Artisan Blog

Resignation Best Practices

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

A few times in one’s career, it may be necessary to write a resignation letter. Yet the resignation process can be intimidating, or even disheartening. How do you tell your employer goodbye and stay on good terms, especially if you’ve worked for them for a long time?

1. First off, figure out why you want to leave before you officially resign. No matter if it’s the salary, the commute, the team you work with, your manager, your responsibilities, a lack of creative challenge, or the desire to strike out on your own as a freelancer or entrepreneur, you sought after a new position for a reason. Be clear with yourself --it's not always about a salary! Know what's important before accepting any offer, as you might realize that your current position is still better than a new job for the interim.

2. Schedule a time to speak with your manager. Set up a resignation meeting with your current employer. Present your resignation letter which states your last date and reason for leaving. Wish your manager and the company continued success in the future.

3. Plan your exit strategy. Prepare your exit strategy before meeting with your manager. Create a plan for all the items you are currently handling. Provide a list of all assets, passwords, and works in progress. Have a succession plan -- your exit can provide a great step up for someone else on your team. Reassure your manager that while you will no longer be employed, you want to begin the hand over process as soon as possible. Offer your cooperation on training or documentation for ongoing projects or projected plans. Once you know what needs to be done before you leave, continue working as normal. Although you might feel “senioritis” at your job, don’t change your work ethic!

4. A word on reactions... While many employers will act respectfully upon hearing a resignation, some may not. However they react, you should remain calm and professional. By being prepared for your exit, you can help alleviate some of the stress your manager may be feeling.

5. Don’t accept a counteroffer. If the reasons you stated in point #1 are valid, then accepting a counteroffer doesn’t make sense. Not only does your employer know you’ve been looking to make a move from your current position, but they may think you only wanted more money. And if there are other things you’re unhappy about in your position, like the team or the responsibility, those won’t change even if your salary is higher. Your decision should be final, so don’t leave them room to talk you out of it!

Before deciding to make a move, be certain of your own motivation and opportunities for growth. Once you are certain, it will become easier to plan for your resignation professionally.


7 Apps That Will Make Job Searching Easier

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

job-search-apps

If you’re on-the-go or want to search for a job away from your laptop/desktop, you’ll probably find it more efficient to download one of these amazing job searching apps.

In today’s job market, the competition is higher than ever. To stay on top of the latest job opportunities, you need to maintain that competitive edge. That means having constant access to professional networks so you can quickly make connections and send out resumes on the fly.

Here are seven great apps that will help make your job hunt that much easier beyond the usual suspects:

Indeed: One of the most powerful job search aggregators, this app collects job openings from all major search engines and job boards, listing them into a convenient location for you to peruse. You can narrow your search and save specific searches (e.g. “social media coordinator”) to see if there’s anything new.

LinkedIn: An essential app, LinkedIn’s app lets you access your professional network and job search in a flash. You can stay up-to-date with groups and share content, thus helping increase your job opportunities. Pro Tip: We’re on LinkedIn -- and we have links to daily job postings!

Switch: Think of Switch like a dating app for jobs. Swipe right if you’re interested in the opportunity, or left if you’re not. Hiring managers can do the same to you, giving you a “yay” or “nay” on your job profile. If you both connect, you’ll be able to network and chat directly about the position.

ZipRecruiter: Much like other job board sites, their app offers more potential job options. Save your resume in your mail, DropBox, Google Drive, or browser so you can quickly apply, or set up job alerts for certain companies and job postings.

Pocket Resume: If you need to fix your resume fast, this app lets you craft one directly on your phone. The PDF rendering technology sorts through layout and design for you, and lets you store and sent from your device. This works especially well if you need send resumes during peak working hours.

BeKnown: Launched by Monster.com, this app works with your Facebook timeline to create a career identity on Facebook so you can share professional and educational experience without revealing your current timeline or friend network and interactions. You can recommend colleagues and companies, or collect with alumni to see if someone from your school is hiring!

Anthology (formerly Poachable): For those who are looking for a new job, but already have a job, this app allows you to connect with hiring managers in secret. Fill out a detailed questionnaire, then let the algorithm match you with employers. If both of you are interested, they’ll send an email introduction.

Artisan Creative has new jobs in creative and digital fields all the time! Check out our the page or find us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest, or subscribe to our RSS feed to see what new jobs in marketing, copywriting, graphic design, UX/UI design, illustration, project management, and more pop up!


5 Ways to Know if Working Remotely Works for You

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Telecommuting is quickly becoming less of a trend and more of the norm. In fact, 37% of U.S. workers say they're done it! Part of this is the practicality of the modern workplace -- for many positions, it's not necessary to be in an office. And for many workers, maintaining a healthy work-life balance is preferable to a higher salary.

