Artisan Blog

5 Surefire Signs It’s Time to Find New Job Opportunities

Thursday, August 20, 2015

quitting-job

Quitting your job is a scary prospect -- even if the economy is slowly but surely turning itself around, there’s never a guarantee that you will be able to find another position. Nevertheless, if you feel a shudder when you get to work, it’s unlikely you’ll regret quitting for something better. Here are five ways to evaluate whether it’s time to leave your current job for new horizons.

1. You dread going to work. You wake up in the morning and are filled with impending doom. You dream of quitting. You consider using up your sick time to stay home because you don’t want to go to work. Life's too short -- it’s time to start looking for a new job!

2. You know more than your supervisor. You want to feel good about the decisions being made at your company. If you feel frustrated that the leadership at your job is making poor choices, it could affect your job performance. Stay ahead of the curve and search for a new role.

3. You don’t know what’s happening. Are you the last to hear about major changes or events at work? Maybe you’re left out of important meetings or don’t know about big projects. Your bosses may only see you as a desk warmer rather than a valuable team member. Look for a place where they will appreciate your unique skills and insight.

4. You’ve lost that loving feeling. Even if you enjoy your boss, co-workers, and Friday happy hours with everyone, it’s time to move on if you have stopped caring about the work. Passion, especially in creative fields, is a key ingredient to success. A lack of enthusiasm won’t serve you or the work family you love -- but a new career move will invigorate your spirits.

5. You are not learning anything new. If you think you’ll spend the next five years doing the same thing, you’re doing yourself a disservice by staying in the same role. Challenge yourself to embolden your creativity and look for roles that will stimulate.

After evaluating, if you feel like the relationships you’ve built at your job are great or the rewards are significant, stay the course. However, if you dream of other opportunities for growth or feel a deep pit in your stomach thinking about your job, consider freelancing and searching for other roles. If you do choose to leave, don’t burn bridges. Just explain you want to pursue another opportunity, then leave on friendly terms. And remember -- if you decide to look for a new role, Artisan Creative can help place you in your dream job!

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 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


     

    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.

    Prioritize
    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?

     

    Cover Letters: Do Hiring Managers Really Read Them?

    Wednesday, April 01, 2015

     

    Cover letters: Some job seekers swear by them, others don’t use them at all. Are cover letters really a necessity when applying for a job and are hiring managers even reading them? Opinions are divided. We recently read this article on The Guardian with these handy sample letters and thought we'd offer some handy advice when applying for jobs.


    As recruiters, we’ve seen it all. We’ve received generic letters where only a company name is changed, or 2 pages of background info on an applicant, or sometimes quirky little notes with funny anecdotes. So what should you be doing when applying for a job?

    Keep it short & sweet.
    This is the place to list a few highlights from your experience gained across several positions. Don’t rewrite your resume! Read through the key responsibilities of the job you’re applying for and highlight your experience as it relates to the key points. You don’t need to go into too much detail here, just think of it as a summary of your best bits.

    Use formatting to emphasize key items.
    Bullet points, bold, underline, or italics can help readers very quickly see keywords or sentences that are crucial to the job you’re applying for. Go easy on the formatting, though.

    Be specific about your experience. Avoid overused phrases like “team player” or “excellent communication skills". For more information on words to avoid, read our recent blog on buzzwords. Instead, explain that you’ve “managed a team of X”, “collaborated with cross-functional departments” and “led client presentations”.

    Go beyond the resume. Let’s face it – you can’t put everything on a resume. An introductory email provides a platform for mentioning relevant projects you might have worked on, hobbies or passions you may have and an opportunity to explain any issues with your resume such as a gap in experience, moving jobs frequently, etc. Make it easy for the hiring manager.

    Keep it personal.
    Address your email to the actual hiring manager for the position. Avoid “To Whom it May Concern”. Even if you don’t know names of those hiring, ensure you customize the letter with the company name, locations and industry references to show you’ve done your homework.

    Check your spelling and grammar. Nothing puts your resume in the “NO” pile faster than innocent spelling or grammar mistakes. Use your Spellcheck – but also have a set of human eyes review it for you.

    Now put those skills to the test. See one of our jobs that might be right? Apply today!

     

    Personal Branding: How to Rebrand Yourself and Your Career

    Wednesday, March 25, 2015

     

    We often hear the phrase “personal brand” being used-- but do each of us need one? And if we do, how do we go about getting one? We recently chatted with Nina who has rebranded herself in order to transition from the corporate world to the creative one and it got us thinking --what are the benefits and what should we be doing to foster our personal brand?

    When thinking about your personal brand and how you want to present yourself, both online and offline you need to first think of a broad picture, and then narrow it down to the specifics.  As Nina discussed with us, you need to think about your vision, where do you want to be in the future?

