Lessons From A Digital Nomad

Wednesday, September 11th, 2019|Comments Off on Lessons From A Digital Nomad

Living on the road full time isn’t easy, but it is a lot of fun. For the last three months, I’ve been doing just that. I got rid of most of my worldly possessions, threw what I had left into a 30-foot travel trailer and set off to see the great American countryside. So far, I’ve set up camp in seven states from Illinois to Montana. While the experience has been a challenging one, it has also been highly rewarding. 

This lifestyle is surprisingly more common than you might think. According to a 2018 article in the Washington Post, over one million Americans are living in RVs, camper vans, travel trailers, and fifth wheels all across the country. And digital, remote work is driving the trend. 

In years past, such lifestyles were impossible for professionals. Sure, the Woodstock generation could take off in their VW vans and earn work along the way, but for anyone with a 9-to-5, a steady life, and a family, a nomadic life just wasn’t going to work. Vacations, sure, but as a lifestyle? How would you support yourself?

Now people can make money anywhere there’s an Internet connection. There are even handy devices such as the weBoost Drive (I’ve got one!) that help you to pick up a signal where mere mortals are in a dead zone. Where you can work is now extending to some of the most remote parts of the United States and even around the globe. 

I travel about once every other week, though I have stayed in some places longer. Still, I find when I stay in one place for too long I start getting the itch. Moving days were incredibly stressful at first — I couldn’t even get the trailer unhitched from the truck without a little help from friendly passers-by. Now? It’s routine. There’s a short checklist of things to be done. They get done. The trailer moves. I’m in a new place, with all kinds of new sights to see and explore. 

You’ll meet a lot of people on the road. Almost all of them are friendly, personable and willing to help. One time my truck got stuck on the road in a very bad spot. A random farmer was happy to provide assistance as I turned the truck around what could have been a very dangerous obstacle. When my trailer had a wasp problem, some neighbors brought me a can of insecticide and refused reimbursement for it. Virtually all of my experiences with my neighbors and strangers on the road have been very positive.

There’s also so much to see out there. I hadn’t seen much of America before I set off on this trip and what I had seen was confined to a few large cities. I’m writing this from a town of 2,000 people. The town doesn’t have a Starbucks or a Trader Joe’s, but it’s still a great place to stay. The local gym is filled with friendlies who are willing to point out the best spots this small town has to offer. 

You also miss a lot sticking just to big cities. There’s simply no competition for the wide-open spaces of the countryside. Mountains, forests, rivers, and lakes are all right outside my door at virtually every stop along the way. 

In over three months on the road, I haven’t stayed in an RV park once. My trailer has made its home in people’s backyards, state parks, local parks and even a couple of Wal-Mart parking lots. Not only is this cheaper but it gives me the kind of breathing room I’d like to have. The population density of an RV park isn’t that much different from Los Angeles or San Francisco. 

In part, this is possible because my trailer is outfitted with a number of amenities that make living on the road, away from everything for long periods of time, very easy. I’m going on one month in the same place with no connection to the power grid and I’ve never wanted for electricity thanks to new efficiencies in solar technology. My composting toilet smells a lot nicer than most people’s bathrooms and certainly nicer than the chemical toilets that are basically an airplane bathroom in a trailer. Yuck.

One of the best things about living on the road is that I’ve learned just how little I need to live my life. I collect things. Clothes, books, records, bric-a-brac. Getting rid of it was a very daunting task at first. But now, anytime I buy something new I have to carefully consider if I really need it. After all, any new addition to my life means less space in my trailer and more weight my truck has to pull. 

This isn’t just about owning things or not owning things. If having lots of stuff makes you happy, by all means, have lots of stuff. But in my time on the road, I’ve come to get a deeper appreciation for the experiences that are to be had over the things that can be bought. The old me would have needed to get a mug and a t-shirt from every burg and hamlet I stopped in. The new me is happy to take in the sights, the smells, and the local cuisine. 

If this kind of life appeals to you, the transition is a lot easier than you think. Most of the stress occurs in the first three weeks or so. Once you’re past that, it becomes just like any other lifestyle — routine.  That said, I’m looking out my window at some of the biggest mountains in the United States and I can’t believe they’re real. Some things, no matter how routine they are, will always be amazing to me.

