WELCOME TO THE SMARTDEPT. INC. BLOG.
Whether you’re actively looking for the next step in your career or just open to hearing about new opportunities, LinkedIn is an excellent resource. But how do you make the most of it?
- Check your status: The Privacy Settings in your profile includes a button labeled “Let recruiters know that you’re open to new opportunities.” Checking “Yes” helps you show up in recruiter searches matching your career interests.
- Check your mail: Push InMails to your email. Under the Communications tab, set “Messages from Members” to “Yes” so you always know when a recruiter or hiring manager is reaching out.
- Check your facts: Do the start and dates on your resume match up with your profile? Big discrepancies in dates and titles will be a red flag to recruiters and hiring managers.
- Include an updated resume, your email address, and a current portfolio link (if applicable) on your profile.
- Describe your current and past experience. Prioritize details that are relevant to the job you seek.
- Expand your network in a thoughtful way. Send a short intro with your invite and respond with a purpose when your new connecting accepts.
- Your Summary/Bio is the best place for your “elevator pitch.” This quick intro should leave a positive impression about who you are, what you do, and why you are doing it. Let people get to know you without having to read a novel.
- Keywords: Fill your skills section with relevant technology, programming languages, activities, and certifications.
- A clean headshot is all you need. Avoid unprofessional options like a car selfie (complete with SnapChat filter), a poorly edited group shot (whose arm is that?), or your cat.
- Feel free to include a little bit about your hobbies, passion projects, and volunteer work.
- Remove irrelevant jobs from your bio (food service, child care, etc), but do include volunteer work.
- When a recruiter reaches out, take a moment to engage with them. Even if the job isn’t a great match, or if you’re genuinely not looking right now – things can change on a dime. You can always reach back out to them 6-months or a year from now if your situation changes.
If you’d like to get a jump-start on your search – get in touch with a real-life smartie today!
from the desk of Amy Porter, Sr. Creative Consultant in Chicago
One exciting thing about being a smartie is spending time with talented creatives. The Chicago team got to show of their creative skills during pumpkin paint night.
Harry Potter – by Sana // Owl scene – by Jaime // Cartman – by Nina // Abstract – by Amy // Googly Eyes – by Matt
Do you ever feel like applying for full-time jobs is a full-time job in itself? You know the drill – shotgun your resume out to 50-100 online postings. Maybe you even read some of the descriptions. If lightning strikes, you’ll snag 2-3 HR phone interviews. With any luck, you may even hear back from one of them within a month, but maybe not, and that’s what you’re used to.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if you had someone in your corner who really took the time to get to know you? Who brought relevant jobs to your attention and made sure that your resume was on the right hiring manager’s desk at the right time?
That’s where we come in!
The creative consultants at smartdept recruit exclusively on creative roles in Chicago, Seattle and Grand Rapids. Meeting with the right recruiter can be one of the most rewarding and beneficial relationships you make in your career.
How can you make the most of the relationship?
- Come prepared with your resume and portfolio, and be open to suggestions. Our recruiters have seen it all. They are experts in the creative space – and they know what their clients are looking for. If they have a suggestion on how to better your digital portfolio or resume, take it! If the smartie you meet with, doesn’t have much feedback on your resume, ask for it!
- Be transparent and honest, always. We promise to be sincere and match you with not just any role, but the right role. In return, if you have other irons in the fire, if contracts aren’t what you’re comfortable with, we need to know! We build relationships with people and it’s our expertise. It is vital that we keep both our clients and our candidates on the same page.
- Explain when you’re feeling unsure. There are a lot of murky waters to navigate here, and we’re here to help. Are you looking at multiple offers? Great! Talking out all of the options with your recruiters is the best way to weigh the pros and cons of each opportunity.
What can you expect when you meet with a smartie?
- We will never force a job onto a candidate.
- Honest and valuable insight into job opportunities – if we have something that sounds great to you, but we know from our relationship that it isn’t the best fit whether that means the culture, growth trajectory, or work style isn’t aligning – we are going to be honest with you.
- Consistent communication and a smooth timeline (most of the time) – unlike those online applications you’re applying to day after day, we are going to keep you up to speed. If you’ve been disqualified from the role, we don’t leave you hanging. And if we are waiting on our client to review your application, you will know. We do our best to keep the process as seamless and hassle-free as possible.
So what do our services cost you, the job seeker? Nothing.
It will require your time, your engagement and a little bit of trust. smartdept. inc. is a free resource to our job seeking candidates. Now what are you waiting for – get in touch with a real-life smartie today!
from the desk of Hannah Staal, Creative Consultant in Grand Rapids
Sarah Prince is the newest smartie to join the Grand Rapids office, where she heads up the business development desk. Sarah brings a strong background in HR and is already making a splash at local networking events.
What got you into staffing?
A recruiter! My partner in crime in Grand Rapids, the lovely Hannah Staal, was a connection that I made when I moved here. While I started as one of her candidates, I’ve eventually become her coworker.
Do you have any pets?
A spunky Jack Russell named C.J.
If you were stuck on a desert island, what 3 things would you take with you?
My hubby, my iPod, and a bottle of ranch dressing
What is the best thing about being a smartie?
Getting to work with the other smarties and helping match people with great opportunities. Whether a hiring manager that needs an outstanding candidate or a great candidate needs an awesome job, I love helping to connect people with people.
What is your favorite band?
Whitney Houston or Michael Jackson…don’t ask me to choose!
What is your favorite staffing story?
My favorite staffing story is the time I realized staffing wasn’t scary, it’s awesome! When I got married, I moved to D.C. for my husband’s job. I left an awesome role that I loved and found myself in a new city with no connections. I was nervous about reaching out to a recruiter because I never had before and I thought it was admitting defeat. It turned out to be the smartest decision I made during my job hunt! In addition to all of the work I was doing to find a job, I had another person (with connections!) work toward the same goal! As a result of that relationship, I was placed in a contract-to-hire role where I worked until I moved away from D.C. I’m excited to share my story with others and hopefully help more people!
What is your favorite type of pizza?
The kind I can dip in Ranch.
What is your favorite movie?
Dirty Dancing… “nobody puts Baby in a corner”
What is your dream job (not in staffing)?
I want to be a singer! But I can’t carry a tune!
Top tip for any job seeker:
Network! People love connecting with people. The more people you meet, the more connections and options you gain.
When applying to a design role, one of the first things a hiring manager will look at is your portfolio. The creative consultants at smartdept. inc. review 100’s of portfolios each month and want to share their top tips on how to make sure yours stands out from the crowd.
Unsurprisingly, the one thing that everyone on staff wanted to talk about was organization. Whether you’re organizing by campaign, client, or type of medium, it should be very easy to navigate through and get to the right place.
See the rest of our expert tips below:
Hannah Staal, Creative Consultant in Grand Rapids
- The most effective portfolio will tell your story, celebrate your brand. It will showcase your growth and development.
- Flushed out campaigns: Does your messaging hold true for several different pieces? i.e. signage, logo, branding, sales sheets
- Are you specialized? i.e. packaging, agency driven…or more generalized? Embrace it!
- Concept to Execution: did you show process? That’s always a cool perk.
Jaime Sklar, Creative Consultant in Chicago
- Functionality: Content and samples should flow naturally and easily. User experience is huge when looking at design portfolios especially. Nobody likes to waste time trying to click through different samples and images that are choppy and inconsistent
- Layout and Design Aesthetic: If the color and design aesthetic is too bulky, showy, or flashy, it takes away from the work. Black backgrounds look outdated. The text should be easy to read on each page/sample.
- Portfolio Site Used: Use a modern portfolio site and check it regularly. Coding changes and updates can pop up without warning.
- Variety: I prefer portfolios that include several samples from each project, along with descriptions of that project and the work you contributed.
Colleen Walton, Creative Consultant in Seattle
- Keep it simple! The background should be neutral and the navigation should be intuitive. Your site shouldn’t distract from your work.
- Descriptions are key. They don’t have to be long, but one or two sentences about what the project is and how you were involved is very helpful.
- Make it easy for people to contact you. Include your email or add a contact page. People can’t hire you if they don’t know how to reach you.
Nina Strolia, Creative Consultant in Chicago
- Share some information about each sample to give the viewer context. What did you contribute to this piece? Was this an existing file that you updated or did you concept it?
- Delete that distracting background. The highlight of the site is your work, not some crazy animated background. A simple, white background is always a winner.
Colin Wodarski, Business Development Manager
- You should express your personality without it distracting from the main focus – your work!
- Samples should include a pertinent description in an easy to find, quick, digestible format: where did you do the project; who was the client; if it was done as a team, what was your role; tools/software used; challenge & outcome (i.e. these direct mailers helped increase web traffic by 50%)
Amy Porter, Sr. Creative Consultant in Chicago
- Hiring managers like to see a copy of or link to your resume on your portfolio. Put everything in one place. That goes a lot farther than the cutesy “about me” page.
- Tread carefully with sensitive materials. Did you sign an NDA when you designed that nifty piece of internal software? Even if your portfolio is behind a password wall, your future employer may worry if you’re showing samples from legally protected work. Be sure you have permission before putting your work out there.
- Building a responsive site portfolio site Square Space, Wix or WordPress using snappy template. Or if you’re targeting Web Design and UX roles, build the site yourself to push it the extra mile. Be sure to test it on multiple browsers, your tablet and mobile phone.
Eric Pairitz, smartdept. inc. Principal
- When I am reviewing a portfolio I look for a clean and organized presentation.
- Often the way a candidate presents their work in an interview setting can be a hint as to how they organize their work day.
- Show up to an in person interview at the scheduled time. Late is never good, but too early can also be a deterrent for many hiring managers.
Michelle Pairitz, smartdept. inc. Principal
- Present your work in chronological order. Most recent work should be first and student work you are proud of should be last.
- If your portfolio lacks depth, it is perfectly acceptable to include well-executed spec work.
- Be honest with yourself and your recruiter about what your role was on each portfolio piece. Elaborate on working with a team, the software used, and if any special circumstances were involved.