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Learning to Hold Yourself Accountable for Your Career Goals Starts Now

If you want to be successful in a creative field like design or marketing, you need to know how to set goals and find the discipline to reach them all on your own.

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Wish you could find the motivation and discipline to tackle all your career goals?

If you want to stand out in a crowded design market, it takes a lot of hard work off the clock to show clients and hiring managers what makes you extra.

And that can mean everything from creating an online portfolio to attract more gigs to using your social media accounts to land jobs.

So how do you complete these tasks when you don’t have an immediate paycheck or your boss’s wrath as motivation to get them done?

You learn how to find more discipline and hold yourself accountable.

What Does It Mean to Hold Yourself Accountable?

It may be easy for you to excuse your less-than-stellar work ethic if you convince yourself you’re too busy or too tired to tackle your career goals on top of a full-time job.

But the only one to blame for not reaching your career goals is you.

And that’s why only you can hold yourself accountable.

Accountability Implies a Sense of Ownership for Both Positive and Negative Outcomes

When you hold yourself accountable, it means you take responsibility for your failures and achievements.

Having accountability keeps you in control of the tasks that matter most.

You’ll set goals with specific intentions and consistently work on achieving those goals without excuses getting in your way.

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The more goals you accomplish, the more you’ll want to stack additional goals to build momentum.

As one win leads to a shift in your behavior, you’ll eventually be able to totally transform your professional life for the better.

But if you don’t always have discipline to manage your goals, that ends today.

How to Find More Discipline and Hold Yourself Accountable

These tips will help you become a more successful version of yourself:

First, Distinguish Between Goals and Expectations

Did 10-year-old you think you’d be a millionaire or famous by your age now?

While you’ve probably always had an expectation of success, expectations are not the same as goals.

Expectations aren’t grounded in reality; they’re just a very strong belief you may have for yourself.

Goals are desired results.

And you’ll only score those results when you keep your stick on the ice.

Why does this distinction matter?

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Because when you don’t meet an arbitrary expectation, like becoming Instagram famous, you may see yourself as a failure, lose motivation, and abandon your goal of success.

But when you set a realistic goal, you can focus on the progress you’re making towards your end result.

This forward momentum will help you dominate your goals instead of giving up.

Speaking of which, it’s also crucial to set goals the right way.

Set Personalized SMART Goals

SMART goals give you more direction and make it easier to hold yourself accountable.

A SMART goal is:

  • Specific. So you’ll need to zero in on exactly what you want to accomplish by being as detailed as possible. Example: I want to create a design portfolio to show off all my work and link to my social media accounts.
  • Measurable. This is how you’ll know when you’ve made progress or achieved your goal. Example: I want to grow my email list by 500 new subscribers.
  • Attainable. Goals have to be realistic. If you only have 25 Twitter followers and you want 100k by next week, you may be setting yourself up for failure instead of setting yourself up for a win.
  • Relevant. You can set as many goals as you want, but they should be tied to your larger career aspirations and work well with other goals in your long-term plan.
  • Timely. How long should it take to complete your goal? A concrete deadline not only gives you a sense of urgency, it also gives you a way to hold yourself accountable if you meet or fail to meet the due date.

After you set your SMART goals, you’ll need to prioritize the order in which you knock them out.

Prioritize Your Goals and Only Focus On One at a Time

You probably have a lot of career goals for yourself. And there are numerous tasks associated with completing those endeavors.

So rather than simply writing a to-do list, create a list of to-dos ranked by priority.

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When you know which tasks need to be accomplished first, you can:

  • Create a game plan. With a clear start and end in sight, you’ll know what to do every step of the way, won’t let distractions creep in, and be able to hold yourself accountable.
  • Focus on one specific task/goal at a time. This helps you stay on track and prevents you from taking on too much work at once.
  • Minimize multitasking, which science says is terrible for your brain and productivity[*].

This approach helps you organize your tasks so you don’t work haphazardly and instead maintain steady progress.

Improving your design and marketing skills doesn’t happen overnight; it takes hours of hard work, dedication, and a consistent routine to follow.

Get Into a Consistent Routine

Even though you may be able to set your own work hours, a routine will make sure you’re in the zone during a specific time most productive for you.

Having too much freedom with your hours allows for distractions to derail the work needed to complete your goals.

So try to wake up at the same time everyday (or set a specific window of work time later) and then create a ritual designed to get your brain into work mode (i.e., making coffee, stretching, checking emails, etc.).

Along with a consistent schedule, you’ll also want a dedicated space where you won’t be distracted from completing your tasks.

Establish a Distraction-Free Workspace

One of the greatest productivity hacks for remote workers is roping off a designated workspace where goals are accomplished and distractions are few and far between.

So think of your work space as an office with other people in it.

While you may be able to shop in a new tab when you’re alone, you’d never do this if eight other coworkers could peep over at your screen and see what you were up to during work hours.

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But if you find yourself more excited by distractions than your actual work, you may have another problem on your hands.

Find Real Excitement for Your Work

Still can’t find motivation to complete your career goals?

Maybe you’re just not that into them.

A lack of discipline can also stem from a lack of enthusiasm and passion.

So see what else is out there on Fresh Gigs, Canada’s best place for marketing and design professionals to find jobs all across the country.

If you stumble upon a gig you can’t wait to update your cover letter and resume for, make that the first of your new career goals to accomplish now that you have the discipline and accountability to do so.

Stop Letting Imposter Syndrome Hold You Back from the Big Bucks

Imposter syndrome can do major damage to your professional life. Practice these tips and you’ll have more confidence to apply for lucrative high-profile gigs now.

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Do you ever feel like you don’t deserve all the professional success you’ve earned?

If you ever face self-doubt, insecurity, or worry about higher-ups discovering you’re not as awesome as they think you are, you may be suffering from imposter syndrome.

And this severe lack of confidence can really damage your career goals.

What is Imposter Syndrome?

 

Imposter syndrome (IS) was first identified in 1978 by psychologists Pauline Rose Clance and Suzanne Imes[*].

They defined IS as believing you’ve only been successful in your career due to good luck and circumstance rather than your talent, experience, and qualifications.

One report estimates up to 70% of professionals will experience imposter syndrome in their professional life at least once[*].

IS can affect men and women equally and can manifest either early on in your career or well down the line[*].

Here’s what to look for:

Signs You May Have Imposter Syndrome

 

Imposter syndrome can be generally defined as not being able to own your success and accomplishments.

It frequently shows up as:

  • Feeling unworthy of your accomplishments, salary, accolades, or high-profile job title
  • Fear of being discovered as a fraud or fake
  • Thinking your success only comes from luck
  • Believing you could do better
  • Not being able to take a compliment
  • Downplaying your achievements
  • Fearing you’re charging too much for your work/services

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What’s frustrating here is even though you may be wrestling with these demons, there’s no evidence any of these fears are true or legit.

 

And that disconnect may be keeping you from leveling up your design and marketing career.

How Imposter Syndrome Damages Your Professional Life

People with imposter syndrome:

Strive for unrealistic perfectionism. Even though you may set high expectations and accomplish 99% of your job perfectly, if you mess up even in the smallest way you start doubting your skills and abilities completely with IS.

Feel as if they must be experts. If you have IS, you may constantly seek out training and certifications to level up your design and marketing skills and prove you’re capable and knowledgeable in your field.

But this may also prevent you from applying to certain jobs just because you’re missing one small qualification or believe you’re not “good enough” to succeed in that role.

May give up when work gets tough. Those with natural talents and abilities don’t have to work hard at tasks that come easily to them.

However, if you encounter a situation where you must put in more effort, you may feel inadequate or like an imposter because the work doesn’t come as easily or naturally as you’re used to.

