Artisan Blog

Vacation Planning Best Practices

Katty Douraghy - Tuesday, September 09, 2014

 

The summer holiday season is over, and everyone at Artisan is now looking forward to the fall season.  This summer our team traveled to the far reaches of the globe…from Hawaii, Texas, and New York to England, France, Germany, Switzerland, Taiwan and Zimbabwe.

We asked our team to share their pre- and post-trip planning process.  Even though the summer holiday season is over, we hope the following tips help you plan for any time away from the office.

 Vacation Planning Best Practices

  1. Be Proactive. Contact clients and key stakeholders a few weeks ahead of time to let them know of your upcoming vacation schedule.  This will give everyone an opportunity to address any project needs and plan accordingly.

  2.  Status updates. If you are mid-project, or have direct reports, make it a point to meet with your team before leaving and within a day upon your return for status updates.

  3. Prioritize & Delegate. Create a step-by-step process of all pending projects.  Prioritize for your team and clearly assign tasks that require a follow-up.  Tools like Basecamp make it easy to keeps track of the communication and makes it easy to get caught up when you get back.

  4. OOO. Set your out of office response with the names and contact info of colleagues who will be supporting you while you are away.  This alleviates frustration and any lag time for urgent needs.

  5.  Inbox planning. Use Rules and Filters to manage your inbox while you are away. Unsubscribe from non-essentials newsletters and notifications or direct them to a specific folder.

  6. Minimize travel day stress. Pack your bags, print out travel itineraries and make sure you're ready a few days prior to travel so your last working day isn't affected by any pre travel stress.

  7. Plan your first day back to work before you leave so your expectations are set beforehand.  Have your to-do list ready to go!

  8. Tidy your desk & desktop.  Coming back to paper or digital clutter is no fun.

  9. Your body and mind need time to recharge. Trust your team to handle urgent issues while you are away.

  10.  Have Fun!

Artisan Creative Team

Virtual Office Best Practices: 5 Tips For Working With Your Pets

Katty Douraghy - Wednesday, September 03, 2014

 

Trust me, nobody loves your 'work from home' job more than your pet. Despite being surrounded by all your loveable pooches, work is work no matter where your office is.  You know that, your boss knows that, but guess what? Your dogs have a different scenario in mind and the majority of their plan involves play time. I mean, why else would you be at home?

Before you break the gangs' hearts and send them to the dog hotel for the day or call up the pet sitter, read these tips on how to work with your dogs and make them your best co-workers.   

1.  Differentiate Between 'Crunch Time' and 'Break Time'

Make a habit of taking your dogs on a long morning walk before you begin your work day.  This will provide the exercise, stimulation, and bonding experience they need to take them right into a happy nap or quiet time while you attack the pile of emails waiting for you come 9am.  For the same reasons, opt for a game of fetch during lunch time to help cruise into the latter part of your day.  Your pups will soon learn play time is only when it is most convenient for you.  Make sure to have dog toys or other stimulating activities available during "quiet time" so they can entertain themselves while you work.

2.  Schedule Your Day Wisely
You certainly should not plan your day around your dogs but if they get excited every time the mailman comes, do not schedule any calls during that part of the day.  Be respectful of other's valuable time and eliminate as many nuances as possible. You may not mind the sound of dogs barking in the background but many people may find it distracting and unprofessional.

3. Have A Dog Free Zone

One of the biggest benefits of working from home is the ability to work in any Wi-Fi accessible space in your house.  As comfortable as these areas may be, they are an open invitation to your dogs to hang out with you.  While this is great, make sure there is an accessible space with a door you can go to for important calls, video meetings, or just an area for when you need to dedicate 120% of your attention on a task at hand.

4. Take Tiny Breaks
Instead of two 15 minutes breaks throughout the day, take several smaller ones.  These will allow you to let your dogs out and an even better opportunity for you to get some fresh air, clear your mind, and come back refreshed. The best ideas and creativity flows when you relax and allow your brain time to let information settle in and "click" while you roll out one of your infamous belly rubs.  Your dogs will thank you and your brain will reward you.

5. Enjoy Them!

Working from home can get lonely, but it doesn't have to be.  Your dogs will soon become your favorite office mates as you spend your days celebrating the highs and venting about the lows.  During slow or routine parts of your day, let them hang out with you.  Give them treats every now and then and scratches never go unnoticed.  

Before you know it, your dogs will crave this structure and look forward to play time while simmering down during quiet time.  They will play a vital role in boosting creativity and lowering stress levels so take advantage of your ability to work from home alongside your best furry friends.

Jen Huynh, Artisan Creative Recruiter and Dog Lover

Team Building Activities Outside the Office

Katty Douraghy - Wednesday, August 27, 2014

 

How often do you spend time with co-workers outside of work? Whether it’s each quarter or each year, team building activities are not only an opportunity to get to know colleagues better and form lasting relationships, it’s also a fun way to explore Los Angeles and San Francisco attractions. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite events. Share your favorite places in the comments!

Paint Nite
Artisan Creative recently spent an evening eating, drinking and embracing their creativity at Burbank’s Paint Nite. The premise of the evening is to hone your creative skills in a social environment. Armed with paint, brushes and a canvas, you spend the evening following the direction of an art instructor and painting step-by-step (with oodles of wine). The finished result is rather remarkable and allows an opportunity to create individually and independently while working in a team environment – it’s perfect for all personality types and super fun!

Groundlings
Groundlings is an improvisation and sketch comedy theater based in LA responsible for training a whole host of comedians including Will Farrell and Lisa Kudrow.  As a non-profit, they are one of the go-to companies in the country for improv comedy which makes them a great place to spend time with co-workers. The Intro to Improv is a one-day workshop aimed at building confidence and creativity through games and exercises.

The Gentle Barn
The Gentle Barn is an animal paradise and the perfect way to get up close and personal with rescued animals. Their repertoire of animals includes some very relaxed cows, friendly turkeys who love to be cuddled, pigs, llamas, chickens, goats and horses. Each animal has a history of abuse and was saved by the organization. Based in Santa Clarita, you spend the day learning about each animal by feeding and snuggling. They also have a delicious vegan BBQ and cupcakes.

San Francisco Nerd Night & Los Angeles Nerd Night
A once-monthly event with engaging lectures on a whole range of subjects from 3D printers to crosswords and spacecraft. With beer and grilled cheese sandwiches at hand, the evening is relaxed, informative and entertaining. Tickets tend to sell out fast so make sure to book in advance! They’ve also just launched a Nerd Night North Bay which you can find here.

Farallones Marine Sanctuary
A non-profit based on the gulf of San Francisco, Farallones Marine Sanctuary is a haven for teams who want to get out of the city for a day and spend time in the great outdoors. They have a whole host of activities including fishing, whale watching, surfing, kayaking and boating.

Los Angeles Conservancy
LA is steeped with history and beauty but sometimes you just need to know where to find it -- that’s where LA Conservancy comes in. They hold regular walking tours with skilled experts who know everything there is to know about LA architecture and culture. Our favorite tours are their Art Deco and Renaissance walks where you can explore the historic downtown areas across the vibrant city.

San Francisco Food Tours
Taking a culinary journey through the heart of San Francisco sounds like our idea of heaven. San Francisco Food Tours takes you to local artisan companies from Little Italy to the oldest bakery in China Town to authentic Western Saloons.  There’s something for everyone with these types of tours: delicious coffee, exploring old Beat neighborhoods and handmade chocolates. They also cater to group bookings of all sizes which is perfect for every company.

Laura Pell | Talent Acquisition | Artisan Creative 

5 Apps to Make your Job Search Successful

Katty Douraghy - Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Resume Designer
Have you ever had a recruiter call you for that perfect job while you’re away from your desk and you wished you could have sent your resume right away? Or perhaps you saw an ad for an immediate freelance need but you need to add in some extra details about your latest project? Resume Designer is an app that allows you to not only build and design your resume on mobile or tablet, it also allows you to edit and update it, too. It’s perfect for job seekers who are on the go, often away from their desk or for those already in jobs who prefer to edit with privacy.

Indeed Job Search
Indeed
’s easy-to-use platform is a must have for every job seeker. This comprehensive app allows you to search through a ton of job listings and apply directly from your mobile. You can even save and email your favorite listings to review at a later date. Easy peasy!

Simply Hired
Simply Hired
reigns supreme when it comes to job searching. As a job search engine just for job seekers, you have access to an enormous amount of job listings. The great thing about Simply Hired’s mobile app is that you can sort job listings by date. It has a built-in location finder and an extensive list of highly-targeted and aggregated jobs. Available for both iOS and Android, once you save any jobs on your mobile, they’ll also be available when you login to your desktop.  

Monster Interviews
You’ve landed an interview at that perfect company, now what? The Monster Interviews app is a step by step guide to help you prepare for an interview. It takes you through each process from interview questions, how to choose a killer outfit, through to the post-interview follow up. The app makes sure you’re fully prepared -- you can also enter your interview info and any questions you have so you can seal the deal!

LinkedIn
No app guide would be complete without LinkedIn. If you haven’t already downloaded it, we urge you to do so right now! The slick interface operates in a similar fashion to the site except it’s more cohesive and easy to navigate. The invaluable app is a great way to stay in touch with contacts and recruiters while out and about, plus you can browse jobs, update your profile, post content to your homepage feed and add custom shortcuts. LinkedIn remains one of the most essential platforms for networking, plus their app is free!

Laura Pell | Talent Acquisition | Artisan Creative

Entering the World of Recruiting

Katty Douraghy - Tuesday, August 12, 2014

 

Entering the World of Recruiting

I entered the world of recruiting the same way most recruiters do: by accident.  Except in my case, it was not so much of an accident as it was pure luck.  I spent the majority of my professional years in the customer service and administrative world where I helped people in minor ways.  I helped them pick out a new outfit, helped schedule an installation, helped an event, and so on.  I've always enjoyed the business of People but I wanted more.  I wanted my efforts to go towards a bigger cause but I wasn't sure what that cause should be. 

As luck would have it, an opportunity to join a creative staffing agency presented itself and it just all made sense: help connect good people to great work.  It wasn't as straight forward as abolishing world hunger or saving the whales but it was something feasible that I could put my skills towards and make a substantial impact to people's lives.  While I'm a firm believer your work should only make up a small percentage of your qualify of life; admittedly, it plays a big factor in facilitating everything else.  I recognized this and I was excited to have found my cause.   

The training process was an incredibly steep learning curve and I quickly discovered how psychologically savvy and mentally tough you really have to be in order to excel at this job.  You have to understand your candidates: what drives them to do what they do, where they want to be, and WHY.  Just as importantly, you have to understand your clients: what they want accomplished, who they want it accomplished by, and again, WHY.  My days were consumed with researching the creative industry, connecting with everyone I came across, and studying everything my team was doing. 

I realized the only way to succeed as a fresh recruiter in this fast paced industry is to tackle it full force with good intentions.  The best way to do that is to dig deep and ask the right questions.  Once I got around to picking up the phone, I was amazed by how passionate people are about their craft and how eager everybody is to learn, grow, and become a better version of themselves.  I admired their tenacity to not settle for less than what they deserved and it quickly became my mission to help get them to where they want to be. 

With about one month of experience under my belt, I can say this profession is not for everybody.  For those that stick it out, the reward of knowing you helped someone find not only work, but work that they are proud of, where they can hone their craft and continue to grow, that's a pretty amazing feat.  Of course, not all placements will be into a dream role but just as important in the path to where we want to be are the stepping stones leading us there.

Jen Huynh - Recruiter  Artisan Creative

 

Determination vs. Motivation

Katty Douraghy - Tuesday, August 05, 2014

 

Determination vs. Motivation

Have you ever found yourself in a situation when you started out incredibly motivated and passionate to get something done, then after a while your motivation waned and the energy you had was gone? I recently had a similar experience and as a long time competitive fencer, motivation and determination are both at my core.

The World Fencing Championships

It began in 2013 after a decent result at the Over 50 World Fencing Championships where I took 14th.  I was motivated to make the US team in 2014 and had planned a routine to follow. At one of the qualifiers I was down a few points in the first elimination round and it was clear my motivation was on the wane. I became determined not to lose. I worked hard to win a pressurized bout 10-9. I was clearly in the flow and focused. I finished 2nd.

As with many sports, the National Championships are the culmination of a year’s worth of training and competing. There were six people fighting for the two remaining spots to make the team. It was going to be tight!

I was motivated to make the team. I fenced hard, won several tough bouts and reached the final 8 when I felt a pop in my knee. I won that bout and had the trainers tape my knee – I was now in the top 4.

My motivation was gone. Things felt different and I was down 1-4 in the semi final. The emotional high one gets from feeling motivated was all too fleeting and I felt empty. A good friend shouted:  “What’s going on, Jamie?” I paused, asked myself the same question and suddenly I could feel a familiar determination physically develop inside. This was not the same emotional feeling of motivation, (or lack thereof), it went much deeper. Feeling determined I won the bout 10-6. I finished 2nd again and made the US Over 50 team.

Seeking Motivation

Motivation comes from an external want while determination comes from an internal need – the latter being a more powerful driver. We spend thousands of dollars and hours of our time seeking motivation from dynamic speakers and others, learning their life lessons and hoping some of it will rub off and last longer than our drive home. We build best habits, work hard at what we love, yet somehow motivation comes and goes, leaving us with that empty feeling.

We are all reliant on external motivation but what if we see how far life will progress by using a daily determination mindset instead? Use it to complete the tasks at hand; be it that next sales call, getting that deliverable on time to your client, a difficult conversation that needs to be had or a commitment to your health. Whatever you set your mind to do, inner determination is stronger than waiting to become motivated by something, or someone else.    

Jamie Douraghy, Founder  Artisan Creative

Personal Branding Tips for Twitter

Wendy Stackhouse - Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Whether you are an individual or a brand, social media puts many challenges in our path. If you are having a bad day, your personal voice can easily lean toward the negative. A company brand voice can do the same.

When you are thinking about your personal brand, though, you want to be presenting yourself as professionally and positively as possible.

Do the links that attract your attention today tend to talk about potential mistakes or potential successes? Are you posting articles about bad news stories or good ones? If you are drawn to the negative, it might be a good idea to take a break, take a walk, get a fresh perspective.

There can be a fine line between good branding and not-so-good and at times it can be hard to tell where that line falls. Here are some of our tips for walking the line:

  1. Universal truth--If that meme would make anyone with a heartbeat give you a high-five, you're good to go.
  2. Check the source--A great quote can still come from a controversial person. If you think your audience might object to the name at the bottom of the meme, you might want to find another one with a similar sentiment.
  3. Timeliness--If something negative is actually taking place locally (like a fire) or it is a trending topic and you don't mention it, you might sound out of touch. It is never out of place to wish a current event would work out as well as possible or express condolences.
  4. Watch out for cleverness--You are a writer and a clever turn of phrase is probably your bread-and-butter, but how many times have we seen communications pros get caught in a clever--but tasteless--tweet? Too many. Use a scheduler like HootSuite to give you time to look at that 140 characters before it gets published. Or run it past a trusted colleague if you think it is worthy, but may go out of bounds. 
  5. Know your audience--What are they interested in? What do you have in common? What do they like that may not be your cup of tea? Your audience is not you necessarily. Put yourself in their shoes and offer them content they will want to click through to.

Sometimes personal social media communication can get difficult. We are all out there hoping likeminded folks are listening. Body language is no help. Take a breath. Your follower might be having a bad day, too.

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Time for a Resume Refresh

Wendy Stackhouse - Wednesday, July 23, 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.

Hyperlinks

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.