At Artisan Creative, we believe in life-work integration and have been a virtual business for over 10 years. Our team works remotely, and this is our team member Laura Pell’s adventures from the road.  Contact Artisan Creative today to connect.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 543rd issue of the a.blog.

Building Leadership Skills

Wednesday, August 28th, 2019|Comments Off on Building Leadership Skills

Being a great leader requires more than getting a promotion. Every great leader has a unique mix of skills – wisdom, courage, humility, analysis, empathy, among others. As a manager, you can cultivate and improve yourself as a leader. No matter what field you’re in, what role you have, or what your team needs from you, some principles of exceptional leadership are consistent across time and disciplines.

In 2009, the author William Deresiewicz delivered an address to the plebe class at the United States Military Academy at West Point on the topic of leadership. Specifically, he focused on what differentiates great leaders from the rest, and how leaders can learn to buck convention and groupthink and to trust the wisdom of their minds and hearts. The speech has become a classic among those who aspire to the timeless attributes of powerful, holistic leadership.

Deresiewicz’s ideas can help you accomplish your goals, help your team surpass its own expectations, hone your perspective, and make the most of your innate leadership ability in any situation regardless of team size and structure.

Cultivate Focus

To focus means to set aside time for difficult challenges and deep work. It requires eliminating distractions, honing in on what matters, and tackling your biggest challenges head-on. It means learning to apply mindfulness not just as a practice of self-improvement, but as a way of approaching all your important tasks and responsibilities.

Deresiewicz says, “it’s perfectly natural to have doubts, or questions, or even just difficulties. The question is, what do you do with them? Do you suppress them, do you distract yourself from them, do you pretend they don’t exist? Or do you confront them directly, honestly, courageously? If you decide to do so, you will find that the answers to these dilemmas… can only be found within – without distractions, without peer pressure, in solitude.”

Learn To Be Alone

Indeed, the central topic of Deresiewicz’s address is the importance of solitude. The only way to lead others is to get comfortable with being alone.

“I started by noting that solitude and leadership would seem to be contradictory things,” he says. “But it seems to me that solitude is the very essence of leadership. The position of the leader is ultimately an intensely solitary, even intensely lonely one. However many people you may consult, you are the one who has to make the hard decisions. And at such moments, all you really have is yourself.”

Whether you’re an introvert, an extrovert, or something in between, it is essential that you take time alone with your thoughts and feelings to better know yourself and build trust in your own counsel. This will give you the true bedrock confidence that will let your team relax and know you know what you’re doing. Whatever responsibilities you have as a manager and a leader, perhaps the greatest is to take the time and space you need for yourself.

Build Relationships

Solitude, according to Deresiewicz, “can mean introspection, it can mean the concentration of focused work, and it can mean sustained reading. All of these help you to know yourself better. But there’s one more thing I’m going to include as a form of solitude, and it will seem counter-intuitive: friendship. Of course, friendship is the opposite of solitude; it means being with other people. But I’m talking about one kind of friendship in particular, the deep friendship of intimate conversation. Long, uninterrupted talk with one other person. Not Skyping with three people and texting with two others at the same time while you hang out in a friend’s room listening to music and studying. That’s what Emerson meant when he said that ‘the soul environs itself with friends, that it may enter into a grander self-acquaintance or solitude.'”

As a leader, you must build a network of peers, mentors, and friends who want the best for you, who can see opportunities for you that you can’t, and who can engage with you in infinite games and deep, honest, fearless conversation. These are the relationships that most matter.

We’re All Creatives Now

Technology is changing the structures of business and society at a dizzying pace. We can no longer rely on the safety of convention. Managers and leaders must embrace the necessary skills and mindsets of creativity. We must innovate, improvise, think differently, and think positively.

The essence of creativity is courage. It’s not just for capital-C Creatives anymore. As a leader, you must be free to explore, have the intellectual honesty to critique your own ideas, and have the guts to defend them. That’s the sort of bold, compassionate leadership today’s team needs and wants.

At Artisan Creative, we have decades of experience helping leaders build winning teams and winning mindsets. Contact Artisan Creative today to start the conversation.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 541st issue of the a.blog.

The Art of Self-Promotion

Wednesday, August 14th, 2019|Comments Off on The Art of Self-Promotion

Whether you’re looking for the perfect job, starting your own business, or building your career as a creative freelancer, your success depends on more than doing great work. Others must know you’re doing great work, which can only happen if you share your skills, accomplishments, and passions in a visible way. This means you need to promote yourself.

Many creatives are shy about self-promotion, as it feels hard to do so even when you know you’re worth promoting. Experiment with these ideas and you’ll develop habits that amplify your work, increase your presence in your community, and put you on track to seize opportunities, careers, and the life you want.

Learn the Basics of Marketing and Branding

As you build the groundwork for your promotional initiatives, you can use the same principles and strategies that guide the marketing and branding efforts of the world’s largest corporations. The basics are freely available in our brief guides to defining your personal brand and marketing yourself like a business – you just need to apply them. To start, make sure your creative portfolio represents you as well as possible. Then, test your efforts in the real world by attending networking events. If you’ve built up some resistance to self-promotion, now is the time to take some risks and raise your comfort level.

Make a Brag Document

To promote yourself effectively, you should be keenly aware of your body of work, what you love, where you excel, and your larger career trajectory. Of course, when you’re immersed in creative work, it can be easy to lose track of how much you’ve accomplished. To keep track of where you’ve been and find clues about where to go next, maintain a “brag document,” an inventory of what you’ve done and a key to analyzing how it all fits together. Julia Evans explains the purpose and substance of a brag document and provides an easy-to-use template so you can create your own. This can help you prepare to get recognized, negotiate, back up your claims, and angle for promotions and new opportunities.

Defend Your Ideas

One of the most useful tools of self-promotion is also an essential skill in giving effective presentations: the power to defend your ideas. To do this, you should understand your own work better than anyone else. You should be prepared to explain your decisions and to field questions, comments, objections, and criticisms in a way that preserves the integrity of your work while allowing healthy space for improvement. This is easier said than done, and Mike Monterio can help. As the author Design Is a Job and You’re My Favorite Client, he’s one of the go-to sources of insight on how to get tough and give your ideas the robust defense they deserve. In this fierce and funny keynote presentation, while geared toward graphic designers, can help anyone dramatically improve their mindset around explaining themselves and their work, which is a key to effective self-promotion.

Beware the Negativity Bias

According to the science of evolutionary psychology, our brains have evolved to help us merely survive; if we’re going to thrive, we have to do it ourselves, with intent. Historically, negative information was more important to our survival than positive information – a tiger chasing you deserves more attention than a sweet-smelling daffodil beside the trail – so we’re wired to prioritize the negative over the positive. In the modern world, our natural negativity bias can hold us back if we fixate on risks and weaknesses and don’t focus enough attention on the rewards we want and the strengths that can help us achieve them. To cultivate a winning mindset, it’s important to bolster ourselves with positive information. This means choosing our relationships carefully, being mindful of our self-talk, and learning the basics of positive psychology. After all, our strongest self-promotion comes from within.

At Artisan Creative, we love to showcase your talents and promote your skills to our clients. When you’re ready to take your business or your career to the next level, let’s get in touch!

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 540th issue of the a.blog.

Is Gamification Right For Your Team?

Wednesday, July 31st, 2019|Comments Off on Is Gamification Right For Your Team?

Have you ever had to complete a task that you did not find intrinsically inspiring? Did you find ways of making it more fun, giving yourself the dopamine spikes you needed to finish it and enjoy yourself a bit in the process? If so, you’ve stumbled upon the art and science of gamification.

The study of how to make work fun dates back to the sociologists and management theorists in the mid-20th Century. Gamification as we know it took off in the 2010s, as video games became a dominant cultural force, game designer Jane McGonical released her groundbreaking book Reality Is Broken, and “gamification” became a buzzword for experience designers in Silicon Valley. Now, gamification has become a noticeable influence on product design and business processes.

You can use the basic principles of gamification to make your own work more rewarding, and to help your team work together more effectively. Here are a few core ideas to start with.

Competition

We each have an innate competitive instinct, a drive to thrive and survive. Well-designed games help us direct this energy toward a positive purpose, leveraging our competitive tendencies to create more wealth and happiness for the group.

Cooperation

At the same time, we get more done and experience more satisfaction when we are aware of the cooperative social dynamics that sustain us. The best games build camaraderie, encourage teamwork, and allow us to take pride in our role in a larger system. In his classic book Gamification By Design, author Gabe Zichermann observes that games can help us more effectively model the future by better understanding relationships between interdependent variables. In this spirit, McGonigal has devised games in which players find solutions for climate change and other human rights challenges.

Progress and Leveling Up

As UX designers know, we are often more productive when we quantify our achievements and see the effects of our progress. As we build new skills, our goals and challenges, too, should evolve over time.

Creativity

When players have attained certain levels of mastery, great games should give them ways in which to “color outside the lines,” to go outside the prescribed framework of the game and make their own rules. This catalyzes fluid intelligence and helps us unlock our potential to apply our problem-solving skills at more and more challenging levels of abstraction.

Changing the Game, For the Better

Gamification is not without some controversy. Critic Ian Bogost points to the creation of “exploitationware” and warns against attempting to gamify and quantify work in lieu of improving workplace culture and society holistically.

To use gamification as a tool for team-building, make sure your team is engaged with the right kinds of games and activities, to bring out the best ideas and mission tactics that undergird them. “To improve workers’ satisfaction through games,” writes Ben Mauk in The New Yorker, “you need their consent.”

At Artisan Creative, we’re on the front lines of the movement to create the future of work. Contact Artisan today and discover how you can make your career, your business, and your life more successful, more satisfying, and more fun.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 539th issue of the a.blog

Best Practices For Remote Meetings

Thursday, July 18th, 2019|Comments Off on Best Practices For Remote Meetings

As digital communications technology becomes ever more efficient, more projects are being done by remote workers and even entire remote teams. This means that digital meetings are becoming the norm. On-site teams are also making the most of the convenience of digital meeting technology.

In some respects, digital meetings are easier to run than their in-person equivalents. However, to be effective, remote meetings require some special planning and organizational considerations that should be kept in mind.

Know Your Goals

Always plan your digital meetings around a clear objective. Each meeting has its own purpose. It could be brainstorming, accomplishing a specific goal, or simply a routine check-in to make sure your remote team is in sync and communicating clearly. When you know what you want to get from a remote meeting, it’s easy to follow up and determine afterward whether or not it was successful and adjust your approach accordingly. Plus, this will help you avoid the dreaded “meeting that could have been an email.”

Know Your Agenda

Take responsibility for structuring your digital meeting in advance. Determine who is going to lead each specific discussion, create a document outlining everything that needs to be discussed, and share your agenda with anyone who plans to attend. This will make it easy for everyone to organize their thoughts and prepare for expectations before the camera light blinks on.

Know Your Software

There is an array of tools and platforms available for running digital meetings. When you choose one, it will likely become the go-to for your team. Make sure your selection has all the necessary features, is compatible with any other relevant software or hardware, and is easy for everyone to use and to explain to any outsiders who join particular meetings. If some relevant parties are not able to attend, you may want to make sure your software has recording capabilities, so you can send them the video to review later.

Know Your Schedule(s)

In the digital age, with many remote teams, clients, and stakeholders are scattered across different time zones and continents, inquire in advance to make sure that everyone can attend and has a quiet, distraction-free area to log on. If some attendees can only use audio, make sure they have any visual presentations beforehand to avoid confusion. Additionally, respecting everyone’s time with – a “hard stop” and some consideration will ensure that the meeting doesn’t cause unnecessary stress for remote team members and clients who may have other obligations you aren’t aware of.

At Artisan Creative, our years of success operating as an entirely remote team gives us an edge in navigating the new world of digital work. Contact Artisan to prepare for digital creative success, today and tomorrow.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 538th issue of the a.blog

Job Hunting Best Practices

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019|Comments Off on Job Hunting Best Practices

When attempting to move up in creative careers, especially when switching fields, job seekers are haunted by one perennial frustration: it can be hard to get experience when you don’t already have experience.

Hiring managers and creative recruiters gravitate toward candidates who already have proven track records and know how to navigate the responsibilities that come with new opportunities. If you’re angling for a job or a career in an area in which your prior work history is not applicable or sufficient there are steps you can take to compensate for a lack of relevant professional experience. Career coach Martin McGovern suggests three moves that can open new opportunities that you may not be able to get with your CV alone.

Side Hustles

“Let’s say you want to be a copywriter at a food publication,” says McGovern. “Don’t wait for them to hire you before you start writing about food. Create your own food blog and get to work. I have a close friend who was able to break into the highest reaches of the culinary world through strategic use of Instagram, blogging, email marketing, and outreach. Give yourself permission to do the work and others will be clamoring to work with you.”

