Effective Networking Tips in the COVID Age 

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020|

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good luck to you on your job search.

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

New Hire Welcome Kit: Why They are Important & How to Create Them

Tuesday, September 1st, 2020|

There are many facets to creating a successful onboarding process that truly welcomes and integrates your new hire. One of the best ways to make a positive, lasting first impression is by creating a new hire welcome kit. It may seem like a simple gesture, however, the thought behind is impactful.  A mug with your company’s logo or a personally crafted introductory note goes further than you might think.

In its simplest form, a welcome kit shows your new hire that you care about them. It acknowledges their presence as a new member of your team and alleviates first day jitters. Beginning a job can feel overwhelming, so getting an extra special introduction makes your new hire feel appreciated even before they step foot in the office. 

So what goes into a welcome kit? 

The short answer: anything you want that exemplifies your company culture and spirit. In general, welcome kits have office supplies or company “swag” like mugs or notebooks with the company’s logo on the front. They can also include supplies necessary for the job, such as headphones, a camera, and, if possible, an electronic device like a laptop or Kindle. 

If your company is known for a certain aesthetic, a creative welcome kit would reflect that. If you have a more playful or laidback company culture, throw in some quirky surprises like a puzzle or toys for their desk.  Or if your company has a foodie culture, consider a personalized gourmet box from boxperience to add some flavor to their first day.

In the same regard, your welcome kit is an opportunity to introduce your company itself and the expectations you have of your new hire. They are a great way to get the onboarding process going because you can provide a welcome packet with the necessary basic information a new hire might want to know, such as an outline of rules and regulations, important contacts, and FAQs. They are also a fantastic way to tell your company’s story, share your company core values, and get your new employee invested in the culture that defines you. 

To ensure your new employee receives a warm welcome, personalize your welcome kit! One of the best ways to do this is by including a handwritten note. It shows you care just that much more. Another great way to personalize your welcome kit is by putting your new hire’s name on some of the items you are giving them. By doing so, you are directly acknowledging them and giving your welcome kit that extra personalized touch. 

It is the little things that count. You want your new hire to feel that you are just as excited about having them on your team as they are about being on your team.  Providing your new hire with the necessary tools and personalized attention helps foster a smooth transition and is a great way to welcome them to the company.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 568th issue of our a.blog.

Onboarding Remotely

Tuesday, August 18th, 2020|

Like many aspects of work-life, the onboarding process has to be adapted to meld with our increasingly remote workforce. As it has become evident that the global pandemic is not subsiding anytime soon, companies have to decide to either completely stop work or find unique ways to keep their gears turning. 

Onboarding, whether remote or in-person, is essential to the development of empowered, dedicated, and productive teams. A successful onboarding process allows for greater employee retention and reduced spending on the more costly process of new hires. Here are some things to keep in mind if you are remotely managing employees and find yourself having to do onboarding remotely: 

Utilize the technology that is already widely available: Thankfully, many companies hopped on the work-from-home train long before a pandemic accelerated this transition across the globe and technology was already central to how many of us function. Collaboration technology such as monday.com or Trello has been popping up everywhere, allowing you to manage a team remotely. Applications such as  Zoom or MS teams allow us to stay connected by holding video conferences remotely, and Google Docs, or Asana allows teams to collaborate on projects and documents remotely. All of which will be useful when formulating a remote onboarding process. 

Keep the communication going: Communication is a central part of the onboarding process, especially when managing employees remotely. In many geographies,  working in an in-person office environment is not possible currently and communication can often be lost or muddled. During the onboarding process, it is imperative to give feedback to the new hire, to set clear expectations, and to present your new hire an opportunity to give feedback, voice concerns, and ask questions. In this environment, over-communication is a key to success: Plan daily huddles, weekly video meetings, use Slack, or other messaging tools to keep the lines of communication open.  During the onboarding phase, it’s key to evaluate progress, build rapport, and set clear expectations.  

Document your SOPs  Build a library of your standard operating procedures so that new hires (and the rest of the team for that matter) can easily access this relevant info.  This will save you and other managers from responding to the same questions over and over, as well as set the standards needed for the team to adhere to.  Tools such as Loom, Screenomatic, or Trainual are critical in creating a knowledge bank of best practices and training.

