Artisan Blog

Holiday Prep for Freelancers

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Holiday Prep for Freelancers

Now that the Thanksgiving holiday has passed, everyone is gearing up to bring the final weeks to a close and prepare for the new year. For many, this includes vacations and paid time off. As a freelancer, your year-end to-dos may be a little different and can be just as rewarding.

Here are a few tips to help you celebrate your success as a creative freelancer during the holiday season.

Pick Up Extra Work

If you want to keep working during the holidays, you may still find work that needs doing. When full-time designers, developers, or other creative professionals are out of town, employers may need someone to pick up quick assignments that otherwise wouldn’t be turned around in time.

If you are ready, willing, and able to work during the holidays, make sure to let your important professional contacts know and update your social profile with your availability.

Additionally, this is a good opportunity to work on personal passion projects and expand your portfolio with new pieces.

Tend To Your Infrastructure

A successful freelancing career involves much more than client work. It requires managing and marketing, taking care of financial obligations, and making sure you have the infrastructure in place to get work, get paid, and stay connected.

The holiday slowdown provides an opportunity to take care of professional details that aren't often a part of your usual assignments.

For freelancers, paying taxes and doing other paperwork is often a challenge; why not tackle it during the slow days?

You can also take online classes to learn new professional skills, to be more marketable during the new year.

Now that your clients are on a break, this is an ideal time to handle all obligations of running your own business. Organizing your paper files, managing digital declutter or achieving inbox zero can be great projects to get ready for 2018.

Prepare for Down Time

Even in our super-connected, always-on culture, the business world tends to slow down during the holiday season. Starting on the week of Thanksgiving and continuing through the first week of January, offices take on a different rhythm and often focus on staff and family celebrations.

It is always wise to have plenty of money socked away for such dry spells. Lots of personal finance and accounting programs will automatically save a certain amount each month, or you may be able to set up automatic savings through your bank.

With a buffer in your bank account, you can spend your holiday season relaxing, not fretting about money.

Take a Break

If you can find regular work and manage your career, freelancing can give you the freedom to travel, spend time with your loved ones, and set your own schedule. If you are able to and have handled all your obligations, why not take off for a week or two? Time to reflect and unplug is a great opportunity to recharge and get the creative juices flowing.

Set an "away" message, letting everyone know you are taking some much-needed R&R. You can go entirely off the grid or put your hours on "emergency mode," in which you let it be known you are only available for very important matters.

Prepare for Next Year

Set your goals, create a vision board and plan ahead for a successful year ahead.This month leading up to the holidays can be a great opportunity to research companies you want to target.

If you haven't had time to update your resume, website, or online portfolio, block off some time and make sure you are showcasing all your current work in a manner that does it justice.

Give Thanks

The holiday season is an appropriate time to acknowledge the people who have supported your career.

Send a note to your clients, vendors, and colleagues, letting them know you've appreciated the opportunity to work with them and wish them the best in the new year. If you're a designer, you can send a special holiday card, extending your gratitude and ensuring that clients will keep you in mind.

Here at Artisan, we are grateful for another rich and rewarding year of working with top creative talent and clients. We look forward to celebrating continued success in 2018 and developing new ways to support you and your work.

 

Contact us today to learn more. We hope you enjoy the 452nd issue of our weekly a.blog.


Expressing Our Gratitude

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Expressing Our Gratitude

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.
                                                                                                 -William Arthur Ward

At Artisan Creative, we'd like to take a moment and say thank you to all who have touched our lives this past year.

We are grateful for so many things and wanted to share a few with you.

We are:

  • Grateful to celebrate 21 years of Artisan Creative!
  • Grateful for our incredible, hard-working, and dedicated a.team, always bringing their a.game when working with our talent and clients.
  • Grateful for our amazing talent who create, write and bring to market compelling work
  • Grateful for our clients and the opportunity to build relationships, grow their teams and share in their success.
  • Grateful for technology to allow us to be virtual, yet always connected with each other.
  • Grateful for the 7 dogs and 3 cats who add to our work life.
  • Grateful for the two babies who joined the Artisan family this year.
  • Grateful for our friends & families
  • Grateful for the opportunity to write and share insights in 450 issues of our weekly a.blog.

Below are additional gratitudes from our a. team:

Margaret

  • Grateful that our son is living with us now and our family is complete.
  • Grateful for a job that is flexible and still challenging (in a good way) after 23 years.
  • Grateful for a family that is supportive and loving.

Laura

  • Grateful for family, good health, dogs, and friendship.
  • Grateful to have the chance to learn, progress and work in a job I love.
  • Grateful for the opportunities I've had and the chance to see the world.

Jen

  • I'm thankful to be able to celebrate another Thanksgiving with my family.
  • Grateful to have a healthy and happy baby girl join us this year and experience the holidays through her eyes.
  • Thankful for a wonderful support system both at home and at work that made the transition to being a new mom so pleasant.

Cammy

  • Grateful for our first home and the ability to work from the comforts of it everyday.
  • Grateful for my hard-working, supportive, and loving husband, who is adventurous and loves to get his hands dirty

Ana

  • I am grateful for the privilege of spending the last months of my mother's life at her side.
  • I am grateful for the love and support of my family and friends
  • I am grateful for Artisan for the privilege of working from home, where my job is more fun than work, and be part of a supportive, motivated and hardworking team.
  • I am grateful to live where food, shelter, and services are available and plentiful.

Stephanie

  • Grateful to work for a creative company and to work with team members that love people.

Regina

  • I'm grateful for such an incredible and supportive team to work for. I wake up knowing I GET to work with them and never feel like I HAVE to. It's rare to find such integrity and motivation in one's work life.
  • I'm grateful that I get to spend all my time with my dog Chewie. I never truly knew what a "man's best friend" actually felt like until I got to spend every waking moment with him.
  • I'm grateful that I found a balance in my life to take care of the sick ones in my family. So, so grateful for that.

Kimberley

  • I'm grateful for my wonderful spouse/teacher, family, and friends who are like family.
  • I'm grateful for the first responders and the outpouring of help to those who lost everything in the California North Bay fires.
  • I'm grateful to be back at Artisan working with such a dynamic team of creative, kind and devoted professionals!
  • I'm grateful to be able to make a difference in candidates' and clients' lives by bringing the right people together at the right time.

Jamie

  • To have facilitated Why Stack workshops with dynamic learners from around the world.
  • To have celebrated our parent’s 83rd and 85th birthdays together as a family.
  • To always be working with people who share similar values founded on trust and respect.

Katty

  • Grateful to celebrate 23 years of marriage.
  • Grateful for my amazing a.team. The most dedicated, intelligent and fun group I have had the pleasure to work with.
  • Grateful for health, family and friends
  • Grateful for the opportunity to travel and see the world.


How to Achieve a Winning Mindset

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

How to Achieve a Winning Mindset

"I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I've been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."

- Michael Jordan

It's easy enough to feel positive and optimistic when things are going well. However, to prevent burnout, turn setbacks into opportunities, and build a strong and reliable business, career, or life, we must develop a resilient winner's mindset. This is crucial for those who are in the job-hunting or interview process.

Whether you're currently up or down or experiencing success or setbacks in getting to the next level of interviews, when you internalize these core principles, you can be like Mike, a person who learns from mistakes, profits from adversity, and grows stronger and wiser over time.

Respect the Body-Mind Connection

Taking better care of our body can dramatically increase the strength, endurance, and potential of our minds. The stress of the job hunt can take a physical toll, which makes body health awareness and appropriate self-care all the more vital.

Along with increasing our strength, longevity, and life satisfaction, regular exercise can improve our brain chemistry. When we overcome inertia and achieve our fitness goals, it inspires us to meet our commitments and handle our responsibilities in other areas of life.

Our bodies turn food into energy. When we consume a healthy and balanced diet, our bodies convert it to a much-needed energy that helps us stay centered, steady, and optimistic through difficult times.

Get Good Information

Just as we must be mindful of what we eat, we must pay attention to our diet of information and intellectual stimulation.

Diversions and light entertainment are fine as long as they are balanced with useful and well-informed content. We should make time for educational and technical material that keeps us up to date, inspirational stories of those who have achieved important breakthroughs, and difficult work that broadens our minds, and challenges our assumptions. .

We don't exist in a vacuum - cultivating the right environment is tremendously important to thrive and succeed. If you replace negative input with enriching and positive media, you will find that your thoughts follow suit and so will your perspective.

You don't need to spend all of your time just reading the classics - practice critical thinking about what you read and watch. Ask yourself, "what is the frame of reference here? Why does it exist, what assumptions are baked into it, and what can I learn from this that will help me build a winning mindset?"

You will gradually find yourself focusing more on work that reflects your values, and getting more optimistic as a result. And you will certainly be sharper in interviews, in meetings, and on the job.

Keep Things In Perspective

We cannot be defined by our mistakes and setbacks - as long as we stay in the game, we will ultimately benefit from challenging experiences and the learning opportunities they give us.

Likewise, we cannot let winning go to our heads. Every small victory should be celebrated, as it gives us the courage to reach higher goals. As we celebrate victories, we must remind ourselves that there is more work to be done. We cannot adequately prepare for the future if we rest on past achievements.

Stay proud in defeat and humble in victory. In this way, we can avoid the fate of the "one-hit wonder” and always play the long game, in the job hunt as in life.

A simple, daily mindfulness practice can be a tremendous help in maintaining the equanimity we need to stay agile and not let our good or bad experiences define us too strictly.

Move Beyond Zero-Sum Thinking

Many of our games and rituals are based on the notion that, for us to win, someone else has to lose. This represents a "zero-sum" or scarcity-based mentality, wherein we are competing for limited resources. In reality, things rarely work this way. We can usually get what we want without hurting others.

Our most pressing challenges and greatest opportunities lie in increasing the overall wealth and resources available to human society. We can disrupt old structures and cultivate new ideas from the assumption that everyone can benefit from our work, including those we may see as competition. We have our differences, and our best thinking springs from a willingness to better provide for all of humanity.

When we do our best work with the intention to do what’s right, everyone ultimately benefits. When we transcend zero-sum thinking and adopt an abundance mindset, we open a wealth of opportunity for ourselves, our communities, and the world at large.

Be Grateful To Everyone

To psychologically ground ourselves and maintain a balanced perspective, nothing is more important than a regular practice of gratitude.

This is easier said than done, particularly when many factors seem arrayed against us, in a job search or other endeavors. But no matter where we are personally or professionally, we must take stock of the many advantages and privileges we have.

If your job search has been challenging, try a simple “loving-kindness” practice. Be grateful to yourself, and slowly extend that outward to your loved ones, to strangers, and to the entire world. Just by giving it a try, you will open your mind to abundance and generosity, which will help you cope with any problems that come your way.

The more grateful you are, the more “luck” you are likely to have, as others perceive you as a source of goodwill, strength, and comfort in their own tough journeys.

At Artisan Creative, we help creative professionals at all levels of expertise build rewarding careers by sharing job search best practices and interview tips. Contact us today to learn more.

 

We hope you enjoy the 450th issue of our weekly a.blog.

 


The Productive Commute

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

The Productive Commute

Although remote and at-home work is gaining acceptance, most jobs still require some on-site face-time. That means you'll be spending at least some of your professional life in transit. As housing costs continue to rise and many companies relocate, you may be in for a long commute.

However a commute does not have to be wasted time and can become nourishing and productive. If you can make it a point to stay engaged, cultivate useful and revitalizing habits, you may find yourself looking forward to rush hour!

Here are a few things you can try when you want to get more out of your commute.

1. Conference Calls, Meetings, and Check-ins

If you take public transport to work, this can be the perfect place to be a "fly on the wall" for a call that someone else leads. This can also be great opportunity to check in with key clients, colleagues, or friends, provided you can still have a good reception and your environment isn’t too noisy.

2. Podcasts

Since Apple’s release of the iPod more than fifteen years ago, the growth of podcasting as a medium has exploded. Compared to radio, the barrier for entry is practically nonexistent, which has unleashed a wild variety of shows. Podcasting has been embraced by journalists and has reignited the careers of rebellious comedians who do their best work uncensored. The most popular podcasts now have devoted audiences in the millions.

There are so many podcasts to explore that it's easy to get lost. If you're looking for places to start, you can get creative and cerebral inspiration from TED or Creative Mornings, hear interviews with leading entrepreneurs on The Knowledge Project and The James Altucher Show, or dive into the more narrative-based shows from the Radiotopia network, which will reacquaint you with the mystery and wonder of life.

