Artisan Blog

Pinterest for Creatives

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Pinterest for Creatives


I keep reading about Pinterest and so, of course, I started wondering…

Should I join?
What do I do with it?
Will it help me with anything or just be another social platform?

So I started my boards and took a look around, but found myself still a bit puzzled.

Pinterest is basically a photo sharing platform. A place to “pin” images of things you like and are interested in. You can put a button in your browser’s toolbar that will put almost any image you see online on one of your pinboards, with the opportunity to make a comment on it. These could be your own images or those of others that you see when you are browsing. You don’t have to download and upload as you do on other platforms.

Pinterest is definitely great for businesses that sell products. They can add a “Pin It” button to images of their offerings and customers can add those things to their pinboards, which will be seen by everyone who is following them. That’s a lot of free advertising!

Pinterest is also good for service businesses which use a portfolio of work to increase their client base. Web design companies can certainly benefit from having a pinboard of their work available here.

For the same reason, Pinterest may be a good platform for freelancers and entrepreneurs. You can pin your latest work from all different sources into one board and use that as your online portfolio site. Web and graphic designers, photographers, and artists especially will benefit from having pinboards of their work available on this platform. You can also find other people on Pinterest with similar interests that you might want to connect with. Some people are also pinning their resumes, especially the new infographic styles.

Why might Pinterest be better than other photo sharing sites? In my opinion, the advantage lies in the board concept itself. Rather than looking one at a time at photos on Flickr, or a giant page of uncategorized photos, pinboards are collections of related items. Someone who is checking out your design aesthetic can get a good overview of your logos, for example, with one click. And knowing who else likes the same thing you like might be an excellent bit of information.

I’m still a newbie at Pinterest and have been pinning mostly knitting patterns so far. I would love to hear what you think of Pinterest and if you’ve thought of any great uses for creatives, so please let me know in the comments! And if you need an invitation, email me!

Wendy Stackhouse
, Consultant for Artisan Creative

The Creative Interview

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Creative Interview

Most of us have interviewed for many different roles in our working lives, from our first summer job in high school (where they needed to know if we could mop floors) to interviews hours of testing to prove our skillsets were as solid as our resumes claimed. 

We’ve talked a lot on our blog about how to prepare for a typical interview - and even for a more atypical one - but we’ve never talked about how a creative interview differs from a more general one. Nor have we really talked about what creative recruiters are looking for versus their counterparts in another field.

I asked the recruiters at Artisan: "How do you think 'creative' interviews differ from 'regular' job interviews?"

The answers were pretty consistent.

  • The portfolio is the number one factor during a creative interview. Whether the interviewer has already seen work samples via a website or a PDF, the design aesthetic and body of work are always the most important consideration.  However, further explanation of that work is always required.  Talent must be prepared to explain their portfolio fully.

    "Creatives must be able to walk us through their work, their involvement in producing that work, their challenges, their inspiration and the effectiveness the work had," said Account Manager, Jess Bedford.  "The finished work is only part of the whole creative process.  Understanding how creatives work through that process, helps us better qualify talent for culture and team fit." 

  • Creative rapport is essential.  As is often the case, initial interviews may not always be held with like-minded or department-based interviewers.  HR, for instance, may not understand the full creative processes as well as a Creative Director.  Therefore, establishing an interviewer's level of understanding for one's creative specialty is essential.  Do it up front, too.  Therefore, when one gets to the portfolio review, you know which work will illustrate something relevant to their needs / interest, and how in depth your review should be.

  • Past resume experience is not always the key factor.  What's more important than the clients you've worked for is being able to demonstrate, through both paid and/or spec work, a keen eye for design and the ability to push the creative envelope.

    "For so many of our clients - the resume is second to the creative work," said Carol Conforti, Sr Account Manager and Recruiter.  "Many creatives make the mistake of only including work that's been paid for and/or approved.  Some of the best portfolios I've seen include both finished work and the other concepts that the clients didn't use.  Many even have concepts designers have 'played with' in their free time."

What I take most from these answers (thanks, recruiters!) is how essential a portfolio is to the creative interview.  And being able to review that portfolio effectively is just as important! 

But that's only part of it.  Research, once again, turns out to be really helpful as well. Whatever you can find out before the interview about the company, about the job responsibilities, even about the background of the interviewer or their client, will help you present your portfolio in the very best light possible.

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

3 Ways to Avoid Looking Like a Job Hopper

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

3 Ways to Avoid Looking Like a Job Hopper


In today’s tough economic times, many candidates have been employed by companies that eventually closed their doors, were bought out or underwent massive layoffs. Instead of the average two to five year-spans of employment recruiters are used to seeing, resumes of today often list recent work histories as periods of less than a year at multiple companies. You want to list that great experience on your resume, but a long list of roles with a short duration may leave potential employers questioning your loyalty.

How can you demonstrate your commitment to a company, without having to explain your streak of bad luck? Here are some ways to tweak your resume format to accommodate short-term full time jobs or a series of freelance positions as you search for a long-term position:

  1. Change your resume format—Instead of listing all of your work experience chronologically, use themes to bring your information together in a way that shows you at your best. Relevant Experience lets you leave out jobs that don’t apply to the current role. Contract Experience lets you list all of your freelance projects in one section, even if they are not long-term roles individually. Reverse Chronological Order is not the only way to construct a resume. Here are some others.

  2. Leave it out—You don’t have to list every job you’ve had for every company. Instead just include your general responsibilities, companies and brands in separate lists. Then, be prepared to discuss specific accomplishments or projects from your time with each company.

  3. Volunteer—If you’ve been out of work for a while, offer your skills to a non-profit as a volunteer. Those experiences can go on your resume and LinkedIn profile, just as any paid work would. If you have long gaps in your work history these volunteer opportunities can provide recent stories to tell in an interview – where showing passion for a cause or a project can be a great way to sell yourself.
Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Managing Your Brand

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Managing Your Brand


Not only are you an entrepreneur, you are a brand. If you are participating in social media, your brand has a logo, a mission statement, and work product that other people might want to buy or invest in. Or it should!

It is important to make sure that your brand is consistent and sending the messages that you want it to send across your entire internet presence so that no matter where a potential client might look, he or she will find the information needed to decide whether they want to start a business relationship with you.

Here are some things to think about when managing your brand online:

On Facebook
Especially important if you are a freelancer, have a Facebook Page for yourself as a Business Person as well as a Profile for your personal friends. This gives people you don’t know a window into your work if Facebook is their favorite social media platform.

This Page is a place you can put links to your blog, your work from your online portfolio or interesting news about you and your business life.

Don’t forget to keep it updated!

Your Logo
The image you use in your profile on any platform is your logo. For some with an actual company or brand name – this should be your designed logo. For others – your photo is the perfect representation of your brand.

If using a photo, it should be close-up enough for someone who’s meeting you at a coffee shop to recognize you when they get there. It shouldn’t be your cat or your baby - cute as they are. Save that for your friends. Use the same photo across all social media platforms. If you want to be creative with it, you can make your photo seasonal, but, again, be consistent and change it everywhere.

Mission Statement
Your Facebook Page Info tab, your LinkedIn profile and your Twitter profile all provide a place for you to put your mission statement.

Don’t think you have a mission statement? What are you passionate about? Why do you do what you do? Why are you so committed to your work? Your mission statement can be found in there. Once established, it’s important to keep your mission statement consistent across platforms.

Be sure to provide links to your pages, profiles, feeds and portfolio wherever you can: email signature, business cards, ecards for holidays, resume, everywhere. Make it easy to find you, find out about you and contact you for work!

I’ve had quite a few potential clients find me through blog posts, Facebook updates and LinkedIn group updates for my current clients. They are comfortable with me even before we meet because they have seen my work, are familiar with my “voice” and can assess my communication skills. Consistent branding has led to a good “Return on Investment” of my time capital and it will for you, too!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Artisan’s Resume DOs & DONTs List: Part 1

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Artisan’s Resume DOs & DONTs List: Part 1


In our line of work, we review hundreds of resumes each week. While no two resumes look the same – there are definitely things that work. And things that don’t.

Does your resume get a passing grade? Here’s a quick checklist before you apply for another job:

1. Proofread! There is no quicker way to end up in the “No” pile than a misspelled name, word or obvious grammatical error in your resume (portfolio or cover letter). Review your resume for grammatical errors both on the computer and in a printed copy. Have at least 1 – 2 other people review it as well.

2. List both your email and phone number. Even if you prefer one method over the other (and note this on your resume) – it is best to offer alternate ways for employers to get ahold of you. Feel free to add your LinkedIn Profile and/or Twitter Handle as well – so long as you check each of these regularly. Nothing annoys employers more than for interview requests to go unanswered for days (without good reason)!

3. List your physical address. Even if you do not list your street address – let employers know in which city you are located. Without this information (and especially if your contact number is not local), you could be easily discounted for positions that require “Local candidates only”

4. Include a Portfolio / Website link of your work. If you are in the creative field, your portfolio is just as powerful as (and in some cases even more powerful than) your resume. Make sure your resume includes a link to your work. And that your link is working! If you’re work is a PDF instead of a site, attach it to the end of the resume so prospective employers are sure to see it!

5. Provide a brief “Overview”. This should be a 3 – 5 line paragraph or 5 – 7 bullet points customized for each job you apply for and summarizing your key skills and specific experience for that position. It should also mention what kinds of opportunities you are currently considering (full time, freelance, on site, telecommute, etc)

6. Describe your positions in detail. Because job titles vary so much from company to company, it’s important to include a concise description of your role – as well as list your major achievements/successes. As a general rule, this applies to positions in the last 10 years. Any relevant work prior to that can be summarized with just a 1 – 2 line description of your major responsibility and the team/company of which you were a part. *NOTE: If you are a freelancer, you need only describe your position & capabilities once. Then just list your clients.

