are they the right cultural fit? Can they lead a team or take direction from a higher authority? It’s important to understand different personality types so that management styles can be tailored in order to get the best out of the person or if you simply just want to hire more people exactly like them.

Artisan recently read some research published by SoftwareAdvice.com discussing the personality traits of people most likely to succeed in the creative industry and it got us thinking about how their conclusions relate to our candidates, our clients and ourselves. It’s become somewhat fashionable in 2013 to discuss the pros and cons of introverts vs. extroverts, but by looking past the basics, we can begin to understand different personalities and how to utilize this information to our advantage.

Savant is French for “knowing,” which explains why The Savant personality type is a sought-after person within the creative industry. They tend to be incredibly skilled, yet really home in on just a few specialized subjects. Savants are fantastically creative and brilliant, but may struggle with basic math and feel out of place in social situations. By nature, they’re introverted and creatures of habit, often spending hours working independently on a project.



How Do I Identify and Work with The Savant?
  • Establish rapport--Put them at ease. Make them feel comfortable whether in a job interview or a work environment. 
  • Lead the conversation--Ask direct questions about their skills and achievements rather than questions about themselves.
  • Test them--If they’re a developer or a writer, put them to the test and see them flourish.
  • Give praise--The Savant type can grow bored when not pushed or excited about their work but when they do find something they love, they are often their own worst critic. Be sure to show support for their efforts.
Next time you’re hiring new talent or going through an interview process yourself, take some time to understand and recognize personality types. Look out for telltale traits and tailor the surroundings to fit. If you’re a Savant type yourself, focus on your best talents and see just how far you can push your creative potential.

Laura Pell, Talent Acquisition


3 Tips for Better Mobile Job Descriptions

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

3 Tips for Better Mobile Job Descriptions


Image by Steve Paine via Flickr Creative Commons

Artisan Creative has gone mobile and since we announced the mobile version of our website last spring, the numbers of job seekers using mobile have increased astronomically. Polling on Glassdoor has reported that 65% of people on job search are using mobile devices to do so at least once a week--more than triple the number just a year ago--and 89% of people expecting to look for a new job next year are planning to use mobile devices to find job listings, research their target companies and get salary information

At Artisan, we keep mobile best practices in mind when we post our Open Jobs, but if you are writing or posting job descriptions for your company, here are some tips for optimizing them for the tiny screen:

  1. Break it up--Large blocks of text make people read less and less carefully. Split your description into manageable paragraphs that the eye--and the mind--can take in.
  2. Clean it up--Take the time to preview your mobile job descriptions and remove any stray code that may have traveled with your text, as well as to proofread your text one more time. Make a good impression with high quality candidates for your attention to detail.
  3. Move it up--Don’t bury the lead. Be sure to put the most important elements of your job description at the top so the reader will see them on the first screen without scrolling further. It will help screen out less appropriate candidates, saving their time and yours.
With more great candidates--especially in the IT and creative fields--using mobile to look for new roles, making sure your job descriptions are effective in mobile browsers is more important every day.

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative


Experience or Trainability?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Experience or Trainability?



Every job seeker wants to know the answer to this question. In trying to create the perfect resume and to choose the best jobs to apply for, there are ways to focus on one or the other. What is our answer?

It depends.

When Experience Wins

If a company is looking for someone to hit the ground running, experience is paramount. There may not be training available or resources to provide it. Especially if someone is being brought on to complete a project that already has a deadline, specific experience requirements are a good idea.

For hiring managers, make sure job listings say clearly what skills are required. Software packages and levels of expertise should be listed in the requirements.

For job seekers, if a job posting looks very particular, the company probably need candidates who have done those things before because they will not want to train. Evaluate this listing carefully before applying.

When Trainability Wins

A company that has long-term plans and growth strategies in place can afford to train smart people with transferable skills. If a company culture wants their teams all working the same way, using the same systems, they need adaptable people who can learn to fit into their existing dynamics.

The job descriptions can be less specific for skills, but more specific for development, education and the kind of challenges candidates may be faced with.

A resume tailored for this style of job description should feature bullet points that show accomplishments that were obstacles overcome, growth achieved and especially changes in responsibilities.
Attention to the tangible requirements of a job serves both sides of the hiring process. More appropriate candidates speed up the hiring process and applying to more appropriate jobs leads to less frustration for job seekers.

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative


Hiring? Job searching? Questions for Assessing Cultural Fit on Both Sides of the Table

Tuesday, July 09, 2013


You’ve found the perfect candidate, at least on paper, and you are scheduling an in-person interview. You hope they are indeed perfect and your search is over. Or you have been offered an interview at your target company. Your goal is within reach. Or is it the wrong fit? Whether you are hiring a new employee or searching for a new role, how do you tell if there is a true culture fit?

Hiring Managers

A resume only provides limited information. Past experience and education are significant factors in finding a good fit, but company culture may be even more significant, especially if your organization is willing to train new hires who have the right temperament. A candidate who is filled with regret will never be very productive. Here are some good questions to ask in the interview to help you know if the candidate will fit into your company’s culture:
    1. What qualities are most important to you in a good boss?
    2. Do you think it is a good idea to become friends with your co-workers?
    3. What are the best things about your current or previous job?
    4. Do you prefer working independently or on a team? Why?
    5. How would you like to improve your management skills?
    6. What motivates you to go above and beyond expectations at work?
    7. Tell me about a time you felt most fulfilled at work.
Talent

Whenever you are looking to change jobs, you want to know that all of that trouble is worth the effort. Here are a few questions to help candidates evaluate a company’s culture at an interview:
    1. What do you like about working here?
    2. How many hours a week do you work in a typical week?
    3. Does the team hang out together outside of work?
    4. How much time is spent collaborating and how much is spent working alone?
    5. Are employees rewarded for high performance?
    6. How do employees usually get promoted?
Remember that the interview is not the time to ask about salary or benefits, even if those are your most important factors. 

For a happy onboarding and a long relationship, the people on both sides of the interview desk need to be comfortable that the company’s culture and the candidate’s temperament will go well together.

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative


Dog Days of Summer

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Dog Days of Summer



If you are a dog person, you know the benefits of having a furry companion at home. Dog owners recover more quickly from being sick, suffer less frequently from depression and loneliness, and have a built-in conversation starter. But there are also some benefits to bringing your dog to work or encouraging your employees to do so:

  • Attract and retain quality candidates—A “dog friendly office” is an appealing perk to a job seeker and a tough perk to walk away from once hired.
  • Improved Morale—Dogs don’t just make their owners smile, they increase levels of the brain chemicals that make us happy and calm. Plus they are pretty entertaining!
  • Increased Productivity—Letting dogs come to work will keep your employees at their desks until a project is finished, since they don’t have to be home to walk or feed their pet. Dog owners also miss fewer days of work due to illness.
  • Team Building—Dogs don’t just help you get dates, they also help you build connections with co-workers.
Freelancers are accustomed to having their dogs with them while they work. Full time employees would love to have the same opportunity to bring a little bit of home with them to the office. Have you ever worked for a dog-friendly company? We would love to hear about it! And have a terrific Take Your Dog to Work Day on Friday, June 21st!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative


7 Interview Questions Every Employer Should Ask

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

 

Whether you’re a veteran interviewer or hiring your first employee, you’ll probably agree that the interview is the most important part of the recruitment process. Therefore it’s critical to ask the right questions. While our version of the Proust Questionnaire offers a few out of the box questions (designed in some cases to stump potential employees or just see how creative they can be), here are a few of the more typical questions every interviewer should be asking:

  1. Tell me about yourself. – This type of open-ended question is a great way to start your interview and put your candidate at ease. It should be easy to talk about yourself! It also gives you an opportunity to witness both confidence and communication skills first hand.

  2. Describe a time when something went wrong at work and how you dealt with it. - This question is ideal for learning about how your potential hire will handle the pressures of life and conflict in your office. Answers here also demonstrate problem solving skills and culture fit.

  3. How would your boss describe you? – This is a great way to ask the “strengths” and “weaknesses” question without actually asking it. It also provides some insight into how your working relationship with the potential talent might be. Does the answer describe a person that would fit well within your organization?

  4. What role do you usually play in a team? - The answer to this question should compliment the answer previously – is the way your coworkers see you the way you actually perform in your company? This question also provides insight on personality and autonomy.

  5. Where do you see yourself in five years? – The perfect question for uncovering candidate motivations, answers help determine whether your company and the opportunity presented are a good fit for the interviewee. Will they still be with your team in five years or will they quickly outgrow your department or company?