    “I took the time to do some deep exploration and to inquire into some important questions.  What made me happy?  What was I passionate about?  What was I good at?  When I was I most inspired in my career?  What was my purpose? What were the common themes, and patterns in the direction of my own career?  What was I known for?  How did I want to be known?  Who was my audience and where did I provide them value?”

    Before you embark on your journey of personal branding, here are a few tips to get you started.

    Vision

    What are your goals and passions in life? What can you do as a brand do to build a future for you and your prospective employers, jobs or clients? If your niche is working for startups and your passion is tech, and you also love vegan food, build your brand around that. Add value for others who share the same passions. You need a hook that will make you memorable, so you can become the tech guy who works for startups and the go-to guy to ask about vegan food.

    Marketing

    What do you need to market a brand? A website, social pages, advertising, perhaps some copy are usually commonplace.  A personal website is a great way for people to get to know you, especially if you have a portfolio of work to show. How can your business cards stand out at a networking event? We work in the creative space, so it's all in the details.

    Consistency is needed across your social media profiles. We suggest using the same profile photo on each platform to be easily distinguished.  Podcasts and blogs can be a fun and smart way to meet thought-leaders in your space as guests or interviewees. Your digital footprint is a hard one to erase so the content you are putting out into the world should be respectful, educational and entertaining. We love sites like Buffer and Feedly to assist with automating content.  

    Audience

    Who are your audience and what can you do for them? Ask questions, get to know them and invite them to share their thoughts on your niche subjects. This is the fun part of personal branding as you get to know your followers and make friends. Think about how to add value. What do they want to know? What are their interests?

    How did you build your own personal brand? Do you think they are a necessity when job searching?

     

     

    Artisan Spotlight: Amazing Talent - Nina

    Tuesday, March 17, 2015

    “To thrive in 21st century business we need to be willing to shed our own skin, think more creatively and strategically, be collaborative and reinvent ourselves to change with the times.”

    Artisan Spotlight is a new monthly feature dedicated to the amazing talent we work with. This is an opportunity for you, the talent, to share your career experiences and impart your knowledge and advice to others. Want to be featured here? Get in touch!

    This month we spoke to Nina. We met Nina back in late 2013 at a networking event and have worked with her ever since. Nina works in Brand, Digital and Marketing Communications Strategy and specializes in strategically building brands to engage their audiences, start movements and increase their revenue and growth.

    Why did you decide to shift from corporate to creative?

    I started to observe and experience patterns in the corporate world, both when I was an employee and as a consultant. One being that all of the innovation, strategy and ideas, and creative thinking and design were being outsourced to creative firms and agencies and not coming from inside the organization (nor was it being asked of the internal teams).  There was also a pattern of downsizing the internal teams and those who were left were being tasked to function as project managers vs. strategic thinkers. 

    I’m a visionary, strategist and creative thinker and while I was hired into companies for those talents, I found myself being pigeon-holed into being solely a project manager and becoming less valued for what I actually provided. I thrive in creative environments where I can invent and discover new and innovative ways to communicate and reach audiences. I found myself withering on the vine and becoming less engaged and enlivened by my career and utterly uninspired.

    Some deep self-exploration had me start to identify these things and create a new vision for my career and the experience I was looking for.  Based on what I identified as important and my own personality and skill set; tech-start ups and creative agencies became the playground I was interested in playing in.  Their approach to business and creative problem solving is more aligned with mine.  I’ve discovered that I’m really a creative who knows business.

    What were your biggest challenges during this time?

    Shifting my own mindset

    I had to stop thinking like a corporate person to create solutions and strategy and start thinking like someone in a small growing business and what their challenges might be and how they might approach creating a Brand/Marketing Communications strategy and execute it with smaller resources.  I also had to set aside what I “already thought I knew” to step into the unknown and be willing to relearn and upgrade my own operating system.   Disrupting one’s belief system and mindset takes something…and is probably the most important step in making a career change.

    Saying No to what I didn’t want

    The only work that was coming my way at first was corporate work and I knew that to truly make that shift, I had to close the door on my corporate life.  I started saying no to corporate opportunities. Which was very scary because that was the only income I had known and I was turning down work.  For a short time, no work was coming my way. 

    Not giving up

    I questioned my choices, particularly when I saw the drop in income…or at times no income.  But I knew that I had to follow my heart or I’d continue to live an uninspired life where my career was concerned.

    How do the corporate and creative worlds differ?

    The biggest difference that I see is that the creative world has the ability to be more agile and nimble.  There is a perspective of “let’s try this and maybe we’ll be wrong and fail, but let’s try and see what we learn, then we can reinvent.”  I’m also finding that in the creative and start-up worlds there is a 21st century approach to doing business that is collaborative, transparent and open to exploring partnership opportunities, even with companies and products that might be considered competitors.

    What advice would you give to someone who wants to move into creative?

    Be willing to completely reinvent yourself

    Start from within. Study, learn, set aside what you know for awhile to learn something new…step outside of your own box…you can then incorporate what you already know into what you are learning.  Learn as much as you can, network and meet as many people as you can in the area you want to move into.

    Surrender your ego over to your vision

    Be willing to take a lesser position, less income or take a career step back to move into a new direction. Be willing to learn something new and have a beginner’s mind, no matter how experienced you are.  I have a friend who did that in his own career.  He’s now the CEO of the company he “took a step back” to join.

    Don’t get discouraged

    Keep the faith. Believe in your self. Keep moving forward and you will get there.


    What's next for you?

    I’m interested in moving away from consulting and creating a full time opportunity with a start-up or creative firm located on the West side.  I’d really like to make the investment and work with one company that is in a growth mode and help them fulfill on their vision. 

    "Believe in yourself, keep moving forward and close the door behind you and take consistent action towards you vision, you will get to where you are going."

     

     If you are interested in booking Nina for an assignment, get in touch.

     

    Networking: How to Navigate Networking Events with Ease

    Wednesday, March 11, 2015

    We’ve all been there; standing at the side of an event hoping someone will strike up a conversation with us. Perhaps you’re the person hovering around the coffee machine or waiting outside until the very last moment? Networking events can be daunting, but they can also be a great way to challenge you to become an even better version of who you are now.

     Think of it this way, everyone is attending a networking event for the same reason; they’re looking to gain something. People are there to make connections, to chit chat about work and maybe a sales pitch here and there about you or your business. If you are attending these events and not putting anything into them, you’re not going to get anything back.  By making the first move and approaching people, it will not only put other people at ease, it will also help you to stand out.

    “Everyone is already engaged in conversation, I don’t know where to begin.”

    Walk around the room with your head held high and if anyone makes eye contact, be sure to acknowledge them with a smile or a hello. If people are stood in circles and already engaged in conversation, don’t push your way in. If you can enter a conversation without having to ask anyone to move, join them, listen and simply ask a question to the person speaking about their thoughts on the topic. It shows you have an interest in what they have to say and helps to keep the conversation flowing.

    “I’m not good at making small talk. I don’t know what to talk about.”

    Approaching someone at a networking event and asking “How are you?” is a frequent conversation starter but it can be a conversation killer, too. If like most of us, you often respond with “Yes, I’m great. How are you?” the conversation won’t really lead anywhere. However, what if you were to ask “How was your week?” instead? The possibilities for a conversation can lead anywhere at this point. You find out more information about them and what they do, plus it gives you an opportunity to ask more questions.

    “I never hear back from anyone I meet.”

    When you get back from a networking event, send thank you emails to everyone you met. You don’t need a sales pitch or any superfluous speech. Simply let them know you had a great time meeting them and that they can reach out to you if they ever need any help. Keep it short and sweet. If you want to keep a dialogue going, try sending a follow up email a few weeks later. It can be something as simple as “Hey, I just read this article and thought it was a great conclusion to our conversation at the event.”

    “I try to speak to so many people at these events, I leave feeling overwhelmed.”

    Keep in mind that quality over quantity is always the best solution with networking events. You don’t need to talk to everyone in the room. Go to the event with a goal in mind. Maybe you want to leave with 5 business cards or give out 10 of your own? It can be something as simple as holding conversations with 3 different people. Whatever your goal is, work towards it. If you are tied into a conversation and you’re missing out on your goal of chatting with others, politely excuse yourself and ask to continue the conversation on email.

    Networking doesn’t come easy to everyone. The key things to remember are to ask questions, listen and look for ways to help people. What are your experiences with networking events? Share your thoughts in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you.

     

    Laura Pell - Recruiter at Artisan Creative

    Reflection in Your Day

    Wednesday, March 04, 2015

    Recently I found my days slipping away far too fast and at the end of each day wondering "where the time went". I wasn't sure how to mentally slow things down. At least with our body, we can be intentional in controlling our tempo by adjusting to what we need to be doing at any given time: like the difference in pace between sprinting and running a marathon. I found that slowing my (at times very active) brain was not as easy.

     

    Often we push our body to a point where we hit a peak and then allow for recovery time. If we don't listen to our body, it has a way of reminding us the next day, and now we have to slow things down a bit to adjust. After thinking about this for a while, what came to light was the importance of taking a similar mental break from a busy day through reflecting. By taking short breaks and using that time to reflect on what is important and giving the mind a chance to recalibrate, I end up having more mental energy for what I am going to do next, (like finishing this blog in a timely manner).

     

    The few core areas I choose to reflect on:

    • What I just completed
    • Did it bring me closer to my goals
    • What I am most thankful for right now
    • What's the one small thing I can do today to help someone else succeed


    How much time do you spend reflecting and how do you feel after that break?

     

    Jamie Douraghy - Founder at Artisan Creative


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