So, where would you like to work? At your home office, or on the sofa? What about in a co-working space or a coffee shop? You might think that telecommuting would make a great part of your daily work routine, but it takes a surprising amount of self-discipline, concentration, and effort. See if working remotely is right for you by asking these five questions:

  1. Can you communicate well online or via video chat? Interacting with a team in-person is very different from being online. You need multiple communications tools to connect. If you feel like email is the only way to get in touch, you need to shake it up and practice communicating with instant messaging, video conferences, and teamwork platforms like Slack and Asana. Get comfortable using these technologies, and know when it's best to hop on the phone. One last thing: if you can't be available when everyone else is, you'll either have to work twice as hard to stay on top of what's happening, or need to connect more often to stay abreast of changes.

  2. Are you able to initiate conversations and projects? You can't be shy when you work remotely! Starting conversations with your co-workers or manager so you can get the ball rolling on projects is necessary. And if you're a manager, it can be hard to be present and available when telecommuting. You'll need to reach out to team members regularly, and set very clear goals and expectations, as well as offer support from afar.

  3. Can you be a great team player without seeing the team? Since you won't be interacting with colleagues in the breakroom or over lunch, you need to think about how you reach out and connect to co-workers. This means having team calls to catch up, setting up video conferences to brainstorm ideas, or scheduling virtual lunch dates. You may also have to boost team engagement by recreating "water cooler" conversation. Ask about personal topics like vacation plans or what was on TV last night.

  4. Do you have a great task management system in place? Many telecommuters report they are just as productive as on-site employees, but poor management and engagement could mean telecommuting doesn't work for a company -- or for you! A lack of oversight can lead to major issues later. If you're working as part of a team, talk to your manager about what work productivity really means, and how to prove it. If you're a manager, make sure your team understands those goals, and hold them accountable. And if you struggle with personal responsibility, working remotely may not be the best option for you.

  5. Is it possible to still meet occasionally? Okay, the whole point of telecommuting...is to not go into the office! But if you're working for a company that's located in the same city as you, it can't hurt to visit the office now and then. This way, you can review things like quarterly goals or evaluate projects with the whole team at once, and then get back to work. Think of it as a fun way to catch up with people, too! Try to schedule a happy hour or some kind of after work activity so you bond and get to know the people you're working with online.

Flexible work hours bring a specific set of challenges, but also many rewards! The needs of working remotely vary from those of the traditional office, so as long as you keep in mind these ideas, you'll be able to keep your team engaged and motivated.


How to Manage Multiple Clients at Once

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Many freelancers work with several clients simultaneously. However, juggling a large number of projects for multiple clients can go from easily doable to overwhelming, very quickly! As tasks pop up, it’s up to you to have a secure workflow system to deliver quality work on time. Here are some tips on how to make sure you and your clients stay happy while you handle different and diverse tasks at once:

Keep your calendar up to date. Whether you’re extremely organized or not, a calendar is your armor in the front line of freelancing. Label important dates, or create a system for due dates, such as “urgent”, “important”, and “later”. This will help you stay on task with the most significant aspects of these projects first before moving on to other parts that can wait. You can even create a project specific calendar and share it with your client.

Use a system that works. Management systems like Trello, BaseCamp and Asana work for lots of people because they help you keep all the small tasks organized, and allow your clients to see what’s in progress versus what’s finished. Find one that works for you, even if it’s a personal system you’ve devised. Just be sure everyone is on the same page and understands it so all parties know how far along a project is at any given moment.

Talk to your client. Always articulate to your clients your availability, your deadlines, and your deliverables. If you think a project for them will take a while, don’t be afraid to speak up. Communicate clearly by writing it down or checking in frequently so both parties know what’s expected of you.

Set boundaries. Developing relationships is how you keep business flowing, but you are allowed to set limits to how much work you can take on. Let your clients your availability for work, as well as availability for calls, meetings and your office hours.

Only promise what you can deliver. Emergencies happen, along with challenging work days and unexpected circumstances. If you send in an estimated due date for a project, budget in some extra time in case this stuff comes up. Also, leave yourself enough room in your schedule to do things like eat, take walks, exercise, meditate -- whatever is part of your daily routine.

Be realistic. As a freelancer, it's tough to say no to an assignment.  However, if you can’t deliver the project perfectly, on time and on budget, it may be best to find an alternative solution for your client.

As long as you’re consistent, communicative, and deliver to set expectations, your clients will feel you are partnering with them and will come back to you time and again.


