About Karim Ardalan

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So far Karim Ardalan has created 28 blog entries.

Interview Horror Stories

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016|

Don’t let the spooky time of year dampen your interviews this month, because let’s face it, we all have at least one interview horror story to share. Whether it’s running late due to traffic, being under (or over) dressed or something as horrifying as being totally unprepared, we obviously want you to do your best. Take a read through our internal staff’s pre-Artisan interview horror stories and advice so you can succeed at your next interview.

Dressed to Depress
“On my very first day of interviews in London to enter the recruitment world, I had 2 back-to-back interviews consisting of a very corporate recruitment firm directly followed by a digital agency. My recruiter only prepared me for the first interview, not the second. The interview took place in private members only bar, so of course I was dressed to impress. I went straight to my second interview wearing a suit, only to arrive at a super edgy agency surrounded by people in casual clothes. There was nothing more humiliating than being marched through the office with everyone staring at my formal attire. The interviewer (wearing jeans) asked why I was dressed in such a way – I did explain myself and felt incredibly uncomfortable.” – Laura Pell – Recruiter at Artisan Creative

It’s important to do your own research on office environments. To get a better sense of a company’s culture and employees, look at their social pages. More often than not, a company will post employee photos across Facebook, Twitter or Instagram so you should be able to gauge what to wear. It’s always better to dress up than dress down so make sure you’re well groomed and presentable. The most important factor to address is “do I feel comfortable in what I’m wearing?”

Fear of the Unknown

“In San Francisco circa 1999 I was trying to land a new job in tech recruiting and interviewed at a start-up. The interview itself wasn’t bad but I had failed to ask any questions about the company and their plans. I was so set on finding a new job so I went along with it and accepted. Three weeks after being hired, they downsized and cut my position along with several others. The company was lackadaisical and had no vetting or on-boarding process.” – Jamie Grossman – Recruiter at Artisan Creative

Many people in Jamie’s situation would do the same thing, but if you’re looking for a long-term commitment with a company, make sure you know they are invested in you, too. Do you know their three to five year plan? Have you asked the interviewer why they personally joined the company? Are they prepared with onboarding and what are their expectations? It’s important to cover as much as possible, so write your questions beforehand and leave with the knowledge and security that you’re making the right choice.

Ridiculous Requests

I once interviewed for a company specializing in hypoallergenic products. The job description clearly stated no strong perfumes so I made sure to skip my usual spritz that day.  When I arrived, they had me sit face to face with the main interviewer while an associate sat in the chair right next to me and proceeded to lean in and take a few deep breaths. She continued to do that for the next few minutes and then asked if I was wearing deodorant.  I said yes and apparently, the deodorant scent was too strong for their liking.  I guess for this role, it wasn’t enough to look the part, you have to smell the part as well!” – Jen Huynh – Talent Sourcer at Artisan Creative

This request is uncommon and while we hope you won’t have to endure being sniffed at by interviewers, do heed any requests client’s make. They may ask you to fill in application forms, present portfolios or take a skills test. If you come unprepared, first impressions of your organizational skills will be duly noted!

We’d love to hear your interview horror stories. Do you have your own frightful story to share? Tweet us or share on our Facebook page.

 

How to Get The Most Out of Working From a Coffee Shop

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016|

One of the joys of freelancing or working remotely is not having to work inside a typical office setting. While you may have an office that serves as your home base, working from anywhere means you get to be one of those folks working in a coffee shop in the middle of the afternoon. Being productive and focused in a public setting takes skill, though. We are after all sharing the space with others.

Take these tips with you the next time you set up shop in your favorite brewhouse.

Keep your voice low. If you’ve got a meeting or have to take a call, step outside, or use your headphones to hold the conversation and speak quietly. Long, loud or extended cell phone conversations about a client, the job, money or the deadline aren’t fun for anyone sitting near you–and can be disruptive to those around you.

Be a good guest.  Buying one cup of coffee for several hours of table usage will not make you endearing to the staff. If you’re going to be showing up there more often, get in the good graces of baristas by learning their names and building a connection. If you plan on staying awhile, buy a scone or a snack! And tip generously for their use of Wi-Fi.

Invest in noise-canceling headphones. Coffee shops often play loud music that you may or may not want to hear, especially if you’re trying to concentrate. Noise-canceling headphones will allow you to listen in on meetings or block out noise without the distraction of the coffee shop noise. Plus, what if you’d rather listen to your own music that day?

Share. Is your laptop charged? Let someone else use the outlet. Are you taking up an entire table with your work? Move it over and let someone else sit there. Be respectful of your surroundings and fellow co-workers and karma will pay off.

Focus.  Don’t get distracted trying to strike up a conversation or make friends a few chairs over. Be friendly, however you’re there to get to work! It’s easy to get side tracked every time someone walks in.  Sit with your back to the door or face the wall. You’ll be mad at yourself later if you miss that deadline.

Where is your favorite local hangout and what are your tips for working in a coffee shop?

5 Morning Habits of Productive People

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016|

No matter your sleeping habits or natural rhythms, we all have a starting routine to our day. However, one of the things that makes successful and productive people the way they are is how they handle their morning routine. Here are our tips on how you can go from chaos to clarity in the morning, and lead yourself into a productive and creative day.

1. Think. Whether it’s meditating, journaling or simply being still, take a few minutes to think aboutyour day. Clearing your head before the day starts is a great way to help you stay productive throughout the day. Focus on being present and what’s happeningright now, not what’s going to happen in the later morning or afternoon or evening. If it helps, use an app to guide you through a morning meditation.Some will even help you focus on a particular area, such as reducing anxiety or improving creativity.

2. Exercise. Getting in even seven minutes of exercise and a few minutes of stretching can go a long way towards improving your physicalenergy. If you have time, getting in a full workout before thework day begins means you’ll be able to focus on work and do other things with your evening. Even if you don’t have time for a full workout, just theact of moving your body first thing in the morning means you’re using it in a meaningful way, which is in and of itself productive.

3. Eat healthy. Starting the day off with a healthy breakfast is a surefire way to give your body the fuel it needs to get through theday. It’s also a way to continue focusing on your morning and make sure that you get a moment to eat, especially if you have a busy day. Try blending greenstogether in a smoothie for something quick, or focus on healthier fare like greens, lean protein, and complex carbs.

4. Focus. Instead of looking to your to-do task for the day and stressing out over it, take this moment to look ahead. What do you wantto achieve? By knowing what’s coming up, you’ll be able to map out your to-dos for today more easily. For example, if tomorrow is a big deadline for aproject, you can plan ahead so your work day helps you get done anything you need to help reach that deadline.

5. Don’t Plug-in! Instead of immediately checking social media profiles or emails, try to resist the urge to “plug in”. Use this time to focus to set priorities or learn–like reading a chapter in a book, or learning a new language, or doing something creative–anything to help prep for the day. This will help you stay focused instead of worrying about what’s coming based on an email sent.

~Nadia Osman for Artisan Creative

Resume Refresh: What to Keep Versus What to Change

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016|


What has been the response rate to your resume submission?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Career Path Objectives

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016|

 

Career growth and having a clear path to expand your skills is important. No matter where you’re working, or whether there is a formal succession plan in place, it’s important to have an open dialog with your manager. Learn about the company’s objectives and share your career goals to see the synergy between the two. Here’s how to start a conversation with your manager about your career goals:

Prepare and research. Think about the things you do well in your position, and how you can perform successfully in the next role within your company. What are your key accomplishments? What do you have to offer the organization? How can you be more instrumental to create impact? Be prepared so you can be strategic in reviewing your achievements! If there are openings on the team, express your interest.

Have a purpose. When you talk to your manager, start with an objective: “I’d like to talk about growth opportunities within this company. I really like this organization and would like to know how to grow with it”.  Share your vision of where you fit in the future and go into the meeting with clarity to help guide the meeting.

Think of ideas that benefit the greater good. Being a part of a company means contributing ideas to solve problems and make an impact for the team. Discuss your ideas and show your boss you’re willing to take initiative and create a plan of action.

Listen to feedback. Your boss probably has some valuable advice to share with you, so hear what they say. Whether it’s constructive criticism on your performance, ways to improve and grow, or how to get through a tough situation, they are there to help you. For example, if you need to learn additional skills or specific programs for your next role, then you can plan for it accordingly.

Discuss your growth vs just asking for a raise. If your true objective is growth, more responsibility, leadership development and learning new skills, then focus on that conversation. With more responsibility there will be an opportunity to discuss a higher compensation.

Take ownership of your career. It’s your career, so be invested in it.

Looking for creative jobs? We have tons of job listings for all kinds of creatives in Los Angeles and San Francisco!~Nadia Osman for Artisan Creative

Managing Your Inbox to Inbox Zero

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016|

Email is still an extremely useful and essential tool to stay in touch quickly and conveniently. Yet email can also get in the way of being productive. If you’re reading and responding to every message that zooms into your inbox, it can end up wasting a lot of hours in the work day.

Moreover, an inbox that’s filled with old or unimportant messages creates digital clutter that distracts and prevents from maximizing your time. The following “inbox zero” strategies can help “detox” your inbox and restore its health and productivity levels.

  • Set aside specific times to read and respond to email. Don’t leave your email open all day. Turn off incoming messages on your phone. Block out times during the day — such as late morning, after lunch, and an hour before the work day ends — to check and respond.

  • Organize your inbox with labels and categories. Prioritize your email into various groups, use filters  and file messages away once they’re read so they’re out of your inbox. If you need to refer to them later, you can always search for them.

  • Unsubscribe. Promotional emails are just clutter! Clean it out by hitting the unsubscribe button.

  • Does this email need action? After you read an email, decide ASAP what to do. Either delete it immediately, delegate it, reply and send, or file it away in one of your inbox categories.

  • Not every email is a task. Only some of your emails actually need an answer or some kind of action taken. Figure out what needs a longer or more thoughtful response, then set time aside to answer later.

  • Use filters. Most email service offers some kind of filter section to help sort incoming mail automatically. Learn how to use yours to block unwanted senders, sort or reject junk mail and spam, and sort real emails into your categories and other folders.

  • Write a telling subject header. In your email, use the subject field to inform your receiver what your email is about. It makes it easier for you and them to organize, archive, and search for later.

  • Delete Spam and Trash folders. Set aside time every few weeks to permanently delete spam/junk or trash messages.

  • Don’t use email as a to-do list. There are plenty of apps, and good old fashioned pen and paper, that can help you create a great to-do list. Email is a communication service. Use it as such!

Establishing a routine for email habits will help you stick to them. Got any other inbox zero suggestions? Tell us on LinkedIn!

10 Best Practices for Your Resume

Wednesday, January 6th, 2016|

We’ve talked at length about the things to include on your resume. However there are  just as many things to avoid if you want to land an interview. Given that you’ve a mere few  seconds to impress a hiring manager, your resume needs to stand out! Here are 10 things to eliminate from on your resume in order to highlight your work experience, skills, education, and achievements to be distinctive:

1. Objectives. These descriptions at the top of a resume not only feel antiquated, but they don’t add anything to your resume. Moreover, they focus on what want rather than what you can offer to the company. If you feel this job is the best next step for your career, talk about it in your cover letter.

2. Photos. Unless you’re auditioning for a TV pilot or modeling gig, don’t include your photos.  Chances are your online portfolio, website, or LinkedIn profile already includes your photo.

3. Subjective traits. You may feel you possess amazing leadership skills or are an innovative thinker in design, however employers ignore these subjective traits because they can’t be measured. Instead, focus on objective facts and metrics If you really are an amazing leader, include how many team members you’ve managed, or include a quick example in your cover letter explaining how you’ve led your team to success, or achieved ROI in a campaign.

4. More than one page. We’ve debated this, but the short answer is–either in OK.  It all depends on your work experience, whether you have been freelancing at multiple places or been at the same company for several years.  The key is to include relevant, accurate and current information.

5. Salary history. This is a major faux paus, as well as a bad idea, as it compromises your ability to negotiate for a higher salary later! Leave it off so you can have some negotiating power later.

6. Short-term jobs. You don’t want to come across as job-hopping, so make sure to emphasize freelance or contract in the job title.

7. Leave out overused words. Here’s just a sampling of words that are redundant and don’t give employers concrete information: capable, skillful, effective, hardworking, innovative, and motivated are all qualities they hope you already have without you having to say so. Instead, search for synonyms that more closely fit your personality. For instance, as an “effective” employee you “engage in creative tasks”.

8. “References Available Upon Request”. If an employer wants references, they will ask. Save precious resume space for other accomplishments rather than including this sentence at the bottom.

9. Education. If you’re just out of high school and applying to your first jobs, it makes sense to include the information. Otherwise, focus on college and graduate information as well as degrees earned.

10. Misspellings, grammar issues, and typos. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again — proofread, proofread, proofread! Nothing can make the resume  less professional than resume errors.  

A resume is a snapshot of your work experience — not only should it be well written, it should highlight the best possible version of your experience and how you will be contributing to a new team. Take out irrelevant information, and polish up your resume so represents your experience in the best light possible.

When Bad Habits Creep Back In

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015|

bad-habits

How many times have you started a new project orcommitted to an important change in your life, only to fall backon things you were going to “stop doing”, overwhelming those good habitsyou were developing?

Our brains are sometimes justlike that garage above. We simultaneously store a lot of valuableinformation and junk that we will someday want to use. When we feelstuck, or have too much on our minds, we commit to clearing that garageout. And we’ve all been to many a garage sale in our lives!

Tochange any habit it takes a minimum of 90 days. At the 45-day mark,we are halfway to where the opportunity for real change is just startingto take hold. At the same time, this is when many of us feel thattransition is just not going to happen, so we slowly let our oldroad/mental blocks creep back in again.

Here are a few things to work on to become aware of what I call ” the slide back 45″.

Keepa brief journal. Then take a look back to see where you’ve come from,what progress you’ve made, and look forward to where your commitmentsstill lie.

When the slide back starts to take over, recognize it and squash it!

If need be, go back to the basics and start over.

Some basics:

Decide on what you’re going to stop doing before you start doing anything new.

Find an accountability partner other than yourself.

Develop a flexible blueprint, then commit to a plan and live by it.

Take small steps first, then build momentum.

Be patient with yourself.

Know that you have to want to do this, even more than you need to do it.

Celebrateyour successes along the way. Use these moments to raise the platformfor your next move, one that will be up and away from where you used tobe.

Keep in mind that on average it takes about 90 days for goodhabits to take hold, (after all, you’ve spent several years building upthe bad habits in the first place!)

 What pointers to stop bad habits from creeping back in can you share?

 Jamieis the founder of Life Work Integration, a process that integratespassion with purpose and vision. You can reach him atjamie@lifeworkintegration.com & via Twitter @jdouraghy


You’ve Been Laid Off: Now What?

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015|

The chances are that you’ve been exposed to lay-offs in one way or another. Whether it’s a colleague, a friend, or something you’ve experienced yourself, staff turnovers happen in every industry. Being laid-off can be scary, but you don’t have to succumb to anxiety and panic. Here are a few friendly pointers to help you through your lay-off and onto your next job.

Time Out
First things first, take a couple of days to regroup and clear your head.  Start thinking about your plan of action and make sure to relax. It can be hard to think straight when your emotions run amok. Your self-esteem may have taken an initial hit, however pick yourself back up and think of the exciting opportunities ahead.

Update LinkedIn and Facebook
Your social networks are full of contacts, some you may know, some you don’t. Update your LinkedIn to state that you’re looking for new opportunities. People are helpful creatures and will do what they can to make referrals and leads.

Accomplishments

Make a long list of your career accomplishments including detailed metrics of your last job. What did you improve? Did you exceed targets?  When you begin to interview, you’ll be able to discuss them more easily. It’s also a reminder for you to see how valuable you are as an employee.

References
Don’t leave your last job without getting at least one reference. We’ve read some heart-felt and glowing references from former employers who had to make lay-offs despite the great work their employees were doing. 

Don’t Burn Bridges
It’s normal to feel upset after being laid-off, but that’s no reason to let emotions get in your way. Take the high road when leaving your company; be respectful of employers and colleagues. Send out a thank you email to your department, it’s also another avenue to receive new contacts and leads.

Resume
This one’s a given – update, proofread, fact-check and proofread again before sending it out into the world.

Plan and Budget
Make a 3-month plan and budget accordingly. The next couple of months may not be a time of frivolous spending but with careful planning you will manage just fine.

 Once you’ve done all of the above, it’s time to start the job search. Treat your job search like a full time job. Speak with recruiters, former co-workers and follow up with any leads you’ve been given.

 Have you experienced a lay-off? How did you get through it?

 

Laura Pell – Artisan Creative

 

Loving the Freelance Life

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014|

As it becomes more common–and easier–to choose the freelance lifestyle, more workers are finding out why their freelance colleagues love it as much as they do. They might even be getting a little jealous. Why do we love freelancing?

  • Entrepreneurship–Freelancing is the simplest way to run your own business. It’s just you, but you are the boss. Enjoy it.
  • Flexibility–To be a successful freelancer, you must be disciplined about getting everything done well and on time, but when and how you tackle your work is up to you.
  • Giving back–My personal favorite thing about freelancing is being able to make time to volunteer for my favorite organizations, even during typical working hours–when they need me most because so many other volunteers have to be at the office.
  • Control–Most jobs require you to accomplish a variety of tasks, some of which you love and some of which you most definitely do not. Ideally, freelancing allows you to choose projects you are passionate about and pass on the ones you are not.
  • Diversity–As a freelance writer, I get to vary the topics I am writing about from day to day and sometimes hour to hour. It’s never boring!
  • Building Relationships–Freelancers meet new people frequently by necessity. The perfect networking opportunity is a freelance gig at a new company. Not only can you bond with the people you work with, you can demonstrate your skills and get referrals for more freelance work in the future.

Sure, there moments when I wish I had someone just tell me what to do and let me do it, check everything off a list, shut off the lights and go home. Only moments, though. Then I look around and remember how grateful I am to have a life that works for me, my family, my soul.

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative