Need a new search?

If you didn't find what you were looking for, try a new search!

Resume Refresh Checklist

Thursday, October 4th, 2018|

Are you starting a new job search? Could your ongoing search use an energy boost? Have trends in your industry shifted? Have you accomplished those professional goals you committed to at the start of this year?

If you answered yes to some or all of the above, it could be a good time for you to review your resume to give it a quick update and polish.

For most recruiters, hiring managers, or connectors who find you through a LinkedIn search, your Linkedin Bio and resume will be your best chance to make a first impression. You will approach the job market with more confidence if you’re sure your resume is as strong and polished as it can be.

Have a look now at your resume to make sure it meets all the important criteria.

Is it fresh?

If you haven’t spent any time on it in more than a few months, it pays to give your resume a close read, especially if you’re actively sending it out. You may be able to improve some awkward phrasing, use more modern formatting, or even catch a stray typo. Grammarly and Hemingway are two popular and trusted tools you can use to improve and tighten your writing.

Is it current?

Clearly, if you change jobs or achieve new professional goals, you should update your resume to reflect the new you. You must also be mindful of changing trends and language in your industry. Any expert who reads it should know that you know your stuff. With the rise of applicant tracking software, exceptionally strong SEO is one of your best friends during a job search. You are your own marketing department, so familiarize yourself with the latest SEO tricks and techniques that marketers use to boost visibility. Also, read job descriptions for jobs you want and rework your resume to use similar keywords. Make yourself easy to find.

Is it exciting?

Write in the active voice to present a stronger sense of who you are and what it might be like to work with you. Rather than “responsibilities” or “duties,” focus on your accomplishments and how you provide value and ROI. Rather than your “objective,” be descriptive – every line should be lush with details about what you know, what you can do, and what makes you different. Grab your reader’s attention and lodge in their memory.

Is it on brand?

Your resume works in concert with your social media profiles, your online portfolio, and the rest of your overall digital presentation. Make sure they all present a consistent sense of your personality, your professional values, and your realms of expertise. Create a buyer persona to represent the hiring manager whose attention you want to attract, and redesign all aspects of your digital presence to communicate directly with that person.

Is the design appropriate?

Always emphasize content over form. Every element of your resume should add; none should distract. Unless you are a visual designer with a distinctive aesthetic, stick with common typefaces and simple formatting. Trends in aesthetics and language change rapidly; present yourself in a manner that will have perennial appeal. If you’re in doubt, find a mentor or a peer you respect and ask if you can use that person’s resume as a model for your own.

At Artisan Creative, we know that building your dream career isn’t just about attention to detail – it’s about knowing which details matter.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 491st issue of our a.blog. Get in touch today and continue the conversation.

Creating Impactful Resumes

Wednesday, October 11th, 2017|

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.

 

Resume Refresh: What to Keep Versus What to Change

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016|


What has been the response rate to your resume submission?

If you are not getting the responses you had hope for you may want review your resume. Here are some steps you can take to improve your resume and make an impact without starting from scratch.

Use SEO and Keywords. Some applicant tracking systems and resume management systems use keywords to highlight submissions. Make sure your resume is SEO friendly and utilizes keywords that align with the role you are applying for.

Focus on ROI. Paint a picture of what each job you’ve had is like and what you achieved while there. How did you make an impact? Look through each position and find a way to list your accomplishments and impacted the team’s bottom line and productivity.For example if you designed a logo, you “developed and created a new logo that led to a 30% increase in conversions to their website”.

Be Concise. Use bullet points or easy-to-read sentences. Hiring managers and recruiters often have little time to skim through hundreds of resumes for each job they are recruiting–make your accomplishments stand out. Focus on what strengthens your candidacy and highlight those.

Use a common font. Arial, Helvetica, or Times New Roman are all easy to read. Stick with these simpler fonts instead of fancy ones. Pay special attention to the requirements of the applicant tracking systems and the readability of your resume. The exception to this is if you’re a designer, in which case you’ll want to make sure your resume showcases your design skills. Want to further improve readability? Increase the line spacing so there’s more white space.

Delete objectives. Those statements at the top of your resume are unnecessary and waste valuable space. Instead of stating what you want in your resume, move it to your cover letter, where you can explain in more detail what you’re looking for. Consider adding in more description about your previous positions instead. Did you just help your manager reach quarterly goals, or did you create some kind of system to help them do that better?