Your Interviewing Style

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Just like no two snowflakes are alike, no two interviews are exactly the same. That being said, there are several archetypes of interviewers. Personality, company culture, and interview style play a big role in how a job interview goes, and there are many things that can contribute to a good or bad interview, such as whether the candidate is prepared, reading body language, and sussing out if they are indeed qualified for the position. But you -- and the candidate -- can help each other have a successful interview by knowing what type of interviewer you are.

The Talkative Interviewer

You’re friendly and warm! You love talking about the company you love working for, and have a lot to say about the position. You may also have a lot to say...in general. Toe the line between gregarious and chatty by keeping your guard up. Let the candidate do more of the talking, and be an active listener. The more they talk, the more you’ll be able to determine if they’re really a good fit for the team.

The Inquisitive Interviewer

You feel that the best way to get to know people is to ask questions. You’re likely to ask a candidate about aspects of their life beyond their career accomplishments or future goals. Some personal questions are fine to ask. For instance, if they made a personal connection to your company’s work in their cover letter, it’s fine to explore this. However, you should never ask any questions that could be construed as inappropriate or make someone feel uncomfortable. If they’re a good fit for the company, you’ll get to know them better later.

The Questioning Interviewer

You like to get down to business. You don’t just ask a lot of questions -- you ask them rapidly and expect the candidate to fire back just as quickly. While you may feel this is an efficient form of interviewing, your candidate may find it a little intimidating. Switch up the pace of the interview and allow them time to formulate thoughtful answers.

The “Follows the Script” Interviewer

You’re fair and objective. You also have a job to do, and that job is to find the best new hire for the team. You have a pre-set list of questions you ask, and you don’t deviate too much from the script. While it may help you keep the candidates straight, be prepared for someone you’re interviewing to talk at length on one subject, or demonstrate passion for a specific achievement. Let the flow of discourse shift when necessary -- you may find that by doing so, you find your next hire faster!

The Busy Interviewer

You have a LOT on your plate. You’re leading the team, taking care of projects, answering emails -- maybe you don’t even really care that much about being a part of the interview process. But the candidate might be nervous, and not feigning interest in the interview can come off as rude. Try to set aside any distractions and listen to them, especially because they could very well be working for you soon.

The Funny Interviewer

You’re a joker. You like to have fun and laugh, and you want a team that does the same. Yet sarcasm or jokes might cross the line. An anxious candidate might not know how to react to your humor, or even share it. Try to focus on their resume, and if you think they’re too serious, then you can make another choice later.

The New Interviewer

You’re fairly new to the company or your team. In fact, this might be the first time you’ve had the responsibility of hiring someone! But being new means you don’t have the same level of experience as other folks. Prepare in advance of the interview. Have a list of questions ready and their resume printed out for reference. Think of what questions they may ask you about the job or company, and have replies ready for them.

Are you looking for talent at your company? Tell us what you’re looking for so we can help!


How to Network on LinkedIn

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

networking-linkedin

In terms of networking for business, LinkedIn is the clear winner. Whether you want to recruit talent, grow your personal brand, explore interesting content, or find job opportunities for yourself, LinkedIn enables you to build a powerful network of professionals. However, you have to know how to network in order to make the most of it. Here are some tried and true best practices for growing -- and keeping -- your LinkedIn network healthy and happy.

Treat your profile like a snapshot of your professional life. This is your first LinkedIn impression, make it a good one!  Add relevant and current job information. Post an appropriate profile image. Much like your resume, portfolio, or social media accounts, use it to put your best foot forward.

Get people to recommend you! The best people to endorse you are those that have actually worked with you. They’ll be able to speak about your skills and experience in glowing terms and with specificity that can’t be matched by tenuous LinkedIn connections.

Recommend others! Writing valid and relevant recommendations for other people will help you get back in touch with colleagues who you could connect with later. Besides, it’s a nice thing to do! Remember the golden rule!

Ask for connections from people you know. Former colleagues, old friends, and new acquaintances all build towards a great network. However asking for connections from strangers won’t help much. If you don’t know them, explain why they should want to connect with you with a personal message crafted just for them instead of a standard one.

Be part of groups -- but choose carefully. Being part of a LinkedIn group can help you join up with other professionals in your area, or connect with others in your business. Pick groups that are most relevant to your interest, and stay active by posting introspective responses to interesting discussions. Leave the ones that don’t lead anywhere or aren’t fulfilling.

Contribute to more than yourself. Starting a discussion or posting a link should give value to your profile, your groups, and the community at large. You want to relate to and identify with your network. Don’t just use LinkedIn for self promotional purposes.