7. Differentiate Contracts or Freelance work from Full Time work. This helps employers distinguish between a “job-hopper” and genuine freelancer.

For more Resume Tips, check out part two next week with our Resume Donts.

Jess Bedford, Marketing Manager

The Power of Proofreading

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Power of Proofreading

I feel sure you’ve heard this before.

Proofread your work. And your resume. And your cover letter. And your email. And your blog. And your online portfolio.

Since high school, or even before, people have been telling you and you have been…spell checking.

Sometimes. Spell check is not enough.

The power of proofreading is a negative power. Typographical errors, misspellings and grammatical mistakes suck the potential right out of an otherwise promising candidate.  Instead they leave your resume a crushed ball in someone’s trash can.

Picture this: You’re a marketing pro looking for work and see a posting for the perfect role in the perfect place for the perfect salary.  You have all the experience and education the job requires, and you excitedly attach your resume to an email with a little note of introduction.  You click “Send” without another thought.  A couple of days later you decide to use that introduction as the start of another email cover letter, only to discover that you spelled the hiring manager’s name wrong.  Spell check won’t catch that one!

How about this?  A hiring manager has decided to take a look at a web designer’s online portfolio to see if she thinks his aesthetic will work for her company.  She clicks on the link he has provided and finds herself on his beautifully designed homepage.  It boasts evocative photographs and a clear user interface.

But one of his menu items reads: “Web Content Mangement.”

What does that make her think?

Did his resume and work say “attention to detail?”  Not so much.

76% of recruiters in a survey about typos said that mistakes would cause them to take a candidate out of the running for an interview.

Do you really want 76% of hiring managers throwing out your resume because of a typo?   I don’t like those odds!

What is the secret?

Proofread. Proofread again. Have your mother proofread. Your spouse. Heck, your kid (I’ve been proofreading my father’s academic papers since I was 8). Put as many eyeballs on your materials as you have friends you trust.  And a couple after that.

In this uncertain job market, you don’t have any wiggle room.  This one is easy to fix. Fix it!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Portfolio DOs and DONTs

Friday, July 22, 2011

Over the years we've seen our fair share of creative portfolios.  Some AMAZING portfolios.  Others...well, not so much.

So what makes a portfolio really stand out?  Here are just a few tips to consider when sending your work out to potential employers!

Creative Portfolio DOs
DO Showcase your best/most impressive piece first. Remember that your portfolio is how potential employers first judge your creativity, skills and potential. Therefore, be sure to put your best work forward… start off with your proudest piece.

DO Go digital. Online Portfolios are the quickest and easiest way to market yourself.  Even if you have no online work to present, the online portfolio can help creatives reach a whole new audience.  There are a number of great portfolio sites out there that enable you to upload your work for a nominal fee, and sometimes at no cost.  We see talent work from Creative Hot List, Behance, Krop and Coroflot almost as much as we see unique urls.

DO Stay Organized. Make sure to establish some order by organizing your book or website into sections (advertising, logos/identity, brochures, etc.) or group by company or campaign depending on what’s appropriate.

DO Check the quality. Photo quality, that is. Make sure images are optimized and printed at the best resolution possible.
Explain your work. Including a brief synopsis of project details- outlining the client, project objective, your role and programs used is always appreciated.

DO Test those links. For online portfolios, make sure that your url links are working and the work is still yours and hasn’t changed.

DO Assume everyone heading to your site is technically challenged and impatient. Create a site that is easy to navigate and quick to load. A simple CSS style is a great way to go.

Creative Portfolio DONTs
DON'T Overload your book/site with every bit of work you’ve done over the years. Keep your portfolio concise . A well-organized portfolio with 10-15 pieces of your best samples will always shine.

DON'T Be outdated. Keep your book or website up to date with fresh and relevant work. If the work is more than 5 years old, it’s probably a good idea to leave it out.

DON'T Be Sloppy. Make sure that your book is clean, complete and free of torn, frayed or yellowing pages.

DON'T Be generic. Let some of your personal style peek through. Brand yourself by creating a logo, color palette and look and feel that represents you and carry it throughout.  

DON'T Forget your credentials. Make sure to include a copy of your up to date resume.

DON'T Forget your contact details.  What good is an amazing portfolio if potential employers have no way of contacting you.  For online portfolios especially, make sure there is an active email and/or phone number to ensure interested parties can connect with you.

Need more help putting together a killer portfolio?  We're always happy to review talent portfolios and provide feedback.  Who knows - we might even have an opportunity that could be a good fit.  Get in touch with us!

Jamie Grossman
Creative Recruiting Manager


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