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Digital and creative recruiters reveal their top tips for job hunters

September 22, 2015
By Kelly Cooper Niles

It’s about to be hunting season—job hunting, that is. Late September and October is a peak hiring period as companies look to use up remaining budget and get people in the door before the holidays. Our digital and creative recruiters have some tips for design, development, marketing strategy and digital pros looking to join the hunt for a new—and better—job this fall (or anytime!).

1. Create an outstanding portfolio.

Clients like to see what you’ve done, but also how you did it. If you can, Milwaukee-based Recruiter Arin Olson says it is helpful to show—and be able to speak to—how you completed a project step by step.

Also, avoid using a portfolio template, especially if you’re looking for a development or design position. Nicola Lore, a recruiter in Silicon Valley, says “They want to see your own original website that you’ve created.” But overall—be honest. Indicate if you used a template or if a piece of work was a school project (which is OK!), and if a project was collaborative, be clear about what parts you worked on.

2. But don’t neglect your resume!

Lore emphasizes that even in a creative field, the resume is equally important as the portfolio. And polish that baby up! “It says a lot about a person,” Lore offers. “Within three minutes, [a design hiring manager] can pick up on alignment, fonts, spacing, colors; there can’t be one error.”

Charlotte, North Carolina, Recruiter Calli Trice recommends that her consultants tailor their resume to the jobs she sends them. She adds, “If it’s more of a marketing position, show campaign experience; if it’s product-oriented, show sales or strategy experience.”

3. Don’t pigeonhole yourself.

Zeroing in on the required years of experience, technical skills and job title may cause you to miss out on some great opportunities. Trice says, “For more senior-level positions, they will want the years; but someone with a Masters in Human Factors would be looked at for midlevel type roles, even without the stated years of experience.”

And quality can trump quantity. In competitive Silicon Valley, Lore says she sees resumes with 10 years of experience getting passed over for those with two to four years based on their portfolio. “If you have the design style that the client wants, that can take precedence.”

4. Be passionate.

“Be up on the trends. Know what direction the change is going” advises Trice. You do not want to be in an interview and realize you’ve never heard of the technologies or trends the interviewer wants to discuss.

Olson says, “In Milwaukee, Adobe Cloud, Web design and UX meet-ups are great way to meet people and figure out what people are doing in the community and your market.” Further, for those top companies, Lore says that applicants need to not only be passionate about building their design or content skills, but also about the company’s brand and what they do and stand for.

Get qualified help

Working with a recruiter can give you an edge over your competition. Recruiters have their boots on the ground at companies you want to work for. Plus, recruiters have a keen ability to “read between the lines” of the job description that they’re filling.

“A recruiter goes out and finds what [the hiring manager] actually needs and wants, vs. what is listed in the job description. You might read the same job ad and feel you’re underqualified, when you might be [qualified],” Olson says.

Recruiters that focus entirely on the digital and creative space can also serve like a career coach because they’re so dialed into the industry. This could include giving you feedback on resumes, interview tips and professional development opportunities.

Connect with our recruiters!

Learn more about how working with a digital and creative services recruiter can help you in your job search.

As a writer in TEKsystems’ marketing department, Kelly Cooper Niles develops content for brochures, presentations, and more recently, videos and blogs. When she’s not brainstorming puns, Kelly enjoys playing tennis and being by or on the water.

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