Developing a side hustle in your field of choice is a great way to choose yourself, explore your passions, and show potential future employers and colleagues what you can do. If you properly manage your schedule, you can usually pursue some freelance work without sacrificing your day job.

Meetups

“Recently, I had a student who really wanted to work in sportstech as a web developer,” McGovern says. “So he started a sportstech meetup. Instantly, 35 people joined the group. He was able to leverage this to reach out to CEOs from his favorite companies and ask them to speak at the first event. After the event, they came up to him and asked if he was looking for an internship, which allowed him to completely circumvent the whole job search process.”

Meetup groups are an excellent way to engage with your professional community, broaden your own horizons, and unearth the sorts of opportunities that may not readily present themselves through Google searches. Spending time with successful peers can also help you become fluent in the language of your chosen industry, which can be an enormous help in tailoring your resume and maximizing your social media presence.

You can look for interesting communities in your area on Meetup.com, or attend a lecture from Creative Mornings. If you can’t find the right group, start your own. You may be surprised at how many like minds you find.

Professional Organizations

“Most cities have professional organizations for your line of work and they are always in need of help,” McGovern says. “Sign up, go to their events, volunteer, and join the board! This will show you are ambitious, forward thinking, part of the community, and knowledgeable in your desired field.”

Local creative communities tend to be particularly well served by professional organizations. For designers, there’s AIGA. Marketing professionals have the AMA with many other local alternatives. For those on the creative side of the technology world, exciting organizations such as World IA Day can always use volunteer help, providing ample opportunities in return to tap into your skills and make life-changing professional connections.

Whatever your current level of experience, you can always find creative ways to improve yourself and build a career you love. At Artisan Creative, we help creative professionals make the most of their many opportunities. Contact Artisan today to get started.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 537th issue of the a.blog

Best Practices For Managing A Remote Team

Wednesday, June 19th, 2019|Comments Off on Best Practices For Managing A Remote Team

With communication technology steadily improving and facilitating easier exchanges of information across points around the globe, the world is getting flatter, and the workplace is becoming more location-independent. Remote work is on the rise, and will likely become even more popular as time goes on.

Managers should be ready to facilitate success for remote workers and teams. If you aren’t currently managing a remote team, there’s an increasingly good chance you will in the future. You may find that, in some cases, remote teams can work better together and achieve even greater success than traditional, on-site workplaces.

At Artisan Creative, our team has worked remotely for many years, and we wouldn’t change a thing. Here are some of the ideas that we use to help remote teams, including our own, stay on track to success.

Treat Team Members Similarly, Whether On-site or Off-site

Managing off-site workers is not a unique discipline unto itself. The core principles that govern effective management of on-site teams apply just as well when some or all of your team is working remotely, although you may need some minor adjustments. Likewise, remote team members should be treated no differently from those in the office. Everyone should know they are working together toward common goals.

Be Proactive

The most significant difference in effectively managing remote teams is that, when you don’t have the same ability to constantly observe what is going on, a more proactive approach to management may better serve your needs as well as those of your team. According to the Harvard Business Review, “managers must put in extra effort to cultivate a positive team dynamic and ensure remote workers feel connected to other colleagues.” When you’re not present physically, you may need to be more deliberately present in other, equally important respects.

Set Crystal Clear Expectations

When managing remote teams, make sure all requirements and expectations are made obvious and apparent, starting with onboarding and continuing in earnest every day thereafter. When colleagues don’t occupy the same physical space, it can be easier for misunderstandings to arise and for nuance to be lost. You can prevent this when you emphasize clear communication at every step, making sure every important message is received and understood. The right project management software is crucial for ongoing communication and collaboration.

Foster Bonding

Just because remote teams don’t share office space doesn’t mean they can’t have fun together and bond as a group. As a manager, you can support team cohesion by encouraging virtual friendship. This can range from group brainstorming to team building activities, all of which can be enhanced through certain features of collaboration apps and other such software solutions.

Meet In Person When Possible

If you can, arrange for your team to get together in person, preferably at predictable intervals, whether to strategize and get creative as a group, work on important projects, or simply get to know each other better. This will add some depth to your virtual interactions, make your teamwork feel more cohesive, and let remote team members know they are important and appreciated.