In short, keep your resume creative, relevant, and results-based. What are your resume refresh tips?

Volunteering is Great for Your Resume (And You)

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016|

Volunteering is good for your community, and for you. However between work, family, friends, relationships, personal passions, and so on, it may seem difficult to find the time to give back. Here’s 5 reasons why volunteering can be great asset and has additional benefits:

Enhances a resume. Volunteering demonstrates your acumen for leadership roles and being a team player with a passion for a cause. It can also help reduce gaps in a resume if you are in between jobs.

Networking & Referrals. Volunteering expands your network. Having more people to reach out to about job opportunities is never a bad thing! Volunteer for an organization which in line with your passions and meet other like-minded individuals who might have connections to other companies.

References. Much like expanding your network, volunteer organizers can serve as valuable references, especially for younger job candidates.

Demonstrates initiative. Volunteering demonstrates a desire to solve problems, take on new challenges, and remain engaged to the community.

Expands skills. Offer your expertise, expand your portfolio and help a great cause. For example if you are graphic designer volunteer to design the logo or an event flyer for a local foundation, pro bono. 

If you’ve been on the job hunt for a long time, volunteering helps keep your skills sharp and keep you engaged.

Tell us about your volunteer experience on Facebook or LinkedIn!

Using the "Active Voice" in Your Resume

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016|
resume-active-voice

Using the passive voice — where the subject is acted upon by something else — is not impactful on a resume. Yet it happens all the time!

While we may express ourselves daily using the passive voice, the problem with using it on a resume is that it downplays your accomplishments. You are responsible for your own career, so why make it sound like you stood on the sidelines and watched it happen when you were directly involved? You must use the active voice in order to take responsibility for your actions and prove you get results.

Typically, you don’t use “I” on a resume, so how can you tweak statements to show your active voice? Start each bullet point with an action verb that connects your work to what goals you accomplished. For example:

  • Increased Twitter engagement by six percent
  • Created wireframes for new company website
  • Implemented new design standards for the department
  • Hired new interns as part of creative team
  • Managed copywriting calendar

By phrasing each achievement in the active voice, it makes your involvement and accomplishment clear and easy to understand for the hiring manager. You didn’t experience an increase in social media engagement — you led the growth. That distinction is the thing that can set you apart. Of course, you should include “my or our team” or something similar when it applies to a group effort, however the active voice lets you take credit for your best work.

Remember, your resume has a very finite amount of real estate, yet limitations can breed creativity!

Ignore the passive voice and use action verbs that will define your specific and unique skills and experiences.

Looking for a new freelance or full-time job? Send us your resume. We’ll help you land the next gig!

The Real Point of Having a Polished Resume

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016|
resume-ready

Many of us have a resume ready to go in case someone should ask, especially those of us who work as freelancers and are constantly approached (or are approaching others) for work. But the resume that’s in your digital desk drawer may not be impeccable, or even adequate for a hiring manager! Let’s talk about the real point of having a polished, ready-to-go resume:

Tactical only goes so far. Sure, you may know you need to list your experience, education, and achievements at previous jobs, but your resume is a snapshot of your work life. It needs to express depth and breadth in a meaningful way, as well as further showcase your personal brand. Consider a full rewrite of your resume that’s strategically written instead of just written to exist.

It’s likely a human being will read your resume. Some companies use keyword screening software to help sort through resumes, but many companies, particularly mid-sized and smaller ones, have someone else read them. Therefore, your resume needs to be written in a way that anyone could understand. Was there some aspect of a previous job that might be harder to explain in detail, like running a social media marketing campaign? Find a way.

Introspection is your friend. Take the time to review your illustrious career before rewriting your resume. What challenges did you face? What actions did you take to solve problems? What results did you gain thanks to your initiatives? For example, list team building and leadership roles and use this time to tell the story of a unique person with highly enviable opportunities: you!

You need specifics. Command the hiring manager or recruiter’s attention by building up your reputation via specific, measurable results. It’s not just about whether you were in charge of a team — how many people did you manage on a daily basis, and what did your department do to help the company overall? Did your design overhaul on a website directly lead to an influx of new sales?

Pay attention to the basics. Make sure your page margins and spacing are all in order. Include contact info. Take out “orphan” words that are hanging on a line by themselves and rewrite those parts. Use a basic font and bullet points to create a cleaner, more readable look. If you’re a designer, consider a more graphically oriented resume that shows your creative side. And always proofread and spell check, no matter what!

To best position for future roles, create a polished resume that exemplifies your career expertise with passion and practicality. Being personable, performance-driven, and pragmatic all on one page will not just make it clearer whether you’re a great cultural fit at the next great company, but it’ll also lead you closer to your dream job!

10 Best Practices for Your Resume

Wednesday, January 6th, 2016|

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.

Here’s How You Can Impress Recruiters with Your Resume in 6 Seconds.

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015|

impress-recruiters-6-seconds

A recent Harvard Business Review article pointed out that online job search site The Ladders says recruiters take about six seconds to look at a resume.

Six seconds! What can anyone reasonably do in six seconds?

Well, they can make a judgment call. And that’s what you can fix. Because as long as your resume is effective, you get a lot more than six seconds of someone’s time.

Spruce up your portfolio. Your resume may only get a few moments of time to make a mark, but a well crafted portfolio of your work can make all the difference. A great portfolio can help convince hiring managers that your work speaks louder than your resume, as well as make the connection between your work experience and actual creative endeavors.

Close the employment gaps. If you’ve been looking for a while, it can feel like the gap between jobs is just getting bigger. Volunteer, freelance, or create your own projects to add to the resume so the gaps lessen. Look for leadership roles to help enhance your standing.

Be selective. Your resume is a body of content that represents you, so it doesn’t need to be comprehensive. Include whatever is relevant to the job and hiring manager as part of your experience. The same goes for your skills and accomplishments.

Format your resume correctly. Use bold and underlining plus bullet points to help promote yourself in a concise yet detailed fashion. Add the right keywords — the more specific, the better. Short descriptions of previous work experience will suffice. Make sure to point out your responsibilities in each position in addition to personal achievements. Education goes at the end. Finally, keep everything clean! Lots of white space helps your resume appear professional and polished.

Ask for help. Being objective about your career can be difficult. Some people overestimate or underestimate their success. Hire a resume writer, or ask a mentor or friend to help with the resume writing process.

Take your time. Creating an effective resume is not a quick or easy process. You have to think carefully about what you want to say and how to say it.

Is your resume ready for review in six seconds? What are your resume tips?

The Importance of Proofreading Your Resume (And Everything Else)

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015|

According to a survey conducted by Grammarly on Indeed.com, the average job seeker has at least one punctuation error on their resume, and 60 percent of errors are grammatical.

If the job requires attention to detail or if you promote yourself as “meticulous,” how can a hiring manager trust that you are those things if your resume has simple spelling mistakes and typos?

Those tiny errors could make them think twice about calling you for the role.

One cannot underestimate the importance of proofreading. Here are a few tips to keep in mind during this necessary step in applying for jobs:

Proofreading does not equal spell check. Misspellings and grammatical mistakes are common, and they happen to everyone. But spell check cannot replace your sharp eye. Most spell check programs do not recognize contextual spelling errors (like “achieve” versus “achievement”).

Don’t rush your email. When you see the perfect job, it’s easy to get excited and click “send” before thoroughly reading it over. However, if you spelled the name of the company incorrectly, it’s very unlikely they’ll be emailing back!

Check your online portfolio. Hiring managers, especially in creative fields, are going to look at your website. If you’ve misspelled a few words, or have grammar errors, it will negatively impact your beautiful photos or exquisite design. They’ll remember that you weren’t fastidious enough to double check your own website.

Keep it consistent. If you’re still employed at a position, use present tense — use past tense if you’re no longer there. Stay consistent and use an active voice (“developed strategy,” “created designs”). Catching errors in consistency is part of proofreading.

Have a friend help you! If you’ve already combed through all your hiring materials, ask a friend (or several) help you proofread as well just to be on the safe side.

The good news is that your resume, LinkedIn profile, and online portfolio are easy to fix. All you have to do is take the time to proofread and make sure there are no errors.

So proofread your resume. Proofread your cover letter. Proofread your online portfolio. Proofread your writing samples. Proofread your blog. Proofread your email to a recruiter or hiring manager. Proofread, proofread, proofread. You can thank us later after you score the job!

Summer Homework: Updating Your Resume, Profile and Portfolio

Wednesday, July 8th, 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.