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Resume Buzzwords: Are You Really a Dynamic Team Player?

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015|

A resume takes time to write. It should be well-crafted and every detail and word scrutinized and then proofread before sending out into the world. A tiny error can be the difference between getting an interview and getting rejected. As recruiters, we read hundreds of resumes each week. So how do you set yourself apart from the rest of the pack? Generic buzzwords can fill up space but they don’t really say a lot about you.


Take a look through LinkedIn’s most overused buzzwords. Are some of these on your resume or LinkedIn profile? If the answer is yes, it’s time for a refresh. There are also resume writing services such as our friends at who are one of the best in the business for resume writing and also offer one-on-one sessions to get your resume in tip top shape.

Things to Avoid

You may actually be “a motivated and dynamic team player” but it really doesn’t explain how motivated and dynamic you really are. In fact, it doesn’t really tell us much at all. Stay away from job-seeking clichés. If you find you’re having to bulk up your resume, you need to re-think your resume strategy. Are you currently using any of these words?
-Extensive experience
-Team Player


What Should I Use Instead of Buzzwords?
Don’t be afraid to show personality, we are in the creative industry, after all. As recruiters we want to hear about your favorite projects or your most exciting campaigns and your hobbies outside of work. Include metrics of your greatest achievements and show how motivated you really are without actually having to say it.
A few examples:
-Increased a brand’s social presence by X% within one year
-Tasked with growing a digital department which generated X amount of revenue
-Mentored junior members by doing XYZ
-Exceeded targets by X amount

If you want honest feedback and guidance on your resume, have a chat with one of the Artisan team who can give you some insight. We want you to look your best! Take a look at your resume; if it’s filled with superlatives and empty words, it’s time to start thinking about substantial facts and achievements to really sell yourself.


Laura Pell – Artisan Creative


8 Tips to Help Your Resume and Portfolio Stand Out

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014|


As agency recruiters and sourcers, our goal is to find amazing talent for the open positions our clients have and help make an impact for both.  In order to successfully do so, we review 50+ resumes a day before we get to the interview phase.  That makes over 250 a week, and more than 1,000 a month, conservatively guessing!

Below are 8 tips to help your resume and portfolio stand out.


Every new search begins with the required elements of a position. We’re here to help by working with you to see how and why your background may be fit for a role.  Here are a few things we take into consideration at the beginning of a search.

  1. Job Title & Responsibilities.  Your current job title & what your current responsibilities are.  For example, if you are looking for a graphic designer role but have not held that position in a while, we’ll need your help to clarify why.
  2. Industry/Vertical Experience. If you looking to change verticals or have an industry preference but haven’t been able to work professionally in it, consider taking on some freelance projects to gain exposure and industry experience.
  3. Years of Experience. Let us know why you are open to a more junior position, or why you may be qualified for a more senior one.
  4. Job Location.  An important factor is commute-time. If you are open to a position outside your local area, please be specific in your submission letter.


Once we have identified a pool of candidates for a specific role, the fun begins! When looking for creative roles, we like to browse the portfolio first.  We begin every search with a good understanding of the aesthetic and design style a talent has and whether it’s a match for what a client is looking for.

  1. A clean, organized, and easy to navigate portfolio is a breath of fresh air!  Give your portfolio an extra “oomph” by showcasing your most recent and relevant work samples.  When selecting pieces to include, go for the projects that demonstrate your design strengths, add a little bit of diversity, and make sure images are high resolution.  Don’t forget to include your favorite projects as well since your passion will shine through when talking about them.   List your involvement on the project—whether it was creative direction, or production….let your online portfolio be clear and concise.

If you are unable to create your own website, there are many online portfolio sites such as Behance, Dribbble and Coroflot to utilize.  A comprehensive list can be found on our resources page.

  1. A chronological resume is the easiest to browse, starting with the most recent work.  If you’ve worked at agencies, make sure to include a brief list of accounts you’ve worked on.  Descriptions of your roles and duties are essential, along with time spent in the company.   List your Education, dates, degrees, software proficiencies and expertise levels
  2. Longevity.  Clearly state if a role was freelance for a specific project. Otherwise several short-term assignments at different companies can be considered a red flag.  Help us understand the different career moves you’ve made and how you can be a stable and loyal addition to the team.  
  3. Typos are the first things to jump out on your resume and portfolio.  Even if you’ve reviewed it a hundred times, let a friend with a critical eye take a look before you send it out.  As Laszlo Bock, Senior VP of People Operations at Google, said, “Typos are deadly because employers interpret them as a lack of detail-orientation, as a failure to care about quality.”  You don’t want that to be their first impression of you so take a few extra measures for peace of mind.

