Blog

Simply put, finding a job is tough. Even (maybe especially) when you don't know exactly what you're looking for. These days, there are lottttts of different types of jobs, and there's something out there for everyone. But how do you find the right job for you? It's time to ask yourself some questions.

darren booth work life illustration(image by Darren Booth)

1. What do you enjoy doing?

Not what you think you should like to do, but what you actually enjoy. Do you get peace from editing photos for hours on end? Do you like coding? Would you rather be involved in all aspects of a project? Do you like managing people? All of these are good questions, and as long as you're honest with yourself, you'll come to some conclusions. A job is much more manageable when you look forward to it every morning.

2. What sort of job titles involve those activities?

If you like to draw you could be an illustrator. If you need to have a broad oversight of big projects and enjoy being in charge of people, maybe art director is  more your style. If you spend most of your free time designing things, maybe it's best for you to be your own boss and start a design business. Pick a job title that sounds like you and consider yourself in that position, whether you'd have to start a company, be a freelancer, or gain full-time employment elsewhere. Be sure to take into consideration the way you like to work and structure your professional life– think about hours, benefits, your boss, the timeline of the projects, etc. etc.

3. Where else do your skills apply?

One of the best ways to expand your potential career horizons is to broaden your pool of job titles. Thinking about seeking a job in "graphic design"? Try looking at marketing position descriptions, or think about your skills as a UX/UI designer. A lot of creative skills transfer through many jobs, some of which you may never have heard of, so don't pigeonhole yourself.

4) What do you want to learn?

Been wanting to learn a specific program? Find a job title that interests you but is out of your realm of qualifications, and use that desired job as a way to challenge yourself. Learn the program by the time you apply for the job, or take some classes between updating your resume. Then the perfect job becomes the right job for YOU.

These days, it seems like there's a job opportunity (whether you create it, or it currently exists) for every sort of interest that's out there. You just need to sit down, take a look at where your enjoyment lies, and see what sort of job possibilities will fit within that mold. Good luck!

Posted: 10/21/2014 2:43:03 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


We're excited to launch our new, video-based project: the CM Access Postcard series! We'll be making quick videos with tips and tricks that will help you, the job seeker, get one step closer to taking the next step in your career.

Take a look at our very first Postcard:

To sum up the tips from Aimee and Lisa:

1) Be prepared for the interview.
a) Know where you're going.
b) Leave extra time for traffic to and from the interview.
c) Know what company you're meeting with (yes, really).

2) Do your research.
a) Use LinkedIn to get some background on the interviewer. Find common
ground and some possible talking points.
b) Visit the company's website to look informed.
c) Have questions based on your research.

3) Bring a copy of your resume.

4) Have your portfolio ready to go.
a) Charge your laptop or iPad.

5) Explain your creative process.

6) Don't arrive to the interview more than 10 minutes early.

So the name of the game? Prepare, prepare, prepare!

Posted: 10/20/2014 10:54:05 AM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


When it comes to careers, there are two camps: the first sees a job as a job, and the second thinks a job should be something you're passionate about. In the creative industry, you'll find that most are in the second camp. It's difficult for someone to brainstorm and create every day if they don't genuinely have a passion for it.

SammySlabbinck(artwork credit: Sammy Slabbinck)

In that sense, we're in the best industry for taking something we love to do and turning it into a profession. And to be honest, it's quite easy. We've broken it down into several basic steps:

First, take a look at what you like to do. When you have some time to spare, what are you doing? Are you drawing? Doing some hand lettering? Volunteering? Whatever really gets your gears going–that's the starting point for morphing a hobby into a career. Once you acknowledge how you usually invest your time, it'll be easier to imagine future possibilities.

Next, see if you can identify other companies or individuals who do something similar to what you love to do. If you're a creative person who likes volunteering, look into organizations that have volunteers and find out who does their design work, or who created their website. If you spend your time hand lettering, look into typographers or illustrators who do the same and see what sorts of things they've done with their skills.

Then, find some direction. If you investigate people or companies and find that some really resonate with you, consider how you could apply a similar business model to your own life. If it's a larger business you'd have to start small, but knowing your ultimate goals ahead of time is fantastic. Who knows, maybe you'll find that a job at an existing firm is really the best way for your passions to translate to a career path. If you find yourself really attracted to the life of an illustrator who works on various types of projects, maybe the freelance life is for you. If you make something, it's possible to just keep making that thing. Whether it's websites, teddy bears, or guides for social media, there's almost certainly a market for it. Sell on Etsy, become a freelancer, or write a book!