Numbers

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

Having an All-Star Job Search Team

Wendy Stackhouse - Wednesday, July 16, 2014

We are on teams at work, collaborating on projects and inspiring creativity in one another. Teams are becoming more and more important, even in academic subjects, at school. We are also on teams in our personal lives, whether we practice sports or do DIY projects at home. 

Have you ever been on a job search team? We all need people to help us along, especially when we are looking for that perfect new role. Who should you be scouting?

A Pitcher

A friend who is not averse to getting in there and making big moves is a great motivator. She has great ideas and unafraid of risk. Brainstorm with this team member for new strategies and energy. And let her take the lead if she has great connections.

A Catcher

Good advice is always welcome and this colleague always knows when you are in need of a little pep talk, help handing a particular situation, and a calm voice. He can also throw the ball back to you when it's time for you to be proactive.

First Base Umpire

When you are between interviews or waiting to hear, she can keep you steady on the road to landing your new job. Someone with great focus on your goals can help you stay focused as well. Is it time to take a breath or time to head for home?

Mascot

No matter what, your mascot thinks you are the best. Staying positive is one of the hardest things about looking for a job and you definitely need someone to cheer you on.

Coach

A recruiter can help you see the big picture, improve your resume and presentation skills and get you out there interviewing for the jobs you want. 

Do you have everyone you need on your team? Don’t job search alone. Pull your team together and go for the win!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Time: Your Greatest Asset

Katty Douraghy - Wednesday, July 09, 2014

What is the one thing we all want more of, but cannot buy it, earn it, or save it? The one thing that when it passes us by, it can never ever be regained? Time!

No matter who we are, or what we do, we only have 1440 minutes in a day. We all start our days with those same elusive 86,400 seconds and spend vastly different ways of enjoying or squandering it.

Time is a mystery, and if I don’t figure out a way to manage it, time will manage me.

How do I manage my time?

The only way I know how is to diligently work from a plan. Without a plan I become disorganized and distracted. To keep me on track and on time, I adhere to some of the pointers below, and am adding in new ones to take my plan to the next level.

This is the plan that works best for me and I am most productive when I follow it:

1) Start my day by 6 AM so I can take advantage of the early morning hours, my favorite time of the day.

2) Schedule workouts, meditation, journaling and learning a new tool into my calendar every day and do these in the early AM hours.

3) NEW: Schedule my lunch and a 15-minute afternoon break for a walk outside or a nice cup of tea. I find mini-breaks serve as fuel for the soul and get me more energized and productive than if I powered through lunch.

4) NEW: Schedule my calendar and To Do list the day before. Schedule the time to work on your schedule.

5) NEW: Plan a regimented but fluid schedule down to every ½ hour task. Schedule all calls and meetings and don’t be late…or this will have a snowball effect.

5) NEW: Avoid distractions -- Don't turn on Facebook/Twitter on mobile devices unless on a break or it’s scheduled time. I LOVE social media, but it can be a time thief if I allow it. I can easily spend countless hours on social media. I schedule time for social media. Same with emails… It’s OK to have emails turned off while focusing on other tasks. I absolutely turn off the notification beeps.

6) Adhere to my version of Zero Inbox rules. My version is not an inbox that has zero emails, rather it’s one that adheres to a zero unread inbox. This adapted system works well for me and is a daily goal. I read each email, file, flag, delete or add a task to those that can’t be answered immediately or require research.

7) NEW: Set reminders and alarms for all tasks. My brain cannot remember everything—nor should it be wasted trying to remember mundane to-dos—that’s what reminders and alarms are for.

8) Use time management tools like Chime, Slimtimer, Evernote, or Doodle to schedule meetings and keep track of tasks. There is a tool out there that is right for everyone—find yours.

9) Communicate my calendar. Artisan Creative proudly promotes a virtual work environment—for this to work well, we communicate regularly via AIM, Zoom or Skype. Therefore we set our status on our AIM to communicate our availability or lack of ….In a meeting, OTP, DND

10) I am not perfect and occasionally fall off the plan. I’ve learned to forgive myself, and quickly course correct so I am back on track.

Katty Douraghy, President, Artisan Creative


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