Tag Archives: skills

The 30-Day Career Workout – 5 Tips to Becoming a More Marketable Creative

WorkoutA friend recently called saying she needed to find a new job and asked me to provide a referral to a former boss.  The first thing I did was ask to see her portfolio, resume and of course (as we were speaking on the phone) took a look at her LinkedIn profile.  As I was clicking on her name, she proceeded to tell me, “Don’t look at my LinkedIn profile since it’s not updated and I’m still trying to figure out what it should really say.”  If that wasn’t enough, she said that her resume hadn’t been updated in years, and her portfolio wasn’t current either.

Hmmm…she didn’t sound too serious about a new job, nor did it seem like she would be a marketable job candidate given her current state.  So how can you maintain or develop your professional persona or brand to get your career where you want it to be?

Simple! Invest in yourself. And it starts by taking a few minutes to read our 5 tips:

  1. Clean up your LinkedIn profile – Recruiters and hiring managers use LinkedIn to check out your professional profile as a complement to your resume and other credentials. If it’s outdated or not aligned with your resume, you’re doing yourself a disservice. While you’re updating, ask your colleagues for a few endorsements and recommendations that will speak to your credibility as a valuable asset to any team.  And it goes without saying, but be sure your resume is always up to date.
  2. Sharpen Your Skills – Fill a void in your skills gap with online learning to strengthen your skills or bridge the gap to expand your career.  How Design University has great options for creative and designers.
  3. NetworkRelationship building throughout your career is a must. If you haven’t reached out or attended a formal event in a while, then it’s time to get to it. Setting a goal of adding and interacting with new professional contacts on a regular basis is all part of maintaining your marketability.
  4. The Business Side – Marketers are expected to leverage data; teams need creatives who can effectively communicate with internal and external teams, deliver killer presentations, understand ROI and have superb time-management skills.   In many creative roles, business acumen is just as important as your creativity, so take stock of where your deficiencies may be and work to develop and improve these skills now.
  5. Be Well Read – Understanding industry trends via social media and picking up a book that other creative professionals are reading will help to round out your professional growth. A couple of our favorites are The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment’s Notice by Todd Henry and Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind (The 99U Book Series) by Jocelyn K. Glei.

As you finish reading this article, set a date on your calendar for a month from now to revisit your professional development. It’s a good way to check in with yourself to be sure you’re following through.

Self-improvement is always a good idea, so let us know how you’re doing!

Falling Flat or Flat Out Awesome? – What iOS 7 Will Mean for Designers…

“Technology will continue to disrupt and mutate our lives. Our job is not to resist the mutation, but embrace it and figure out how the differences can work together.” – UX Magazine

ios 7

Case in point to the above was last week’s iOS 7 unveiling at WWDC.  “iOS 7 is the biggest change to iOS since the introduction of iPhone,” proclaimed CEO Tim Cook to attendees. “It’s packed with tons of new features, and a stunning new user interface.”

Technology analysts are loving the new features, but others are calling it a threat to existing apps and services.

With the radical redesign that’s heavily influenced by flat design, there’s a lot of buzz about what this will mean for designers and how Apple’s new announcement can have a significant effect on iOS app interface design which may be a concern for designers.

We’ve scoured the commentary on the web to share a few articles we thought you’d find interesting:

  • iOS 7 Changes Everything – In an insightful article by @Dan_Rowinski he summarizes how iOS 7 changes everything for app designers.  Read Dan’s full article here:   How Apple’s iOS 7 Changes Everything For App Designers
  • 10 Things Designers Need to Know – A recent CreativeBloq piece outlines what designers need to know including the introduction of transparency and translucency for interface designers.
  • Apple’s Guide – In addition, Apple has produced an extensive guide to designing for iOS 7, as mentioned in TechCrunch last week

What do you think? Are you ready for iOS 7?

Don’t Let Video Kill the Interview Star

Creative hiring managers are using video conferencing not only for internal meetings, but also for the interview process…and it’s paying off for both companies seeking talent and job seekers.

Here at CM Access, we’re leveraging video to bring candidates and hiring companies together in a more efficient way…

We’re offering time-strapped hiring managers and job seekers an alternative to the traditional interview. To shorten the time to hire, CM Access has embraced video conferencing to quickly bring candidates and hiring companies together. No schedules to juggle or travel expenses to incur, while the job seeker gains a job and the hiring company quickly adds a talented team member to hit the ground running.

Cost and time efficient, the video interview sounds great, right?  But like anything else, getting the most out of new technology doesn’t come without challenges. Job seekers, have no fear: We have a how-to video and a few tips to help get you “ready for your close-up” and make video conferencing work for you…

  •  Keep it Professional – Since you’re not in an office setting, it’s easier to become slack about your level of professionalism. Keep in mind you’re not chatting with a friend. This is a job interview, so prepare as you would for any face-to-face meeting – with a sharp, polished and professional appearance and attitude.  Don’t take any wardrobe risks with “business in the front, party on the bottom.”  You may shift in your seat and give your potential employer a shot of your pajama pants they will likely not forget.
Don't Let Video Kill the Interview Star

No pajama pants!

  •  The Setting –You’ve combed your hair and you’re dressed to impress, but does the interviewer really need to know that you’re sitting in your bedroom with laundry hanging on your treadmill?  Be sure to create a professional-looking background, free of clutter and without any hidden surprises lurking or interrupting (that means no barking dogs, lingering cats or children barging into the room!
  •  Practice Makes Perfect – Even if you’re an interview pro, the camera can add to your nerves and throw you off your A-game. Enlist a friend to help you rehearse to ensure that you feel comfortable when it comes to the real interview.  For the most realistic eye contact, don’t look at your screen but at the camera. Be sure you keep your movement minimal – try to avoid talking with your hands, fixing your hair or fidgeting.
You can also check out a great video from Time, “How to Ace a Job Interview on Skype,”  to help get you prepared for your video. Now that you have some tips to get you “ready for your close-up,” will your next interview be virtual?

Cyclists Unite: Become a CMA Cycler in ADA’s Tour de Cure

We need you to participate in a fun event for a great cause! CM Access is excited to sponsor the American Diabetes Association’s North Shore Tour de Cure on Sunday, May 20th in South Hamilton, Massachusetts. The one-day cycling celebration brings together cyclists of all ages and levels, and we want you to ride along too.

This is a ride, not a race, with four routes ranging from 15 to 100 miles, so there is an option for everyone.  Here at CM Access we’re not all Lance Armstrong level cyclists, but that’s not stopping us and it shouldn’t stop you. We’re hitting the trails and steppin’ up our spin to prep! Ride along with us as a CM Access Cycler, and we’re sure you’ll have the encouragement you need.

CM Access is sponsoring a rest stop stocked with beverages, snacks and plenty of cheers to fuel the riders towards a smokin’ finish.  If you’re not up for the ride but would like to join us in supporting this great cause, we’re looking for enthusiastic volunteers to man the rest stop. Whether you can volunteer a few hours or spend the entire day, it’s a great way to get involved in a worthy cause to help others.

According to the ADA, 25.8 million children and adults in theUnited States – 8.3% of the population – have diabetes, and an estimated 1.9 million cases will be diagnosed this year.  We hope you’ll join us in supporting this cause which affects so many people each year.

Contact us to learn more today! (And we welcome any training tips you can offer!)

Talent Spotlight! – Self Motivated Designer with an Unquenchable Thirst for Knowledge

Pete is an interactive and user interface designer who is as complex as his designs. With a background in architecture, design and even finance, he’s a big picture guy who enjoys using design to solve problems and improve lives. His projects have ranged from creative direction and design for a suite of financial market trading systems to an animated :30 spot for a transportation client that aired on the 1,200 square-foot Panasonic AstroVision screen inTimes Square.

Pete embraces the opportunity to create, contribute, and to continually push the envelope in his work. He stays grounded and understands the importance of the human element behind each project, “Because, after all, this stuff is designed for other people to use, to help improve their lives, to solve problems. And the more I know about why people do what they do, the better I can do what I do.”

Sample from Pete's portfolio

A highly sought after designer with an impressive resume, Pete specializes in user interface design, information design, information architecture and user flow and website design, all with a distinctly branded slant to it. He prefers being a consultant and finds that working on only one project at a time can get stale. He enjoys that smaller clients often lend the freedom to look at more pieces of the pie, enabling him to see the big picture, while larger clients frequently offer innovative, cutting-edge projects. After CM Access Lead Career Advocate Jamie met Pete at a networking event, he was eager to see the clients and projects she could offer him. Pete’s latest assignment with CM Access was designing prototypes for a mobile application for retailers that push deals to users.

If your team could use an extra set of hands – and a talented designer like Pete, give CM Access  a call today at 800-330-4110.

Are Your Skills Market Ready?

“You know, like nun chuck skills, bow hunting skills, computer hacking skills…”  Even Napoleon Dynamite understood the value of marketing relevant skills as he tried to find a girlfriend. Employers are looking for candidates with skills too – you know, marketing skills, writing skills, mobile design skills…

Companies are increasingly looking for creative professionals who can wear multiple hats. Today, they may be seeking someone versed in project design paired with project management, strong SEO skills, the ability bridge to print and digital, mobile design and strong copywriting skills. Requirements and trends will continue to evolve and expectations will continue to increase as we move into 2012.

Strong business expertise and the ability to interact professionally on all levels (with peers, management, clients, or vendors) are now more important than ever. Those who are marketable can effectively communicate their design or marketing plan, write clear emails, have savvy in-person and virtual presentation skills (think web conferencing) and understand social media marketing.

In addition to ninja-like business acumen, the desire to actively engage and express ideas, become a thought leader and think outside the box is something employers are drawn to.  According to a recent AIGA article, creative professionals who “demonstrate their creativity and innovation-generating capabilities may rise above the pack.”

As a creative professional, do you have what it takes to be competitive in today’s job market?

If not, it’s time to consider taking stock of your capabilities to be sure you’re in alignment with what prospective employers may be looking for (Hint: It’s those “must haves” or even “preferences” that employers are looking for when hiring.)

So What Are You To Do?

  • Research – Do your research to understand the latest technology and design trends for your particular role.  Read industry-related blogs, sites and other reference materials.
  •  Express willingness to learn – Even if you don’t have every skill an employer wants, being open to learning something new will increase your chances and some managers will give you the chance to learn as you go.
  • Education – Consider taking supplemental courses, attending local events and seminars, or online learning sessions to stay up to date.

It’s a constantly evolving creative world.  So nun chuck skills aside, be sure you have a clear understanding of your strengths and what it might take to update your skills to remain competitive in your job search and succeed in your career.

Help Wanted: Mobile Marketers

The mobile application world is exploding.  More and more users are turning to smartphones and tablets to consume content, whether on the go or on the couch.  As a result, companies’ mobile marketing budgets have increased and will continue to rise. 

“If your site is not optimized for mobile, your customers will go to your competitors.  Consumers do not have the patience to wait on bad experiences.”

– Deborah Hall, Mobile Commerce Outlook 2011

Consequently, if you are a creative, marketing or interactive professional who lacks mobile-savvy, you can be sure a prospective company will turn to a candidate who is well equipped in the arena of smartphones and mobile applications.  All areas of digital marketing including social media, blogging, web and email marketing, and advertising are becoming mobile friendly.  In fact, more companies are designing specifically for the mobile user, while those who aren’t are beginning realize they should.

A true creative professional is always in the process of learning and adapting in order to stay on top of modern technology.  With that being said, we’ve listed a few resources and articles to help you become the mobile marketing guru we know you are!

Mobile-Related Articles and Reading

Having a Career Identity Crisis? You’re Not Alone…

All too often, and especially with the economic ups and downs of recent times, we’re seeing job seekers who are frustrated trying to find a job or advance in their career.  They send out endless resumes (often to positions for which they are not qualified), and truly believe they are working hard to get a job.  But their efforts are unfocused and misdirected.

The economy has played a part in giving job seekers an identity crisis – a trend of rebranding themselves to fit a particular position – even if they’re stretching it a bit (or a lot!)  It’s a common situation for those frustrated with their job search or looking for a career change.

Creative, marketing and interactive professionals are typically very aware of establishing their brand and their professional identity.  And sure, some companies look for versatility in the roles they’re looking to fill (i.e., Art Director/Graphic Designer who is “hands-on”), but that doesn’t mean being everything to everyone is going to help your career.

While it is important (and often very necessary) to ramp up the job search or make a career change, it’s not ok to emphasize minimal skills or experience to re-brand yourself to fit into another role.

To help you stay on track and remember just who you are…

  • Don’t apply for a senior role when you just don’t have the experience.  A company asking for 10+ years of experience isn’t looking for someone with 4 (or vice versa).
  • Customize your cover letter and resume for each position.
  • Ask yourself if the “must haves” for the position align with your top skills?  If not, it could be a stretch.  Touting your proficiency in a particular skill when you’ve only used it briefly is not fun for anyone, especially when your manager discovers this in you first few days on the job.
  • Be honest with yourself.  Don’t lose sight of who you are, what you’re capable of and what you’re looking for during the job search.  Otherwise, it may come back to haunt you if you get the job or apply to another position within the same company in the future.

Remember, it’s a competitive job search landscape.  The more you focus and remain true to your brand, the better your chances of landing that position that will be the next step in building your career.