The Artisan Creative a.blog explores creativity and culture for job seekers and employers alike. Here you can browse over 500 articles covering resume & interviewing tips, hiring best practices, staffing & recruitment, freelancing, and entrepreneurship as well as tips on productivity, networking, and more.

START SMART

Tuesday, January 12th, 2021|Comments Off on START SMART

Happy 2021!  Your vision board is done. You have selected your word of the year.

You feel full of energy and enthusiasm and are ready to tackle every project and every goal.

What about 2 months from now? How will you keep on track?  How about six months from now–will 50% of your goals be accomplished by then?  Let’s make certain they can be.

The key to setting goals and accomplishing them is to set SMART goals.  And, just as important for your goals to be SMART, is to START smart.

The traditional Smart goals as introduced by Peter Drucker are:

  • Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
  • Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
  • Achievable (agreed, attainable).
  • Relevant (reasonable, realistic, and resourced, results-based).
  • Time-bound (time-based, time-limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).

Deepak Chopra has his version which I love.

  • Stretch for more than you can reach
  • Make everything measurable
  • Agreement with yourself and those around you
  • Record your progress
  • Time limits for acting and getting results

However we define SMART goals, they won’t magically come to fruition without foresight, preparation, and follow-through. To set SMART goals we have to START Smart.   And, to start smart we must be or have:

S: Set strength-based goals. Rely on our strengths

T: Tenacious. Show tenacity.

A: Alignment. Be aligned with our core values

R: Reflect.  Take time to reflect and give yourself the time and space to discover WHY you want to pursue the specific goals you’ve set.

T: Team.  Gather a team around you to help you accomplish your goals.

Let’s delve into it further:

S: Strength-based means to rely on your own strengths, talents, skills, and behaviors that naturally come to you and help you accomplish what you set your mind to do.  For example, I am a naturally positive person and that positivity propels me to have a can-do attitude, view every obstacle as a growth challenge, and know I can think beyond the box to find a solution.

T: Tenacity

Every goal requires a tenacious, unwavering belief in its accomplishment.  It requires hard work, planning, and commitment.  Otherwise, it’s not a goal, it a wish.

A: Alignment with your core values

Goals have to be true to our core.  They have to align with what is most important to us and to the values we adhere to.  Otherwise, we will have inner conflict and a harder path towards achievement.

R: Reflective.  We have to give ourselves the time and space to discover WHY we want to pursue a specific goal. The goal has to be significant to us and to those around us.  When other stakeholders are involved, there is more on the line and a bigger motivation for accomplishment.

T: Team

Goals are not accomplished in a vacuum.  We all need a support system or an accountability partner to keep us on track and focused.  Sharing our goals with others creates a commitment, a stronger sense of responsibility to self and to others.

As you plan out your 2021, how will you break your goals into SMART ones and take the time to START smart?

Vision (Board) 2021

Sunday, December 27th, 2020|Comments Off on Vision (Board) 2021

Our new decade started with the most unprecedented year, and certainly one that has brought about challenges, opportunities, and many lessons along the way.  This is a special time of the year to reflect on the previous year and to plan for the upcoming one.

What did we learn in 2020? What do we want to do more of? What will we stop doing? Who do we want to be in this new year? These are just a few questions to reflect upon.

Here at Artisan Creative, each year we work on our vision boards and present them to one another at our first team meeting in January. The boards are a collection of our short and long-term goals and include both personal and professional aspirations. Most of our team members create physical boards, although a few opt for a digital version using TrelloCanvaPinterest, Jamboard, or PicMonkey.

Presenting to the team creates accountability (one of our core values) and enables us to learn more about each other’s ambitions, dreams, and commitments. Many start by setting a theme for the year, and then include specific action words and inspirational quotes. All have in common a shared use of imagery that inspires, tells a story, and conveys a message to create a powerful visualization tool.

