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.

Continuing to Inspire Hiring

Thursday, June 17th, 2021|Comments Off on Continuing to Inspire Hiring

When the pandemic hit, many of our marketing and design clients were impacted—projects were canceled, deadlines were pushed out and jobs went on hold…which meant, many of the amazing creatives, copywriters, designers, and marketers we work with, stopped working.

These challenging times brought out our entrepreneurial thinking, and to help in the best way we could, we launched InspiringHiring.com as a free portal for impacted creatives to post their resumes and get hired. While it may seem odd that a recruitment firm would open up its resumes for others to see and connect without any strings attached, we decided to do it anyway.

We were determined to inspire the hiring of the amazing talent we believe in, even if we weren’t directly involved.

Now on the eve of the first anniversary of this launch, we continue to help our creative community find jobs. If you are looking to hire, look here and reach out directly to the talent you see listed.   And, if you aren’t able to find the exact candidate you are looking for, or need help with recruitment, then contact our Artisan Creative team.

If you are a candidate looking for a job, please look at our open jobs page, or post your resume here.

Together we can re-build a more creative world as we put the pandemic behind us.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 586th issue of our weekly a.blog.

3 Tips for a Summer Resume Makeover

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2021|Comments Off on 3 Tips for a Summer Resume Makeover

As the weather and the market heat up once again, it’s a good time to review and refresh your resume as needed. For most hiring managers or recruiters who find you through a LinkedIn search, your Bio, resume, or portfolio will be your best chance to make a first impression. Have a look now at your resume and profile to make sure it meets all the important criteria.

Does your resume tell a Story?

Resumes tell a story of your career trajectory, competencies, interests, and aspirations. Read your resume thoroughly to make sure it tells the story of your career progression and what you’ve learned from your experience(s). It’s a good time to review your employment patterns and work history.

Your social media presence should complement the resume and continue in the same narrative and brand voice. Whether it’s your social media, blogs you’ve written, or portfolio you’ve created, ensure they all present a consistent sense of your brand, your values, and your expertise.

Does your resume address gaps in work history?

If you’ve been impacted by a layoff due to Covid, make sure your resume still speaks about accomplishments, leadership, or any mid-stream projects you were involved with prior to the layoff.

In the interim, list any volunteer work, continued education, or pro-bono work you’ve done during this time.

Does your resume include ROI, ATS, and SEO?

Be mindful of changing trends and keywords in your industry and update your resume for Search Engine Optimization, as well as making it friendly and searchable for the various Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).

You are your own marketing department, so familiarize yourself with the latest SEO tips and techniques that marketers use to boost visibility and apply this to both your resume and online profile.

As you review a job description, make sure your resume speaks to the must-haves (Minimum requirements) and nice-to-haves (preferred requirements) of a role, and that you are able to list key metrics and deliverables that speak to each.

For example, if a role is asking for account management, list the number of accounts handled, responsibility for volume, and share specifics for account wins, (I managed 3 accounts and 5M book of business. I grew accounts by 25% in 2019 and oversaw a team of 4).

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 585th issue of our weekly a.blog.

5 Remote work best practices

Wednesday, May 19th, 2021|Comments Off on 5 Remote work best practices

As our communities slowly open back up, the future of work is being redefined as alternative options for remote work are becoming more permanent vs. being an immediate approach to the pandemic lockdown.

Many companies have decided to stay remote or explore a hybrid model. And many freelancers and full-time talent are opting to work from their home environment by choice.

Artisan Creative has been a remote team for over 10 years, so we thought it would be helpful to review a few of our best practices for working remotely.

  1. Get to know the team

When starting a new remote freelance assignment or a new full-time remote job, you’ll want to learn everything you can about the company, your new team, and the culture.

Since you will not be seeing everyone in person on a daily basis, it takes longer to get to know the team. Virtual team-building exercises are a great way to get to know your teammates.

  1. Keep the Paths of Communication Open

Schedule regular check-ins and virtual coffee breaks with your manager to connect and discuss your progress. It’s key to be open, honest, and thorough in all your communications. Setting up virtual zoom meetings or participating in your company’s Slack channels can be a good way to stay connected.