Remote does not have to mean impersonal: Working from home can feel lonely or disconnected, so it is essential that although you are onboarding remotely, you make new hires feel as welcome as they would if they were walking into your office on their first day. Do this by sending a welcome gift from Snackmagic or the Goodgrocer, reaching out on their first day with a welcome message, scheduling a Zoom team lunch with the whole team to provide a genuine introduction, and creating a lasting first impression.  

Keep up the team spirit: Another one of the many aspects of work-life that is must be worked on even more diligently during remote work is company culture. When we cannot physically come together, creating a cohesive work environment becomes increasingly challenging. However, you can translate your company culture remotely by having group Zoom calls that are not work-related but function as a ‘get to know’ us event such as an online cooking event, painting classes, or plan for a virtual scavenger hunt.  You can even co-work remotely, by keeping Zoom on all day during the first few days on the job.

Onboarding is much more than an orientation, it helps assimilate the new hire into their work environment and culture. . Especially when working remotely, it is important to create an ongoing onboarding process that promotes greater efficiency and greater employee retention.  

Working solo from our homes does not mean we have to be in a silo.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 567th issue of our a.blog

Collaboration & Motivation While WFH

Tuesday, August 4th, 2020|

As we continue to navigate the ‘work from home’ sphere, one that might be new for many of us, we must maintain clear communication with other members of our team. Although it may feel impersonal to communicate through a screen, the technology at our fingertips and the resources it provides allows us to communicate intuitively and efficiently, avoiding any misunderstandings that arise when we cannot meet in person. 

Open communication: As is often the problem with technologically-mediated communication, the meaning of something can be lost or misconstrued. Therefore, open communication is now more important than ever. This can mean anything from being clear about expectations for a certain project to outlining deadlines and expressing obstacles that crop up along the way. Knowing what your team needs from you, and being honest about your ability to fulfill that need allows for more effective collaboration.  Collaboration tools such as Trello, Jira, or Basecamp come in handy to review progress and set expectations.  

Keep in touch with team members: There are many efficient ways to keep your team accountable when managing a WFH group. For example, programs like Slack or Monday.com help communicate with teams at-large, manage tasks, and organize multiple projects occurring at once. Slack, for example, allows you to communicate with single members of your team or specific groups of people working on certain tasks. It also allows you to create ‘channels’ for certain projects, where different members can post documents, raise questions, or provide updates. When possible, hop on a quick Zoom video call to connect, or use Loom to record an explainer video.

Time management: Managing one’s time while working from home can be increasingly challenging when it feels like work-life and home-life are merging into one without clearly defined boundaries. However, it is important to set priorities for oneself to manage tasks efficiently. To set priorities, it is crucial to understand the bigger picture or the larger goal your team has. This is yet another reason why clear communication is so important. By understanding what it is your team is trying to achieve, you can prioritize your tasks to efficiently contribute to that end goal. 

Self-motivation: As many of us have adapted to the WFH lifestyle, there has been some concern about keeping motivated and on task when working from home. Setting clear expectations and a work-life-home-life separation is imperative for holding ourselves accountable for the work that must be completed. This begins with overcoming procrastination

Home-life places obstacles in the way of productivity–children, pets, making dinner, laundry, cleaning random cabinets– allowing procrastination to be a constant temptation. One way to stop procrastinating is to simply remove distractions. For example, if your phone distracts you, turn it off and place it in a random drawer in your house, thereby requiring a greater amount of energy to reach it, making it less of a distraction. You can also mitigate the procrastination temptation by using reward-based motivation. For example, tell yourself that after you finish your project you will be able to use your phone again. Giving yourself a reward after each task you complete will foster greater motivation to do so. 

We are all in this together and knowing how to function within our “new normal” will allow us to continue progressing forward even when our world has been put on pause. 

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 566th issue of our a.blog

3 New Normal Job Search Strategies

Tuesday, July 21st, 2020|

These unprecedented times require applicants to be more creative in utilizing new networking channels and better job search strategies to connect with hiring managers and companies.

The first step is to look at the industry and vertical you are interested in to find out if this particular industry has been impacted positively or negatively by the pandemic. Then, determine whether that industry is growing or shrinking its current workforce.

Once you’ve set you’re your parameters, the following channels and resources can be beneficial to learn more about that industry or a specific company, its culture, and the leadership team before you apply. You may also make some valuable connections to help you directly apply to a hiring manager.

Slack

There are thousands of Slack communities that are focused on specific industries or interest groups. Hone in on your specific skill set or target industry and network there. Solfie is a great resource to help you find the right group for you. For example, if you are a marketing candidate or an SEO specialist a resource such as Ahref’s Slack channel can help with both upskilling as well as networking.

Podcasts

Special interest podcasts are a great place to get introduced to new companies and influencers within those companies.   There are many design podcasts for freelancers and design professionals that include tips and best practices. Debbie Millman’s podcast Design Matters is a top podcast on design.

Additional design podcasts can be found here. Our own Artisan podcast with a focus on creativity, inspiration, and determination is another great resource to hear from creatives on how they got their start and what keeps them going and growing.

Social Media

Follow thought leaders, influencers, and companies you are interested in on Twitter. This will give you an opportunity to create conversations and learn more about the philosophies and methodologies of companies who are game-changers in their verticals.

LinkedIn is a powerful tool for showcasing your candidacy as well as searching for and learning about job openings. LinkedIn has a weekly article featuring hiring activity in various industries. The benefit of LinkedIn is that you can actively join industry groups and network, respond to and follow thought leaders within your circle of interest, get recommendations, and update your profile and availability.

As you update your LinkedIn profile, make sure you upload your resume to other design portfolio sites and job boards as well. Also check out our newly launched Inspiring Hiring portal where you can create a profile, upload your resume, record a video of your accomplishments and thought process, and share your core values with hiring managers.

The best approach in this climate is a multi-pronged approach.   Leave the guesswork and haphazard approach to your competition—and plan your success to stand out from the crowd.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 565th issue of our a.blog.

How to Discover Your Core Values

Tuesday, July 7th, 2020|

“Our values are at our core, and are an expression of how we act every day.”

Warren Rustand.

Lately, I’ve been reflecting a lot on my core values, how I define them, and how I remain true to them.

Warren Rustand, a successful entrepreneur and the Dean of Leadership for The Entrepreneurs’ Organization, says our values carry us through good and bad times. “Our values are everything we do, our acts, and behaviors. It tells people what we actually value, they define our character, they create and compose our integrity.”

Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People defines these as our three moments of truth:

  • Discovery of our values. We realize what our core beliefs and values really are.
  • Discovery of what we stand for when we commit to those values.
  • The moment we act on those core beliefs and values.

In the corporate world, it is common-place that companies define and share their core values and display them in their offices, on their website where customers, employees, and candidates can see them.

We did the same at Artisan Creative and I’m proud that our a.team helped articulate ours after several conversations together. They are Accountability, Agility, Trust, Communication, and Enthusiasm. These are the core values we embrace every day, and how we conduct ourselves in business year over year.

If companies take the time to discover and articulate their core values, why don’t we do this for ourselves? For our families? How can we better share what we stand for and what our values are to others and to our children?

It’s often during difficult times that we need to evaluate what is important to us. Today, with one of the highest unemployment rates on record, many are going through challenging times. Candidates are evaluating and contemplating what their next step can be, and what type of company they want to work for. I’ve heard from many who no longer want to commute long hours, no longer want to work for a company without a purpose, no longer want to travel just for work. They no longer want to work for someone whose values don’t align with theirs.

We live our lives by a certain internal compass, a moral code, and although many times we may not know how to articulate these actions as values, it is in challenging times that we can rely on them.

So as we are in this time of reflection, it’s important to determine and articulate our own personal core values and share them with one another.

Here are three steps to help define yours. This is a process of putting together seemingly disparate puzzle pieces until finally, an image emerges. It requires patience, thoughtfulness, and reflection.

Write down your answers to the following questions:

Reflect back to a time when you were faced with an important decision and ask:

  • How did I behave?
  • How did I feel?
  • What did I want?
  • What was important to me?
  • What was I willing to stand for?
  • What did I NOT stand for?
  • What was my non-negotiable?

Reflect back to a time when you were faced with a challenge in your life and ask:

  • How did I behave?
  • How did I feel?
  • What did I want?
  • What was important to me?
  • What was I willing to stand for?
  • What did l I NOT stand for?
  • What was my non-negotiable?

Reflect back to a time when someone needed your help:

  • How did I behave?
  • How did I feel?
  • What did I want?
  • What was important to me?
  • What was I willing to stand for?
  • What did I NOT stand for?
  • What was my non-negotiable?

Additional questions to bring clarity:

  • How do my friends describe me?
  • What gives me joy?
  • What brings meaning to my life?

Once you’ve answered all the questions, look for common themes, phrases, and words.

Circle those words, or search for other words that resonate with you.