In addition to sharing our vision and goals at the start of the new year, we review our boards mid-year in our June meeting and share a recap at our year-end meeting. This helps keep us on track during the course of the year, which can have many twists and turns. This activity is one of our strongest team-building exercises, as it stays “evergreen”.

Here are five tips to create your vision board and get started on achieving your goals!

  1. Choose a theme
  2. Select words and images that inspire and are true to your core values and positivity and inspiration for yourself and others.
  3. Imagine the integrated life/work you want to have.
  4. Create your board.
  5. Live your best life.

You can either divide your board into sections for business and personal or mix the elements together throughout. The important point is to create an integrated board where your personal and professional aspirations are represented.

Hang the board where you can re-visit it daily—read the inspirational messages out loud— and often! Mine is right in front of my desk, so I get to see it every time I look up from my computer.

Another key element is sharing the board with others. Having an accountability partner will help you get closer to achieving your goals.

If you choose to go the digital route, change your desktop to the vision board artwork so you can see it every day for inspiration and setting priorities.

Tools needed:

  • A large poster board to give you plenty of space to visualize your year, yet small enough to hang on your wall. We use the 22 x 28 size available from Staples.
  • A good pair of scissors and a strong glue stick so the pictures stay on all year long.
  • Variety of magazines to look through and find those inspiring words and pictures.
  • (Optional) Markers/stickers to write on or embellish your board.
  • Patience and Creativity.
  • Time to reflect.
    Cut images and words throughout the month. Select aside a day to create the actual vision board. For some, it’s easier to start with a theme and for others, the pictures and words shape the theme of the board. There is no right or wrong method, harness your creativity any way that works best for you.

What is your goal-setting process?

Happy 2021!  We hope you’ve enjoyed the 576th issue of our weekly a.blog.

Happy Holidays from Artisan Creative

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2020|Comments Off on Happy Holidays from Artisan Creative

At Artisan Creative we gathered virtually with our team to celebrate the holidays.

As we count down the most unusual year of all, we know we have many reasons to be grateful in 2020.

Our team, our talent, and our clients are amongst those reasons.

As we begin plans to celebrate our 25th year in business, we wanted to take a moment and thank you for your trust over the years.

We wish you a happy and safe holiday.

How to Plan a Remote Holiday Gathering

Wednesday, December 9th, 2020|Comments Off on How to Plan a Remote Holiday Gathering

For the past 24 years, Margaret Jung, our Senior Account Manager, has hosted a festive luncheon for our team during the holidays. Some years we had as many as 30 people gather, and some years we’ve had as few as 8. We come together to share our gratitude for one another, review our vision boards for the year, discuss goals we’ve accomplished, and cheer in the new year. Even though we have been a remote company for 10 years, we have always celebrated the holidays in person at Margaret’s home. Except for this year.

This is a year like no other, so our 25th-holiday party was like no other. Although it was different, it was great fun and we connected from the heart. After all, living our core value of creating trusted relationships means connecting, and what better way to connect than to celebrate one another! And, while we couldn’t be in person, we still laughed, exchanged gifts, and ate together (via zoom). This year, the silver lining was that our out-of-town teammates were able to be “in-town” and fully participate.

Here is how we planned ours.

  • Secret Santa gifts were organized via Elfster. We preselected budgets and set up our wish list.
  • Each team member selected a song to be played at the event and shared why it was memorable.  They selected a song from any period of their life as long as it either:
    • Brought joy
    • Energized
    • Was reflective

Music is such an uplifting and powerful connector and allowed us the opportunity to learn more about each other at a deeper level.

  • Secret Santa gift exchange took place, complete with oohs and aahs and zoom screenshots to capture the festivities.
  • Lunch was pre-ordered ahead of time so we could eat together.
  • Every year, each team member creates a vision board in January. We revisit them mid-year and then again at our December holiday party.  So at our zoom gathering, every person reviewed their vision board and shared their aspirations and the lessons learned from this year.
  • We shared our gratitude and wrapped up our gathering.