  6. Tell me about a favorite project you worked on and why it’s your favorite.Resumes offer a list of responsibilities and accomplishments. Answers to this question should reveal the story behind the bullet points, the passion for the project and the genuine interest for the work. If any of these are missing, perhaps the interviewee is in the wrong business.

  7. Do you have any questions for me? - This is the perfect way to “end” an interview as you turn the tables, engaging the talent to then interview you. Not only does it demonstrate your company’s appreciation for open dialogue, but also lets you know whether the potential job seeker is definitely interested. If they answer “no” – then they are probably not the best fit.
Is there a question you like to ask during interviews? Why do you ask it? Share with us in the comments below.

Jessica Bedford, Account Manager


What's Your EQ?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What's Your EQ?



One of the most interesting topics I studied in my Career Development program was Emotional Intelligence or EQ. It still makes me think.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional Intelligence is defined as "the ability to identify, use, understand, and manage emotions in positive ways."  The way my instructor put it was understanding and using emotions to achieve your goals at work and in life. This was a bit of a surprise to me, as I thought it was probably best to be able to put emotions aside and think analytically, at least at work.

Why is EQ important in recruiting?

On the Undercover Recruiter blog, they emphasize the intangibles that can be the most important factors in a job interview.  When we are thinking about a candidate's energy, their "vibe," their sincerity and their manner, we are evaluating their EQ and using our own to make those same evaluations.

Why is EQ important in job search?

When you are looking for a new role, it is essential to know what your emotional as well as your salary and benefit needs are. What is important to you in a company culture, what makes you happy, these are the things that should help you decide whether to accept or reject an offer should it come your way. Your EQ is also a tool in your interview process, helping you to determine what kind of an interviewer you are faced with and what your best strategy might be.

Can you raise your EQ?

You can absolutely make a concerted effort to become more aware of your emotions and of the emotions of others. Try to listen actively and pay attention to what others are telling you with their tone and their body as well as their words.  When you have strong feelings, think them through and see if you can find a way to use them to reach your goals, rather than suppressing them.  Use the nonverbal information you receive in your work interactions and job interviews to help you think and plan strategically.

As a creative, I am fascinated by the process of becoming more aware and able to utilize the ideas that come from greater awareness. It's awfully fun to be on a team of people who all understand each other, even if some information is never verbalized.

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

On this 11th Anniversary of September 11, 2001, our thoughts are with those who lost their lives and those they left behind. 


There's More to Onboarding Than Training

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

There's More to Onboarding Than Training



We've talked before on the Artisan blog about starting a new job and offered tips on getting through the first 3, 6, 9 and even 12 months in a new role.  Many companies, however, do not have an established system for bringing new employees through that first year and considering the stress those employees are feeling, it's a good idea to have a plan for helping those new hires become more comfortable as quickly as possible.

An Onboarding Plan v. Orientation and Training

Every employer has some kind of orientation system and training in place if it is needed for the particular job.  But often, when a company hires someone with all the skills to do their job on day one, will stop after an orientation period and just set them to work with no definite plan to help them succeed.

It is important to make sure that a new hire understands the company's expectations, is aided in setting short and long term goals and understands how and when he or she will be evaluated.  

Another important addition to successful onboarding, however, is giving your new hire opportunities to talk to his or her manager about concerns they might have at the 3 and 6 month points in their new role.  Give them a safe space to discuss their own impression of the job, how it could be improved or changed to make them happier or more productive as well as ask questions.  Often, unless given an opportunity, a new employee will keep to themselves, fly under the radar, when proactive communication could improve a situation for everyone involved.

Tips for Onboarding:
  • Develop a real plan--Don't assume that new employees will find a way to get what they need or want. Make a schedule to meet with new hires at regular intervals and stick to it.
  • Tell them about it--Make sure your new hires know that they will have chances to talk to you about how things are going for them.  Ask them to make a list of questions they have when they come up so that you can discuss them when you meet.
  • Follow through--Don't let your onboarding plan fall through the cracks if a new hire is going well.  Even if you just get together to talk about how great it's been so far, you can take the opportunity to let your employee know that they are valued and that you both that they are succeeding.
No matter how perfect a fit a candidate is into a company, he or she needs to know how they are doing, that they have made the right decision and that you are both on the same page.  Give all your new hires a chance to feel great about their role in your company and you will reap the rewards of a happy and productive workforce.

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative



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