What emerges? Who emerges from those words? Do they resonate with you, and are they who you are at your core?

Once you know them, share this with others. Then, add them to your website and your resume. Let potential employers and employees know how you live by these values.

In the words of Gandhi, “Your beliefs become your thoughts, Your thoughts become your words, Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits, Your habits become your values, Your values become your destiny.”
 

Please connect if you are looking for your next opportunity or your next hire.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 564th issue of our a.blog.

5 Steps to Building Resilience in Your Job Search

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2020|

If you’ve recently lost a job or are getting frustrated with the long application or interview cycles, a key attribute that will help you stay in the game is resilience. Studies have shown, that with the right habits and mindset, you can develop a more resilient approach to your job search. Here’s how to do it:

1. Reflect, Then Keep Moving

In the aftermath of a job loss or during a difficult job search, it is normal to experience sadness, anger, and loss. Acknowledging these feelings is the best way to move through and continue on. Avoid getting stuck in the past, learn from your previous experience, develop a positive mindset, and become more conscious of new opportunities and things to be grateful for.

2. Take Stock of Yourself

Now is the time to be a good friend to yourself and emphasize your strongest qualities. Gather evidence of your past achievements, think about the things you love to do and are best at, and do some research to discover what new avenues may be open to you in a changing marketplace. If you haven’t updated your online portfolio or your LinkedIn profile in a while, make sure they showcase your best work in a way that’s exciting and relevant. (This may make you feel more optimistic and become more resilient, too.)

3. Try New Things

A sudden job loss or a long job search can give you the needed time to build new skills or to experiment with new hobbies and interests. If you read books and articles about subjects you want to learn about, attend virtual events that look interesting to you, and get out of your comfort zone, you may find yourself drawn to fresh subjects and opportunities you didn’t notice before. Be yourself, make connections, and grow your grit. New experiences can help you put things in perspective and develop a more broad-minded outlook, which is powerful for building resilience.

Masterclass, Udemy, Creative Live, or General Assembly are great places to brush up on your skills or develop new ones.

4. Express Gratitude

Our inherent negativity bias makes it easier to dwell on the negative and ignore the positive. To become more resilient, refocus your mindset and go overboard with positivity for a while. When you make a daily gratitude list, or simply remind yourself to look for the silver lining in situations, you train your brain to notice the good things around you, which will make it easier to spot your next big opportunities.

5. Reach Out

Being independent doesn’t mean being alone. Your peers, mentors, and friends will understand what you’re going through, and many will be eager to help if you give them a chance to do so. Join online platforms, browse groups on Linkedin, Groupspace, or Creative Mornings can connect with your other likeminded individuals for collaboration, connection, and communication.

You can start by contacting Artisan Creative. We have experience helping creative professionals connect with amazing companies and tune into new opportunities in a changing world of work. Let’s keep the conversation going!

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 563rd issue of the a.blog.

A message from Artisan Creative

Saturday, June 6th, 2020|

No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate. And if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the heart than its opposite.” 
– Nelson Mandela

To our creative community, talent, clients and our a.team,

As an immigrant and a female business owner, having an equal voice– and giving an equal voice–has been a personal motto for years. We have built Artisan Creative on diversity and inclusivity and we’re proud that our team has always been representative of many races and ethnicities.

Artisan Creative stands for equality, inclusivity, and fairness with a core mission to create relationships based on trust.

We firmly believe diversity and inclusion are the foundations of a just and fair society that extend to the business community. We stand with those in the fight against racism, oppression, and injustice. Our hearts are with those who have been negatively affected by today’s political, social, and business climate.

We recognize there is more work to be done on many fronts and we commit to learning, engaging, and to being part of a new narrative. To create meaningful change we must make our collective voices heard loud and strong.

To further support the need for justice and to support organizations that fight for change, we have donated to The Innocence Project that exonerates the wrongly convicted through DNA testing, and reforms the criminal justice system to prevent future injustice.

Additional Opportunities to Donate or Volunteer are below: 

George Floyd Memorial Fund

Black Lives Matter

www.blackgirlscode.com  STEM education, Technology training for girls, diversity learning, Social Entrepreneurship in Oakland, CA

Empowher is committed to empowering girls and young women in marginalized communities by helping them gain the skills necessary through education, training, and mentorship to become confident, college, and career-ready.