This year has been full of new learnings and wonderful, unexpected surprises. This party was no exception and it was the most fun two hours I’ve spent with my team in a long while. This team rocks!

If you are planning your first virtual party, I hope the above information is helpful.

Wishing you and yours a happy holiday season and a lively virtual gathering.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 575th issue of our a.blog.

Gratitude 2020

Tuesday, November 24th, 2020|Comments Off on Gratitude 2020

Each Thanksgiving holiday season, we gather and share our collective gratitude and celebrate our clients and talent whom we work with all year.

This year, at a time that requires deeper reflection, has brought about ample opportunities to count our blessings.   To create this list, we gathered together (via zoom), focused on our enthusiasm and communication core values to share what is important to us now and what we are grateful for.

Here are the collected gratitudes from members of our Artisan Creative a.team:

  1. Gratitude for working with the finest talent and clients
  2. Gratitude for 25 years of being Artisan Creative
  3. Gratitude for the opportunity to impact careers and change lives
  4. Gratitude for the awareness of the good fortune and the ability to shift our work to the online world and remain connected
  5. Gratitude for the weekly family zoom gathering with our siblings, their families, and our parents (now in their late 80s). We have done this every Sunday for 1 hour without a miss since late March 2020
  6. Gratitude for time to reflect on what matters most in life and work.
  7. Gratitude for early morning walks & weekend hikes
  8. Gratitude for our a.team of amazing co-workers
  9. Gratitude for 11 years of being a remote company
  10. Gratitude for working
  11. Gratitude for good food
  12. Gratitude for our pets who keep us company all-day
  13. Gratitude for the beauty of nature and America’s great outdoors
  14. Gratitude for the love and support of family and friends
  15. Grateful for new hobbies
  16. Grateful for my donkeys
  17. Grateful for staying connected with friends globally
  18. Grateful for personal growth
  19. Grateful for my vibrant health
  20. Grateful for watching the Santa Monica beach sunset (almost) every evening

This would not be possible without the courage and selflessness of frontline workers and those who support our communities from behind the scenes. We share our deepest gratitude to those who work hard, so we can be safe.

We enter this season in optimistic spirits, and we could never thank you all enough!

We wish you and yours a happy and healthy Thanksgiving holiday.

10 Tips for Building a Freelance Business

Tuesday, November 10th, 2020|Comments Off on 10 Tips for Building a Freelance Business

At Artisan Creative, we work closely with our freelance talent to help them create success in the creative, marketing, and digital fields and best market their services to maintain an on-going freelance business.  Especially, during the current state of the economy, freelancing can provide a needed respite in between interviews and job searches. Below are 10 tips to help launch or enhance your freelance business.

  1. Update your Linkedin presence and ensure hiring managers know you are open to new freelance and full-time opportunities. Focus your expertise, use SEO keywords, and ask for endorsements.
  2. View your freelancing as a business. Revisit your resume or website to review all clients and brands served, list all new accomplishments, update software proficiencies, and highlight your client and/or project management skills.
  3. Create your Portfolio. Be sure to update your most recent work, and present your best pieces first. Your design samples should be representative of the type of work you like to do, as well as showcase your range of skills.  It must be well-organized with good UI, simple navigation, and include a description of the project and your role. If you are unable to build a portfolio, use some of the great free tools such as Krop or Behance.
  4. Represent your Brand. Let your personal style shine through your presentation and create a consistent thread via the color palette, font, and imagery on your portfolio, resume, and social media assets.
  5. Be a Subject Matter Expert. Join an online discussion, share articles, write blogs, become engage on Twitter.  If you have the bandwidth, create your own blog or podcast, guest blog, or write articles to industry publications.  These tools enable you to get your name and profile in front of a larger group of people to help establish your credibility and brand.
  6. Volunteer. Volunteering for non-profits is a way to give back to an organization that can benefit from your services. All will help improve your portfolio/skillset and offer built-in opportunities to network as well.
  7. Build your Network – In-person networking may be on pause currently due to the pandemic, however greater opportunities exist online.  Join existing social media groups and discussions, and attend online industry events and expand your circle of like-minded creatives who can become collaborators on projects or be a great source for referrals.
  8. Get Listed. Create your freelance business pages. Create profiles on directories, portfolio & resume portals as well as freelance portals where you can list your work and advertise your services.
  9. Work with Recruiters.  Recruitment agencies have access to opportunities that are not listed on job boards. This expands your marketing efforts for free by enlisting teams of connected specialists who also benefit from you getting work.
  10. Perfect your pitch. As a freelancer, everyone you meet may be a potential client (or knows someone who could be a client). Work on your presentation and perfect your elevator pitch.  Representing yourself professionally will speak volumes about your abilities, so don’t be shy about sharing how can be a great freelance resource.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 573rd issue of our a.blog.

Revamping Your Resume with SEO Keywords

Tuesday, October 27th, 2020|Comments Off on Revamping Your Resume with SEO Keywords

2020 has been a whirlwind year in our creative industry, impacting recruiters, clients, and candidates alike. Many companies have had to restructure or downsize, creating a large talent pool and increasing the ever-competitive market. 

Making sure your resume stands out has always been a top focus here at Artisan Creative, and it is even more vital in today’s job search environment than it ever has been before. Utilizing SEO keywords throughout your resume is an effective way to make sure that relevant information is being highlighted when you are applying to jobs.

Oftentimes when resumes are submitted, they are processed via applicant tracking and resume management systems. These systems scan the resumes and highlight keywords that are relevant to a position. If your resume isn’t crafted with SEO keywords, your resume may not even make it to the next phase of review. Here are some tips on how to get the most out of your resume with SEO keywords (and what to avoid!).

Use Industry-Specific Keywords. Are you applying for a creative agency as a web developer? Be sure to use SEO keywords such as “creative, frontend development, backend programming, and Javascript”. Or if you are a creative marketing manager searching for a creative role, updating your resume and adding SEO keywords such as “social media, email marketing, SEO, analytics, digital marketing, and project management” may raise your profile. Keep a list of effective SEO keywords that are associated with your industry handy.

Add Job-Specific Keywords. Read the job ad and see which requirements are listed. Include any keywords that match your experience. If a web developer role specifies WordPress, include it as one of your SEO keywords. The marketing manager role may prefer Adobe Analytics over Google Analytics. Be attentive to these details. By listing these job-specific keywords, a company’s tracking system will recognize your resume as relevant. 

Include Hardware and Software Proficiencies. Creative positions will require specific design or programming proficiencies. By adding these to your resume, you will increase the chances of your resume being selected by a company’s tracking system. It is also helpful to include your level of proficiency along with these keywords.

Avoid Too Many “Fluff” Keywords. While certain skills are necessary for creative jobs, a resume may become lackluster if it is encumbered by an abundance of “fluff”. If you have “great communication skills” – try to include specific examples that demonstrate how this is true. The tracking systems may pick your resume because of the general skillset, but by providing definitive examples – you can really wow an employer with your resume.

When tailoring your resume with our SEO tips, it is imperative that you are mindfully adding keywords that are relevant to your industry, your experience, and the specific job you are applying to. 

Your resume is the key to catching a potential employer’s eye and by following our guide to adding SEO keywords, your resume will really stand out amongst the rest!

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 572nd issue of our a.blog.

 

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7 Ways To Revamp Your LinkedIn Profile 

Tuesday, October 13th, 2020|Comments Off on 7 Ways To Revamp Your LinkedIn Profile 

Linkedin continues to be a great resource for job seekers. If you have ever applied for a position through LinkedIn or used it to search for an employee, client, or friend then you know that similar to other ‘social media,’ platforms, LinkedIn allows a prospective hiring manager to quickly assess one’s expertise, availability, and experience for a role.

Although it is not the platform to post your vacation pictures and funny cat videos, LinkedIn functions as an intermediary between job seekers and employers who are looking for talent, and a hub for professional networking. 

A well-crafted LinkedIn profile is often the first impression you make with potential employers and collaborators. Therefore, your online presence should be as crisp, concise, and professional as any job application you formally submit. 

Here are some ways you can revamp your LinkedIn profile: 

Highlight the Portfolio Section

  • Add a featured section to your profile to highlight recent work or blogs to draw attention
  • Add your online portfolios, articles, podcasts, and other work that has been published online. 
  • If you work in a creative field, this a fantastic way to show off your work, and it easily accessible to hiring managers. 
  • Add industry-specific keywords in your headline and throughout your LinkedIn profile including the description of past experiences and your summary. 

Don’t Underestimate the Power of Your Headline

  • Your headline is the first element of your profile an employer sees. 
  • Communicate more than your current position. Considering that you have a whole 120 words, it should include the skills you have, and titles of the positions you hope to have in the future. 
  • Maximize SEO for keywords that align with your skills, and experience

Update your skills

  • Highlight skills that are relevant to the positions you are applying for. 
  • List your subject matter expertise
  • Skills and relevant keywords will help your profile with SEO and increased visibility
  • Change the order in which skills appear on your profile to ensure that the most relevant ones come first.

Join Groups

  • Join groups on LinkedIn based on your interests and affiliations. 
  • Network with those in the same industry or who have similar interests as you. 
  • Communicate with like-minded people, keep up-to-date with industry changes, and even bolster your network for a future job search. 
  • If you are unsure about where to start, LinkedIn recommends groups for you to join.

Activate Open To Work feature

  • Under your profile photo, you can Let Recruiters Know You Are Open To Work
  • Make your profile discoverable by recruiters and hiring managers
  • Once you have chosen this option, you can share your tailored career interests with recruiters. Additionally, you can share this information with only recruiters, or share it with the whole LinkedIn community, to increase your pool of opportunity. 

Get Recommendations

  • Testimonials are one of the best ways to increase efficacy. 
  • If you have just completed a freelance project, make it a practice to ask for a testimonial
  • Ask your employer or client to endorse you on LinkedIn or add a recommendation. 
  • By doing so, you show that your work is valued by a diversity of people, and helps verify the skills you claim to have.

Update Your Summary

  • This is your elevator pitch and needs to be clear, concise, and demonstrate the skills you have and what you are looking for in a future position. 
  • Keep it engaging, and use an active voice to write it
  • Detail education, work experience, certificates, and volunteer experience.  

 

Your LinkedIn profile should be curated for the job you want, not the job you have. It should reflect how your experiences make you stand out from others applying for the same position. In today’s highly-competitive, technology-driven job market, tailoring your LinkedIn profile will make all the difference.   

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 571st issue of our a.blog.

How to Hire a More Diverse Team 

Tuesday, September 29th, 2020|Comments Off on How to Hire a More Diverse Team 

Hiring a diverse team provides a variety of perspectives and ideas that will move your business forward. Diverse teams are representative of greater markets and they inherently bring about greater creativity and foster increased innovation, leading to a potential increase in the bottom line. 

Hiring a truly diverse team means diversity in gender, sexual orientation, skill level, education, disability, and socioeconomic status in addition to ethnicity

Hoping to hire a more diverse team? Consider these recommendations: 

Take A Step Back: The first step to creating diversity is understanding the true meaning of accurate representation. Ask yourself, “Does my team accurately reflect the proportions of different groups that appear in the real world?” Pinpoint where you feel your company is lacking in terms of diversity and set goals to improve.  

Curate a Diverse Team of Interviewers: Porter Braswell, the co-founder of Jopwell, suggests having a diverse team of interviewers who represent a wide array of perspectives. Sometimes companies source diverse candidates, but these candidates do not get hired. This suggests problems internal to the hiring process that need to be re-evaluated. Having a diverse panel of interviewers helps eliminate perpetuating subconscious biases that maybe are existing in the hiring process.