3. Audiobooks

Reading books remains one of the most reliable ways to become a stronger thinker and speaker. If you drive, you can find more wisdom, heroism, romance, humor, and insight in audiobooks than you could possibly absorb in one lifetime.

The personal growth coach Duff McDuffee provides a plan for "reading" quite a lot in the 1.5-2 hours a day many of us spend commuting. In the brilliant So Many Books: Reading and Publishing in an Age of Abundance, the author Gabriel Zaid suggests a strategy for choosing the right books to cultivate a rich awareness of the world.

4. Meditation

A commute may be the most unlikely place to get in touch with your innerself and the true nature of reality. However, now that meditation is in vogue among leaders in tech, media, and the creative industry, more and more people are practicing some form of mental relaxation on the go, including in traffic.

In your commute, you're likely to face frustrations, distractions, and emotional highs and lows. This makes it the perfect place to practice mindfulness.

You will need to stay focused on the journey, so you can't close your eyes and go into a trance. Today’s cutting-edge meditation instructors Vincent and Emily Horn have devised a practice called "There Is Driving," a simple "noting" practice you can use to train your attention as part of your everyday activities.

5. Train Your Brain

The human mind is designed to be stimulated, in youth and throughout life. If you spend less time "zoning out" and more time engaged in challenging your mental reflexes, you will do wonders for your creativity, productivity, and mental health, now and into older age.

You can use your commute to learn a new language, or work through riddles and puzzles.

If you typically drive give mass transit a try if its available in your city - you may be amazed at how much a train or bus ride can shift your perspective and what great ideas arise when you come in closer contact with your community. If you can't take the train, vary your route to work - take side streets instead of freeways, or allow some extra time to take the scenic route. Another option is to walk or ride a bike to work when possible and get some exercise in the meantime too!

See if you can devise your own ways to make sure your commute is productive.

At Artisan Creative, we believe that a creative life is one of the most rewarding ones you can pursue. Contact us today to leverage our resources and experiences and get more from your career and your life.  We hope you enjoy the 449th issue of our weekly a.blog.


Unplug

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Unplug

 

The cultural impact of the iPhone and its cousins can hardly be overstated - even Star Trek didn't have this sort of technology. We've been carrying around email, apps, cameras, games, social media, home security and our entire photo album now for more than ten years.

While smart phone technology has provided us with access, engagement, and entertainment, not all of its effects have been unilaterally positive. Many of us are concerned that we spend too much time on our phones, distracting ourselves from in-person relationships, focus, and the joys of our physical surroundings.

If you want to reclaim some of your attention from your smartphone habit, it may be easier than you thought. You may not need an aggressive digital detox or a meditation retreat. Although smartphone usage can take on some of the hallmarks of addictive behavior, most of us simply need to be more mindful of how we use this technology, and whether or not we're using it to our best advantage.

Here are a few steps you can take to make your smartphone less of a bothersome distraction and more of the revolutionary tool it was meant to be.

Quantify Your Usage

The rise of "big data" has made it easier than ever to get concrete information about our lives and behaviors. Crunching the numbers and quantifying our smartphone usage can show us, beyond dispute, how it impacts our time, and give us actionable insights about how well it serves us.

Just as Mint has helped people gain control of their spending by breaking it down with charts and graphs, apps such as Moment (for iOS) and QualityTime (for Android) track and illustrate how we're using our phones, minute by minute. With this detached perspective, we can begin to regain control.

Make Your Phone Your Friend

If you spend some time with your phone's control panel and rework some of your settings, you may find small changes dramatically improve the way your phone harmonizes with your life.

Start by turning off unneeded notifications, those little pings and vibrations that pull your attention away from the world outside. Delete apps you don't use - decluttering your interface helps declutter your mind. You can even put your phone in "airplane mode" when you need to get some work done or you need peace and freedom.

Take Regular Breaks

To make sure you're not using your phone too much, make sure you spend plenty of time without it. Create a buffer between sleep and digital absorption. When you turn off the lights, shut it down. (If you're using it as an alarm clock, buy an old-fashioned one to use instead.) Stop checking your email as soon as you wake up - substitute an early-morning meditation practice, or make coffee and read a book for an hour before you engage with your phone.

If you're afraid to fully power down, the gorgeous app Forest will reward you for disengaging and turning your attention elsewhere for awhile.

Now that you've freed up some time, try adopting simple practices of mindfulness - at home, at work, or anywhere else - to train your attention, be present, and relish the simple joys of being alive.

At Artisan Creative, we believe a healthy, balanced lifestyle is essential to building a happy and fruitful creative career. Contact us today to find out how you can align your work with your values and take your career to the next level.

We hope you enjoy the 447th issue of our a.blog.

 



Creating Impactful Resumes

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Creating Impactful Resumes

 

In our 20+ years of working with some of the best creative talent in the business, we have seen hundreds of examples of resumes that get attention, get read, and get interviews. While every job-seeker should have a resume that highlights his or her uniqueness, we have observed some consistent patterns in effective resumes that we suggest all candidates keep in mind.

Here are five big ideas to help guide you as you write, revise, and refine your resume.

1. Goal

Your resume should be designed with a specific purpose in mind, usually landing an interview. Make sure that everything about it - every word, every stylistic decision, everything - is optimized for helping you achieve your goal.

Rather than having one resume you send out many times, try using several, slightly different resumes, tailored to different opportunities, potential employers, or specializations. This will give you the opportunity to experiment with "A/B testing," or compare the results of minor tweaks.

For instance, rather than including an "Objective" that remains consistent, try summarizing your career or experience in a way that pertains directly to this opportunity. See which ones get better results and refine from there.

If nothing else, refresh your resume regularly - this gives you a chance to clarify or change your goal over time.

2. Style

Unless you are a designer and your aesthetic sensibility is a crucial part of your package, make your fonts, typefaces, and other formatting decisions are legible and user-friendly. Your resume should showcase your skills and experience, not itself.

If your resume is in Microsoft Word format, use standard typefaces such as Arial and Calibri, stick with one typeface throughout, and keep the size consistent at around 10- or 12-point. Unless you're applying for an acting or modeling gig, you don't need to include a photo - your work should make your first impression, at least until you have a chance to introduce yourself in person.

When in doubt, make your resume as clear, clean, and simple as you can.

3. Structure

Use bold headers and bulleted lists for easy "F-scanning," and list your work experience sequentially, starting with the most recent.

Clearly label the name of the company, your job title, and the interval of time in which you worked there (including the month and the year, for extra transparency). There's no need to go back further than ten years unless you have some very important or impressive experience outside of that range.

If needed, you can include a "Skills" section listing software programs in which you are an expert-level user or important

Challenge yourself to keep your resume to one or two pages in length. This will make it more appealing for hiring managers and will ensure that you highlight only your best and most important skills and experience.

4. Content

List your responsibilities, using active verbs (e.g. "handled" or "resolved," rather than "responsible for"). Focus less on rote daily duties and more on challenges you overcame, goals you accomplished, and ways in which you helped your team succeed. This will help create a picture in the hiring manager's mind of what you can do in this new opportunity.

While you should avoid empty jargon, you should be mindful of important industry terms that an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) or other databases might scan for, and include those. If you are posting your resume on the web, it should be search-engine optimized, using keywords that are popular with hiring managers in your line of work.

5. Details

Again, designers are exempt from strict conservatism in style. Add a logo, splashes of color, or other touches that show off your signature aesthetic. Just don't go overboard with it.

If you worked for an agency, include some of the clients you worked for and note the different sorts of projects you worked on. This can be more tangible for hiring managers outside the agency world. Make sure your URL or a link to your portfolio site is included in the resume.

Like everything else about job hunting, crafting the ideal resume is a process of trial and error - try different things, see what gets results, and learn from your experience. However, you can fast-track your career if you team up with experts who have knowledge, connections, and resources. To find out more about how to showcase yourself and discover new worlds of opportunity, contact Artisan Creative today.

We hope you enjoy the 446th issue of our weekly a.blog.




How to Improve Your Presentation Skills

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

How to Improve Your Presentation Skills

Great presentations communicate information that audiences can retain and act on. As a presenter, it is crucial that you capture your audience's attention for as long as it takes so your message can resonate.  Many people have to present at some point in their career--whether its for a client pitch, an internal presentation, a job interview or a presentation to your team, it's critital to be engaging, be articulate and memorable.

As you plan your presentation, there are several key steps you can take to make sure that it’s engaging and "sticky" throughout. If you use slides, they should be stylish, eye-catching, and appropriate for your presentation's content and tone. (If you are not an experienced presentation designer, collaborate with one - contact Artisan if you need help in this area.) Here are more tips that professionals use to make their presentations engaging, entertaining, and effective.

Plan Your Presentation in Ten-Minute Chunks

In her essential book 100 Things Every Presenter Needs to Know About People, Susan M. Weinschenk, Ph.D., claims that the maximum amount of time a presenter can assume their audience will stay engaged is about seven to ten minutes. And, that's if they're interested in the speaker and the subject matter.

"A typical presentation is longer than seven to ten minutes," Weinschenk writes. "Presentations are often an hour long. This means you have to find ways to make changes at least every seven minutes in order to get people to pay attention. It's easy, as the presenter, to forget that your audience's attention may be waning. As the presenter, you are having a very different experience than your audience: You have adrenaline flowing because you are on stage, you are in the throes of a performance, and you are physically moving. The members of your audience, on the other hand, are sitting in chairs, and their minds are easily wandering."

In order to work with this tendency, plan "mini-breaks" into the structure of your presentation, at 7-to-10-minute intervals. These could be pauses for Q&A, stretch breaks, interactive activities, games, or transitions, such as stories or noticeable shifts in tone. If you plan for natural ebbs in attention, work with the nature of your audience's minds, rather than against it.

Be Unusual

People are naturally bored by the expected and routine. Our brains are designed to tune out familiar signals so we can focus on what’s new, relevant, exciting, important, and even potentially dangerous.

When your audience sits down for your presentation, they do so with certain expectations. To get and hold their attention, try to confound those expectations in whatever way is appropriate for the setting and material.

This could mean experimenting with your format and structure, explaining your material in a novel way, using personal stories, displaying vulnerability, or working in jokes and humor. (If you don't think you're a comedian, you should know that being funny is a skill you can learn and practice. Books such as The Comic Toolbox: How to Be Funny Even If You're Not by Jon Vorhaus and Step-By-Step to Stand-Up Comedy by Greg Dean can change your professional life, even if you don’t plan to take your act to the Catskills.)

Read the Room

One of the most important skills of a stand-up comedian is the ability to "read the room," or call out situations that are happening in their surroundings. This disarms potential distractions by making them a part of the show, rather than a competing stimulus.

For example, if the room is hot and everyone is hungry, it won't help to pretend these things aren't true. Instead, make a joke out of them, or relate them to your material somehow. Anything that is already on your audience's minds is a source of material. Being explicit about it breaks the tension, goes against expectations, and may even get a laugh.

Keep It Simple

Even if your topic is very complex or abstract, your presentation must be simple. If you overload your audience with information, they won't retain any of it. They will pay more attention when they are confident they will be able to digest the material.

In your slides, use short, simple sentences and lists with numbers or bullet points. Communicate in pictures, sounds, and feelings. If there is too much material to effectively cover, provide a URL for those interested to do more research and get the longer version of the story. (If you use a special "tracking URL," this can also be useful for digital marketing purposes.)

Being a compelling presenter isn't just for politicians, rock stars and TED Talkers - it's an important skill for every creative professional. Fortunately, almost anyone can learn it. If you want to also improve your public speaking skills, you can contact Toastmasters for classes near you.

Contact us to learn more, and find out how enhancing your presentation skills and getting the right people's attention can supercharge your career.  We hope you enjoy the 445th issue of our weekly  a.blog.

 


Practicing Mindfulness At Work

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Practicing Mindfulness At Work

 

Over the centuries, mindfulness practice has spread from ancient Buddhist traditions, into today’s easy to access TED Talks, and flowing to corporate boardrooms from New York to Los Angeles. Although it has become increasingly popular in the corporate world, mindfulness isn't just another fad or productivity hack - it prescribes a fresh way of looking at the world, noticing what is going on behind our assumptions and narratives, and feeling what it means to truly be in the moment.

Several cutting-edge companies have set aside meditation rooms, or provide midday breaks for quiet contemplation. Even if you don't work at one of these companies, you can apply the principles of mindfulness to be more present with your work, your life, and people around you.

Here are a few steps for integrating mindfulness into your day.

1. Sit Quietly

It doesn't matter if you do this for thirty minutes or three. If you don't have a quiet space in your workplace, you can sit at your desk or take a quick walk around the block. Just claim a small slice of time, whatever you can manage, in which you can expect to be relatively undisturbed.

When you have found your spot, sit still, with your hands in your lap or at your sides and close your eyes.

2. Focus on Your Breath

After you've taken a few moments to calm yourself, gradually bring attention to your breath. Ride each breath as it travels through your nose and fills your lungs. Rest your awareness on the pause between the in-breath and out-breath. Then slowly release. Give your full attention to the process of breathing.

As soon as you notice a thought, acknowledge it - say to yourself, "thinking" - and return your attention to the breath. Do this as many times as necessary until the session is over.

When you accept your thoughts and then let them go on their way, you reclaim some of the power and energy you might otherwise invest in worrying over them. Bring all that focus back to the present moment and the experience you are having, here and now.

3. Apply Mindfulness on the Go

There's a reason that sitting is called "practice." You're practicing an approach to everything else in your life. When you practice in this way, you prepare yourself for the harder work of staying present, focusing your attention, and maintaining equanimity in even the most taxing professional situations.

When you are in a meeting, give your full attention to the presentation and presenter. When you are working on a project, just do that. When you notice sights or sounds in the room, or distractions competing for your attention, acknowledge them, accept them, and let them go, releasing any thoughts you may have about them. Return your attention to the task at hand.

4. Keep Learning and Practicing

Mindfulness is a journey, not a destination, and you may not see major results after one or two sessions. If you make mindfulness practice a part of your daily routine, it will gradually shift your attitude toward your work and yourself.

In the book Mindfulness on the Go, Jan Chozen Bays distills centuries of contemplative wisdom into simple exercises you can try anywhere. (A companion set of flashcards is available, too.) Meditate.io is an online community built around sharing meditation practice with professionals in creative and technical professions, with guided exercises for mindfully attending meetings, taking breaks, and checking email.

At Artisan Creative, we believe that when you find meaning in your work, you find meaning in your life, and vice versa.  Contact us today to discover how we can help. We hope you enjoy the 444th issue of our weekly a.blog.

 


Mastering the Art of Phone and Video Interviews

Wednesday, August 30, 2017


The ease of technology and virtual offices have made the phone and video interview a necessary step in the overall interview process.Some firms even go as far as requesting video resumes!

For many of us, interviews can be stressful—and undergoing the first interview by phone or video doesn’t make it any easier. In fact, sometimes it can be more challenging due to technology mishaps or the inability to see the other person’s reaction well.

Whether your first interview with a prospective client or employer is in person, over the phone or via Zoom, the same rules apply: do your best so you can advance to the next stage.

With over 20 years of helping candidates prepare for these types of interviews, we wanted to share some best practices with you:

The Phone Interview

  • Confirm time zones in case the interviewer is in another state or country.
  • Research the company, follow on social, and look up your interviewer's Linkedin profile.  You may find some things in common!
  • If you are taking a call at a specific time, ensure that you are in a quiet place.
  • Try not to walk and talk at the same time—you may sound winded, or lose reception going from location to the next.
  • Make sure your device is fully charged or plugged in during the interview
  • You’ll be using your voice and tone to communicate— be sure to speak clearly and succinctly.
  • Be friendly and smile while talking. It lifts and warms your voice, which helps you to connect with the interviewer.
  • Be prepared to ask engaging questions about the company culture and the team.
  • Have your resume close by so you can refer to it.
  • Listen well and avoid talking over the interviewer.
  • Don’t discuss salary or benefits at this stage.
  • This is your first opportunity to connect and shine.

