Artisan Blog

The Art of Marketing Your Skills

Wednesday, April 26, 2017


Artisan Creative is celebrating 20+ years in staffing and recruitment of creative professionals. Over the years we have learned a thing or two that we'd like to share with you. We hope you enjoy the 422nd issue of our weekly a.blog.

Our work landscape is changing rapidly and we have to be prepared to change with it. Whether you're looking for new freelance opportunities or a full-time job, it’s important to think like an entrepreneur.

Even if you've never thought of yourself as an entrepreneur, one who often has to be the top salesperson, the marketing expert, as well as the billing and collections agent, you can create more opportunities and open yourself up for greater success if you think of yourself as an entrepreneurial brand. That means it’s your responsibility to market yourself and flex your creative muscles in new ways to bring fresh clarity to your priorities, values, and goals.

As you become more comfortable with marketing yourself, here are some core principles to keep in mind drawn from the work of respected marketing authorities and tested in the crucible of international business.

Own Your Own Niche

Being the first one in your category is the first law of Al Reis and Jack Trout’s 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing.

Inventing your own category gives tremendous advantage and allows you to make the rules that your competition must follow. If you can't be the first in a broad category, claim a subcategory, and be the best to market in your own distinct niche.

For example, your focus may be web design. Although you may not be the first web designer in your city, you may still have an opportunity to focus on a specific clientele base or have an expertise in a vertical. To build your reputation in a specific niche, attend industry and networking events, study hard, learn a lot and become a subject matter expert.

Think Like a Storyteller

Even if you're not trained as a storyteller or fiction writer, you've probably loved enough films, novels, and anecdotes to intuitively appreciate the power of a good yarn.

When you describe your career trajectory, victories won, and challenges overcome, try thinking in terms of the "mono-myth" of "The Hero's Journey." Fiction writers, filmmakers, and marketers have used this structure to guide them down many different paths.

Share your story, your inspiration, your process—tell the story of why you stand out in your field and how you differentiate.

Start looking for the "Hero's Journey" structure, and you'll see it everywhere. It has shaped careers, lives, and civilizations. How can you harness the power of story telling to tell your own tale?

Be Candid

A candid approach highlights your sincerity and shows you have nothing to hide. A sense of humor or a quirky personality will resonate better with potential clients and employers with a similar sensibility. If you are clear as to who your target audience is, then it’s easier to be yourself.

Some brands have had tremendous success by poking fun at their own shortcomings. Avis struggled for years to overtake Hertz, to no avail. Finally, it increased its profile and drew a lot of new customers when it embraced the slogan, "We're #2, so we try harder."

Be your best self, and be proud of it. This gives you the freedom to be comfortable and honest.

Continue Learning

When defining your unique combination of skills, keep one eye on how relevant you expect them to be in five years. In the digital world, bubbles form and burst often. Job titles may change, so build continuously on your core competencies and adapt.

Continued education is key in many industries and the creative and marketing industry is no different. Be sure to continue your learning and sharpen the tools of your trade.  Sites such as Lynda.com or General Assembly are great resources.

Continuously iterate on your own marketing message. Use methodologies such as A/B testing to refine your ideas, build on what others respond do, and discard what isn’t working.

Represent Yourself

As you blend your range of skills and experience into a coherent, memorable storyline, make sure the story reflects who you really are. Heed the advice of marketing guru Seth Godin, to "under promise and over deliver."

If you make promises you can't keep, you will find yourself in positions you aren't qualified for, or assignments you aren’t excited about.

A well-branded portfolio will continue to support your story and be a representation of your skills. The story of your creative thinking, along with a display of your most current work, your involvement in a project, and your collaboration with other team members will speak volumes. If you are unable to create a website for yourself, there are wonderful options in the marketplace such as Dribbble or  Behance.

When using social media to market your skills, make sure it’s well branded with a cohesive message woven through all channels. Whether it’s LinkedIn or Instagram—create a unique branding voice that represents you.

Bring your own unique story to life and share it. If you need additional help marketing your skills contact Artisan Creative for representation. We work with hundreds of clients in different verticals who are looking to hire new talent. Your next assignment could be waiting!

 



Integrating Action Into Your Goal Setting Process

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Artisan Creative is celebrating 20 years in staffing and recruitment and over the years we have learned a thing or two that we'd like to share with you.   We hope you enjoy the 406th issue of our weekly a.blog.