Market Your Company Correctly: How is your company marketing itself to diverse candidates? From how your brand is presented as a whole, to how your job postings are worded, these subtleties can deter certain candidates. Be aware of how company values and culture are being portrayed, ensuring that they reflect those of a diverse array of groups. For example, some candidate segments may require greater flexibility. So if your company touts a highly structured corporate environment, these candidates are less likely to apply.

Expand out of your usual network: The key to diversity is engaging with a variety of social circles, often very different from our own. We surround ourselves with people just like us, so by hiring those we know, either directly or through social connections, inhibits diversity. So, in addition to using referrals to source new talent, use third-party recruiting firms or job boards.  

Hire Blindly? Blind resumes and interviews are one of the best ways to decrease implicit bias. What does this mean? The content of a candidate’s application is evaluated separately from their name or appearance, ensuring that each candidate is hired based on their qualifications alone. Even a simple change such as removing names from resumes can help level your hiring playing field. 

Group Hiring and onboarding allow diverse hires to feel more at home and connect with other new hires faster. Hiring a diverse team is just as important as retaining a diverse team. By hiring multiple candidates with similar backgrounds, you can help reduce overall employee turnover. 

Remember, there are many ways to diversify, and there is more than one type of diversity. Having a greater awareness about how the company projects itself, and the implicit biases that may exist are the first step to creating a more diverse team. It will be a challenge, and one worth overcoming. 

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 570th issue of our a.blog.

Effective Networking Tips in the COVID Age 

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020|Comments Off on Effective Networking Tips in the COVID Age 

Although the COVID-19 pandemic is nowhere near over, we are slowly starting to see a shift towards what we dare to call “normal life.” The pandemic has increased unemployment to a record high and has impacted many businesses. This not only means many people are out of work but also that all they have to finds new ways to network and re-enter the job market.

Gone are the days of firm handshakes and in-person networking events. But although meeting others in-person has essentially become obsolete, networking has remained important to career building.  So here is some advice for effective networking in our new normal world:

Be Genuine: Maintaining connections during this time can be difficult while everyone is dealing with their pandemic-related struggles. Therefore, it is especially important to acknowledge that things have changed and that many people have had to endure great losses. Approach communication with sincerity, and with the aim to check-in rather than solely for personal gain. Approaching networking with primarily self-serving motivations often does not breed success. At this moment, showing empathy is of utmost importance. 

Expand Your Network: Online communication is now the norm. This means you have the opportunity to connect with people in different locations now that technology allows us to overcome the constrictions of time and space.  Join groups and meet-ups to expand your circle and have a greater diversity of opportunities, learn new ways of thinking, and connect with a larger group of influencers.

Simply put: Don’t be afraid to talk to strangers!

Turn to technology: Since networking events cannot be held in person, it is crucial to stimulate an in-person environment as much as possible. For example, swap phone calls and telephone meetings with video chats. By this point, we are all experts at Zoom. You may not be able to meet in person but seeing the expressions and mannerisms of others fosters more fruitful communication.   Platforms such as Virbella or Hopin allow for some online networking fun and learning.

In the same regard, a strong, tailored online presence is even more essential since communication has quickly shifted to online platforms almost exclusively. Check out our blog post on updating your LinkedIn to learn more about curating the perfect online profile.

Breakout of social media/ LinkedIn: Although seemingly contradictory to the previous piece of advice, online networking is not limited to social media and online job boards. Online courses are covering a diversity of topics, and groups to join with like-minded people, provide new networking opportunities. Have a mindset for expanding your horizons and meet new people. Because you are approaching networking with greater sincerity, you will make real connections and foster genuine relationships with people who will want to support your career. 

Reconnect with your recruiter:  If it has been a while since you last connected with your recruiter, be sure to get back in touch with your updated resume and portfolio and follow their LI page for updated access on new jobs.  Join us here for Artisan’s LI page.

Good luck to you on your job search.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 569th issue of our a.blog.

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