Managing remote teams is an increasingly important business skill, one of many we can help you develop as we work together to build the workplace of the future. Contact Artisan Creative today to learn more about 21st Century teamwork and discover our secret recipes for digital business success.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 536th issue of our a.blog.

Emphasize Responsibilities vs. Job Titles

Wednesday, June 12th, 2019|Comments Off on Emphasize Responsibilities vs. Job Titles

A job title is a noun. In terms of your professional life, it is what you are. If you want to unlock more opportunities, level up in your creative career, and maybe even feel better about yourself, we suggest thinking in verbs and focusing less on what you are and more on what you do.

When you’re reworking your creative resume or embarking on a new creative job search, it may benefit you to place less emphasis on the job titles you’ve held and more on the responsibilities you upheld. Go beyond the title and get to the real story.

Let’s Be Clear

Silicon Valley startup culture – with all its innovations, disruptions, and eccentricities – has been a big influence on the culture of work for over a decade. As part of its subversion of old corporate power structures, it created enormous fiscal wealth, along with a wealth of strange and often blatantly inflated new job titles, as many Senior Road Warrior Marketing Interns and Wizards of Lightbulb Moments might attest.

The most extreme (lampooned well on HBO) are now running their course, leaving a lot of these Chief Thought Providers and Digital Overlords struggling to explain what it was they actually did.

Specificity kills ambiguity. Even if you’ve had some odd job titles in the past, you can strengthen your resume by emphasizing your day-to-day activities, larger objectives, and concrete contributions. Show your solid skills and concentrated work ethic. Eliminate jargon and explain your work in the most literal terms you can think of.

If you’re having trouble with this, work with an experienced creative recruiter to rephrase your resume and highlight real accomplishments that hiring managers will understand.

Quantify Accomplishments

When you write about your responsibilities, show that you took them seriously by connecting to the results you generated.

If you were in charge of a campaign or a project, be sure to mention its goals and how you achieved them. Especially if you delivered it in three days ahead of time or 25% below the requested budget, or with results that exceeded expectations by a factor of four. (Specific numbers and metrics, if applicable, are always good.)

Share Your Journey

Since our early days, humans have made sense of reality through storytelling and the metaphor of travel. Your resume should suggest a narrative arc, a journey from there, to here, to the next opportunity you’re angling for.

You can use classic story structures to show how you overcame adversity, built on your past experiences and achievements, and evolved. This will make it easier for recruiters and hiring managers to picture you in a new position that represents a logical progression.

When your terminology is clear and purposeful, your career can be grand and glorious, and you can conjure many more lightbulb moments into watershed moments.

At Artisan Creative, we help creative professionals surpass their own expectations. Contact us today to learn more.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 535th issue of our a.blog.

Storytelling and Interviewing

Wednesday, June 5th, 2019|Comments Off on Storytelling and Interviewing

If you’ve spent any slice of time searching for a job, you’ve probably experienced this. At some point in a typical job interview, often right at the top, your interviewer will say, “tell me about yourself.”

Technically, this isn’t a question, it’s a prompt. It puts you on the spot. It can be intimidating!

However, with the right preparation – along with dashes of confidence, enthusiasm, and self-awareness – “tell me about yourself” can be your opportunity to shine.

In preparation for this inevitable inquiry, here are a few ideas to keep in mind.

Tell Your Story

Intrigue your interviewer, engage their interest, and make them want to learn more about you – make use of your storytelling skills. Go on a journey, from the moment you realized your professional passion, through the experiences that honed your skills, to the conversation at hand and the opportunity currently in front of you. Explain how you’ve grown and evolved, and share anecdotes that support your big idea (e.g., “I’m curious,” “I’m an enthusiastic collaborator,” or “I’m a shameless data geek.”). Some classic storytelling structures used by great writers can serve as outlines for your own tale of inspiration, perseverance, and success.

Show Some Personality

Refer to your hobbies and the unique life experiences you’ve had. If it seems appropriate, you can even sprinkle in a bit of self-effacing humor. With the human element in play, the “tell me about yourself” portion of your interview can help you stand out and determine whether you’ll be a match for this team and its culture.

