Artisan Blog

7 Ways to Create an Outstanding Creative Portfolio Online

Wednesday, June 29, 2016



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.


Personal Branding: How to Rebrand Yourself and Your Career

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Personal Branding: How to Rebrand Yourself and Your Career

 

We often hear the phrase “personal brand” being used-- but do each of us need one? And if we do, how do we go about getting one? We recently chatted with Nina who has rebranded herself in order to transition from the corporate world to the creative one and it got us thinking --what are the benefits and what should we be doing to foster our personal brand?

When thinking about your personal brand and how you want to present yourself, both online and offline you need to first think of a broad picture, and then narrow it down to the specifics.  As Nina discussed with us, you need to think about your vision, where do you want to be in the future?

“I took the time to do some deep exploration and to inquire into some important questions.  What made me happy?  What was I passionate about?  What was I good at?  When I was I most inspired in my career?  What was my purpose? What were the common themes, and patterns in the direction of my own career?  What was I known for?  How did I want to be known?  Who was my audience and where did I provide them value?”

Before you embark on your journey of personal branding, here are a few tips to get you started.

Vision

What are your goals and passions in life? What can you do as a brand do to build a future for you and your prospective employers, jobs or clients? If your niche is working for startups and your passion is tech, and you also love vegan food, build your brand around that. Add value for others who share the same passions. You need a hook that will make you memorable, so you can become the tech guy who works for startups and the go-to guy to ask about vegan food.

Marketing

What do you need to market a brand? A website, social pages, advertising, perhaps some copy are usually commonplace.  A personal website is a great way for people to get to know you, especially if you have a portfolio of work to show. How can your business cards stand out at a networking event? We work in the creative space, so it's all in the details.

Consistency is needed across your social media profiles. We suggest using the same profile photo on each platform to be easily distinguished.  Podcasts and blogs can be a fun and smart way to meet thought-leaders in your space as guests or interviewees. Your digital footprint is a hard one to erase so the content you are putting out into the world should be respectful, educational and entertaining. We love sites like Buffer and Feedly to assist with automating content.  

Audience

Who are your audience and what can you do for them? Ask questions, get to know them and invite them to share their thoughts on your niche subjects. This is the fun part of personal branding as you get to know your followers and make friends. Think about how to add value. What do they want to know? What are their interests?

How did you build your own personal brand? Do you think they are a necessity when job searching?

 

 


Artisan Spotlight: Amazing Talent - Nina

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Artisan Spotlight: Amazing Talent - Nina

“To thrive in 21st century business we need to be willing to shed our own skin, think more creatively and strategically, be collaborative and reinvent ourselves to change with the times.”

Artisan Spotlight is a new monthly feature dedicated to the amazing talent we work with. This is an opportunity for you, the talent, to share your career experiences and impart your knowledge and advice to others. Want to be featured here? Get in touch!

This month we spoke to Nina. We met Nina back in late 2013 at a networking event and have worked with her ever since. Nina works in Brand, Digital and Marketing Communications Strategy and specializes in strategically building brands to engage their audiences, start movements and increase their revenue and growth.

Why did you decide to shift from corporate to creative?

I started to observe and experience patterns in the corporate world, both when I was an employee and as a consultant. One being that all of the innovation, strategy and ideas, and creative thinking and design were being outsourced to creative firms and agencies and not coming from inside the organization (nor was it being asked of the internal teams).  There was also a pattern of downsizing the internal teams and those who were left were being tasked to function as project managers vs. strategic thinkers. 

I’m a visionary, strategist and creative thinker and while I was hired into companies for those talents, I found myself being pigeon-holed into being solely a project manager and becoming less valued for what I actually provided. I thrive in creative environments where I can invent and discover new and innovative ways to communicate and reach audiences. I found myself withering on the vine and becoming less engaged and enlivened by my career and utterly uninspired.

Some deep self-exploration had me start to identify these things and create a new vision for my career and the experience I was looking for.  Based on what I identified as important and my own personality and skill set; tech-start ups and creative agencies became the playground I was interested in playing in.  Their approach to business and creative problem solving is more aligned with mine.  I’ve discovered that I’m really a creative who knows business.

What were your biggest challenges during this time?

Shifting my own mindset

I had to stop thinking like a corporate person to create solutions and strategy and start thinking like someone in a small growing business and what their challenges might be and how they might approach creating a Brand/Marketing Communications strategy and execute it with smaller resources.  I also had to set aside what I “already thought I knew” to step into the unknown and be willing to relearn and upgrade my own operating system.   Disrupting one’s belief system and mindset takes something…and is probably the most important step in making a career change.

Saying No to what I didn’t want

The only work that was coming my way at first was corporate work and I knew that to truly make that shift, I had to close the door on my corporate life.  I started saying no to corporate opportunities. Which was very scary because that was the only income I had known and I was turning down work.  For a short time, no work was coming my way. 

Not giving up

I questioned my choices, particularly when I saw the drop in income…or at times no income.  But I knew that I had to follow my heart or I’d continue to live an uninspired life where my career was concerned.

How do the corporate and creative worlds differ?

The biggest difference that I see is that the creative world has the ability to be more agile and nimble.  There is a perspective of “let’s try this and maybe we’ll be wrong and fail, but let’s try and see what we learn, then we can reinvent.”  I’m also finding that in the creative and start-up worlds there is a 21st century approach to doing business that is collaborative, transparent and open to exploring partnership opportunities, even with companies and products that might be considered competitors.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to move into creative?

Be willing to completely reinvent yourself

Start from within. Study, learn, set aside what you know for awhile to learn something new…step outside of your own box…you can then incorporate what you already know into what you are learning.  Learn as much as you can, network and meet as many people as you can in the area you want to move into.

Surrender your ego over to your vision

Be willing to take a lesser position, less income or take a career step back to move into a new direction. Be willing to learn something new and have a beginner’s mind, no matter how experienced you are.  I have a friend who did that in his own career.  He’s now the CEO of the company he “took a step back” to join.

Don’t get discouraged

Keep the faith. Believe in your self. Keep moving forward and you will get there.


What's next for you?

I’m interested in moving away from consulting and creating a full time opportunity with a start-up or creative firm located on the West side.  I’d really like to make the investment and work with one company that is in a growth mode and help them fulfill on their vision. 

"Believe in yourself, keep moving forward and close the door behind you and take consistent action towards you vision, you will get to where you are going."

 

 If you are interested in booking Nina for an assignment, get in touch.

 


Networking: How to Navigate Networking Events with Ease

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Networking: How to Navigate Networking Events with Ease

We’ve all been there; standing at the side of an event hoping someone will strike up a conversation with us. Perhaps you’re the person hovering around the coffee machine or waiting outside until the very last moment? Networking events can be daunting, but they can also be a great way to challenge you to become an even better version of who you are now.

 Think of it this way, everyone is attending a networking event for the same reason; they’re looking to gain something. People are there to make connections, to chit chat about work and maybe a sales pitch here and there about you or your business. If you are attending these events and not putting anything into them, you’re not going to get anything back.  By making the first move and approaching people, it will not only put other people at ease, it will also help you to stand out.

“Everyone is already engaged in conversation, I don’t know where to begin.”

Walk around the room with your head held high and if anyone makes eye contact, be sure to acknowledge them with a smile or a hello. If people are stood in circles and already engaged in conversation, don’t push your way in. If you can enter a conversation without having to ask anyone to move, join them, listen and simply ask a question to the person speaking about their thoughts on the topic. It shows you have an interest in what they have to say and helps to keep the conversation flowing.

“I’m not good at making small talk. I don’t know what to talk about.”

Approaching someone at a networking event and asking “How are you?” is a frequent conversation starter but it can be a conversation killer, too. If like most of us, you often respond with “Yes, I’m great. How are you?” the conversation won’t really lead anywhere. However, what if you were to ask “How was your week?” instead? The possibilities for a conversation can lead anywhere at this point. You find out more information about them and what they do, plus it gives you an opportunity to ask more questions.

“I never hear back from anyone I meet.”

When you get back from a networking event, send thank you emails to everyone you met. You don’t need a sales pitch or any superfluous speech. Simply let them know you had a great time meeting them and that they can reach out to you if they ever need any help. Keep it short and sweet. If you want to keep a dialogue going, try sending a follow up email a few weeks later. It can be something as simple as “Hey, I just read this article and thought it was a great conclusion to our conversation at the event.”

“I try to speak to so many people at these events, I leave feeling overwhelmed.”

Keep in mind that quality over quantity is always the best solution with networking events. You don’t need to talk to everyone in the room. Go to the event with a goal in mind. Maybe you want to leave with 5 business cards or give out 10 of your own? It can be something as simple as holding conversations with 3 different people. Whatever your goal is, work towards it. If you are tied into a conversation and you’re missing out on your goal of chatting with others, politely excuse yourself and ask to continue the conversation on email.

Networking doesn’t come easy to everyone. The key things to remember are to ask questions, listen and look for ways to help people. What are your experiences with networking events? Share your thoughts in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you.

 

Laura Pell - Recruiter at Artisan Creative


Resume Buzzwords: Are You Really a Dynamic Team Player?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Resume Buzzwords: Are You Really a Dynamic Team Player?

A resume takes time to write. It should be well-crafted and every detail and word scrutinized and then proofread before sending out into the world. A tiny error can be the difference between getting an interview and getting rejected. As recruiters, we read hundreds of resumes each week. So how do you set yourself apart from the rest of the pack? Generic buzzwords can fill up space but they don’t really say a lot about you.

 

Take a look through LinkedIn’s most overused buzzwords. Are some of these on your resume or LinkedIn profile? If the answer is yes, it’s time for a refresh. There are also resume writing services such as our friends at JobJenny.com who are one of the best in the business for resume writing and also offer one-on-one sessions to get your resume in tip top shape.

Things to Avoid

You may actually be “a motivated and dynamic team player” but it really doesn’t explain how motivated and dynamic you really are. In fact, it doesn’t really tell us much at all. Stay away from job-seeking clichés. If you find you’re having to bulk up your resume, you need to re-think your resume strategy. Are you currently using any of these words?
-Dynamic
-Expert
-Extensive experience
-Motivated
-Passionate
-Team Player

 

What Should I Use Instead of Buzzwords?
Don’t be afraid to show personality, we are in the creative industry, after all. As recruiters we want to hear about your favorite projects or your most exciting campaigns and your hobbies outside of work. Include metrics of your greatest achievements and show how motivated you really are without actually having to say it.
A few examples:
-Increased a brand’s social presence by X% within one year
-Tasked with growing a digital department which generated X amount of revenue
-Mentored junior members by doing XYZ
-Exceeded targets by X amount

 
If you want honest feedback and guidance on your resume, have a chat with one of the Artisan team who can give you some insight. We want you to look your best! Take a look at your resume; if it’s filled with superlatives and empty words, it’s time to start thinking about substantial facts and achievements to really sell yourself.

 

Laura Pell – Artisan Creative

 



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