You’ve set your goals, created your vision board and have gathered all the momentum and excitement you can muster to get everything accomplished right now…. so how do you keep your determination going to see your goals come to fruition?

Once you set your broader vision for the year, the next step is to break down each goal into actionable steps. Otherwise,  just the thought of how to get started can rapidly become overwhelming.

Below are 5 tips to help integrate action into your goal setting process.

1. Work with the end goal in mind.

What action steps are needed to happen daily or weekly in order for the goal to be accomplished? For example, if your goal is to learn a new language, the actionable steps may be:

  • research online classes or sign-up for physical classes
  • download the Duolingo app
  • study
  • join a meet-up/group

2. Be Specific: Add a timeline or date for accomplishing each step.

For example:

  • research and sign up for onlineor physical classes by 1/15/17
  • download the Duolingo app by 1/5/17
  • study 1 hour per day ( or 7 hours per week) at 4 pm each day
  • research meet-up/groups by 1/10/17, join a group by 2/1/17

3. Protect the time on your calendar.

It’s easy for urgent matters to take over what is important. Schedule time for the important items, otherwise the weeks will fly by with little attention to the steps needed to attain your goals. Make an appointment with yourself and set a reminder!

4. Get an accountability partner.

Share your goals with friends and co-workers. Ask one of them to be your accountability partner and plan a monthly check in with them.

5. Celebrate your wins along the way.

Be proud of your accomplishments—no matter how small… as long as they are on the right path to help you accomplish your goals, then it’s worth a celebration.

An action plan and timeline for accomplishing each step will put you on the right path to accomplish your goals

Please share any tips on how you set goals and develop plans for accomplishing them.


Visual Goal Setting

Wednesday, December 28, 2016


 

Artisan Creative is celebrating 20 years in staffing and recruitment and over the years we have learned a thing or two that we'd like to share with you. We hope you enjoy the 405th issue of our weekly a.blog.

 

As part of our annual goal setting, each member of the Artisan Creative a.team creates a vision board and presents it at our first meeting of the new year. Our boards are a collection of short and long term goals that include both personal and professional aspirations.

Presenting it to the team develops accountability and enables the group to learn more about each team member’s ambitions, hopes and dreams. Some people set a theme for their board/year—others use inspirational quotes. What they all have in common is the shared use of imagery that inspires, tells a story and conveys a message to create a powerful visualization tool.

In addition to sharing our visions and goals with the group at the onset of our new year, we review our boards mid-year, and also share a recap at our year-end meeting. This sense of accountability and the revisiting of our goals helps keep us on track. This activity in one of our strongest team-building exercises, as it stays “evergreen”.

Here are 5 tips to create your great vision board and get 2017 off to a good start!

  1. Select words and images that inspire and are true to your core values.
  2. Create positivity and inspiration. Have fun…imagine the integrated life/work you want to build out.
  3. Create an integrated board where elements from both your personal and professional aspirations are represented.
  4. Keep the board where you can re-visit it daily—read the inspirational messages out loud— and often!
  5. Share your hopes and dreams with others. Having an accountability partner will help you get closer to achieving your goals.

Tools needed:

  • A large poster board to give you plenty of space to visualize your year, yet small enough to hang on your wall. We use the 22 x28 size available from Staples.
  • A good pair of scissors and a strong glue stick!Make sure you invest in good glue so the pictures stay on all year long.
  • Variety of magazines to look through to find those inspiring words and pictures. 
  • (Optional) Markers/stickers to write or embellish your board.
  • Patience and Creativity!

Although electronic versions such as Pinterest also work, going old-school where you physically search for and cut out imagery and words from a magazine and decide where to place them is in itself an opportunity to reflect and plan via a very tangible exercise.

What is your goal setting process?

Happy New Year!




Reasons for Being Grateful

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Artisan Creative is celebrating 20 years in staffing and recruitment and over the years we have learned a thing or two that we'd like to share with you.

 

This is the time of the year to reflect on the past year and look forward to new opportunities and adventures ahead.

As Shawn Achor states in his popular Ted Talk and best-selling book “The Happiness Advantage” one of the ways to create happiness and positive mental change is to express gratitude on a daily basis.

Here at Artisan Creative, we are grateful for so many things and wanted to share a few with you.

We are:

  • Grateful to celebrate 20 years of creative staffing & recruitment.
  • Grateful for the incredible, dynamic a.team. Always giving, always striving to be at their best.
  • Grateful for our amazing talent who continuously push the creative envelope.
  • Grateful for our long lasting client relationships and for the opportunity to help grow their teams.
  • Grateful for our furry 4-legged friends who keep us company at work.
  • Grateful for the opportunity to write the 400th issue of our weekly a.blog today.

Below are additional gratitudes from our a. team:

Laura
  • Grateful for my family and their health, support and love.
  • Grateful to work for a company I love.
  • Grateful that I get to spend every day with my husband.

Stephanie

Grateful that I live in Los Angeles. I'm grateful for my health, home, and to have worked with a great company for 10 years.

Margaret

Thankful for my family and friends, my wonderful husband and my "a" recruiting team who comes ready to work every day and is so dedicated.

Jen

  • Grateful for a supportive and passionate team that pushes me to my full potential every day.
  • Grateful for the ability to work from home.
  • Grateful for my husband who caters to my every pregnancy craving and mood swing.

Regina

I'm so grateful for my job! I am so happy every day.

Ana

I am grateful for my family that supports each other through thick and thin, for my long time friends that are like extended family, for my employers that provide an environment to live a balanced life and for my excellent health!

Cammy
  • I am thankful for the privilege of becoming a new aunt to my amazing nephew.
  • Also my family, everyone's health, and good food!

Jamie

  • Working with a dynamic and committed team on a daily basis for over 20 years.
  • The opportunity to learn something new every day.
  • Simplicity in life and communication.

Katty

  • Grateful for the amazing a. team.
  • Grateful for family, friends, health and love.
  • Grateful to learn and grow every day.

What are you thankful for this holiday season?

 

 





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.


How to Network on LinkedIn

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

networking-linkedin

In terms of networking for business, LinkedIn is the clear winner. Whether you want to recruit talent, grow your personal brand, explore interesting content, or find job opportunities for yourself, LinkedIn enables you to build a powerful network of professionals. However, you have to know how to network in order to make the most of it. Here are some tried and true best practices for growing -- and keeping -- your LinkedIn network healthy and happy.

Treat your profile like a snapshot of your professional life. This is your first LinkedIn impression, make it a good one!  Add relevant and current job information. Post an appropriate profile image. Much like your resume, portfolio, or social media accounts, use it to put your best foot forward.

Get people to recommend you! The best people to endorse you are those that have actually worked with you. They’ll be able to speak about your skills and experience in glowing terms and with specificity that can’t be matched by tenuous LinkedIn connections.

Recommend others! Writing valid and relevant recommendations for other people will help you get back in touch with colleagues who you could connect with later. Besides, it’s a nice thing to do! Remember the golden rule!

Ask for connections from people you know. Former colleagues, old friends, and new acquaintances all build towards a great network. However asking for connections from strangers won’t help much. If you don’t know them, explain why they should want to connect with you with a personal message crafted just for them instead of a standard one.

Be part of groups -- but choose carefully. Being part of a LinkedIn group can help you join up with other professionals in your area, or connect with others in your business. Pick groups that are most relevant to your interest, and stay active by posting introspective responses to interesting discussions. Leave the ones that don’t lead anywhere or aren’t fulfilling.

Contribute to more than yourself. Starting a discussion or posting a link should give value to your profile, your groups, and the community at large. You want to relate to and identify with your network. Don’t just use LinkedIn for self promotional purposes.

Relationships, including online ones, take time to develop. If you want to become closer with someone via LinkedIn, then invest time. Setup a professional meetup to talk shop, or find out what common ground you have based on your profiles. What can you offer these connections? How can they reciprocate?

Are you following Artisan Creative on LinkedIn? Get the latest job updates, exclusive content, and more!


Pinterest, Google Plus, and Other Social Media for Creatives

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

We’ve talked at length about crafting tweets or building your LinkedIn page. But what about other social media platforms, like Pinterest or Instagram? What do you even do with all these platforms? And will they help your career? Here’s a rundown on other forms of social media that go beyond what Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn can do:

Instagram

This app lets you post photos with comments, helping you create a curated feed of images. This is an excellent way for designers and more   to share their work, as well as share their personalities. Use Instagram to help build your client base by creating a company account.

Pinterest

Think of this as a public (or private) inspiration or vision board. Find images you want to “pin”, then create boards for them. Like Instagram, creatives can use this as a way to share what interests you visually and show off your portfolio. For instance, you could create Pinterest boards labeled “In Progress” and “Favorites”, for examples, of whatever projects you’re working on.

Google+

While this is connected to your Gmail account (if you have one), Google+ is more than just a freebie. Create circles to connect, such as a Circle of Colleagues or People You Worked With in the Past. As a creative, you can use Google+ to link to your website, blogs, or portfolio, along with links to interesting content you come across that’s relevant to your work.

YouTube

If you consider yourself an expert in your field, it might behoove you to make short videos about your work. Or, if you work for an agency, you can use YouTube to create videos about your expertise or previous clients (if they’ll allow it).

Vine

Given its parameter of six seconds, Vine might seem limiting. However, people can get extremely creative in six seconds! Creatives might find Vine useful if they’re particularly drawn to video versus static imagery. For example, you could use Vine to show the process of creating a logo design, or connect with followers by showing six seconds of your day.

Periscope

This app lets you live video stream whatever is happening around you. Start a live stream and get people to ask you questions about your work, show off finished products, or go to the public to get ideas!

Slideshare

Although this platform is connect to LinkedIn now, it’s an ideal way to showcase your portfolio and link it to your profile. Slideshare has its own user database who can follow, like and comment on your work.

What social media channels do you use to connect and engage with others while highlighting your work?

Do stay connected with Artisan Creative on our social channels!  Visit us on Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Slideshare, Google+ and Pinterest.


5 Ways You Can Manage Your Personal Brand

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

managing-personal-brand

As a freelancer or entrepreneur, you are a brand. That means you have an identity, a mission, and a product -- your skill set! Branding is only successful when it reflects consistency, so you must maintain yours across all online platforms. Here are five ways to manage your personal brand:

1. Website: This is an entire site dedicated to one thing -- you. Make your brand count. Set up a blog and write about your creative endeavors, whether they are successes or challenges. Show off your best work, and update it frequently. Let people get to know you or your company better with an extensive About page, and make it simple for them to contact you.

2. Social Media: Set up a Facebook Page for yourself as a business, as well as a Twitter page and LinkedIn page for networking. Then keep using them! Populate all your social media with content as often as you can. Consider social media schedulers like HootSuite if you find you’re too busy to tweet. Use Namechk to find out whether your username is registered across multiple social media sites. Register your name on sites you don’t plan to use just in case those platforms suddenly make sense for you to use or become popular very quickly.

3. Logo/Image: If you have a company or brand name, use the logo as the image in your social media profiles. For those who freelance, using a professional photo of yourself is a great way to represent your brand. Remember, consistency is key -- use the same photo across your website, online portfolio, and all social media platforms.

4. Mission and values: Every inch of bio space can be an opportunity to spread your mission statement. Who are you, what are you enthusiastic about, and why do you do what you do? If you’re a designer, now is your chance to briefly showcase your personality and passion for design. Again, keep that statement consistent.

5. Creative online outlets: Are you a copywriting maven? Blog about it. Are you an expert in your field? Create how-to videos on YouTube and share your knowledge with the world. Do you have a side business crafting a homemade product? Pinterest might be a place for you to become active. Or let people into your creative process via Periscope. Don’t be limited to a website and a few tweets. Create personal brand leverage by figuring out who you want to speak to the most, and which online platforms will allow you to reach that audience.

One final note: be sure to provide links to your pages, profiles, and portfolio wherever you can! Create an email signature, print up business cards with your website, and include them on your resume. The goal is to make it as easy as possible for people to find out who are you and what you do. That way, they’re more likely to contact you for work!

By becoming comfortable with creating an online presence, highlighting what you believe in, and developing a “voice”, you’ll help help broaden your networking opportunities among acquaintances, ex-colleagues, and future employers. Establish yourself as an expert, and then manage that expert brand on a regular basis!