The Video Interview

In addition to the above steps, the following best practices also apply to video interviews:

  • No matter the technology used (Facetime, Zoom, Skype, Google Hangout or others) adhere to this mantra: Test, and Test again. Test your device’s audio and video connections before the actual interview. Don’t wait until the interview day to download!
  • Practice ahead of time on screen and record yourself if possible. Pay attention to your posture, voice, lighting and background and adjust as needed.
  • Position the camera at eye-level and make eye contact with it! If you only watch the screen itself you’ll look like you’re not making eye contact with the interviewer.
  • Dress and groom as if you were interviewing in person. Dress for the job you want!
  • Check the lighting and move your computer as needed so that your face is illuminated without any shadows.
  • Make sure your head and shoulders appear in the video frame – don’t get too close or move too far away from the camera.
  • Pay attention to your surroundings—especially the background. Select a clean, neutral and distraction-free backdrop like a wall, screen or a panel of curtains.
  • If you live with a roommate let them know you’ll be on camera to avoid an unexpected noise or interruptions.
  • If you are a creative, have your portfolio loaded on your desktop in case screen sharing is needed. Make sure you have a clean, uncluttered desktop and if needed, change your desktop wallpaper to something creative but professional.

The techniques will become more natural over time. You’ll know that you’ve mastered the art of the phone or video interview when you’re invited for the in-person interview!

 

If you need help in your next job search, please connect with the a.team. We are celebrating 20+ years in staffing and recruitment of creative professionals. Over the years, we've learned a thing or two that we'd like to share with you. We hope you enjoy the 440th issue of our weekly a.blog.

 




The Art of Negotiation

Wednesday, July 19, 2017


No matter where you are in your career or in the professional world, negotiation is one of the most crucial skills you can hone. Being a savvy negotiator isn't just about asking for a raise or a higher salary - it is necessary for achieving your goals across all aspects of business and life.

Negotiation is addressed in thousands of business books and seminars. As creative recruiters, we use and observe these skills every day, and we have seen some consistent patterns that separate effective negotiators from the rest.

The CEO and entrepreneur MaryEllen Tribby boils down these commonalities into seven key principles. Here, we've further distilled her wisdom - which is consistent with the timeless laws of negotiating - and put it in a broader context.

Remember these seven core ideas, and you too, can get what you want from highly charged negotiations.

1. Visualize Your Desired Outcome

If you have a clear and concrete idea of what you want to get out of a negotiation, you can channel all of your efforts and energies toward that end. Before you take your seat, know what you want, and consider in vivid detail what it will look, sound, and feel like to get it.

2. Do Generous Research

The more you are focused on the other party, the more leverage you will have. Before you converse, find out everything you can about your negotiation partner. Understand what the other person wants to hear, and you can explain your own needs in a way that will resonate powerfully.

3. Listen Closely, and Listen A Lot

High-powered negotiations will put your active listening skills to the test. Rather than "waiting to talk," stay focused on what the other party is communicating. Ask follow-up questions until everything is crystal clear. This will let them know you are listening and that you value their time and thoughts and foster an atmosphere of mutual respect.

4. Don't Sell Yourself Short (Or Too High)

Take full objective stock of your own abilities, experience, and everything you bring to the table. You've done your homework and you deserve a fair deal, and you respect your own limitations and understand how you are perceived.

5. Stay Positive and Optimistic

If you believe you can and will get what you want, you are more likely to get it - or something better! Most people have a built-in negativity bias - to correct for this, stay upbeat and keep your eyes on the prize. Your infectious attitude may make the other party feel more generous.

6. Business, Never Personal

Keep your ego and emotions safely out of the negotiation, and think of it from the perspective of an outside observer who just wants you to get the best possible deal. Getting less than you want out of a negotiation is simply an opportunity to rethink your approach and be more deliberate and effective in the future.

7. Stay Humble

The best negotiation is one in which both parties get what they want. Resist the urge to gloat, to take advantage, or to take more than you need. You must live with your reputation, and those who remember you as an effective and fair negotiator will be powerful allies in the future.

Building your negotiation skills is a lifelong pursuit. Artisan Creative is here to help you get more in all areas of your professional life. Contact us today to learn more.

Artisan Creative is celebrating 20+ years in staffing and recruitment of creative professionals. Over the years, we've learned a thing or two that we'd like to share with you. We hope you enjoy the 434th issue of our weekly a.blog.



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