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?

7 Ways to Create an Outstanding Creative Portfolio Online

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016|

Creating an amazing creative portfolio that highlights your skills and experience is a necessary one! As a creative professional it’s best to keep your portfolio up-to-date and ready-to-go in case a prospective project or client comes your way. Here are some best practices to create a successful portfolio:

1. Determine your goals. Are you trying to get hired, boost business, or just showcasing your work? Is this a portfolio designed for building relationships or your brand? Clear criteria will help serve you best. If you want to get hired, display work that is relevant and current to get hiring managers at your dream company to notice you.

2. Put your best design forward…within limitations. Hiring managers (and everyone else) want to see your best work, but they also need to review lots of potential applicants in a hurry. Feature your best work prominently on a user-friendly site that showcases your work front and center.

3. Be concise. You may feel the need to say a lot in a small amount of space. However, best to keep it simple and organized, and repeat the “less is more” mantra. If you’re a freelancer who offers multiple services, or has several skillsets, try your best to demonstrate the key pieces or case studies.

4. Think about situations where you solved a problem. Was it a creative challenge? Were there limited resources? Look at samples that have a story behind them and list clear objective and how you resolved the design challenge.

5. Consider who you want to work for. Are you looking for work in a corporate field like finance or law? Present clean, successful design instead of edgy or artsy work. In other words, select portfolio pieces which are in line with the work you are seeking. (Remember, multiple portfolios, or organized tabs might be useful if you’re interested in working within multiple industries!)

6. Usability trumps artistic vision. While it might look really cool to change the navigation on your online portfolio, it can also be really confusing. Stick to web standards that keep the portfolio organized and implement SEO in case someone is searching. Consider readability, typography, and ease — what will be easier to update on a regular basis?

7. Make it yours! Whether you’re designing something for conservative or nontraditional clients, your portfolio needs to be 100 percent you. Infuse your personality into the design of the portfolio, let your creativity do the talking, and have fun in showing the world what you can do. If you don’t have the time or resources for your own website, then utilize the many portfolio sites that offer free resources such as Behance, Coroflot, Krop, etc.

Lastly, it should be easy to contact you, so make sure your contact information is easy to find!

Do you have an outstanding portfolio? Share it with us! We might be able to help land your next gig!

Artisan Creative is celebrating our 20th year staffing and recruiting Creative, Digital and Marketing roles. Please visit Roles We Place for a complete listing of our expertise.

Click here if you are looking to hire. Click here if you are looking for work.

For information on hiring best practices, interview tips and industry news, please join our social networks on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Portfolio image by Sean Halpin.

Using the "Active Voice" in Your Resume

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016|
resume-active-voice

Using the passive voice — where the subject is acted upon by something else — is not impactful on a resume. Yet it happens all the time!

While we may express ourselves daily using the passive voice, the problem with using it on a resume is that it downplays your accomplishments. You are responsible for your own career, so why make it sound like you stood on the sidelines and watched it happen when you were directly involved? You must use the active voice in order to take responsibility for your actions and prove you get results.

Typically, you don’t use “I” on a resume, so how can you tweak statements to show your active voice? Start each bullet point with an action verb that connects your work to what goals you accomplished. For example:

  • Increased Twitter engagement by six percent
  • Created wireframes for new company website
  • Implemented new design standards for the department
  • Hired new interns as part of creative team
  • Managed copywriting calendar

By phrasing each achievement in the active voice, it makes your involvement and accomplishment clear and easy to understand for the hiring manager. You didn’t experience an increase in social media engagement — you led the growth. That distinction is the thing that can set you apart. Of course, you should include “my or our team” or something similar when it applies to a group effort, however the active voice lets you take credit for your best work.

Remember, your resume has a very finite amount of real estate, yet limitations can breed creativity!

Ignore the passive voice and use action verbs that will define your specific and unique skills and experiences.

Looking for a new freelance or full-time job? Send us your resume. We’ll help you land the next gig!

The Real Point of Having a Polished Resume

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016|
resume-ready

Many of us have a resume ready to go in case someone should ask, especially those of us who work as freelancers and are constantly approached (or are approaching others) for work. But the resume that’s in your digital desk drawer may not be impeccable, or even adequate for a hiring manager! Let’s talk about the real point of having a polished, ready-to-go resume:

Tactical only goes so far. Sure, you may know you need to list your experience, education, and achievements at previous jobs, but your resume is a snapshot of your work life. It needs to express depth and breadth in a meaningful way, as well as further showcase your personal brand. Consider a full rewrite of your resume that’s strategically written instead of just written to exist.

It’s likely a human being will read your resume. Some companies use keyword screening software to help sort through resumes, but many companies, particularly mid-sized and smaller ones, have someone else read them. Therefore, your resume needs to be written in a way that anyone could understand. Was there some aspect of a previous job that might be harder to explain in detail, like running a social media marketing campaign? Find a way.

Introspection is your friend. Take the time to review your illustrious career before rewriting your resume. What challenges did you face? What actions did you take to solve problems? What results did you gain thanks to your initiatives? For example, list team building and leadership roles and use this time to tell the story of a unique person with highly enviable opportunities: you!

You need specifics. Command the hiring manager or recruiter’s attention by building up your reputation via specific, measurable results. It’s not just about whether you were in charge of a team — how many people did you manage on a daily basis, and what did your department do to help the company overall? Did your design overhaul on a website directly lead to an influx of new sales?

Pay attention to the basics. Make sure your page margins and spacing are all in order. Include contact info. Take out “orphan” words that are hanging on a line by themselves and rewrite those parts. Use a basic font and bullet points to create a cleaner, more readable look. If you’re a designer, consider a more graphically oriented resume that shows your creative side. And always proofread and spell check, no matter what!

To best position for future roles, create a polished resume that exemplifies your career expertise with passion and practicality. Being personable, performance-driven, and pragmatic all on one page will not just make it clearer whether you’re a great cultural fit at the next great company, but it’ll also lead you closer to your dream job!

Are You Overqualified for That Job?

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016|

Have you ever been told you were told you were “overqualified” for a job?

Overqualified?! What does that mean? Can someone really have too much experience? Surely that must be a positive thing, right?

When a job seeker is considered overqualified, it means there is not a right match between the available position and that person’s experience level. For example…

  • The candidate may have more experienced than the supervisor
  • The candidate’s experience may be intimidating to others on the team
  • The candidate’s years of experience may warrant a higher salary than the company is able to pay
  • The candidate may not be challenged by the job in the long run
  • The candidate may get bored and leave the role (this is a big reason why hiring managers are cautious of hiring someone with more experience than the role warrants)

However, you’ve worked hard to gain valuable experience you can apply in a myriad of roles. Your skills are likely transferable from one industry to another, especially in the creative industry, so if you are going to accept a role more junior than your skill level, be honest with yourself as to why you want this position.

And if you are truly interested in a specific role, even if you are more experienced than the job description indicates, then you can highlight your experience so it is an asset:

  • Update your resume to highlight relevant experience specific to this role
  • Write a cover letter that expresses why you’re genuinely interested and excited for the role, even if it seems like your career is further along than the position would require.  For example, if this allows you to learn a new industry, or learn a new skill
  • Highlight how your experience can be an asset and help the team or manager

Keep in mind that your resume and cover letter are just tools to help you stand out among a sea of candidates also applying for the same position. Once you are granted an interview, the real work begins.

Looking for work? Make sure to follow us on social media and check out our open job listings for freelance and full time roles in a variety of industries!

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.

Here’s How You Can Impress Recruiters with Your Resume in 6 Seconds.

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015|

impress-recruiters-6-seconds

A recent Harvard Business Review article pointed out that online job search site The Ladders says recruiters take about six seconds to look at a resume.

Six seconds! What can anyone reasonably do in six seconds?

Well, they can make a judgment call. And that’s what you can fix. Because as long as your resume is effective, you get a lot more than six seconds of someone’s time.

Spruce up your portfolio. Your resume may only get a few moments of time to make a mark, but a well crafted portfolio of your work can make all the difference. A great portfolio can help convince hiring managers that your work speaks louder than your resume, as well as make the connection between your work experience and actual creative endeavors.

Close the employment gaps. If you’ve been looking for a while, it can feel like the gap between jobs is just getting bigger. Volunteer, freelance, or create your own projects to add to the resume so the gaps lessen. Look for leadership roles to help enhance your standing.

Be selective. Your resume is a body of content that represents you, so it doesn’t need to be comprehensive. Include whatever is relevant to the job and hiring manager as part of your experience. The same goes for your skills and accomplishments.

Format your resume correctly. Use bold and underlining plus bullet points to help promote yourself in a concise yet detailed fashion. Add the right keywords — the more specific, the better. Short descriptions of previous work experience will suffice. Make sure to point out your responsibilities in each position in addition to personal achievements. Education goes at the end. Finally, keep everything clean! Lots of white space helps your resume appear professional and polished.

Ask for help. Being objective about your career can be difficult. Some people overestimate or underestimate their success. Hire a resume writer, or ask a mentor or friend to help with the resume writing process.

Take your time. Creating an effective resume is not a quick or easy process. You have to think carefully about what you want to say and how to say it.

Is your resume ready for review in six seconds? What are your resume tips?

The Importance of Proofreading Your Resume (And Everything Else)

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015|

According to a survey conducted by Grammarly on Indeed.com, the average job seeker has at least one punctuation error on their resume, and 60 percent of errors are grammatical.

If the job requires attention to detail or if you promote yourself as “meticulous,” how can a hiring manager trust that you are those things if your resume has simple spelling mistakes and typos?

Those tiny errors could make them think twice about calling you for the role.

One cannot underestimate the importance of proofreading. Here are a few tips to keep in mind during this necessary step in applying for jobs:

Proofreading does not equal spell check. Misspellings and grammatical mistakes are common, and they happen to everyone. But spell check cannot replace your sharp eye. Most spell check programs do not recognize contextual spelling errors (like “achieve” versus “achievement”).

Don’t rush your email. When you see the perfect job, it’s easy to get excited and click “send” before thoroughly reading it over. However, if you spelled the name of the company incorrectly, it’s very unlikely they’ll be emailing back!

Check your online portfolio. Hiring managers, especially in creative fields, are going to look at your website. If you’ve misspelled a few words, or have grammar errors, it will negatively impact your beautiful photos or exquisite design. They’ll remember that you weren’t fastidious enough to double check your own website.

Keep it consistent. If you’re still employed at a position, use present tense — use past tense if you’re no longer there. Stay consistent and use an active voice (“developed strategy,” “created designs”). Catching errors in consistency is part of proofreading.

Have a friend help you! If you’ve already combed through all your hiring materials, ask a friend (or several) help you proofread as well just to be on the safe side.

The good news is that your resume, LinkedIn profile, and online portfolio are easy to fix. All you have to do is take the time to proofread and make sure there are no errors.

So proofread your resume. Proofread your cover letter. Proofread your online portfolio. Proofread your writing samples. Proofread your blog. Proofread your email to a recruiter or hiring manager. Proofread, proofread, proofread. You can thank us later after you score the job!

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 JobJenny.com 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?
-Dynamic
-Expert
-Extensive experience
-Motivated
-Passionate
-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.

INITIAL FACTORS

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.

RESUMES, PROFILES, AND PORTFOLIOS

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