  1. Clear the air

As Brene Brown famously says, Clear is kind. Unclear is unkind. If you are unclear about a directive, a project, or feedback on your performance, ask for clarity.  Miscommunication can happen easily via text, email, or Slack. When in doubt, hop on a video conference or a call to connect and clear the air.    

  1. Find the Right Environment

For some people, working from home is a dream come true. Others may work better in “third places” that are neither homes nor offices. These workers may find their ideal environments in coworking spaces or coffee shops.  

Wherever you work, make sure the environment is ideal for your productivity. If you are energized by the bustling ambiance, try working from a coffee shop. If you need quiet and isolation, find a peaceful place to work and set boundaries to protect it.

This requires some trial and error, so understand your own patterns, preferences, and boundaries. Any assignment is easier when you’re tackling it within your designated sweet spot.

  1. Know Thyself

The right external environment is as essential as the right mindset. The relative freedom of remote work can empower you to play to your strengths.

The new world of work provides more freedom than ever before. Making the most of it requires wisdom, experimentation, and sensitivity to your own body and mind.

That’s where Artisan Creative can help. We work with a wide variety of talent with different styles and work preferences. We can help you play to your strengths and uncover opportunities where your skills and efforts will be the most appreciated. Contact us today to learn more.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 584th issue of our weekly a.blog.

Podcast Interview with Katty Douraghy

Wednesday, April 21st, 2021|Comments Off on Podcast Interview with Katty Douraghy

Artisan Creative’s president, Katty Douraghy, recently met with Victoria Kenward and David Searns co-CEOs of Haley Marketing’s Podcast Secrets of Staffing Success to talk about lessons learned in the past 25+ years as Artisan Creative celebrates this silver anniversary.

 

Please take listen here.

 

Secrets of Staffing Success is a podcast exclusively for the staffing industry.

You’re in the middle of a pandemic. Business is down…dramatically.

Your clients aren’t hiring. So what do you do?

If you’re Katty Douraghy, you launch a FREE job board to help your talent find work!

Sound crazy? Not at all.

In this episode of Secrets of Staffing Success, our new hosts (and Co-CEOs), Victoria Kenward (LinkedIn) and David Searns (LinkedIn), take the mic for a thought-provoking chat with our guest. Katty shares some incredible wisdom from her 20+ years in the staffing industry, including:

  • A powerful lesson about staying true to your core values.
  • The importance of building a community with your talent.
  • Why making a conscious decision to stay small can be a great competitive strategy.
  • And how trusting your team can be the key to driving growth.

To learn more about Artisan Creative and their Inspiring Hiring job board, check out these links:

  • artisancreative.com
  • inspiringhiring.com
  • linkedin.com/company/artisan-creative/

Please also take a look at Katty’s new book, The Butterfly Years, her personal story of overcoming grief and discovering hope.

Finally, during the show, we talked about find your “why?” – the true rationale behind what motivates (and demotivates) us all. Katty’s husband, Jamie Douraghy, is an executive coach and certified Strengths Finder consultant. You can learn more about finding your why at:

http://www.lifeworkintegration.com/

5 Tips for Active Listening on Zoom

Wednesday, March 24th, 2021|Comments Off on 5 Tips for Active Listening on Zoom

Yes, we are in a Zoom (insert Microsoft teams, Google Meet, etc.) world and distractions are aplenty. Whether you are interviewing or conducting a team meeting, it’s imperative to be present and connect.

Between notifications for email and Slack,  phone calls, LinkedIn posts, tweets, and so on, digital communication is at an all-time high and, this all-time high requires true listening. Today active listening is a skill that too often gets lost in a sea of technological noise.

We can all improve our active listening skills in a few easy steps and in the process build better relationships, resolve conflicts, and understand issues, whether in the workplace or elsewhere. 

Here are 5 tips to help develop our active listening skills while on Zoom: 

  1. Quiet Your Mind. Quieting the mind before a meeting is critical for being present without thinking ahead to say next or trying to problem solve. This is key to active listening!  Before a meeting starts, turn off other notifications, close your eyes, and take three deeps breaths.  Turn on Zoom and you are ready to go.
  2. Maintain eye contact. Have the speaker on speaker view.  If it’s distracting to see yourself, hide your own view. When possible stand while you are conducting your meeting.  You’ll find that your voice may project better and you’ll be more present.
  3. Be empathetic. The soul of active listening is empathy. If the person you’re listening to is sad, happy, fearful, or angry in your conversation, place yourself in their shoes. Repeat back what they just said. Use statements such as “Let me make sure I understand or let me make sure I heard you correctly”. If you don’t understand something, ask for clarity.  
  4. Stay Curious and stay out of judgment.   Ask questions for clarity vs. for problem-solving.  
  5. Look for nonverbal cues. Their cadence, tone of voice, and body language can offer a lot of information. Look for small signs of nervousness, enthusiasm, or anxiety in their mannerisms, gestures, and posture to help determine how they really feel. 

The digital meeting space is here to stay.  Even when we can be together again in person, many companies have shifted to a remote environment. These 5 tips can help develop our active listening skills while on Zoom and create greater connections.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 582nd issue of our weekly a.blog.

3 Questions to Consider When Hiring a Designer

Wednesday, March 10th, 2021|Comments Off on 3 Questions to Consider When Hiring a Designer

In the twenty-five years of recruiting creative and marketing talent at Artisan Creative, one question often asked by potential clients is “how much does it cost to hire a designer”? Our answer is, “it depends”. And it truly does depend. It depends on what your core objectives are, on what problem your designer is going to solve, and what your current team’s capabilities are.

Below are three questions to ask yourself before starting your hiring process.

Conceptual or Executional (or both)?

Are you hiring someone to think, be conceptual, come up with ideas, be iterative, push the creative envelope, and create the big picture vision for your project or brand?

If the design direction for your project is already set, do you have the big picture vision and brand parameters in place and now need someone to execute on that idea and bring it to life?

Seniority level?

Will your designer communicate with or oversee vendors and team members? Will they directly interact with senior leadership in your organization? Do you need them to help establish guidelines, best practices, processes? Are you looking for someone with leadership experience?

Some parameters to keep in mind are whether you need someone who can pitch and present to clients. Do you need someone who is going to follow established guidelines and report to a senior manager?

The salary or hourly rate for each of these functions will vary, so as you plan your project budget consider whether a senior-level talent, mid-level, or junior-level talent is right for your team and needs.

Specialist or Generalist

Do you need someone who can do a little bit of everything, or do you need a designer with a core specialty and focus?

A generalist has a vast knowledge of a variety of programs. From print to digital, to illustrations, motion…  they may be able to do it all. They may favor one over the other, or they may truly love the diversity and broad variety of projects that test their skills.

A specialist has a core focus. Although they can have a wider breadth of knowledge, they have chosen a focus of concentration for their craft. They may have higher education or many years of experience in their chosen field. They may specialize in User Experience design, or Illustration, or Motion design for example.

Depending on your business offerings, you may need a designer who is narrow and deep in their expertise, while others may need someone who has a wider breadth of experience. Who do you need for your business, what’s the best fit right now?

Be sure to add qualifying questions in your interview process to help determine the right fit.

If you don’t have the time or the support to recruit internally, the Artisan Creative team already has these and a depth of other qualifying questions we ask in our interview process for candidate qualification.  Let us know how we can help.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 581st issue of our weekly a.blog.

Design Trends for 2021

Wednesday, February 24th, 2021|Comments Off on Design Trends for 2021

Design trends often respond to the current cultural trends.  It’s no surprise that given the upheavals of 2020, 2021’s predictions for design trends while calm and positive, also include a disruptive undertone.  Distance learning, remote offices, and digital communications impact these trends further.  Some notable 2021 trends in graphic and web design include:

Pantone’s color(s) of the year

Each year Pantone selects its color of the year.  This year it has selected two colors that represent, to me, where we’ve been and where we want to go:

PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray’ and ‘PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating.  The hopefulness to this duo is echoed in Pantone’s introduction of the colors: “A message of happiness supported by fortitude, the combination of PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating is aspirational and gives us hope. We need to feel that everything is going to get brighter – this is essential to the human spirit.”

Environment-first approach

2020 required many to stay indoors, so it’s only natural that desire for the outdoors has influenced packaging and graphic design. A focus on natural patterns with flora and fauna will have an impact on design.  A deeper connection with mother nature will continue in 2021 influencing improved trends in sustainability.  Be ready for softer hues, muted colors, and more organic fabrications will be everywhere from interior design to graphic design.