Last, and most importantly, find out what resources are available to you. The last couple decades have seen a boom in creative entrepreneurship, so there are lots of websites, blogs (and blogs and blogs), and books that offer guidance to starting off. If you're creative but lack business experience, be sure to understand the legal steps necessary for moving forward in your career. Smashing Magazine also had a great article on freelancing, with some excellent resources at the end of it. Also give Skillshare a try for some tips on starting a business, or check the internet for some suggestions on programs you should know to move forward in your career.

Of course, you can always give us a call too! Wink wink.

Posted: 10/15/2014 9:48:44 AM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


Historically, business cards were the primary method for leaving your information with a new contact. Other systems like LinkedIn came into play as technology and social media advanced, and the use of business cards as information exchanges took a bit of a backseat to their expression of self. This has opened the door for creatives to raise the bar of the "norm" for business cards.

mikey-burton-business-card-stamp-2-576x689(source)

Ever find yourself with a contact but no way of handing off any of your information to them? Enter, Mikey Burton's "business card," a self-inking stamp with his website on it. Carry something like this around and you'll never be without a business card.

murmure-concrete-business-cards-2(source)

Murmure is a French creative agency that doesn't hold back on thinking outside of the box. Their concrete business cards aren't incredibly practical, but neither are business cards these days, right?

creative-business-cards-4-11-1

creative-business-cards-4-11-2(source)

Designer Jamie Wieck created an interactive business card–just add water! If there's a way to extend the life of a business card, it should be done, and Jamie's green idea is a great solution.

mustache_businesscard(source)

Though this design is for a barber it could easily translate to any job, because mustaches. Who doesn't love 'em, even if they've been a little overdone recently.

seethrough1(source)

What better way to combine the personal touch of a handwritten note with the formality of an official card? Martyna Wedzicka gives each business card a personal touch that also shows off her lettering/illustration skills.

So what do you think– could any of these work for you?

Posted: 10/9/2014 2:20:00 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


 
networking(Image: Innovation District)

Your friend was right. It's time for you to get out there, see some people... NETWORK! Talking to other people involved in your industry is such a great way to get a peek into the lives of other companies, find a new job, or just get to know some people with common interests. How to prep for it, you ask? Read on.

Freshen up your business cards (...or get some). "It's so nice to meet you! Let's keep in touch. Do you have a scrap of paper I could write my name on?" No one wants to hear this. In fact, we're pretty sure this is in everyone's pre-networking event nightmares. Act your professional age and get business cards already! It's a no-brainer for following up in the future with people you've met, and just getting contact info from them isn't going to cut it. Networking is a two-way street, and even if it's a casual event, a business card is way less awkward than the scrap-paper-shuffle.

Plan a way to be memorable. There's a good chance this could come from your outfit or chosen accessories. For men, your watch, tie, or bag of choice can catch someone's eye and be a conversation starter. For women, the same goes for jewelry, purses, and clothing choices. If you're a unique person (answer: yes, we all are), wearing something a little different from the next person someone meets is a great way to be remembered (and a good talking point if you contact them in the future).

Study up. The list of attendees is likely to be posted somewhere ahead of time, and you have access to the internet, right? Take advantage! Look into who these people are, see if there's anyone who's doing something you like or might be interested in and keep it in mind when you finally get to meet them. It's not creepy if you just so happen to steer the conversation in the direction of that project you just so happen to be doing something similar to. It's only creepy if they find out you Googled them ahead of time, so keep that to yourself.

Figure out how to talk. Not in the grand sense, but it's easy to get tongue-tied once you're surrounded by strangers. Know how you'll open up a conversation, know what's going on in the world related to the industry, and have some sort of a line for when you give someone your card. You might think it's silly, but if you mess that part up you'll be thinking about it all night. "Let's keep in touch" might not be as much your style as "I'd love to continue the conversation. Here's my card."

Identify prospects. Why did you sign up for this job in the first place–to find a new job? Meet some people in the industry? Find some people to help you out with a pet project? Acknowledging your goals for the networking event ahead of time can be really helpful in managing your time. Yes, it's great to meet anyone and everyone, but isn't it better to meet the people who can help you reach your goals? This falls into the "Study Up" rule as well, but if you know who will be at the event that could potentially have a job lead, or some extra time for your project, why not be prepared and know who to find when it comes time to mingle.

Posted: 10/1/2014 9:50:57 AM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments