All posts by Angela Stairs

How to Write a Creative Cover Letter

How to Write a Creative Cover Letter

You’re excited as you read a job description until you get to the application requirements and read: “Include a creative cover letter that demonstrates why you’re the right fit for this role.”

This line often stresses out job seekers—especially for developers and designers that are more comfortable creating products than crafting prose.

But don’t get scared off! Instead of simply rewording your resume, approach your cover letter with a creative hook that draws in the reader and allows you to communicate who you are, how your skill set would benefit their team, and why you want to work for them.

A good way to grab a hiring manager’s attention is to open with a short story or an anecdote that introduces a larger theme. Consider the following angles:

Show Your Knowledge and Passion for the Industry

If you have past experiences or achievements that show you are truly passionate about the role you’re applying to, this is a great way to break the ice at the beginning of your cover letter. These could be examples tied to the job description, the company’s mission or work, or the industry that the company works within.

Perhaps there was a defining moment in your life that set you on the path you are now on, or maybe one of your hobbies or passions can be tied directly to the job you are applying to. Think about it and find a way to make this connection in the first few paragraphs of your cover letter through a short story or an anecdote.

An example:

  • I’ve always had a love of travel and exploring new places. Throughout university, I took every opportunity to study abroad and learn from those around the world, and travel continues to be an important part of my life. Pursuing my fascination and appreciation of the many cultures and landscapes of the world as a [JOB TITLE] at National Geographic would be a dream come true.

Reveal Important Character Traits

Ambition, kindness, courage, diligence—what are the traits that define your character? Think about how these aspects of who you are as a person and as a professional could make you a good fit for the role you’re applying to.

One way to make this connection is by doing research on the company’s values and any community efforts they may be involved in. If you have an anecdote or past experience that illustrates these values you share, include it! This is a good way to show that you would be a good fit within the company culture.

This is a particularly good angle if you don’t have much or any previous experience in the sector you’re looking to move into. It allows you to illustrate how you are a good fit for the company, even if you don’t necessarily have direct professional experience in their space.

An example:

  • For as far back as I can remember, my grandma and I would visit the local craft market together every Christmas. It was something I always looked forward to; seeing all of the unique ways local artists would take mundane items and create something beautiful and unexpected. I feel like this experience instilled me with an appreciation for the creative process and looking at things differently—something I would bring to my role as UX Designer at [COMPANY NAME].

Open With Your Sense of Humor

Anyone, regardless of industry, can appreciate a talented employee that also has a sense of humor. Opening your cover letter with a humorous anecdote can be a good way to stand out while being creative.

If you choose to incorporate humor in your cover letter, keep it concise and make sure it’s tasteful and respectful. Opening with humor can be a good way to grease the wheels, but you also have to show that you are a skilled professional that takes your work seriously.

An example:

  • I think the best designs and works of art incite a reaction out of their audience. The first piece of art I ever created brought my parents to tears—of course, it was a permanent marker masterpiece on the walls of their home, but sometimes you have to go BIG! While I don’t often doodle on the walls anymore, my love of creating art that inspires an audience is as strong as ever. That’s why I want to be the Art Director at [COMPANY NAME].

Have Fun With It

The key to writing a creative cover letter is to allow yourself to think outside the box. So let yourself explore the possibilities and just start writing—you have to start somewhere.

Try not to overthink it. Take a few minutes to brainstorm and then just begin writing and see what you come up with. Once you find a good angle, trust your instincts and explore the story.

Considering a new opportunity? Authentic Jobs has one waiting for you.

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5 Software Developer Resume Tips—With Templates to Get You Started

Many software developers are more comfortable speaking through code than writing a resume—an inevitable but frustrating part of the job hunt.

Here’s the good thing: software developer resumes don’t have to be a work of art—they simply have to get your foot in the door for an interview. As you’re writing your resume, include these five things so you stand out from the competition.

Include Side Projects

Many software developers cut side projects from their resumes to make more room for job descriptions or educational background.

That’s a huge mistake. Side projects prove that you have passion for what you do and you enjoy exploring things outside of your work hours.

That’s why hiring managers love to see projects like this on your resume and put more value in them than your grades or GPA.

Side projects are also a good way to enhance a thin resume if you don’t have much experience or a very diverse portfolio. It could also be a strategy to show a more diverse skill set if you haven’t done a certain type of project in any of your past roles.

Also, be sure to include a link to your GitHub account on your resume. This lets hiring managers see code you’ve written and gives them an idea of the projects you’ve worked on.

Describe Project Outcomes

When you include projects on your resume, be sure to also include their effects. In other words, be clear about your impact on the team or company. Hiring managers want to see that you have the ability to deliver systems that provide real value.

Do your best to connect your work with measurable outcomes. This could include improvements in operations efficiency, reduction in processing time and operating costs, or even an improved security model that reduced downtime.

For example, instead of saying this:

  • Developed a phone queue system for the support team.

Say this:

  • Created a phone queue system that allowed the support team to answer 20% more calls each hour, providing a better customer experience and reducing churn.

Cut Irrelevant Information

When writing your resume, be sure to include only the information that is most relevant to the job you’re applying for. Including information that doesn’t relate to the role clutters your resume and makes it seem like you haven’t taken the time to understand the company’s needs.

Information like what high school you attended or listing all six jobs you’ve held since you graduated from college aren’t helpful to the hiring manager. Basic skills like Microsoft Word also aren’t worth including on your resume; they are assumed skills in today’s job market—unless you’re an Excel pro, or have another niche software expertise that’s relevant to the job.

Information like the languages you can code in and operating systems you can work with is something that hiring managers look for on a software developer’s resume.

Interpersonal Skills

When applying to software development roles, don’t underestimate the value of your people skills. Most hiring managers weigh skills and cultural fit when looking to hire for new positions. If you get along well with your team, you are more likely to enjoy your role and contribute to the team’s output in the long run.

But instead of simply listing your character points like “resourcefulness” or “communication”, try to illustrate it through descriptions of your past projects and roles.

You can prove your skills by including a description of the process it took to complete a project with your team, like challenges you were met with and how you overcame them. For example:

  • Created new features and pushed updates to phone queue system based on feedback provided in interviews with support team.

Everybody says they have great problem-solving skills, but if you can’t provide examples of how you’ve solved problems, then the hiring manager has no reason to believe you.

Customize, Customize, Customize

Customizing your resume for the job you want improves your chances of getting an interview. With so many applications to go through, hiring managers often ignore boilerplate resumes and cover letters.

Research the company to get a feel for their values and approach to their products or service, then look for ways to insert references to these key values through your resume and cover letter. Always provide concrete examples to illustrate your knowledge and experience, when possible.

Software Developer Resume Templates

Ready to create a resume that gets you hired? Here are some templates to get you started:

“Professional Pack” – Microsoft Word Template

Resume Genius’ professional pack features five color options for your software developer resume. Our favorite part is its clean, timeless approach that puts the emphasis on your experience and not flashy design.

User Centered Resume – Sketch Template

This template was originally created for user-centered designers, but it’s a valuable asset for any job title. Download it on Nicole Rushton’s Medium article.

The Sir David Attenborough – Microsoft Word Template

This template is a winner by name alone. Add modern design, loads of white space, and options for customization (like changing skills to side projects), and we’re in love. Get it from Gum Road.

Considering a new opportunity? Authentic Jobs has one waiting for you.

The Designer’s Guide to Moving from Freelance to In-House

The Designer’s Guide to Moving from Freelance to In-House

Being a full time freelance graphic designer has its advantages. You get to be your own boss, work on your own schedule, and be selective in the types of projects you take on.

But freelancing also has its drawbacks. Being your own boss means that you need to make difficult business decisions while sacrificing a steady salary.

At some point, many freelance graphic designers choose to make their way to in-house roles in search of a more stable income or opportunities for career growth. If you’re thinking of moving from freelance to full time, keep the following tips in mind to make your job hunt easier.

Be Flexible In Your Search

Do you want to be a jack of all trades or a subject matter expert? Deciding between generalist and specialist listings is key to finding an in-house opportunity that suits your goals.

As a freelancer, you may be a specialist in your niche or style, but finding a full time position that fits this specific mold may take a while. If you’re looking to find a position more quickly, consider widening the net to include generalist roles. Chances are your niche skills and experience apply to more general positions, too.

Translating Your Skills

As you update your CV, make sure to highlight how your freelancing experience makes you a valuable asset as an in-house graphic designer. Even if you’ve never had in-house experience, there are many valuable skills you develop as a freelancer that will help you succeed in a full time, in-house position.

Be sure to emphasize your experience in multitasking and successfully managing multiple clients files at once. This shows that you can exceed in a fast-paced, demanding environment that many in-house teams will be looking for.

Also focus on any experience you have working with teams. At the very least, this could include working closely with in-house teams on long-term projects as a freelancer.

As you reach out to past clients to provide recommendations, consider asking if they might have a role for you in their company. Looking for opportunities with past clients is a great place to start your search when making the transition from freelance to in-house.

Negotiating Salary

Salary is a big change when switching from freelance to full time. Freelancers often make a lot more money in fewer hours of work with project-based invoicing. But, of course, this also comes with the uncertainty of not knowing if you will have another project to follow your last.

When moving in-house, you should expect to make less money on an hourly basis compared to freelancing, but it’s important to weigh the whole compensation package when negotiating your wage. You may make less from a project-based perspective, but you gain access to a steady flow of work and income. This could translate into a higher annual income, not to mention other benefits and compensation you may be provided as an in-house employee.

To calculate a fair wage for an in-house graphic designer, take a look at similar job postings in your field and city. You can also use a tool like Glassdoor’s salary estimator or LinkedIn’s salary reports.

Consider Part-Time Positions

Instead of making an immediate transition from freelance to full time, you may want to consider starting off with a part-time in-house position. That way, you’ll balance steady work and the independence of being self-employed.

If you decide to take on a part-time in-house role, you’ll need to make sure your new company lets you manage clients on the side. This would be an important discussion to have with any potential employers to make sure they are comfortable with your plans and are willing to provide you with the flexibility you need.

During these discussions, you should talk about whether you will have set hours or the option for flexible hours, if you will be expected to work from the office every day or if you’re able to work remotely, and—very important—whether there’s any conflict of interest with you freelancing on the side.

Conflict of interest may be an issue if you’re applying to work with an agency, for example, and your services are similar to those offered by the agency itself, so make sure to have this discussion to avoid any issues in the future.

Psst: Check out part-time design positions on Authentic Jobs.

Keep Your Entrepreneurial Edge

As you make the transition to an in-house graphic designer position, don’t forget the entrepreneurial edge that led you to pursue freelancing in the first place. The entrepreneurial traits of being self-motivated, driven and versatile are as much of an asset in a freelancer as they are in a member of an in-house team.

So, don’t be afraid to share your opinions and lessons learned from past experience. The right team will appreciate your insights, and your confidence and tenacity will continue to help you achieve your highest potential in your new role.

Considering a new opportunity? Authentic Jobs has one waiting for you.

The Right Way to Quit a Job You Just Started

The Right Way to Quit a Job You Just Started

Starting a new job is difficult. Even if you’re enjoying the role, it’s normal to feel nervous as you get to know your new team and understand your new boss’s expectations—feelings which usually resolve themselves once you get more comfortable and settle into the role.

But sometimes a new job just isn’t the right fit, no matter how much effort you put into it. While there’s something to be said for pushing yourself in a new role, quitting a job you just started could be the best thing for your career in the long run.

How to Decide if It’s Worth Quitting a New Job

Before jumping straight to resignation, think about why you’re not happy with the job.

Now, ask yourself: “Are these reasons worth quitting over?”

It might be worth staying in your new job if…

Many reasons people have to want to quit new jobs are chalked up to the nerves and self-doubt that comes with the pressure of starting a new role. This could include things like not being confident that you have the skills required for the job or not being sure if you’re fitting in with your team.

In these situations, if you can push yourself and hang in there, you might be able to exceed in the role and it could be a great opportunity for growth. So don’t discount it right away, even if it requires working some long hours to prove yourself until you settle into the role and feel more comfortable.

It might be worth quitting your new job if…

You could be posed with obstacles in a new job that are non-negotiable for you. This could include a job that’s either too advanced or not challenging enough, or maybe the role isn’t turning out to be what you discussed during the interview. Other problems could include issues with the company culture or creative differences with your team that you can’t compromise on.

Before discounting the role, try to speak with your boss to discuss any challenges or frustrations you’re having. While it can be intimidating to have these discussions with a new boss, it’s better to have an awkward conversation than to have regrets.

You never know, you could be reading the situation all wrong and your boss could be receptive to your point of view. If not, then it at least confirms that quitting is the right decision.

Offer a Professional Resignation

Even if you haven’t been in the role for long, it’s still in your best interest to be respectful and professional in your resignation. Every contact in your career can be useful in your journey, so you don’t want to hurt relationships or your reputation.

Be prepared to explain your reason for leaving with your manager. In this scenario, providing an honest, yet respectful response is your best course of action. Share why this role isn’t a right fit, like if you feel you don’t have the right skills for the position, or if the role really isn’t aligned with your interests or career goals.

Try to avoid speaking ill of your fellow employees or the company itself, even if this is part of your reason for leaving. You’re already out the door, so as long as what you have experienced did not include any type of harassment or other illegal behavior, it’s really not worth risking your reputation over.

If you’re still on a probationary period, you’re likely not obligated to provide the standard two weeks’ notice. However, if possible and if it seems appropriate, it’s worth offering a notice period to give the company time to find a replacement.

Explaining Short-Term Employment to Future Employers

Be prepared for future employers to ask about short stints on your resume. If you’re asked this question in interviews, be open in explaining your reasoning and what you learned from the experience.

Highlight how this new role you’re applying for would provide what you are looking for in your career, pinpointing specific areas of the job description to illustrate your points. This could include certain skills that you want to continue to grow, or particular areas of interest that you are passionate about, and how this new position will provide a good opportunity for that.

Always keep the discussion positive. Complaining about a past role will make you seem like you’re difficult to work with and hurt your chances at being offered a role.

Nowadays, people are changing positions more and more, so most employers won’t mind. In fact, leaving a job that doesn’t suit you shows that you take your career seriously and want to find a role that is truly a good fit, which are values any employer would want in a prospective employee.

In the End, It’s Your Career

While you might feel guilty quitting a job you just started, you have to follow your gut instincts and do what feels right for you. It’s better to make the move before you’re vital than to spend time in a role that you don’t find fulfilling, which often leads to your work and reputation suffering as result.

Not every role in your career is going to be your dream come true. Some roles are necessary steps to reach your goals—but you shouldn’t settle on a role that isn’t going to help you move in the right direction.

Ultimately, there’s only one question you have to ask yourself: Does your role challenge you and make you feel like you’ve accomplished something positive at the end of the day? If so, you will always find yourself working in the right direction.

Considering leaving a new job? Authentic Jobs has a new one waiting for you.

A group has a planning meeting.

Hiring Remote? Here’s How to Communicate Company Culture

We’ve all heard about the fun things companies like Google and Facebook do to create a positive and engaging culture in their offices. It’s easy to drum up excitement in new talent when you can show off a cereal wall or slide on the office tour.

But what about the companies that thrive on remote staff? While it can be more difficult to communicate and effectively promote company culture when hiring for remote positions, it’s not entirely out of reach. Consider the below strategies as you develop your remote hiring process.

Well-Written Job Posting

When seeking to hire new talent to your team, take care in writing an accurate and engaging job description for the role. This is the first interaction that will attract talent to your company, so make sure your brand personality and unique aspects of your culture are present in the posting.

When hiring for remote roles, be sure to include any special perks your company offers off-site employees. Some companies will offer bonuses like internet allowances, professional training packages, or subsidized private health care.

More unusual remote employee perks include coffee shop gift cards, gym membership allowances, vacation expense allowances, and even long-term sabbaticals offered over incremental periods with the company to prevent burnout.

Face-to-Face Remote Interviews

When conducting interviews for remote team members, incorporate face-to-face meetings into your process. Face-to-face meetings are as important for hiring remote staff as they are for in-house staff. Using tools like Skype, Facetime or Google Hangouts, it’s easy to coordinate a meeting with candidates from anywhere across the globe.

Taking the time and effort to coordinate a face-to-face chat helps to personalize the meeting and allows both sides to gain a better understanding of one another. A lot is communicated through nonverbal cues, so this can be a great tactic to help you get a better feel for the candidate while providing them the opportunity to get a better feel for you as well.

People have different strengths in communication. Some may feel the most comfortable over email, others may prefer to speak over the phone, and some may find a face-to-face chat the most effective. In your interview process, try your best to incorporate all three methods of communication to give a fair opportunity for each type of communicator to shine.

Interviews With Various Team Members

Extending your interview process past the hiring manager and direct manager offers benefits for both sides. For the candidate, this gives an opportunity to get a feel for the different personalities on the team. For the company, it provides an opportunity to get an accurate idea of how this individual might fit into the team dynamic.

Setting up meetings between a candidate and team members is always a good idea. After all, these are the people the hire will need to communicate with on a regular basis. Getting a feel of what it would be like to work with colleagues makes a huge difference in a new hire’s understanding of company culture and can make or break the interview process.

Adding to that, it can be particularly beneficial to set up conversations with current remote team members for first-hand accounts of the remote workflow in your company and how your company culture specifically impacts remote employees.

Include Your Remote Team

If your remote company culture could use some love, prioritize these changes before you continue building remote teams. Treating remote team members like freelancers separate from in-office workers is dangerous for morale and retention.

There are many ways you can help build camaraderie and a sense of inclusion among your remote team members. This could include big on-location events like team meetups or even smaller, more commonplace gatherings like daily or weekly online hangouts between staff to catch up on project progress and speak with each other in a more relaxed setting.

Many successful remote companies hold annual or semi-annual gatherings to bring their staff together. For example, Buffer plans semi-annual trips with their whole team to have discussions and strategy sessions for the months ahead. Then, the team takes the evenings and weekends to enjoy the location and get to know each other better.

Promote whatever your company does to bring together remote workers physically or digitally. Include these experiences on the company blog and social media, and showcase these perks in the hiring process. Displaying this part of your culture shows remote talent that you take their contributions seriously and gets them excited to join the team.

Remain Open to the Changing Workplace

As workplace trends change, continue to create opportunities for remote team members to feel included in the inner workings of the company. This drastically enhances a company’s culture from the perspective of future remote employees and makes the hiring process smoother.

As the world becomes more and more connected globally, your remote workforce will become an increasingly important part of your team. Retaining this top talent around the world could be the key to your company’s success.

Expanding your remote team? Use Authentic Jobs to find your next hire.

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Social Media 101 for Job Hunting Graphic Designers

In the digital age, social media blurs the lines between our professional and personal selves. These networks provide a useful space for keeping in touch with friends and family, but they are also places to forge new connections.

Social media presents a powerful opportunity to market yourself and your work to recruiters and potential colleagues. This is particularly true for graphic designers, given the overwhelming power of visuals and images on online platforms.

Take advantage of the professional potential of each platform using these tips.



Hashtags are what make Twitter such a powerful networking tool for professional use. By including hashtags relevant to your medium, style and niche, you are more likely to come up in searches for these terms and to grow your follower base with individuals that are interested in your work and your professional insight.

Include hashtags in your bio and account description as well as your posts to hone the power of Twitter search. But be careful not to overuse hashtags — a good rule of thumb is that your hashtags shouldn’t outweigh your post itself. In most cases, limit yourself to one or two hashtags per post.

Some of the top trending hashtags for graphic designers include: #design, #art, #graphicdesign, #graphicart, #artoftheday, #artofinstagram, #branding, #brandidentity, #cartoon, #creative, #digitalart, #flatdesign, #typedesign, #typespire, #illustrator, #vector, #vectorart, #photoshop, #UX, #logo, #logodesign and more.

Engage With Other Accounts

A great way to build your professional network on Twitter is to engage with other designers. Showing your appreciation for others’ work is actually a way to boost interest and followers on your own account.

By tweeting interesting industry news or artwork and tagging your colleagues in relevant tweets, you are increasing your chances of getting retweets and likes, which then boosts your account’s reach to new audiences. Each interaction could be an opportunity for a recruiter or a potential colleague to see your work.

Check out Owen Gildersleeve on Twitter for inspiration on how to incorporate the promotion of your artwork, hashtags, social engagement, original posts and commentary — all in one powerful profile.


Cover Photo and Profile Image

As a graphic designer, the aesthetic of all of your online profiles is a representation of your work and artistic abilities. While many designers’ first instinct is to take to Instagram to present their artistic talents, LinkedIn should also be a focus for any designer looking to build their professional reputation. Put your creative talents on display by creating an original cover photo and investing in a professional profile image that shows your personality and style.

Promote Your Work

LinkedIn is the prime social platform to be promoting your professional work, so don’t be shy. LinkedIn is essentially an online resume and its digital format provides even more opportunities to “sell” your experience, abilities and talents than a traditional resume or job application. Once your projects have been finalized and made public, post about them. Share images in an original way and take ownership of your hard work and creativity.


Promoting Fun Work Projects and Office Life

Facebook is definitely a more casual platform; more of a tool to keep in touch with friends and family than to grow and nurture business relationships. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t also post about your professional life and your work from time to time. Just make sure there’s an appropriate balance.

Your friends and family likely don’t care to hear about every small detail of your work life or scroll through a full digital portfolio. However, posting fun, interesting things that happen in the office, big news about your latest completed projects or sharing professional milestones and accomplishments is perfectly acceptable. More importantly, these posts could be seen by recruiters or future colleagues through your friends’ interactions with your posts. Always be aware that your posts could be seen by anyone, so put your best foot forward.

Create a Company Page

If you are looking to boost the professional power of Facebook to help build your personal brand as a graphic designer, consider creating a company page. A company page is free and easy to set up and will give you a focused account to display your work and your abilities. Whether you are looking to freelance or you simply want to share your work, a company page allows you to market your Facebook presence to a more targeted audience, versus only your friends and family. This professional account also offers the opportunity to advertise and run “Like” campaigns to boost the followers on your account.


Display Your Work

Instagram is a powerful visual medium, which makes it the perfect platform for graphic designers to present their work in an interesting way. But be sure that displaying your work makes sense in the context of your profile.

The most effective Instagram accounts have a clear and consistent focus. Whether you’re displaying art, fashion, food, travel, etc., you will gain the strongest and most meaningful follower base with a profile that has a dedicated focus. If you’re the type of person that also wants to post about your other daily dealings, consider creating two accounts; one for your personal friends and one for your professional network.

Then, think about creating a consistent look and feel for your account. Many Instagrammers will create this consistency through the colours, filters and different types of photography and imagery styles. Figure out what type of aesthetic best portrays and compliments your personality and artistic style and keep it consistent.

Check out the talented Steven Harrington on Instagram for inspiration on how to incorporate design posts as well as snapshots of daily life in an artistic way.

Long Beach. #lbc

A post shared by Steven Harrington (@s_harrington) on


Draw more people to your posts using relevant and trending hashtags in your posts. While it is definitely helpful to include the more general hashtags like #art, #designer, #graphicdesign, etc., it is also good to dig a bit deeper and tap into your niche and what you are presenting. For example, include more specialized hashtags like: #animation, #motiongraphics, #3D, #typography, #calligraphy, etc.

On Instagram, you have the ability to add your hashtags in a comment below your caption. This allows you to add more hashtags and gather more power from the search tool without distracting from your message or making your post look spammy.


Upload Portfolio

If you’re not already on Dribbble, create an account now and build a portfolio featuring your favorite creations.

Be sure to also include relevant tags on your uploaded pieces to make them show up in search. Tags could pertain to the style of your art, like “3D” or “sketch”, or they could pertain to the audience or potential clients you are looking to attract, like “logo” or “branding”.

Check out Creative Mints on Dribbble for an example of how to create a consistent and cohesive profile. This account is focused heavily around one artistic niche, however remains interesting throughout. You can see how an account like this would gather a strong and engaged following of individuals that are drawn to this style.

Engage With Your Peers’ Work

Once you’ve shared your own portfolio, take a look around to get inspired and share your thoughts. Feel free to ask questions if you see an artist using a new technique that you’d like to try in your own work. By leaving a comment or liking someone’s post, you are spreading awareness for your own profile and building an online community of like-minded professionals.

Social Media: Networking in a Digital World

Social media is not simply a casual, socializing tool anymore. In the digital world, social media is one of the leading ways recruiters discover new talent. It allows recruiters to learn more about you and get a feel for your consistency before reaching out.

You never know who could be watching, so be mindful of what you post online and how you present it. As a graphic designer, everything you post on these platforms can be used to promote yourself and your abilities, so be creative in your approach and make every post count.

Follow Authentic Jobs on Twitter for all of our latest job postings.

Designers: Get Noticed & Get A Dream Job

Designers: Get Noticed & Get A Dream Job

There’s no way around it: the job hunt can be tough. You might get lucky and find the right fit early in your search, but for the majority of job seekers this is a long and strenuous process of applications and interviews.

Do Your Research

Before sending your application for a new and exciting role, make sure to do your research on the company. Delve into their website, taking time to learn about each of their products, their current clients, and their team.

If the company already has a graphic designer or a full design team, take stock of their specific role(s) and specialities. Note how you could fit into their team and complement their current capacity in this department. For example, if their graphic designer specializes in web design and UX, perhaps you can highlight your strong skill set in print or illustration.

If the company has a blog or a news section, be sure to spend some time there as well. If you see any blog topics that pique your interest or perhaps the company has made headlines with a big announcement recently, these are great anecdotes to include in your cover letter. Highlighting details like this shows an employer that you care about working for them specifically, not just any company.

Customize Your Outreach

One of the biggest blunders you can commit on your job hunt is to send out impersonal, boilerplate cover letters and resumes en masse. While you may think sending out more applications will mean you get more responses, this could actually have the opposite effect.

With high competition for designer roles, it’s essential that your outreach be personalized and show a true understanding of what the company is looking for and how you can deliver on each element of the job description.

In each cover letter and resume, try to find a hook that shows why you have a genuine interest in this position specifically. For example, if the position is with a tech startup that provides software for the trades industry, draw a personal connection with your cover letter. Perhaps you have a close friend or family member that works in the trades and struggles with the issues this software helps solve—include this as an opening anecdote.

If you can’t find a connection that’s quite this direct, find another way to personally relate to the subject matter and include this in your cover letter. Showing a genuine interest and connection with the company’s pursuit and passions will help you move to the top of the candidate list.

Demonstrate Your Skills

Make every aspect of your application a demonstration of your skills. For example, if you’re applying for a graphic design position, put extra effort into creating a unique original presentation for your cover letter and resume. Whenever possible, include examples of your work with your application to show the company what you’re capable of and how they could put your skills to work as part of their team.

A mailing tube & t-shirt as a resume is a sure way to stand out.

[hyperlink images with source:]

As a graphic designer, employers are going to expect you to get creative. To set yourself apart, take time to think of different ways you can present your cover letter and resume information using your creativity.

This includes making sure your online portfolio is updated with your best work, but you can also take it a step further. Think of your cover letter and resume like a project you would be creating if you got the job: what kind of new, fresh ideas would you bring to their marketing collateral? Bring it to life with your application and they’ll have no choice but to get you working for their team.


If you have applied to a position and have not heard back within a week or two, picking up the phone and making a call to check on the status of your application is completely within reason. In fact, many employers will be impressed that you took the initiative to follow-up with them directly. However, make sure the company did not detail “No phone calls” on their job description. In this case, a polite follow-up email is perfectly acceptable.

You may also consider looking through your network to find a connection that could provide a more personalized introduction. LinkedIn is a helpful tool for this research. Search the company to find the most appropriate employees such as the HR team members and the director or manager you would be reporting to directly.

If you have any “Mutual Connections” that you think would be willing and able to provide you with a sparkling reference, ask for an introduction. As long as you’re polite and humble in your approach, the worst they’ll say is that they are no longer in contact with that person.

In the job hunt, positivity is key

No matter how many rejections you may receive, remain steadfast on your search. While the job hunt can be difficult and stressful at times, it is equally rewarding when you finally secure a dream role.

Remain persistent and open to new opportunities as they present themselves. You never know where your job search could lead you.

Looking for your next design gig? We’ve got lots of those at Authentic Jobs.

How to Define a New Role at a Startup

How to Define a New Role at a Startup

As a startup founder or team lead, you already have a lot on your plate. Growing the business and keeping it running on the day-to-day is hard enough without throwing hiring into the mix.

When it does come time to hire, it can be difficult to gauge what your team needs. This is made even harder when a startup is young or lacks a defined company structure.

Defining a new role is the first step to making a great hire. Wrapping your head around the required skills, personality, and experience of a new employee will save you time and sanity in the long run.

Required Skills

Start by thinking of the tasks and responsibilities that the new role will be responsible for. Then, make a list of skills a person will realistically need to accomplish these tasks successfully.
Let’s take a graphic designer as an example. The new hire might be responsible for designing for a variety of formats, building out your brand, and managing web design. To do these things, the designer will probably need skills in the Adobe Creative Suite and HTML & CSS.

Now, take it a step further and envision how this person will fit in with your team’s current skillset. If there are gaps with your current team, a new hire might be able to fill them. For example, the graphic designer might also need illustration skills or have experience building teams. Think of any skills that might not be explicitly implied in an average description for the title, and add them to your posting.

If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at job descriptions for similar roles. If you have other employees, ask them to draft a description what the new hire’s day-to-day should look like and any skills they feel would round out the team. This gives you a candid peek into how your team thinks a new employee could contribute to overall goals.

Personality and Characteristics

When the team is small, finding a personality that fits in with your organization’s culture and vision is just as important as finding the right skillset. Before interviewing people, think about your company culture and what a person needs to excel within your team.

Start by considering your industry. If you build software for the non-profit sector, a genuine interest or passion in the area you serve could be fundamental to the role.

Also consider the team you already have and their personalities and working style. What would a person need to fit within this structure? Do you need a flexible person that’s ready and willing to take direction, or do you need a confident go-getter that will proactively seek out work instead of waiting to be directed?

Take stock of your current employees’ strengths and weaknesses and think about how an ideal candidate’s personality traits would fit in and complement them. By doing so, you’ll be bringing your company to the next level with each additional team member.

Experience Level and Company Structure

One of the most important factors in finding the right candidate for your organization is to find the right experience level for your needs and budget allowance. Would you like a hungry entry-level employee that’s ready to roll up their sleeves and learn, or do you need a more seasoned professional that can help lead the team when you’re offsite?

Many startup founders and team leads wear many hats, but juggling responsibilities can lead to inefficient and overwhelmed management. If you already have several employees reporting to you, it could be a good time to bring in a more senior employee to manage teams.

On the other hand, if you already have a solid team of senior employees ready to take on more responsibility, this could be a good time to bring in a more junior member to take on production.

Growth Strategy

Thinking about how each hire affects overall growth is an important thing to keep in mind. Depending on your product, you may require talent upfront to bring your product to launch, or you could keep things lean until the product is ready to enter market.

Also consider how this role fits into your startup’s needs in the short and long term. It’s natural to need evolving skillsets as a company grows—generalists are usually fundamental at the beginning while specialists are more helpful when the team reaches larger sizes.

Of course, budget should also be top of mind. As you define a new role, consider your reason for hiring and how your needs balance with what you can afford. If you’re short-handed after signing a big contract, consider the stability and longevity of the role before hiring full-time employees. If the demand is beginning to grow but your profit isn’t stable, consider freelance or contract talent. This will help you fulfill your current requirements without overextending budgets.

Defining Roles Sets You Up For Success

Building a team from scratch is one of the hardest things founders and leads have to do. Taking time to define the role before digging in can set you up for success in the long term. It helps set expectations for you and the new hire and gives everyone a framework to work from.

At the end of the day, don’t forget to trust your gut. In a lot of cases, personality outweighs skills that can be taught over time. Sometimes assembling the right group of people is more important than meeting the responsibilities set on paper.

Find your next new teammate by posting on Authentic Jobs.

But Will You Be Happy? 5 Things That Make a Job Fulfilling

But Will You Be Happy? 5 Things That Make a Job Fulfilling

When you are on the hunt for a new job, there are a variety of factors to weigh in your decision. What will my responsibilities be in this role? Is it a growing company with opportunities for advancement? What kind of compensation and benefit packages does the company offer their employees?

All of these questions are important and will help you make decisions as you take the next step in your career. The real dilemma occurs when you have to decide what questions are the most important for you. Some job seekers may be driven heavily by salary, while others may be more interested in working for with a cause they’re truly passionate about.

This is a personal decision that everyone must make for themselves in their career. As you get older, your priorities may change and this will also have an impact on your career aspirations and trajectory. Wherever you find yourself in your journey, consider the five factors below as you move forward in your the quest for that dream job.


The opportunity for flexibility in your workday is often one of the most celebrated workplace perks as it allows the job to fit into your life (as opposed to the other way around). With greater flexibility in your schedule, you’re better able to complete all of your priorities in a day and reserve your downtime for activities that recharge your body and mind.

Depending on your industry, many workplaces are coming to understand the value of this flexibility. A happy employee means better work and productivity in the long run. If your workplace does not currently offer flex work schedules, it might not be completely off the table. This could be worth a discussion with your manager. When approaching this conversation, be sure to be explicit and compelling in your motivation, but also make it clear that you’re open to compromise and a formal review after a trial period.

When asking for a more flexible schedule, it can also be helpful to have several options for discussion. Perhaps working from home one day a week, working a compressed four-day week, or even having the option to take an extended lunch break on certain days of the week to fit in an afternoon exercise class. With multiple options on the table, you’re more apt to have one of your requests granted or at least considered.

Work-Life Balance

Not every job is going to have the ability for flexible hours and remote work, but there are many other factors that contribute to a healthy and satisfying work-life balance. The hard part is figuring out which factors are a deal-breaker and which can be reorganized or better prioritized both at work and at home for the betterment of your overall lifestyle.

For many, time spent commuting is one of the biggest deal-breakers. If you’re going to be facing a lengthy commute each day before and after work and you don’t have much flexibility in working around rush hour, this will have a significant impact on your daily life. If it takes you one hour to get to and from the office, that is two hours you’re losing each day that could be better spent doing all of the other things on your list.

To help maintain a better balance when factors like this are out of your control, look for ways you can work around it in order to maximize your time. For example, go to the gym close to your office in the morning or at lunch so that you get all the benefits of your workout before you get home. You can also maximize your time by doing meal prep once or twice a week so that you’re not rushing to make lunches each morning and dinners will be ready to go as soon as you get home from work.

There are many options to consider that will help you boost the effectiveness of your downtime for a satisfying lifestyle.

Fair Compensation

While a cozy salary shouldn’t be your only consideration on your job hunt, let’s be honest—it certainly helps. Everyone deserves to be fairly compensated for their work and you should strive to work with a company that understands that and is willing to invest in their employees.

To get a better grasp for what is considered “fair” compensation for your industry and level of experience and expertise, consult job postings and pay scales for your industry and your region. Authentic Jobs offers a variety of tech-centric job postings from which you can compare your job and salary aspirations to similar roles in comparable cities. This will help you set realistic salary expectations so you’re prepared for this discussion with a prospective employer.

That being said, no matter how great a generous salary may seem, it isn’t going to keep you motivated and happy in a toxic environment, so make sure the company and the role is a good fit first.

Aspirational Goals

Any fulfilling job will offer goals to aspire towards. Your goals could be within the company itself, like the opportunity for advancement or greater responsibility, but they can also include your greater career path. If you know you would enjoy this role and also gain skills and experience that would help you take the next step in your career in the future, it is worth exploring the opportunity.

If you’re currently in a position and lacking the goal-driven motivation you crave, ask yourself how you want to grow. Once you’ve defined your goals, prepare some ideas on how you could work towards these goals in your position and discuss them with your manager.

More often than not, management will be more than willing to provide opportunities for internal training or accommodation for training or participation in events that will help you grow your skill set. After all, the company will also benefit from your ever-expanding expertise.

Respect and Recognition

Finding a position where you’ll be respected and recognized for your hard work is a huge factor in job happiness. If you’re working in an environment where you feel your hard work is being overlooked, you’ll inevitably begin to feel unmotivated and resentful in your workplace. Healthy and productive work environments give credit where credit is due.

If your company isn’t quick to give recognition, don’t jump to conclusions. It may not be that your superiors are not supportive, it could simply be that there is no real organizational process or structure in place for this type of acknowledgment. Many smaller organizations and startups may run into this problem given that senior leadership is busy working right alongside you and there is often a lack of designated HR and admin support.

To help promote more of a culture of open recognition in your office, take a proactive approach and show consistent, informal recognition to others for their professional victories. As this practice spreads throughout the team culture, you can bet your accomplishments will have their time in the spotlight soon enough.

For a more direct approach, it can be helpful to stop by your boss’s office for a quick update on your projects every so often—don’t wait for a quarterly or annual review. This can be completely informal but gives you the opportunity to make sure your boss is aware of your hard work and achievements. Do be sure to be a team player and also mention any colleagues that played a part in the victory as well.

Weigh the pros and cons to make an informed decision

Do your research on any company you are aspiring to work with. Look at how they’ve branded their company, what they share on social media, what kinds of community events and initiatives they support, and what they are presenting with their mission and values.

Get a more personal account by referring to your network to see if you know anyone that has worked for the company (past or present), or if someone you know may have a connection that has worked at the company. If possible, ask around to see what the work environment is really like for the employees. Companies can market themselves however they want, but ultimately it is the employees that will be able to tell you about the true culture from experience.

If everything you’ve learned about the company seems to be a good fit for you and your career aspirations, reach out. Companies are always on the hunt for other like-minded individuals to join their team and you could be just the person they’re looking for.

Find your happy place. Search for jobs on Authentic Jobs.
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