Using LinkedIn to Find Your Dream Job

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Despite how much LinkedIn can help people find jobs, many people don’t necessarily think to start there. In fact, people may not even think about joining LinkedIn in the first place. The fact is that it’s one of your greatest assets not just in searching for new roles, but also in connecting with prospective employers. Whether you’re a freelancer or a full-time employee, LinkedIn is crucial for building past, current, and future relationships that can lead to work.

While you’re busy applying to jobs directly on your own or looking for work with Artisan Creative, LinkedIn can help empower your job search, reenergize your resume, reconnect with old colleagues, network, and more! Here are just a few ways you can use LinkedIn to enhance your chances to land that perfect role:

  • You help create or contribute to a personal brand. Your LinkedIn profile is part of your brand, just like other social media profiles. Don’t just include past employment or accomplishments. Showcase who you are and what you can do, as well as what you love doing.
  • You can make your research more efficient. If you’re asked to come in for an interview, LinkedIn will help you connect with the hiring manager and find interesting things only you two have in common. It also helps you get a sense for the company’s culture and who they are likely to hire.
  • You can build credibility. Join a members-only or open group and ask questions. Find out what people in your industry are talking about and become an influencer by providing insight. Interact with groups to display your expertise in a certain field. Comment and start discussions that let employers know you’re actively curious and looking to expand and/or share your knowledge base.
  • You can make new introductions. Grow your list of connections and monitor target companies or positions. However, remember that LinkedIn is a place to network with people you know from your work or personal life -- focus on high quality connections with people you actually know in real life, not just a high number of connections of strangers. Make those connections introduce you to new ones, and continue the networking party online or in person.
  • You can make a good impression before meeting anyone. Choose a profile picture that’s professional but personal. Make sure to update it regularly with recent educational advances like a class you took over the summer, volunteering work you do on the weekends, or personal achievements like running in a marathon or visiting Japan for the first time. Request recommendations from colleagues you’ve worked with in the past to help you get started.
Have you used LinkedIn to help you find out a job before? Tell us about your experience!


Summer Homework: Updating Your Resume, Profile and Portfolio

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Can you feel the heat? Summer is here, and while you might be daydreaming about an upcoming vacation to the beach or barbecue blowout, now is the perfect to get to work. The downtime many companies go through in the summer means the next couple of months are ideal for updating your resume, online profiles, and creative portfolios. This way, you’ll be ready in the fall when companies pick up the hiring pace!

Reviewing Goals

We tend to think of the beginning of the year as the time to establish new goals. If you set the bar high this year, now is a great time to review those targets. Have you received any industry awards? Accomplished an impressive task? Were there any setbacks earlier this year that prevented you from reaching those goals? Look at the positive (achievements you can be proud of) and what can be improved upon for the rest of the year (new goals from now through next New Year’s). Think both short-term, like taking an online course, and long-term, such as rising in ranks from coordinator to managerial levels.

Update Your Resume

If you’re a freelancer, you may have picked up a few exciting projects this year. Keep it clean and professional, including all important industry and vertical job experience, job titles, responsibilities, and years of experience. State clearly whether a job was freelance or not, since many small jobs with short lengths of employment time can be considered a red flag for employers. Edit and spell check. Don’t get bogged down by buzzwords, but use action words and call attention to your professional successes. And although it’s separate, it’s related -- make sure your references are still good and up to date.

Finesse Your Online Profile

Much like your resume, it’s likely there are jobs to add on LinkedIn or achievements you can list. Is your photo from several years ago? Take a new one or find a more recent one and replace it. Don’t forget to edit and proofread here as well! Ask colleagues for recommendations and join virtual networking groups. Moreover, use LinkedIn as an opportunity to stamp your personal brand. Endorse people you’ve worked with you admire, and personalize invitations to expand your network.

Improve Your Portfolio

What projects did you take on within the last year? Are those reflected in your creative portfolio? Go through the old and new and clean it up. Lead with the work you are most proud of, and take out anything that’s over five years old. Add your writing samples, social media campaigns, graphic design work, advertising logos in high res, quality images, and so on to LinkedIn, CreativeHotList, Behance, or your personal website. You’ve worked hard, so make sure these valuable projects are highlighted!

Of course, you can still enjoy summer while you’re cleaning up your professional resources. Take your laptop to Santa Monica and enjoy the sunshine while you type. Balance play with this much needed work, and your rejuvenating summer will lead to an even more productive fall.



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