Artisan Blog

Tweet Your Way to a New Job Part 1: Your Feed

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tweet Your Way to a New Job Part 1: Your Feed

Social media can be a time waster or a great way to accomplish your goals. The tricks are using it thoughtfully and staying on task. You might think Twitter’s 140 characters make it less useful on a job search or that Twitter isn't really a job search site, but there are ways to make Twitter a valuable partner in your process. Here are some tips we have picked up about branding for a job search on Twitter:

Your Feed
  • Your Handle--Choose a Twitter handle that is catchy, easy to remember and clearly associated with your name or business name. Try to avoid underscores and numbers, unless a number is part of your business’s name.
  • Influencing--Those short messages can be used to show your expertise. Use Tweets to offer advice on challenges in your field.
  • Content--Use Twitter Search to find links to interesting articles or news items that apply to your field. You can become a resource for your Followers and others who search for your topics.
  • Hashtag--If you really want Hiring Managers to find you, use hashtags to attract their attention. Research the Twitter Feeds of your target companies and use the same hashtags they are using in their Tweets to come up in their searches.
  • Engage--Mention or Retweet a company that you are interested in. They will definitely have your handle in the front of their minds.
  • Ask Questions--Twitter can feel like shouting into the void, but it’s really a conversation with the world. See if you can get the world to respond.
Watch out for:

Always remember anyone can see your Tweets. Twitter is not a good place to post personal or confidential information, profanity or anything about your boss or your clients.

Tweeting too often, especially during business hours, can make you look like you’re not being very productive at your current job or you don’t have anything better to do.

My Rules of Facebook apply here, too--even in 140 characters, you can say something you wouldn’t want your grandmother or a hiring manager to see. Think before you hit that Tweet button.

In Part 2 of our series, we will give you some tips on finding great job postings on Twitter and connecting with the hiring managers who are looking for you.

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Are You Missing a Personal Branding Opportunity?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Are You Missing a Personal Branding Opportunity?

With more of us cutting the cord of our landline phones, freelancers are using their personal cell phones to take business calls, often from potential clients whose names won’t come up on the screen. Most of us were taught to answer the telephone with Hello?, but for those of us taking business calls on the same number as we take personal calls, it might be time to rethink our phone answering best practices.

What are your options?

Business name - Although it might confuse your friends for a while, they would get used to this option and your potential customers would be comfortable. A very professional choice, you will sound more like an office than a home office if you use your business name.

Your name - We hear it on TV all the time--first name or full name with no other greeting. It can feel a bit abrupt, but there is no mystery about who is speaking and that could put potential clients at ease where a more generic greeting leaves them wondering whether they’ve reached you, your assistant or your boss.

Stick with Hello - This is the most personal way to answer and arguably the warmest, but it doesn’t get your name or your business name to the front of your caller’s mind and might make them have to ask to whom they are speaking. Getting your caller comfortable quickly could be a major asset to your business.

Consistency is important if you want this level of nuance in your personal branding. If you are quick on your feet, answer one way when you know who the caller is and in a more businesslike way when you don’t or if your caller is a professional contact.. If you are more of a creature of habit, make a thoughtful choice and stick with it.

I’m going to go follow my own advice now and start answering my cell phone with “Hello, this is Wendy” and see how it goes! Let us know if you make a change and how you feel about it.

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Maximizing LinkedIn: Adding Files and Videos

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Maximizing LinkedIn: Adding Files and Videos

LinkedIn has developed into an essential social media platform for anyone in business and especially anyone who is now or will ever be on a job search. Nowhere is it easier to connect with colleagues, share business goals and perfect your personal branding.

Earlier in its life, LinkedIn was pretty simple. It offered a place to put the information on your resume and a way to build a professional network. However, LinkedIn’s features have grown and just recently in a very interesting way: the ability to add files and videos to your profile.

We have talked about the importance of having an online portfolio in previous posts, but the ease of having some work samples available at one central location, easy to find and easy to click on, cannot be overemphasized.

What files you will add to your LinkedIn profile depends on how you are marketing yourself and for what skills. 

What could you add?
  • Blog posts and other writing samples—I was very proud of my recent post about the themes from “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” so I added it to my LinkedIn Profile as a writing sample. 
  • Images—Photographers and Graphic Designers, a few pieces which show your versatility here could attract more attention to a more extensive portfolio.
  • Videos—If you are producing video content for your clients or yourself, choose an example that shows your work well and add it to your Profile. If you are a performer, add a video of yourself in a concert or theatrical setting, or a clip from a film or television episode. Video is much more compelling than just your headshot and clicks from LinkedIn are valuable.
While you are tweaking your Profile, remember to:
  • Add new roles or responsibilities at your current job.
  • List any recent volunteer opportunities.
  • Check the keywords in your Summary to be sure that you will be found in searches that will interest you.
  • Make sure the listings on your Profile are in the order you wish. LinkedIn now lets you reorder items on your Profile by preference rather than just by date. Put more relevant listings higher up.
It’s a good idea to edit your LinkedIn profile every quarter, if only to add a new accomplishment or responsibility. Don’t let your Profile get stale; make it work for you.

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Business Cards: Trash or Treasure?

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Business Cards: Trash or Treasure?

Life gets more and more paperless every day. And in most ways that’s a good thing. We archive our emails instead of printing and filing; we view attachments on the screen instead of using up expensive ink or toner. We share documents in the cloud instead of distributing paper copies before a meeting. Are business cards going to go the way of the memo?

We don’t think so. Whether you work for a company, own your own business or are a freelance entrepreneur, business cards still carry relevant information in an inexpensive and convenient format. And with a couple of 21st Century tweaks, they can be a great little marketing tool:

  • Design—Make sure the design of your business card effectively reflects your business services. Colorful or subtle, austere or complex. Think about the visual image as well as the information you present. For creative companies/individuals – the design of your business card is as important as anything you could say to a potential client. Your card should represent the type of design you prefer to deliver. Misrepresent yourself here and risk losing potential business – before you’ve even connected.
  • Email—Of course you will include your email address on your card, but if you are a freelancer, you might want to consider obtaining a more businesslike alias than your personal email address. Find out if your email service will let you have more than one. You can have it automatically forward to your regular Inbox and not miss a message.
  • Portfolio—Don’t forget the URL of your online portfolio or website
  • Social Media—If you are marketing your services on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or another platform, include your contact information on your card. You never know where someone you only met for a moment might look to find out more about you. Make it easy.
  • QR Codes—The latest trend seems to be putting a QR code which leads to your portfolio or website as well as the URLs on your card. People with smartphones can get all the information they need with just a moment’s scan. 
Without business cards, the people you meet will have to remember your name to look you up later. Will they or won’t they? Don’t take a chance. Business cards will be around for a long time and for good reason.

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Creativity in Wonderland: Tips from Lewis Carroll

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Creativity in Wonderland: Tips from Lewis Carroll

Image by spammyh via stock.xchng

We hope your workplace isn’t like the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, but when you are having trouble with a creative block, Lewis Carroll's famous tale may have some good advice for you:

  • “Why is a raven like a writing desk?” Of course, it turned out there was no answer to this riddle, but setting yourself a nonsense question to ponder can get your mind out of a rut and into a more creative place.
  • “Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop.” There’s a lot to be said for doing something—anything—to get your process started. Finishing has a lot to be said for it, too. Remember your first draft doesn’t have to be good; it’s always easier to edit than to write the first draft.
  • “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?" "That depends a good deal on where you want to get to." Setting short-term goals, even just for the next hour or two, can break your project up into manageable pieces that are easy to complete.
  • “Yes, that's it! It's always tea time.” Take breaks. Counterintuitive as they seem, even fifteen or twenty minutes of doing something different can give you a great idea of what to do next.
  • “It was much pleasanter at home." A change of scene can do you a world of good, especially if your office walls are closing in. If you have the option, go work outside, at a coffee shop or even in your living room.
“If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there.” It will, if you let your mind and your body make a new path.

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

5 Ways to Create a Standout Online Portfolio

Thursday, March 21, 2013

5 Ways to Create a Standout Online Portfolio

Photo Credit: DzineBlog

Every Creative knows that the interview process for them is unique. While the resume is still important to potential employers to see where creative talent has been and what they’ve been doing, the work produced is what matters most.

Whether you’re a designer, developer, copywriter or producer, employers expect to see an online portfolio of work that emulates what they are trying to create.

Sadly, many creatives fail to follow these simple steps to improve their portfolios, thereby decreasing their chances of success in the freelance or direct hire job market:

  • Keep work relevant - Portfolios could be a unique URL of work or a collection of work on one of the many portfolio sites. In either case – the work presented should always be fresh, current and up to date. Outdated work is the quickest way to be overlooked for a potential job. Update it regularly. Our recruiters recommend at least every three months.

  • Less is more – Remember to make the work the hero of your portfolio or site. Keep design clean, interface simple and navigation to as few clicks as possible.
    • Don’t include every piece of work you’ve ever done - Only include those of which you are most proud or that represent the work you want to be doing most. This might mean including screenshots of short-lived projects and even conceptual or personal work that was never produced.
    • Mention that additional samples of work are available upon request – A PDF of targeted samples can sometimes be more effective for some clients. Be sure to list the other industries or media across which you have worked.

  • Organize your work – Depending on the nature of your work, find a way to display it most effectively. Should the work be categorized by industry, media type, client or project? Whatever you decide, don’t forget to provide a short description that explains the company/agency for whom you worked, the client’s objectives for the project, your role on the piece and (if applicable) the software utilized.

  • Introduce yourself – While including your resume or past job experience is a must, be sure to also include a bio that explains who you are, your creative process and even some personal trivia. Let your personality shine.

  • Broadcast your brand - A portfolio of work is part of a creative’s personal brand. Make sure everyone can find your site easily. Include your URL on your resume and LinkedIn profile. If creating your own site – make sharing easy so people can easily follow your Twitter feed or blog. You might also consider a “Contact” form for potential employers to inquire about work.

Want to get a recruiter’s perspective of your portfolio? Send us your portfolio here. One of our recruiters will get back to you soon with feedback.

Jessica Bedford
, Account Manager


Personal Branding: Facebook

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Personal Branding: Facebook

Facebook seemed to have been created to allow us to reconnect with old friends, to help us remember birthdays and sometimes even to shout into the void when we feel the need to express ourselves. However, the longer Facebook is around, the more it changes and the more it becomes a marketing tool for companies, brands and people. Are you using Facebook to your best advantage for marketing your personal brand?

Although Facebook allows you to have both a personal profile and a business-person page, since they changed to the Timeline format, strangers have been able to see your cover photo and anything you publish publicly by searching for you. You may not need a page as well as a Timeline if you are being thoughtful about what you post and what is in your Profile:
  • About You—Be sure to include a link to your Business Page (if you have one) as well as your website or other social media accounts and your online portfolio in the About section of your Profile. Make sure if a business contact finds your Timeline first, they can easily access your business information.
  • Privacy Settings—No one’s friends are always perfect and you can’t control what they post, so set your privacy so that your Friends List is visible only to you.
  • Business List—If you want to be Facebook Friends with professional connections, make a custom list of your business contacts so that you can limit the privacy of your posts. You can create a Custom privacy setting so that your default audience is only your personal friends, but not your business contacts unless you specifically include them.
  • Always Check your Audience—If you do post to different lists at different times, it’s easy to forget that Facebook remembers your last post and uses those settings again next time. If you posted something publicly on Tuesday night, your post on Wednesday morning will be public, too, unless you change it. Best practice: post to your custom list every time. After you have posted, change the audience to Public or Friends if you want your post to reach more people. That way Facebook does not forget your custom settings and you do not have to recreate them later and save yourself some time.
  • Don’t Be Blank—Since you are searchable, take a moment to post something publicly every so often, once or twice a week, so that even strangers will find something valuable about you if they look. Links to work samples are a great example.
It is just a fact of life that people you meet in either a personal or a business setting are going to look you up on social media. Make sure they are finding the person you want them to find.

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

When Being Disruptive Is a Good Thing

Thursday, January 17, 2013

When Being Disruptive Is a Good Thing

The dictionary defines “disruptive” as tumultuous, chaotic, troublesome, or unruly. None of these words sound too good in a job search or work context. But in business, being disruptive is taking on a whole new meaning:

Disruptive Marketing

Sometimes criticized for being more like spam or unwelcome communications, disruptive marketing at its best is marketing that is so different from what came before that it takes over for it. We can understand why this might be troublesome to those who are more traditional marketers, but creatives are outside-the-box thinkers and when given the opportunity to come up with a new way of doing things, they may very well come up with something that disrupts tradition in a good way.

Disruptive Innovation

Great developers and designers are practicing disruptive innovation—creating something new that replaces the previous technology. When we pick up a new app or tool, soon we wonder how we ever lived without it. Talented creatives are thinking of new ways to perform familiar tasks every day.

Disruptive Job Search

No one looking for a new role wants to be “unruly”, but what if you think of “disruptive” as “unexpected” instead? Most candidates are trying to match the keywords on their resumes and skillsets as closely to a job description as possible. But every candidate is also unique, with unique qualities and value they bring to a company. 

If your job search has continued for longer than you’d hoped, it might be time to try something new, displace your old way of doing things, take a chance on a new story in your next interview or showcase something unexpected about what you bring to the table. You might even disrupt your search by landing an amazing job!

Let us know what works for you!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Branding for 2013

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Branding for 2013

Whether one of your New Year's resolutions is to get a new job or learn a new skill--or even pick up a new hobby--now's the time to get yourself in gear. One of the best things you can do if you are a creative starting a new job search or continuing an ongoing job search is revising your online brand.

On LinkedIn

  • Remember all those people you got back in touch with over the holidays? Invite them to join your LinkedIn network. Be sure to personalize the invitations, including a reminder of where you met or your recent conversation.
  • Add 2012 accomplishments to your Profile. Your description of yourself may not be as perfect now as it was last year, so go ahead and tweak it for right here, right now.
  • Give some endorsements. The people already in your network are talented professionals that you trust or they wouldn't be there. The new Endorsements feature in LinkedIn lets you give them some support without having to write a recommendation note.

On Social Media

  • If you have a Business Page on Facebook, take a look at the postings and descriptions. Make sure they are current and reflect your brand as it is today. 
  • Evaluate how frequently you are posting. If you are neglecting your Page a bit, put a reminder in your calendar to post once or twice a week. If you are posting a lot, makes sure all of your content is high quality and relevant.

Your Online Portfolio

  • If you are a busy freelancer, your online portfolio is working for you. Don't neglect to add new projects from the past year. You might tell a better story in a meeting with a potential client about something recent, that you are still excited about, than a project from a couple of years back. Put some new material in your portfolio to prime your interviewer with good questions that make for great storytelling opportunities.

At Artisan, we hope that 2013 is a banner year for you in all of your professional and personal endeavors!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Enough About You, What Can You Do for Me?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Enough About You, What Can You Do for Me?

Utilizing your network of friends and associates to assist in your job search, is nothing new. The relationships you have built in these areas are extremely valuable, offering a number of new contacts and warm referrals just a degree away.

However, whenever you are networking for new opportunities, there is some etiquette to keep in mind to ensure your relationships last:

  • Keep in touch without asking for anything—You don’t want the people in your network to think you only contact them when you need something. Make regular contact with your network just to chat or catch-up.
  • Be clear—Make sure the people in your network know what you’re doing and what help you’re looking for. General requests without specific information make it hard for even those with the best intentions to be of real assistance.
  • Don’t be pushy—Your friend might work on the same floor as the company executive with whom you’d love to meet. Rather than asking the friend to introduce you, talk to him about how interested you are in the company and hope he suggests it himself. 
  • Get professional recommendations—Ask people you have worked with for endorsements. Better yet, endorse one of your professional contacts on LinkedIn and hope they return the favor. These written references could be all the proof a potential employer needs to make the hire.
Networking can be fun - if you remember that it is, at heart, an effort in building relationships. Have genuine interactions and you will garner genuine advantages.

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative


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