Relationships, including online ones, take time to develop. If you want to become closer with someone via LinkedIn, then invest time. Setup a professional meetup to talk shop, or find out what common ground you have based on your profiles. What can you offer these connections? How can they reciprocate?

Are you following Artisan Creative on LinkedIn? Get the latest job updates, exclusive content, and more!


Tax Tips for Freelancers in 2016

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Did you know 38% percent of millennials freelance? That means twenty and thirty-somethings who work differently from their parents, also need to do their taxes in a very different way from their folks.

While freelancing offers flexible work hours, creative opportunities, and a level of independence, it also means having to become your own HR department. Although tax season is several months away, freelancers can start preparing now by organizing expenses, 1099s, and more. Check out these tips and tools to make your 2016 tax season a breeze:

Determine what kind of return you need to file. Are you a freelance business as an LLC, or are you an independent contractor? Or did you work as a W2 with staffing agencies like Artisan Creative? Make sure you find the correct forms to file based on your business, as well as corresponding state and local forms.

$600 or more means you need a 1099. If you earn $600 or more from any one client, you need to report that income on your tax return using a 1099-MISC form. So if a client has yet to send you these forms by February 2, contact them and request one.

You need to pay both income tax and self-employment tax. While this may come as a surprise to freelancers, you are essentially taxed twice -- once as yourself, and once as a 1099 contractor. However, half of your self-employment tax is deductible as a business expense. If you haven’t set aside enough money to cover the cost of your taxes, start saving immediately so you can pay off at least some of your owed taxes. And if you determine you need to make estimated tax payments, make quarterly estimated tax payments on estimated income tax, including estimated self-employment tax.

Research tax breaks. The IRS offers a substantial number of tax breaks, which give freelancers a wonderful chance to get some additional deductions they’ve spent on their business. Deductions change from year to year, so look up common ways to determine your deductible expenses. For example, if you work from home, you can deduct the cost of your Internet bill, as it’s used while you work. Freelancers Union helps sort through this in its in-depth tax blog.

Set reminders. Do not wait until the week before April 15 to file your taxes unless you love stressing yourself out! Use calendars -- from Google to iCal to the Sunrise app and more, there are plenty of online choices to keep track. Set aside enough time to complete a set of tasks, like determining deductions or adding up your total income or expenses from 2015. Filing taxes is a pain, but it’s an even bigger pain to do it under a tight deadline.

Organize receipts and expenses. To help maximize tax deductions and keep the IRS happy, it’s best to stay organized and keep updated records of receipts, expenses, and payments. Have all these things stored and easily accessible to reduce the stress of filing. For instance, if you’re creating a digital archive, Shoeboxed is a great app for storing, processing, and organizing pictures of receipts on your phone.

Get help from a seasoned tax professional. Because tax deductions change so often, it may be best to hire a CPA to help so you can take advantage and save money. NerdWallet is an excellent educational blog to help you make smarter financial decisions, and can tell you which tax breaks you’re qualified for.  Just make sure if you hire a CPA, they are accredited and come recommended. The last thing you want is someone who’s untrustworthy handling your tax information!

Set yourself up for next year’s success. If you find that this year’s filing has been stressful, help take out some of the work for 2017 by setting yourself up to function more as an independent contractor next year. Create a separate bank account for your business to funnel payments through that account as well as pay any business expenses like insurance and tech maintenance through that account. Then use your organization system to keep track of receipts and such, as well as how much you think you’ll need to set aside to pay next year’s taxes.

With these tax tips, your freelance tax season will be the most time-saving -- and money-saving -- one you’ve had yet!


Are You Overqualified for That Job?

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Have you ever been told you were told you were “overqualified” for a job?

Overqualified?! What does that mean? Can someone really have too much experience? Surely that must be a positive thing, right?

When a job seeker is considered overqualified, it means there is not a right match between the available position and that person’s experience level. For example…

  • The candidate may have more experienced than the supervisor
  • The candidate’s experience may be intimidating to others on the team
  • The candidate’s years of experience may warrant a higher salary than the company is able to pay
  • The candidate may not be challenged by the job in the long run
  • The candidate may get bored and leave the role (this is a big reason why hiring managers are cautious of hiring someone with more experience than the role warrants)

However, you’ve worked hard to gain valuable experience you can apply in a myriad of roles. Your skills are likely transferable from one industry to another, especially in the creative industry, so if you are going to accept a role more junior than your skill level, be honest with yourself as to why you want this position.