Specificity Kills Ambiguity

When you can, talk about your experience in terms of quantifiable accomplishments. “I had a job in digital marketing” makes less of an impression than “I led a Facebook ad campaign that grew my company’s email list by 300% in Q1 of 2019.” Similarly, when you talk about your personal qualities, use pictures, sounds, and feelings – this will give you an edge over competing candidates who lean on vague generalities, superlatives, and played-out jargon.

Cut to the Chase

You should avoid rambling and be able to comfortably wrap up your answer within 60-90 seconds. For practice, write out your answer, read it aloud, and cut anything that’s awkward or inessential. To get things moving quickly, hook your interviewer with your very first sentence.

Make It Relevant

“Always relate your answer directly to the job in question,” says Coach Tracy of The Career Launcher. “Tie your answer directly to the mission of the role and the challenges that typically are dealt with by job holders, and try to differentiate yourself with evidence of your skills for the job.”

Your interviewers want to be convinced that you’re right, as they need to know you’re the perfect match for this particular job. Whenever you tell your story, include variations each time to align with the details of the job description, the specific needs of the company, and how your skills and experience apply to the opportunity you’re applying for.

Spin the Table

Career coach Liz Ryan introduces “spinning the table,” a sophisticated method for transitioning out of your own story and into the substance of the interview, specifically your interviewer’s pain points, which you can then address. Answer your interviewer’s question, then ask them a question in turn. “You aren’t asking questions just for fun,” says Ryan. “You want to find out what the job is really about… You want to find out where the pain is because once you’ve got the hiring manager talking about their pain, the conversation can go to a completely different place.”

At Artisan Creative, we place creative, marketing and digital talent with the companies and opportunities that will give them a chance to do their best work and live their best lives. Contact us today and let our a.team find your dream team.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 534th issue of the a.blog.

What is CX?

Wednesday, May 29th, 2019|Comments Off on What is CX?

According to design thought leader John Maeda, Customer Experience, or CX, “is a term that roughly encompasses marketing, product, support, design, and HR (employee experience).” The CX perspective sees every touchpoint in terms of an overall customer journey. CX best practices encourage businesses to differentiate in terms of product, the overall value created for a customer and to communicate through an open, continuous feedback loop enabled by real-time research and social media interaction.

CX is a broad field with an open, evolving landscape. Here are some key areas of CX knowledge for creative business leaders and potential opportunities for creative job seekers considering CX or CX-adjacent creative careers.

Design

As a design discipline, CX is similar to, yet distinct from, UX, or User Experience design. Per the Interaction Design Foundation, “CX design and user experience (UX) design are sometimes used interchangeably because both are concerned with the overall experience of using a product or service… CX design tends to adopt a broader view than UX, and has a slightly more commercial focus.” Designers focused on CX may work closely with those in UX, may have similar skills, or may shift back and forth from one field to another. These days, CX design is becoming a distinct and powerful discipline with its own tools, values, and vocabulary.

Strategy

CX strategy is the overall game plan for pursuing optimal customer experience in ways that are appropriate for the objectives and values of a business. It aligns CX prerogatives with larger business plans, determines how investments of time and money will be allocated for CX, maps and connects all relevant touchpoints, and creates harmony between internal resources and customer expectations. For those who love to discover how many different puzzle pieces fit together to form a bigger picture that fosters customer loyalty and delight, CX strategy provides an exciting overhead view.

Tactics

There are many tactics, tools, and techniques for implementing CX strategy on the ground, where the rubber meets the road. Every consumer touchpoint provides an opportunity for comfort-building maneuvers such as email personalization, experimental growth hacks, and the classic elements of great customer service, all of which involve many moving parts that have their places in the greater scheme of Customer Experience and business success.

Culture and Leadership

Great CX must always begin at the top. Mutually rewarding end-to-end customer journeys should resonate with strong, well-defined, harmonious corporate values and missions. To make all this work, great CX requires committed and enthusiastic understanding and leadership in incorporating customer feedback, building from a place of empathy, and envisioning business endeavors in terms of a journey and a process. CX and company culture are interdependent, and they’re everyone’s job, especially those in trusted positions of leadership.

At Artisan Creative, we’re helping to build the teams, the workplaces, and the customer experiences of the future. Contact us today to learn more.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 523rd issue of our a.blog.

 

Recent Posts

Tags

Archives from 2018 & 2019

Archive by Year