Of course, this is a general approach at how the initial process of sourcing goes.  The depth of what we do as an agency and the core of how we take a different approach takes precedence during the interview stage where we dive deeper into your background and work with you on culture fit and career expectations.  

At Artisan Creative, we are in the business of connecting you to the right role so help us understand your strengths, values, and career objectives.  A clear understanding of these on our end, coupled with a well-written resume and beautifully designed portfolio on your end, can be the beginning of a great work relationship.

 By Jen Huynh, Sourcer at Artisan Creative

Time for a Resume Refresh

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014|

Don’t you wish your resume had a Refresh Button? We hope you’re spending some time this summer recharging your creativity, refining your goals and planning for new experiences. Summer is a good time to get your resume out and refresh it as well. We don’t have a magic button, but we did take a look at some current resume trends and wondered whether you would like to try some of these new approaches:

Charts and Graphs

Those metrics you have in your bullet points might make better visual information. If your accomplishments can be quantified, try adding some colorful graphics to your text resume.

Refine Your Keywords

Are recruiters finding you when they look for someone with your experience and qualifications? Make sure your resume is going to pop up in scans for your skillset. A great tip from CAREERREALISM: if you are targeting a specific posting, use Wordle to turn a job description into a word cloud–you can be sure you know the most important keywords to put in your text.

Tighten up your Summary

Put metrics in your summary as well as in your bullet points for previous jobs. You only have a few seconds to make an impact–make sure your summary does the job.


Since most resumes are being sent electronically, don’t forget to add hyperlinks to your online portfolio, LinkedIn profile, and email. Make it easy for recruiters and hiring managers to find out more about you–they will want to.


Your bullet points should already be using active verbs, but it is even more important to use numbers to illustrate your accomplishments. You have some new achievements since the last time you revised your resume and you might have more results on previous projects now. 

Although a traditional resume can be updated, you can also try a non-traditional format, like a video, an infographic, or even a Facebook Timeline. And don’t neglect your LinkedIn profile–it must always reflect your most recent work and include samples.

How often do you revise your resume? You should be revising your resume every quarter, even if you are not looking for a new job. 

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Job Jenny and Why You Should Be Rethinking Your Resume

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014|

In the first of a two-part blog, we speak with career expert Job Jenny and why we need to rethink our approach to resume writing and personal branding.

I was recently introduced to Job Jenny and her “ridiculously awesome resume service” by a candidate-turned-friend of mine who had used her services. It got me thinking about our approach to resume writing and personal branding. Resumes are essentially a marketing tool, right? So why is it that so many job seekers pay little attention to keywords, layouts and job search strategies? As recruiters we see all types; from carefully constructed portfolios to formulaic textbook resumes. I took some time to speak with Job Jenny to discuss resume writing and how job seekers should be marketing themselves to recruiters and potential employers.

At this point you may find yourself asking “Who is Job Jenny?” and wondering why she knows so much about resume writing and job seeking. Job Jenny worked for several years in marketing and communications at corporate level before moving into recruitment and starting her own agency. Job Jenny came into being in 2010 offering job seekers a support service which includes: resume writing, personal branding, LinkedIn makeovers and one-on-one consulting, job seeking and transitional strategies along with interview skills and e-books. She does it all!

If you’re faced with the daunting task of searching for a new job or if you’re applying online to multiple companies and getting nowhere, perhaps you need to rethink your resume. Are you having difficulty transitioning into a new career path? Are you wondering why you’re receiving little to no response when applying online? Take a look at these tips to get you started on the right foot:

  • Try to avoid approaching your resume as a list or a biography detailing every single responsibility and duty, but instead look at it as a marketing document that is a reflection of your personal brand.
  • Familiarize yourself with Applicant Tracking Systems if you are submitting your resume online. Does your resume contain industry-relevant keywords specific to the job you are applying for? Additionally, if your resume is over styled it could get in the way of the ATS and may not be received at all.
  • Pay attention to the job you are applying for. If you’re applying for an Account Manager position when you have a Project Management background, pay attention to the common deliverables of the job and detail your skill-set for the recruiter to see and make a connection. Do not expect them to deduce your experience from your resume without you making a connection.
  • Be consistent and focused with clear goals in mind – how do you want your resume to be conveyed? Be consistent with formatting and don’t forget: spellcheck!
  • If you’re looking at divergent roles, have a resume specifically tailored for each industry to showcase your work that’s most relevant to the decision maker. The easier you make it for HR to make a quick connection between what they need and what you do, the better the response

Your resume is your first (and often only) opportunity to sell yourself to recruiters and potential employers so investing time and effort into your personal brand is crucial. Your resume is a marketing document and a reflection on you (and often your recruiter.) Make it work! 