Learning

Obama Foundation

Barak Obama’s Medium article

Opal Tometi

Codeswitch

 

Together we can create change,

Katty Douraghy
President

Artisan Creative

The Power of Gratitude

Tuesday, May 26th, 2020|

“Today I choose to live with gratitude for the love that fills my heart, the peace that rests within my spirit, and the voice of hope that says all things are possible.” –  Anonymous

It’s easy to be grateful when things are going well. We count our blessings, and express gratitude for all the good we have. It takes effort when things are not.

In those moments when life challenges us, it becomes even more important to count the good that is still around us, even though we may not be fully aware of it.

Martin Seligman, an American psychologist, and the founder of positive psychology says “When we take time to notice the things that go right – it means we’re getting a lot of little rewards throughout the day”.

It’s a choice to take time every day to notice the beauty around us, things that are right with the world, even in the midst of a pandemic, even in the midst of one of the highest unemployment rates in our history.

What if amongst these hardships we could seek the good and express our gratitude for it, and shift our mindset towards happiness?

Warren Rustand, the Dean of Leadership at the Entrepreneur’ Organization (EO), a long time friend and mentor shared his 10-10-10 morning routine with me a few years back. He starts each day with 10 minutes of reading positive writings from a selection of well-known books, followed by 10 minutes of thinking positive thoughts and ending with10 minutes of journaling about gratitude.

Based on this learning, I personally have been using the Day One app to write down my own daily gratitudes. When personal tragedy struck a few years ago and I lost several family members over a short time due to illness, it was the gratitude journal that helped me heal. Even in the darkest of times, I could be grateful for the time we had together, grateful for the memories I was left with, grateful for the lessons they had taught me. Although I could not change the outcome of their illness, I could change my mindset.

David Steindl-Rast in his widely viewed Tedtalk talks about the connection between being grateful and being happy.   He says we can be grateful in every given moment.

I’ve chosen to embrace the power of gratitude and have shared these learnings with my team here at Artisan Creative. We’ve started a gratitude Slack channel and each day share them with each other.

So today, at the start of our 10th week of Safer at Home I’m hoping you’ll also join me in expressing gratitude for all that you have.

This week my ten are:

  • Grateful for health
  • Grateful for weekly family zoom calls with family across the world
  • Grateful for my pets and spending so much time with them at home
  • Grateful for expanding my culinary skills
  • Grateful for the jacarandas that paint LA a beautiful purple this time of the year
  • Grateful for early morning walks in our neighborhood
  • Grateful for the Artisan Creative team helping candidates who are looking for work
  • Grateful for Yoga with Adriene!
  • Grateful Southern California beaches are open again
  • Grateful to you for reading this.

Will you please share yours?

with gratitude,
Katty

We hope you’ve enjoyed our 561st issue of our a.blog.

3 Tips to Navigate Your Job Search

Tuesday, May 12th, 2020|

The current massive unemployment rates have many talented candidates out of work and searching for new opportunities. Additionally, the impact of stay-at-home measures is clearly exasperating the job search efforts for many.

As we navigate these unchartered waters and contemplate what the next version of what “work” is going to mean, it becomes important to take a moment and reflect. Julio Vincent Gambuto calls this moment “The Great Pause”.

We are indeed in a (prolonged) moment of pause—which is not comfortable.  However, since we are unable to rewind and go back to what once was, we can be more fully present and work on evaluating the future and possibilities that we can create.

To do so, here are three tips on how to evaluate what you really want to do next.

Define your Core Values

Take the needed time to think about what you want to do next and how that may align with your core values and purpose. If you haven’t had a chance to define your core values yet, now is a good time to partake in core values or visioning exercises to discover what is important to you.

Focus on Upskilling

As you re-imagine what that future of work will be for you, now is also a great opportunity to upskill. Many well-known universities around the world are offering free online classes. If you’ve been thinking of pivoting into other fields such as UX or product design, now is your chance. Ideo offers Design Thinking classes, as well as Leadership and Innovation classes. Masterclass is another great resource to try out a new hobby, learn something new, or write the story you’ve always wanted to tell.

Give Back

Volunteering is a great way to keep busy, make new connections in a new field, and help others in need. If you’ve always wanted to help out a non-profit what better time to share your expertise? It also provides a great opportunity to enhance your resume. More importantly, giving back is a great mood enhancer as it boosts oxytocin levels by creating levels of engagement, productivity, and usefulness which leads to gratitude.

We wish you the best as you embark on your job search.  For additional tips on resume writing and interviewing please check our a.blog. We hope you’ve enjoyed our 560th issue.