And if you are truly interested in a specific role, even if you are more experienced than the job description indicates, then you can highlight your experience so it is an asset:

  • Update your resume to highlight relevant experience specific to this role
  • Write a cover letter that expresses why you’re genuinely interested and excited for the role, even if it seems like your career is further along than the position would require.  For example, if this allows you to learn a new industry, or learn a new skill
  • Highlight how your experience can be an asset and help the team or manager

Keep in mind that your resume and cover letter are just tools to help you stand out among a sea of candidates also applying for the same position. Once you are granted an interview, the real work begins.

Looking for work? Make sure to follow us on social media and check out our open job listings for freelance and full time roles in a variety of industries!


10 Best Practices for Your Resume

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

10 Best Practices for Your Resume

We’ve talked at length about the things to include on your resume. However there are  just as many things to avoid if you want to land an interview. Given that you’ve a mere few  seconds to impress a hiring manager, your resume needs to stand out! Here are 10 things to eliminate from on your resume in order to highlight your work experience, skills, education, and achievements to be distinctive:

1. Objectives. These descriptions at the top of a resume not only feel antiquated, but they don’t add anything to your resume. Moreover, they focus on what want rather than what you can offer to the company. If you feel this job is the best next step for your career, talk about it in your cover letter.

2. Photos. Unless you’re auditioning for a TV pilot or modeling gig, don’t include your photos.  Chances are your online portfolio, website, or LinkedIn profile already includes your photo.

3. Subjective traits. You may feel you possess amazing leadership skills or are an innovative thinker in design, however employers ignore these subjective traits because they can’t be measured. Instead, focus on objective facts and metrics If you really are an amazing leader, include how many team members you’ve managed, or include a quick example in your cover letter explaining how you’ve led your team to success, or achieved ROI in a campaign.

4. More than one page. We’ve debated this, but the short answer is--either in OK.  It all depends on your work experience, whether you have been freelancing at multiple places or been at the same company for several years.  The key is to include relevant, accurate and current information.

5. Salary history. This is a major faux paus, as well as a bad idea, as it compromises your ability to negotiate for a higher salary later! Leave it off so you can have some negotiating power later.

6. Short-term jobs. You don’t want to come across as job-hopping, so make sure to emphasize freelance or contract in the job title.

7. Leave out overused words. Here’s just a sampling of words that are redundant and don’t give employers concrete information: capable, skillful, effective, hardworking, innovative, and motivated are all qualities they hope you already have without you having to say so. Instead, search for synonyms that more closely fit your personality. For instance, as an “effective” employee you “engage in creative tasks”.

8. “References Available Upon Request”. If an employer wants references, they will ask. Save precious resume space for other accomplishments rather than including this sentence at the bottom.

9. Education. If you’re just out of high school and applying to your first jobs, it makes sense to include the information. Otherwise, focus on college and graduate information as well as degrees earned.

10. Misspellings, grammar issues, and typos. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again -- proofread, proofread, proofread! Nothing can make the resume  less professional than resume errors.  

A resume is a snapshot of your work experience -- not only should it be well written, it should highlight the best possible version of your experience and how you will be contributing to a new team. Take out irrelevant information, and polish up your resume so represents your experience in the best light possible.


How to Take Time Off from Freelancing Over the Holidays

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Maintaining your freelance work during the holidays can be really stressful. Along with holiday shopping, travel, social events, volunteering, and so on, you have to juggle multiple clients and projects that may very well be likely wrapping up by the end of the year.

The challenge and beauty of freelancing is that it is unpredictable. It may be hard to predict when the next assignment will take place, so how can you enjoy the holidays without worrying about the bottom line?

Schedule moments of free time: Carve out specific calendar time for yourself, family, and friends throughout the holiday. You’ll feel less guilty about taking off an evening for a party or running errands if it’s been scheduled as time off already.

Post date all your work: Schedule social media, blogs, and emails in advance. Use tools like Hootsuite, Buffer, and Boomerang to take care of emails to clients or tweets for the company in advance.

Take advantage of free time: If work slows down on its own, consider it a gift of time to spend with your loved ones. Even if your cards are mailed and your cookies are baked, you can still enjoy other festivities or just take some time for yourself!

Work on next year’s work: Chances are your clients are out for the holidays as well, so use the quiet time to do things such as updating your portfolio, sprucing up your website, or working on personal projects. You’ll get a head start on your New Year’s resolutions without worrying about taking time away from work!

Plan for another time: It might be too late to take time off this year, but you can make a plan to take a vacation during the winter, spring, or next holiday. Figure out your expenses to cover the costs of your travel or time off, and then put a plan in action to make it happen. You deserve a break, even if it’s not during the holidays!

From all of us at Artisan Creative, have a wonderful and merry holiday season!



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