Artisan Blog

5 Tips for Getting The Job You're Actually Qualified For

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Do you consider yourself to be a marketing manager, and yet, also a writer, but also a designer? Are you someone who juggles a dozen skills across multiple jobs? Ever heard of the phrase “jack of all trades, master of none”?

Maybe you are an excellent copy editor and graphic designer and technology manager. However, chances are you have a focus or interest in one area more than the other, i.e. an excellent copy editor who knows a few basics about graphic design who also  had to manage an IT guy once. Having a lot of skills is great, but it makes placing people in a job that suits them best difficult. Imagine being an interviewer and seeing all these skills on a resume and unclear where someone’s interest lies, when you’re really just searching for someone who’s most qualified for this position.

In creative services, having a resume that isn’t focused can hurt instead of help. Here are five ways to improve your resume and the chance that you’ll be offered the opportunity:

1. Narrow down what you do best to two things. Talent managers (like the ones here at Artisan Creative) and hiring managers have to review hundreds of resumes. Make yours stand out by picking your top two areas of expertise, then highlighting them in your cover letter and resume. When you’re on the phone or in an interview, continue expanding on why you are so fantastic in these two specific areas of expertise.

2. Deliver your message consistently. Don’t change what you do halfway through. In your message to potential employers, keep hammering in those two things you do well. If a particular position doesn’t quite suit you, it’s fine. You’ll find the right one, and you’ll ace the interview and get the job because it’s a job that fits.

3. Be memorable. You want your resume and cover letter to call attention to your proficiency in a couple of areas. If you list yourself as someone who knows something vague (marketing) or as someone who does too much (marketing guru meets social media and website analyst by way of dog trainer), you’re of less value than someone who lists accomplishments related to one area (develops brand campaigns for Twitter).

4. Know what you want. Do you actually want a job proofreading? Would you rather be a content writer? Look for work you want, not work you could have. It’ll save both you and employers wasted time. Focus on the job you’d love to have, then take actionable steps to get yourself there, like taking a class or crafting portfolio samples.

5. Expand your skill set with other skills that go together. Certain skills are not mutually exclusive. Telling a hiring manager that you’re a graphic artist and account manager may be hard for them to determine a place for you, but learning how to blog helps improve your writing resume. Learn Maya and After Effects. Understand broadcast producing and agency producing. Know what it takes to be a communications manager as well as a public relations manager.

Take a look at your work history. What do you do best? Do your resume and portfolio exhibit the best of your personal mastery? Is there some unexplored yet related skill set you can acquire a firm knowledge of? Knowing what you’re actually qualified for is what will get you in the door!


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.


6 Things You Should Be Doing in Your Next Interview

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

6 Things You Should Be Doing in Your Next Interview

 

You’ve landed an interview, now what? Interviews can be a nerve-wrecking experience so in order to help you through your next interview, we’ve compiled a list of things you should be considering to get that job offer. Have you come up against any of these points in interviews before? How did you overcome them?

Being Prepared
Being prepared for an interview is a given, but how well do you really know the position and the company? It’s useful to make notes and bullet point any relevant information before you interview. A job interview isn’t a test so take your notes with you if it makes you feel more confident. Try to learn a few facts about the company such as a recent takeover or a statistic and reference it in your conversation.

Body Language
We can’t stress how important body language is. If you don’t believe us, watch this TED talk on power posing. Now we’re not saying you should walk in to an interview with your hands on hips and head held high, but what we are saying is that subtle language such as posture and hand movements can make all the difference between appearing shy or confident. Sit up straight, make eye contact and use open hand gestures. Avoid body language such as sitting on your hands, playing with your hair or looking around the room as it gives off the impression that you're nervous.

Having Gratitude
Gratitude can go a long way so thanking the interviewer for meeting with you and following up with a thank you note will show how interested you really are. You could be up against several candidates and if you’re the only one to follow up and thank them, you’re already ahead of the rest.

Questioning
Even if the interviewer has answered everything for you, ask another one! There’s nothing worse than being in an interview and not having any questions prepared or forgetting to ask something. Take in a list of questions and refer back to your notes when they ask you. If they truly have answered everything, at least they can see how prepared you were, but make sure you leave knowing as much as possible about the job and company. Don’t be afraid to ask several questions; just don’t take over the interview!

