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Communications Design Industry Discussion, Inspiration, & Tutorials

Jun 26, 2012

In the Media: Macbook Markup

By On 06:14
Visitors to online travel site Orbitz.com are fed higher hotel rates based on the operating system (OS) they use. Mac/Apple users are reported to spend around $30 more on travel and accommodations than Windows users, so Orbitz chooses to capitalize. Their practice is to show more expensive options--boutique hotels, as opposed to more economic options--when users search from the Apple OS.

Read the full article at www.online.wjs.com

Jun 23, 2012

Robots and Resumes

By On 04:51
Maybe you’ve heard that a tailored resume is one of the best ways to grab a hiring manager’s attention.

It’s a fact that the one-size-fits-all, generic, general resume doesn’t cut it. Not anymore. Remember, you’re facing a pool of hundreds (and potentially thousands) of competing applicants whenever you apply for a job.
Because of the increasingly high numbers of applicants, more employers rely on resume screening software; robots. It pays to know how an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) works so that you can tailor your resume and cover letter to the job you're applying for. 

  • Your uploaded resume is run through a parser, which removes the styling from the resume and breaks the text down into recognized words or phrases.
  • The parser then sorts that content into different categories: 
    • education, 
    • contact info, 
    • skills, and 
    • work experience, etc.
  • The employer's desired skills or keywords are matched against the results from above.
  • Your resume is then scored on relevancy—using semantic matching against the employer's search terms and your years of experience.
It's important that you include relevant text in the body of your resume. Instead of simply cutting-and-pasting keywords from the job description; employ a strategy. Remember, other savvy applicants are likely using the same keywords in their applications.

Don’t just narrow your focus to keywords. A sophisticated ATS goes beyond the keywords to look for related terms (not just graphic design, but also “creative cloud”, print, web, motion, logo, etc.). *sites like Monster.com and others use technology to help employers find the best candidates (see Monster's concept-matching resume search).

Your areas of expertise. Ensure that your resume matches the special categories for the job you're applying for, use a bulleted list to organize your areas of expertise. If you opt for generic categories, make sure that you add some descriptive text. Here's a simplified example: 

 Prioritize your keywords. Begin by auditing the job description for primary and secondary keywords to include. Priority words are used in the title, job description, and in bulleted criteria lists. Secondary keywords include mentions of the industry (women’s health, international football, micro brewing, etc.), direct competitors, and industry qualifications (memberships, key training or software). 

Consult an insider. It can’t hurt to get input from a friend within the company or in the industry—go straight to the source and ask them if they could either look over your resume or suggest what skills they look for in a candidate.
  • Another option is to contact someone in a position similar to the one you'd like to have—tap your social network and ask questions.
Sprinkle liberally. ATSs factor in the length of experience. So, it's also important to place those important words, throughout your resume, in all jobs where appropriate. Order your bullets in descending order of relevancy to the job description.
Use social networks to enhance your resume. More advanced ATSs add other features to check on you. Reppify, for example, checks your social network posts, and use of sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Be sure that what you post in public fits with what you say on your application.

Your resume should cover all of the listed job requirements. The ultimate goal is get your resume in the hands of a real human being. These tips should also increase your chance of getting past live screeners and hopefully land you an interview.

Jun 12, 2012

Interviewed on W. Phila. Public Radio

By On 17:34
I was interviewed in May and decided to post a link to the article...the take away is my advice to budding graphic designers: 
  1. Study art, and 
  2. Never stop learning
In an interview on the Designing Sistas portion of The Homebound Love Project on WPEB 88.1 FM in West Philadelphia, artist and graphic designer Simone Jenifer discuss her education, background and life in the arts and graphic design and what other young African American women can do to begin to become future image makers......read the full article

Jun 10, 2012

Jun 5, 2012

Using the Invisible Job Market

By On 13:49

If you haven’t heard, the online job marketplace is extremely competitive. Hundreds, maybe thousands of potential candidates can view and apply for the job that you want. In light of this fierce competition, some job seekers may fare better using the invisible job market. 

What’s that?
The invisible market refers to the job openings that never appear online.To find the Invisible Job Market consider doing one or more of the following things:

Social Networking Use social media to make those key connections. Let’s say you already know where you want to work. Find a hiring manager/ department head on LinkedIn and follow them. Once you have found this contact, see where else they interact online. Following them on Twitter is not a bad idea. Now that the connection is made, keep an eye on their social channels. If they post any jobs on the social sites that do not appear on their company’s site you’ve found a hidden job!

Get that Referral Another great way to tap into the invisible market is through referrals in your own network. LinkedIn groups are great place to ask the question, “Y’all hiring?”  Ask your contacts names and positions to help you on your search.  Trolling your contacts on Facebook works much the same way. In real time, speak with friends in your respective field. Ask these contacts to help you set up introductions with hiring managers, and other decision makers. Even if the company isn’t hiring right now, making a good impression with these people may lead to hearing about a job opening before it ever gets posted.

Make a Cold Call Drop in/forward your resume and portfolio link to a company where you want to work, whether they have a job opening or not. To be successful,  you must research the company, and tailor your resume and interest letter to fit their requirements. A good place to start is with old job postings by this company.

On a personal note, my director gets one or two of these per year and they do not end up in the circular file. Instead we keep hold of the resumes in case I need additional graphic design help.  So far, this cold-call method hasn’t landed anyone a permanent job in my company, but it leads to potential freelance assignments.

There's a 1 in 10 chance that you'll garner a response using this method. If you don’t hear back, you make contact by phone or emil in a couple weeks. This approach takes patience but it may grab the attention of a potential employer.

Lock Down an Internship Working as an intern is a great way to see if you are a good fit for a company. It’s potentially a great way to land that unposted job. When a company recognizes that your work is an asset to them, they may carve out a permanent position to keep you on staff.

What do you do to improve your chances of becoming an employee?  Go above and beyond their expectations. Learn new tasks, meet deadlines, save them time and money money, and show genuine interest in the company. These keys will improve your chances of making the transition from intern to employee.