Playful

3D graphics, Shapes Textures, Patterns, and Illustrations will have a huge impact in 2021.

The continued rise in gaming, as well as AR & VR, also requires the use of 3D graphics and software to be realistic, engaging, and eye-catching.   Especially in the e-learning space, where keeping engagement and elongating the attention-span of kids is needed for hours at a time, the intelligent use of 3D graphics becomes critical.

Look for 3D emoji designs, cartoons, illustrations, textures, and patterns to have a big impact on graphic design and animation. These all evoke emotion, capture attention, bring about fun, optimism, and a playfulness that consumers crave.  Look for animated logos as a continued design trend in 2021.

What’s your Type?

Typography rules have been pushed and we’ll now see bold and disruptive usage in 2021.  Patterns, optical illusions, 3D, as well as Inkstyle drawings and word-only logos, will be popular this year.

We’ll see a fun use of geometric shapes, experimental typefaces, and a plethora of handwriting typefaces fonts that have been distorted, elongated, and condensed, giving recognition that our world has indeed changed.

What new design trends are you seeing in your business?

 

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 580th issue of our weekly a.blog.

IQ + EQ + AQ = Onboarding Success

Wednesday, February 10th, 2021|Comments Off on IQ + EQ + AQ = Onboarding Success

The first day at any new job is filled with equal doses of excitement and anticipation.

To start a new job in a remote environment where you meet everyone for the first time via a digital device can add an additional dose of nervousness.

To prepare yourself for a successful onboarding into a new company and integration into a new culture, follow the simple steps below.

First-day success falls into three categories: intellectual, emotional, and adaptability quotients. IQ + EQ + AQ = Success

Intelligence Quotient (IQ)

This is the intellectual piece of success in any role. It’s the cognitive intelligence that is needed to carry forth the day-to-day requirements of the role. How well we retain the training material, how fast we learn, our verbal skills all come together to take on a rush of new information and experiences. This requires an operational plan for onboarding. The why, how, and what of doing our job.

Some items to take into consideration are:

  • Orientation and training plans.
  • Tools needed to accomplish my job correctly.
  • Team communication preferences and cadence.
  • Logins and access to files and collaboration tools

Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

EQ includes a broad range of interpersonal skills needed to make a connection with the team.

This can start even before day one on the job by reviewing the new company’s social media pages and LinkedIn profiles to get a better sense of the team, their interests, and the company culture. Learning about and evaluating a company’s core values are key.

Some items to take into consideration are:

Be Friendly
Respond to a welcome aboard email and connect with your new team, participate in their various communications tools. We use Slack here at Artisan Creative and have a variety of channels for random posts, as well as setting our intentions and sharing our daily gratitude.

Build Connections
Reach out to your departmental team members individually and introduce yourself. While this can feel daunting, especially if you’re an introvert, making an effort at the start will have its benefits in the long run.

Be Curious
Ask questions and learn about each individual’s role and tenure in the company. Find out what they like about working there. Let them know what department you are joining and offer to help if they need anything from your team.

E-Coffee dates
Setup virtual coffee or lunch dates to make more personal connections and learn as much as you can about the company and its people.

At Artisan Creative, we use our annual Vision Board project as an icebreaker exercise where the team presents their personal and professional goals to one another and to our new hires.

Adaptability Quotient (AQ)

The third and equally important piece of the formula is the Adaptability Quotient, especially in today’s unpredictable environment impacted by the pandemic. Although many companies are adjusting to the remote work setting, it’s important to be mindful that many firsts can still occur during this time. Your remote onboarding may be a first for this hiring manager, so it’s important to stay adaptable as needed.

Some items to take into consideration are:

Positivity
Go with the flow and stay positive as both you and your remote team learn to master ever-changing communication skills.

Agility
Make course corrections and changes as needed. Demonstrating agility of thought and action is one of Artisan Creative’s core values, and it’s one we’ve relied on heavily during the eleven years we’ve been working remotely. It’s been even more important in today’s work environment where colleagues have had to juggle additional responsibilities including homeschooling.

Be open-minded
You may have learned processes or utilized tools in a different manner in your previous role. An open mind rapidly embraces new methodologies that may differ from your previous processes. If you see a better way, do share it once you’ve truly understood how your new company integrates with these tools.

Listening skills
Get to know everyone’s communication styles and activate your listening skills. It’s easy to misconstrue via text or slack, so when possible hop on zoom or a quick call for clarity.

Ask questions
Don’t be afraid to speak up if don’t know something. Every new role has a learning curve and it’s better to get clarity upfront.

We hope these tips create success for you in your new role. On day one, show up 15 minutes early, double-check your zoom and computer settings, fix your backdrop, grab a coffee and be ready to learn, connect with your team, and grow with your new company.

This article was originally published on Medium.com

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 579th issue of our weekly a.blog.

Virtual Team Building Exercises

Tuesday, January 26th, 2021|Comments Off on Virtual Team Building Exercises

It seems we will continue to navigate work-from-home life for some time to come.  However, being solo does not mean being in a silo.  There are many opportunities to connect virtually, boost team morale, and spark cohesion by implementing virtual team-building exercises to bring teams together and grow the culture. 

In a remote work environment, communication is the glue that holds the team together by preventing misunderstanding in both task execution and personal relationships. Prioritizing communication with remote teams will not only increase engagement but also foster a sense of support. At Artisan, we have a video-first approach where possible, then resort to slack or calls.  We prefer to see one another and our candidates when possible via video when communicating.

We also incorporate icebreakers into our Monday morning calls. Below is a list of virtual team-building exercises and tips that will spark the sense of community your team may be longing for as we continue maneuvering through these difficult times. 

Start the Zoom Meeting Off Right

Generate excitement and engagement at the start of every video meeting by implementing icebreakers to promote connection and team-building.

For a quick icebreaker, have each team member share a lesson learned for the week or share a “high” and a “low’ from the previous week.  Depending on the team’s dynamic, this can be as casual or as deep as each person would like.   

Another great icebreaker is to is pose a critical thinking question or a riddle to the team. This does not necessarily have to be related to work and can be more playful and thought-provoking. This will not only prompt your team to get their wheels turning immediately, but it will also provide insight into how your team thinks.  We’ve used the 3000 Questions to inspire fun and create meaningful conversations.

Dedicate More Time to Lengthy Team Building Activities

If your company culture calls for more in-depth team-building exercises, many virtual games and activities encourage teamwork and create an immersive experience!

Outback virtual team building has several professionally organized team-building experiences that range from 1 to 3 hours and can be adjusted for any size team! You can even choose between a self-hosted or virtually-hosted format. 

For a more simple activity, create a virtual coffee break or happy hour to celebrate with your team! You can plan several virtual games and activities for everyone to spark conversation and storytelling. If you want to go above and beyond, send your team members a package with drinks and snacks!

Additionally, there are many platforms for team game nights and trivia nights. For example, The Offsite Co. has options from virtual escape rooms to scavenger hunts, and Avital Tours offers cooking classes and culinary experiences.

Utilize Team Building Software 

The transition to remote work started before the pandemic with the emergence of several highly efficient cloud-based software can further increase engagement and build better communication daily.  

Klaxtoon or Mentimeter are two platforms that facilitate remote meetings by enabling each team member to participate with their own device. The software then visually depicts the collected input with easy-to-digest, playful graphics that can be shared with the whole team. 

Both have many features that make them highly engaging platforms, such as filtering ideas by color, creating surveys, and collecting feedback once the meeting has ended. 

Other team-building software such as Range or communication and collaboration apps such as Slack or Trello allow for seamless check-ins with all team members. They facilitate the creation of personal relationships by allowing team members to connect and to communicate successes and challenges. These same tools can also be used for onboarding a new hire remotely.  Additional tips can be found here.

The current global pandemic has created an opportunity for us to adapt the way we work, and more significantly, the way we communicate. We must work together to bring our teams a sense of cohesion and connection when communication only happens digitally.   

As we continue to learn and adjust, it is important to encourage team unity through team-building exercises that make your team feel connected, facilitating engagement and productivity.   What best practices do you use for remote team-building?

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 578th issue of our weekly a.blog.

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?

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