Standing Out
We attended a NAWBO conference earlier this year and they discussed the importance of standing out. When the speaker would take to the stage, she’d wear a hat or another item of clothing that would make her memorable. After the event, people would spot the hat and know who she was. So wearing a hat is obviously out of the question for your next interview, but how can you stand out – what is your hook? You may have a charming accent or have ran a marathon, whatever you choose as your hook, bring it up as a topic of conversation to help the interviewer remember you.

Avoiding Negativity
People tend to remember the bad points, so how do you avoid using negative language? Stay away from saying “I’m not” or “I can’t” and say phrases such as “I’m strong with” or “I can”. If you’re asked to give an example of managing a team and you’ve only had experience managing an intern, give a solution to the problem by saying “I haven’t had specific team management experience, but I have mentored and trained an intern who became a great designer. “

 

By Laura Pell - Recruiter at Artisan Creative


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


Top 10 Must Dos for Creative Freelancers

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Top 10 Must Dos for Creative Freelancers

 

As part of Artisan’s presentation at the recent SoCal UX Camp, we addressed the best ways Creative Freelancers should position themselves successfully in their field and how to best market their services to maintain a consistent pipeline of work.

  1. Design your Brand. Let your personal style guide the color palette, font treatments & images used to create your brand/logo. Utilize the same design, mission statement, service offerings & profile pictures across all print collateral & the web - including Business Cards, Portfolios, Social Media Platforms and Directory Listings/Ads.

  2. Perfect Your Portfolio. Be sure to keep work relevant & up to date, presenting your best pieces first. Work should also be well-organized with simple navigation and include a description of the project and your role.

  3. Be Specific. Focus your expertise on 1 – 2 areas only. These skills should be complimentary and stated clearing in both your resume and portfolio. Do not include irrelevant or outdated work.

  4. Become an Expert in your field. Join an online discussion, share articles, blogs or tweets, start your own blog or podcast, guest blog or write articles to industry publications – anything that will help establish your credibility and brand in your area of expertise.

  5. Fill the Downtime. Between projects is the perfect time to work on exploratory pieces for your portfolio, take a class, attend a conference, complete tutorials on new software or volunteer for an organization that can benefit from your services. All will help improve your portfolio/skillset and offer built in opportunities to network as well.

  6. Network – both in person and via social media. Create personal and/or business pages across social platforms, join social media groups and discussions, attend local business or industry events, take classes in your field and find co-working spaces

  7. Get Listed. Find Directories, Portfolio & Resume Portals as well as Local Organization Websites where you can list your work and advertise your services (often times for free!)

  8. Work with Recruiters. This expands your marketing efforts for free by enlisting teams of connected specialists who also benefit from you getting work. Recruiters also have access to opportunities that are not listed on job boards.

  9. Befriend Like-minded Creatives. By having counterparts who understand your industry, they can serve as your “team” when consultation is required, they can be partners for projects that require additional resources and be a great referrals to clients if have to say no to work.

  10. Never Stop Selling. Everyone you meet is a potential client (or knows someone who could be a client). Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with a stranger. Perfect your elevator pitch . And always be professional when conducting business in public places – because you never know who could be listening.

How is your business performing? Could you be doing something better? Do you do something in your business that we’ve forgotten on this list? Let us know!

And, if you missed our full presentation at SoCalUX Camp, check out our Top 10 recommended resources for keeping freelancers efficient, effective & excited about business.

Jessica Bedford, Marketing Manager


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


Job Search: Follow Through and Hit Your Target

Thursday, March 28, 2013

 

Getting that resume to the right person for the right role is a great start to getting a job, but it is only the beginning. Our hope is that you’ve perfected your resume—using keywords, providing tangible results of your achievements, telling your story—and have been offered an interview. Although it seems like the brass ring is almost in your grasp, don’t lose your focus now:

Before your interview:

Check your network – use LinkedIn to find out if you are connected with anyone at your target company, even if they are a second-level connection. Get in touch with relevant friends and let them know that you will be interviewing. Find out anything you can about your interviewer and the company culture.

Read their blog – You can glean a lot of information from a company blog. It can certainly give you ideas for things to ask about at your interview. The company’s “voice” is clear in this medium; give it a listen.

Check their social media – Like and Follow your target company on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. You never know what you might learn that will help in your interview or when making a decision about an offer.

Preparing for an interview is a process in itself and we have written about interview questions, research and even how to dress on our blog. 

How about afterwards?

Thank you notes – A handwritten thank you goes a long way in telling your interviewer that you appreciated her spending valuable time with you. Do not neglect this classic method of follow up.

Stay in touch – Although you have to be sure not to pester your interviewer, if you have not heard anything for a week or ten days after your interview, you can call or email for an update. Offer to provide any information they might need and wish them well in their search for the perfect fit.

Don’t forget assists – If you found people in your network who gave you information or even just sent you encouragement, thank them, too. And offer to return the favor if you are ever able.

Keep a calendar – Especially if you are applying and interviewing for a lot of roles, keep a calendar of when resumes went out, when you interviewed and reminders for following up. It’s easy for details to fall through the cracks if your search is a busy one—and we hope it is!

It would be nice if job search were a simple process, but doing it right is worth it in the end.

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
 

 


7 Tips for Your Online Writing Portfolio

Thursday, February 07, 2013

7 Tips for Your Online Writing Portfolio



Image by nkzs via stock.xchng

For copywriters, the work samples of today are often easy to find on the internet and only a click away. However, if you’re looking to secure future clients like your designer counterparts, it’s best to have an online portfolio with examples of all the different kinds of writing you have completed. 

Some may choose to use a more traditional, hosted portfolio site like Behance, Coroflot, Creative Hot List or Krop. But if you’re looking to create your own website of work, there are some important elements to consider:

  • Include an example of each kind of writing that you do—whether it is long-form articles, websites, instruction manuals, catalogue copy or blog posts, be sure to include at least one high-quality example of each genre of content that you produce.
  • Links—A list of links is not enough to be called an online writing portfolio. However, make sure you include links to other published pieces. An interested client might want to see any comments or discussion that came from your original publication.
  • A summary—If your crown jewel is a 14 page in-depth interview, a client might want an overview before diving into the whole piece.
  • Purpose—A potential client wants to know what you set out to accomplish with your piece so that they can evaluate how well you did, as well as how well you wrote it.
  • Scans of printed work—If your work was not published online, scan the printed article and post it as a PDF or image. Better yet – try to obtain the original PDF files from the designer.
  • Publication and Date—Don’t forget to give clients information about where and when your work was published. If you are able to share the client and/or agency – even better.
  • Add images—Your writing is the focus, but you are still trying to get people to read further so make your portfolio is visually as well as verbally interesting and compelling.
Although it is still a good idea to have a printed writing portfolio (or at least a collection of print and/or packaging pieces of your work), no copywriter should be without an online portfolio as well. Don’t forget to put the web address of your portfolio on your resume and business cards as well. Make it as easy as possible for clients to decide you are the best copywriter for their project.

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative


More Work? Yay!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

More Work? Yay!


If you work at a traditional job, this might not be your natural reaction when someone gives you a new project, but if you are a freelancer or an entrepreneur—or think like one—a day when you get more work is a day for smiling.

Why is more work better?

Well, to begin with the obvious, for a freelancer, more work = more money, but there is more to it than that. When you are developing your own business and a client list, every project is an opportunity to:

A busy freelancer is a happy freelancer. Probably also a tired freelancer, but the benefits of working long hours are greater than the costs.

How to get busier?
  • Stay connected—don’t let relationships with past clients lapse. Even if they don’t have a new project for you, maybe someone they know does.
  • Keep your portfolio up-to-date and easily accessible—you never know when or where someone will ask to see your work. 
  • Register with a recruiting company which places freelancers—a recruiter can help you broaden your client base, while making it easier to get paid on time.
Being a freelancer makes me happy every day: it suits my family, my temperament and my skills. And more work always makes me smile!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative



Search

Recent Posts


Tags


Archive