In the second part of our blog we’ll discuss LinkedIn strategies, social media branding and interview tips so stay tuned and if you have your own tips to share or would like to know more about resume writing, get in touch.

Laura Pell, Talent Acquisition for Artisan Creative

Revise Your Resume Now

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013|

How long has it been since you read your own resume? A month? Three months? Since you got your current job? Unless you have revised your resume since the end of the summer, you have waited long enough. 

Why revise your resume if you’re not looking for a new job? Here are some of our reasons for spending time tweaking your resume even if you are happy where you are working:

  • Memory is tricky–Right now you have a great handle on the numbers for that big project you just completed. Those numbers will not stay at the front of your mind when you get immersed in the next one. Add bullet points with quantifiable data to your resume before the details get away from you.
  • Resumes are not just for job search–If you want to take on a volunteer opportunity that uses your professional skills, join a professional organization or do some networking (which you should do often), a current resume is a quick summary of your experience for anyone who is interested. 
  • The longer you wait, the longer it takes–Someday you will need or want to have a great–and current–resume. If you keep it up to date every quarter, it won’t take you long to bring it right up to today, but if you have to work back two or three years, it will take many more hours to make it work.
  • You never know–No one likes to think about it, but many layoffs are at short notice. I have a friend who found out on a recent Friday that it was her last day of work. If your resume is always current, you have one less thing to worry about if an unanticipated period of unemployment comes along.

My career coach told us to spend 5 hours on our resumes every quarter and at the time it sounded like a lot. But I know that it will be much harder to remember my accomplishments of this year when next year has begun. Think about spending an hour or two this week on your resume–you’ll be glad you did!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Unusual Resume Formats: Yes or No?

Thursday, June 13th, 2013|

At Artisan we see quite a few resumes and most of them are in a variety of standard formats. On occasion, however, we will receive something especially creative or unusual, some more successful than others. What do you think of these non-traditional resume formats?

The Infographic—We’ve heard a lot about these. There is even a website that helps you take your resume information and turn it into an infographic. If the information on your resume can be easily thought of as a timeline or a pie chart, this might work for you. If your experience is more varied, it might end up being too busy and hard to interpret. Remember the purpose of your resume is to tell enough of your story that a hiring manager will want to meet you and find out more. If an infographic tells that story well, it might work.

The Video—A way of jumping the queue a bit, a video resume is a mini-interview of a sort. A hiring manager or recruiter can hear your voice, evaluate your presentation and spend a few minutes with you before meeting you in person. If you do a professional job on your video resume, it can definitely be intriguing, but if you’re not sure exactly how to produce your video resume, stick to paper. Be sure to rehearse and do more than one take to get the best possible result.

The Brochure—Especially if you are a Marketing Professional, using well-designed marketing materials like a brochure can showcase your skills tangibly as well as providing information. 

There is definitely room for creativity in your resume, whether it is in clean design elements or an less traditional format. However, the same rules apply to these as to more common styles: proofread, have as many people look at what you are sending before you send it as possible, proofread, use keywords for the job you are seeking and—of course—proofread!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Spring Cleaning? Don’t Forget Your Resume!

Thursday, April 11th, 2013|

If you’re like me, you spent some time this weekend putting winter clothes away and checking to see if last year’s shorts still fit. Maybe you’re going through the things you put in the garage to deal with later or pulling out last year’s tomato plants. 

Spring is also a great time to refresh your resume, whether you are on a job search or not. Here are some housekeeping tips:

  • Check your keywords—With more employers and recruiters using computers to filter through dozens or even hundreds of resumes submitted via the net, keywords for titles and skills are all-important. Make sure your keywords match your skillset and your accomplishments.
  • Write new bullets—More recent accomplishments should be added or used to replace older items if you are out of space. The more tangible – the better. Add numbers wherever possible.
  • Responsibilities—Did anything about your current role change this winter? If so, make sure it is reflected on your resume.
  • Activate your language—Verbs such as “maintained” and “managed” sound tired in the spring. Use a thesaurus to find more active verbs for your bullet points.
  • Proofread—Yes, again. You can never proofread enough. If you made any changes to that resume, have someone (or a few someones) take a look. You don’t want to add any new mistakes.

It can be fun to take a new look at an old resume. My career coach recommended 5 hours of resume work every quarter, whether you are on job search or not. If you are a creative, updating your portfolio of work regularly is just as important. Spend a couple of those hours now and it will pay off later!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

4 Common Resume Mistakes (and How To Avoid Them)

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012|

We hope that you re-read your resume every time you send it out, especially since you should be tweaking and updating it often. But any time you make changes, you can also make mistakes.

Recruiters tell us about some of the mistakes they see all too often:

  • Incorrect contact information—You’ll never know if a company wanted to interview you if your email, phone number or portfolio / URL has a typo. 
  • Relying on Spellcheck—If your resume uses the wrong form of a word, your attention to detail is definitely called into question.
  • Too much personal information—While it’s important to have a life outside of work, your resume is not the place to highlight your extensive stamp collection or fondness of hiking. Save it for onboarding!
  • Listing recognitions that have nothing to do with work—Your mom is glad you won Top History Student your Senior year in High School, but your hiring manager probably doesn’t care.

Our tips for avoiding these mistakes and others like them:

  • Always have at least 3 people read your resume before you send it out. One of them will probably catch any errors or odd information.
  • Print out your resume and read it on paper.
  • Take a break between the revising and finalizing stage to review with fresh perspective.

Everyone makes mistakes, but your resume is a place where those mistakes could really cost you. Make avoiding them a priority.

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Resumes: One Page or Two?

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012|


I used to think that a one page resume is always the goal. Fit it all on there, and if you can’t, cut something or use a smaller font. 

In the business world, however, there are times for a one page resume and times for a two pager.  Most recruiters generally like one better than the other, but since you don’t know who is reading your resume, here are a few general guidelines:

One Page:

Entry-level candidates – if you are right out of school, you probably don’t have a lot of experience to list.  And that’s fine. Make sure you do list your education and any technical skills. Remember, internships count as experience!

Transitioning candidates – if you have been working but are changing career paths, it’s okay to have a one page resume rather than filling up two pages with irrelevant work experience. However, you should take time think carefully about what skills you can transfer from your old career to your new one and use keywords relevant to your new career to describe those responsibilities. Think about every previous job before you decide not to list them.

Transitioning candidates can also benefit from using a “functional” resume rather than a chronological format. A functional resume focuses on your skills rather than your titles.

Two Page:

Experienced candidates – if you have five to ten years of experience, it’s likely you need two pages to list everything that is relevant to your job search. It’s okay to leave plenty of white space – as it makes your resume easier to read.  However, be sure to use at least 75% of the second page if you go on to two pages.

When using two pages, you should have room for volunteer experience, awards and recognitions, professional affiliations and more bullet points for your job responsibilities and accomplishments.

Three Pages or More:

Unless you are a C-Level executive, three pages is too long. But if you are, go for it!

For what it’s worth, some recruiters and hiring managers never like to see a two page resume, no matter what your experience level, but since you can’t predict that, do what makes the most sense to you.

Wendy Stackhouse
, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Resumes: You Have 6 Seconds…Go!

Thursday, April 19th, 2012|

In recent days, the internet has been a buzz about recruiters taking only 6 seconds to look at a resumes before deciding whether to toss it or read more.

6 seconds.

That is definitely a bit depressing, right?

My career coach says it takes 80 hours of work to perfect a resume and, even then, you have to tweak it every time for every application.  Goodness knows how long we are working for that 6 second look.

But if your resume is effective, of course, you get a lot more than 6 seconds.

We asked the Artisan Recruiters about their thoughts on resumes and whether the 6-second rule really applies:

Account Manager, Carol Conforti, looks at resumes for more than six seconds, but often looks at a portfolio first so she can relate the work to the experience. Carol feels that creative staffing is different from typical recruiting, as often a few creative hands go into making a campaign and job titles can vary from company to company. However, if the resume is from someone that is not local and the client is not willing to relocate anyone, they get a shorter look.

MD, Katty Douraghy, definitely spends more than 6 seconds looking at resumes but, like Carol, weighs portfolios more heavily since we are a creative agency.  Katty looks at resumes for: keywords, gaps in employment, agency vs. client side history and evidence of leadership skills. She checks for longevity and if jobs were for a short time or whether they were clearly freelance projects.  It takes more than 6 seconds to do a thorough job.

Creative Recruiting Manager, Jamie Grossman, looks first for at least one well-recognized company, industry or brand, but if the candidate is just out of school, she considers where they went. If a talent does not meet the bare qualifications – you can tell pretty quickly they are not going to be right.  But that often requires much more than 6 seconds on average.

Account Manager, Jess Bedford, says the better formatted a resume, the longer she spends looking at it. She likes the use of bold, underlining and bullet points to make it easy to read.  Short descriptions of companies are also helpful to get a sense of industry experience. Education should always be at the end and the information should be contained to one page.

We all hope that our resumes get a good look – and we can definitely always improve them. A few key takeaways:

  • Make sure you are using the keywords from the job description in your bullet points or Summary.
  • Be as specific as possible about your responsibilities and achievements, especially where you showed leadership.
  • Leave some white space to keep it clean and clear.
  • Never neglect the importance of a portfolio when applying for creative roles.

Good luck!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative