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.

Job Search: Research and Development Part II

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

In the second of our two-part series, Artisan Creative's President Katty Douraghy talks about how to develop your brand in order to have a successful job search.

The Development phase of the R&D process includes developing your brand. 

Start with Social Media. 

  • Employers do check it out. 
  • Learn how to control your privacy settings, so keep your private information private!
  • Depending on your industry, set up your appropriate social channels, join groups or start adding relevant content.

LinkedIn is a powerful tool

  • Update your profile and work history
  • Join industry groups
  • Expand your network and connections
  • Get recommendations
  • Participate in discussion boards, posts, or blogs to highlight your subject matter expertise

Develop Your Portfolio

  • If you are in the creative space, update your portfolio with recent, relevant samples.
  • Organize your samples by focus whether it’s digital, print, broadcast, or mobile.
  • Detail your involvement (whether it’s concepting, executing, production) and remove the guesswork for Hiring Managers.
  • Be specific if it was produced work, or comps or a class project
  • If you don’t have web skills to create your own custom portfolio, then use the several online portfolio tools that are available. 
  • The key is to be current, relevant and organized in the flow of presentation of your work.

Next, Develop your resume.

  • Write, edit and proof it.  Did I mention to please proof your resume?  ◦A typo can quickly derail everything!
  • Besides using spell check, Read YOUR RESUME OUT LOUD and enunciate words to catch errors! 
  • Have someone else read your resume with a fresh set of eyes. 
  • Remove the guesswork from your resume. ◦Be specific with your work dates. Clearly state the months and years. 
  • Indicate contract or freelance assignments, otherwise it can be viewed as job hopping.
  • Highlight your relevant work history
  • Use keywords, specific job titles, software programs, and certifications. Many online job application portals search and scan for keywords.
  • Use brief, concise bullets or phrases
  • Education: List graduation dates and completed degrees.  

Next, practice your interviewing skills, especially if it’s been awhile

  • Practice in front of the mirror
  • Practice with a friend
  • Do an interview prep with your recruiter
  • Record yourself and listen to your voice, tone, filler words
  • Join Toastmasters or other public speaking forums to practice your presentation   

The better your R&D phase in setting up the strategy for the job search, the more tactical you can be in your approach. 

Leave the guesswork and haphazard approach to your competition—and plan your success to stand out from the crowd.

View Part I here 


Job Search: Research and Development Part I

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

In this two part series, Artisan Creative's President Katty Douraghy shares her thoughts on the methods needed to conduct a successful job search.

In my experience, every job search or career change deserves its own Research and Development phase.

Some applicants have a haphazard technique of applying to jobs without discovering why they want to work for a particular company or venture into a new industry.

If hired, over 40+ hours a week for years to come will be spent at one of these companies—wouldn’t it be good to do some research ahead of time and determine if they are the right place for you?

One big lesson I have learned from the many candidates I have talked to over the years is that it’s not always about the money. Many other factors play into the decision of a career move or job change—the brand, the impact, the commute, the team, the culture, the recognition, the management, the philosophy, the growth opportunity as well as the salary are important.   

An important question for every candidate to ask themselves is why  do I want to make a change?  And what are my “must haves” in this new search vs. “nice to haves”?  This gives you a clear road map to start from.  Communicate these with your recruitment team, so they are also clear about your expectations and objectives.

Research Phase of the Job Search R&D

The research time involves getting clarity as to what you want in your next career move.

Is it a shorter commute?  Is it to work on the agency side and touch multiple brands? Is it to be client side and focus on developing one brand? Is it to be part of larger collaborative team? Or is it to be a sole designer or part of a smaller team so you can wear many hats and be exposed to multiple deliverables?  Is it to be hands-on, or to manage a team?

There is no right or wrong answer here—the important thing is for you to know why its important to you so can build your growth and development plan.

The research time into a company or industry is invaluable and not to be overlooked. It involves:

  • Looking at industry trends and growth verticals
  • Who is hiring, who is expanding and where the hot jobs are
  • Reviewing job boards
  • Reading LinkedIn profiles and company reviews
  • Learning about products you are interested in
  • Join the company’s LinkedIn page,  Facebook group or Twitter page to research their products and their culture
  • If you are not well connected within an industry, then work with a reputable recruitment firm. Good recruiters can be a great resource and often have insider information about hiring needs at many companies—your target company could be a client of theirs

     View Part II here


    How to Let Go of Fear

    Wednesday, June 10, 2015


    Why does it become hard to let go of some things? 

    From the "Don't do that!", to "Watch out!" and the "No"s, that were fed to us on a daily basis as children; to what is pushed at us via numerous information outlets, fear often becomes deeply ingrained within our survival instinct. An instinct that is always on to save us from ourselves, is what makes it hard to let go.

    Over the years we tend to hold on to a collection of "fears" that accumulate over our lifetime. It's only when we let go of these "fears", that we move forward and actually do the things we enjoy the most out of life. So the choice comes down to holding on to what's keeping us back, or finding the courage to get uncomfortable and let go. 

    I recently had lunch with a cousin who'd just gone skydiving, even though she was afraid of heights. Once they were at 12,000 feet,  she wasn't going to go down without a fight, as she defiantly stood her ground. Finally, her instructor took control and out they went. As she screamed (first in fear and then in joy) all the way down, she realized that she has lost her fear of heights and with a big smile across her face they glided down with tranquility, their chute spread wide open.  

    Since I often drive down to see her, and now that she was fearless, I asked when she would next come up to see me and she answered: "We'll I'm a little bit afraid of driving around on your LA freeways!"  

    How do you let go of what's holding you back?

    Jamie is the founder of Life Work Integration, a process that integrates passion with purpose and vision. You can reach him at & via Twitter @jdouraghy

    Information Overload: How to Switch Off and Take Control

    Wednesday, June 03, 2015


    For some time now, I have been astonished with the deluge of information coming from every source imaginable.   My social networks seem to be buzzing with the latest architectural craze,  the cutest cat videos to the top 50 of the world’s most spectacular destinations and so much more.

    All is good and fun and I enjoying clicking through as much as the next person—but I realized that I was filling my brain with lots of (mostly useless) information, and I wasn’t really stretching my brain much.   

    I stretch my body with yoga and Pilates, but what was I doing to stretch my mind?

    This past January I set out to create a plan to help stretch my mind. Now that I have been active with it for the past 5 months I wanted to share my findings.  These are some of the tools I’ve applied:

    I have a hard time quieting my active mind.   My thoughts tend to jump from branch to branch like an active monkey.  Meditating does not come easy to me, but I am finding immense value in it.  By working on quieting my mind, I am finding a certain calmness and peace towards solving complex issues.   Sometimes I even meditate on that issue and the focus and clarity has done wonders for me.

    Learn something new everyday: 
    Each day I set aside 15 minutes to learn something new.  In our line of business it’s important to keep up with the market trends, so I block 15 minutes each day to read up on the latest SEO trends, or newest development platforms, or read design-related articles. By the end of the week, I’ve gained some valuable preliminary information, and then I can decide whether to continue the same topic into the next week and delve deeper, or if its time to select a new topic.  


    I love to dance, yet I am not a very good dancer.  It doesn’t stop me though from trying it on a several times a week.  I find trying to remember the various dance steps and choreography, is actually helping me both mentally and physically.  Although you’ll never find me on Dancing with the Stars, I do get immense satisfaction with how my mind gets expanded while my body is getting a workout.

    I started with the Day One App.  Truth be told, I am not writing everyday, its more like 3 or so times a week.  I write a recap of the past few days, I write three gratitudes, and then via the app I can attach an image that sums up my thoughts and feelings.  I am still working towards doing this daily, however I am happy with the amount I have been doing thus far.

    Once I perfect the above and can commit to daily journaling,  I will add learning a new language to my mind stretching routine.  Using the Duolingo app to work on my very poor command of the Spanish and try to improve by practicing and expanding my vocabulary will be an exciting new challenge that I am looking to undertake in the latter part of this year.

    Do you have any tips to share as to how do you stretch your mind?

    Katty Douraghy - President at Artisan Creative 

    Putting Some Thought Into It

    Wednesday, May 27, 2015

    This week's blog is brought to you by Artisan Creative's Founder, Jamie Douraghy. You can find out more about Jamie at the links at the end of this post.

    When pressure is on to get something done, how much time do you put into thought vs. falling into knee jerk reaction mode?

    With today's expectations on having everything handled rapidly; from quick decisions, to abbreviated texts and those cryptic emails that seem to be burning up our mobile devices until we respond, we risk painting ourselves into uncomfortable corners.

    I believe that putting some thought at the forefront of our decision making/ability to rapidly respond, will help slow things down.  Asking a few discovery questions before jumping right back in and executing, will help separate the important from the urgent:

    Why is this important to me, and who else will this impact?

    Does this need to be done right now?

    Why am I choosing to go down this path?

    Have I thought about the outcome, or am I just adding fuel to the fire?

    Do your best to overcome that internal pressing desire for momentary satisfaction that comes from responding, before considering what that response could lead to. 

    When you've deliberated the possible outcomes, move forward with more self awareness and confidence since you have put time and thought towards achieving your desired outcome.

    What mindset do you employ to generate thought before action? 


     Jamie is the founder of Artisan Creative and Life Work Integration, a process that integrates passion with purpose and vision. You can reach him at & via twitter

    When Bad Habits Creep Back In

    Wednesday, May 20, 2015


    How many times have you started a new project or committed to an important change in your life, only to fall back on things you were going to "stop doing", overwhelming those good habits you were developing?

    Our brains are sometimes just like that garage above. We simultaneously store a lot of valuable information and junk that we will someday want to use. When we feel stuck, or have too much on our minds, we commit to clearing that garage out. And we've all been to many a garage sale in our lives!

    To change any habit it takes a minimum of 90 days. At the 45-day mark, we are halfway to where the opportunity for real change is just starting to take hold. At the same time, this is when many of us feel that transition is just not going to happen, so we slowly let our old road/mental blocks creep back in again.

    Here are a few things to work on to become aware of what I call " the slide back 45".

    Keep a brief journal. Then take a look back to see where you’ve come from, what progress you’ve made, and look forward to where your commitments still lie.

    When the slide back starts to take over, recognize it and squash it!

    If need be, go back to the basics and start over.

    Some basics:

    Decide on what you’re going to stop doing before you start doing anything new.

    Find an accountability partner other than yourself.

    Develop a flexible blueprint, then commit to a plan and live by it.

    Take small steps first, then build momentum.

    Be patient with yourself.

    Know that you have to want to do this, even more than you need to do it.

    Celebrate your successes along the way. Use these moments to raise the platform for your next move, one that will be up and away from where you used to be.

    Keep in mind that on average it takes about 90 days for good habits to take hold, (after all, you’ve spent several years building up the bad habits in the first place!)

     What pointers to stop bad habits from creeping back in can you share?

     Jamie is the founder of Life Work Integration, a process that integrates passion with purpose and vision. You can reach him at & via Twitter @jdouraghy

    Passion Projects: Finding Your Way through Busy Schedules to Do What You Love

    Wednesday, May 13, 2015


    I recently read a thread where a commenter was aghast at how someone could have so much time to work a full time job, work out and still find the time to pursue passion projects. And what was their response? “I don’t have the time, I make the time.” This really resonated with me. Everyone is always so busy that it’s easy to forget about the things that matter. Some of us are lucky to have careers that exercise both our passions and our skills. Others are in roles that provide financial security yet still yearn to flex their creative muscles outside of their day job.

    So what can you do if you fall into the latter category or you’re one of those who just don’t have the time or the energy to pursue a passion project?

    If you haven’t found your passion yet, there’s no need to fret. You may not discover what makes you tick right away. It may be as simple as sitting down and thinking about what you’re missing. Are you sociable and outgoing but lately haven’t been getting much interaction? Did you used to volunteer or paint on weekends? By making a few small changes to your routine you can find your passion.

    Learn to say no
    Perhaps you lack assertiveness or you don’t want to be impolite, but that doesn’t mean you have to agree to everything that is thrown your way. If you’re constantly busy and it’s causing you stress, just say no. Be mindful of what is asked and how you respond but a simple “I’m unable to right now, but I will let you know if anything changes” is a more indirect, yet still polite way to decline. Your time and your life are precious. If you find you’re putting in crazy hours at work or spending your free time doing things you’d rather not be doing, it’s time to take a step back.

    Do what you love
    It sounds easy enough, doesn’t it? What do you love doing? What’s your favorite way to spend time? A passion project isn’t something you do half-heartedly. We recently placed a blogger in a full time position who had never held a professional job as a blogger, but it was her passion in her spare time. Without fail, come rain or shine, each week she would put out 5 posts on her personal blog because it was what she loved. She spoke with enthusiasm and it was evident to Artisan, and our client, that she truly loved what she did. And now she gets to live out her passion every day as a career. By being persistent and taking the time, it is possible to find your passion and make it work for you.

    We’re supposed to do the arduous tasks first and get to the menial stuff later. How many of us whittle away our precious time on tasks that don’t really require our undivided attention? A to-do list doesn’t have to stop at the office. Make a list for everything you need to do that week and figure out what’s most important. It may seem like a lot in your head but on paper things start to make a lot more sense.

    Take a break
    A break from your desk or a break from your routine, whatever it is, take a break. Go for a walk around your neighborhood, grab a coffee and relax. Think about where you want to be and how you can get there. Do you just want one day a week dedicated to you? If so, what needs to change in order for you to achieve it? Calendar yourself an hour each day to step away from work and do something for you.

    What is your passion project? Do you have any advice to share based on your personal experiences?


    Knowing Where You're Going

    Wednesday, May 06, 2015


    On a trip to Washington DC, I noticed this group of sailors walking up the steps of the Lincoln Memorial with a sense of purpose. I could see this with the pace they were walking at and they way they were speaking to one another. Clearly their destination had lot to do with it, as did their proximity to their goal for the morning. 

    Once inside, what had started as animated conversations quickly turned to hushed voices, combined with thoughtful reflection. Their short journey up the stairs was complete and they could now fully take in and appreciate the moment in front of them.


     A few thoughts on the importance of knowing your way every day:

         Know your purpose, you'll know what direction to head in and WHY
        When you know your WHY, you'll know your WAY
        A plan will put you on the right path
        You'll spend less time waiting and more time doing

    As the baseball sage Yogi Berra once said:

    "If you don't know where  you're going, you'll end up somewhere else!"

    Do you know where you are going  and how you're going to get there?

     Jamie Douraghy - Artisan Founder


    Recent Posts