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Tend to use solo mentality. Sometimes when you have IS, you get caught up in thinking you must do everything on your own to prove your worth rather than relying on team members for their assistance.

Add extra work pressure to their plates. You may overcompensate for feeling inadequate by working harder than everyone else on your team or in your department.

You may think this protects you from being discovered as the weak link you fear you are, but striving to prove this causes stress and unhealthy work relationships.

It can also force you into becoming a workaholic and damage your relationships with your family and friends too.

So what’s the cure for imposter syndrome?

How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome will hold you back from accomplishing your professional goals.

So whether you want to become a killer digital strategist, negotiate a higher salary, or stand out in a crowded design market, you can overcome IS when you:

Realize When You’re Falling Into IS Patterns

Instead of letting your thoughts take over and feed the imposter syndrome cycle, identify them when they creep up so you can counteract the way they make you feel and behave.

By not ignoring these, or giving in to them, you’ll be able to put your feelings in perspective and ask yourself whether they’re helping or hurting your day/project/career.

And that may require you to…

Think Realistically

 

Honestly, is there ever a flawless work project? Or an employee who’s never made a mistake?

These don’t exist in the real world.

So if you’re setting unrealistic expectations for yourself or your projects, you’re always going to feel unworthy for not meeting them (even though they were impossible goals anyway).

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The sooner you focus your effort on continual improvement and not perfection on the first try, the faster you’ll be able to think on your feet when issues do come up.

Rather than feeling as if you’ve let yourself down, you can accomplish more by solving these problems and increasing your productivity.

And if you do make a small error, go easy on yourself like you’d give your best friend a break for doing the same.

Talk to Yourself As If You Were Talking to Your Best Friend

 

Whenever you’re feeling imposter syndrome rear its ugly head, think about what you would tell your best friend to help them out of the weeds if they were in the same boat.

While you may internally beat yourself up over a mistake, chances are you’d give your best friend a pep talk and remind them how amazing they truly are and that no one’s perfect.

So be your own best advocate and remind yourself of these facts too.

And if you can’t tell yourself these truths, let your best friend do it.

Or Actually Talk to Your Best Friend

 

Don’t isolate yourself when you’re feeling less than shiny about your work life.

Connect with your support network and they’ll be able to address your feelings of insecurity and let you know how irrational they are in reality.

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Having someone you respect and admire boost your confidence by reminding you of all your strengths and abilities will give you the push you need to dominate your career goals.

And since your friends love you for who you are, they’ll also show you that your self-worth is not tied to your projects’ success or fail rate.

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

People suffering from imposter syndrome only feel less than adequate because they’re constantly measuring themselves up against other successful high achievers.

High achievers are used to competing with others and being rewarded for coming out on top.

But when you’re constantly comparing yourself to others, you’ll always fear others are doing better than you are or are accomplishing greater goals. You never see their struggles or missteps even though they certainly exist.

Set your own professional (and realistic) goals and only hold yourself accountable to those.

And when you do reach these milestones, don’t forget to make a note.

Keep Reminders of All You’ve Already Accomplished

 

Most feelings of imposter syndrome stem from a lack of pats on the back — not just from upper management and your boss, but from your inner critic.

Keep track of your professional accomplishments by adding each achievement to your portfolio or updating your LinkedIn profile to reflect these big wins.

If you want to keep a career journal detailing these milestones, make sure to also note any network connections who may have helped you, good luck on your side, and any other factor you may attribute your success to.

 

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A mental refresh through these times or physically scrolling through your social media portfolio for work will help you recognize your own talent. And you can take time to reflect on the long road you walked to get where you are today.

You’ll also find luck and other coworkers probably only played a small role in your achievement when all is said and done.

Practice Owning Your Greatness

 

You may not totally rid yourself of imposter syndrome, but the more you practice these skills, the faster you’ll be able to pull yourself out of an IS rut and get back to being awesome.

Once you feel amazing about yourself again, you may have the confidence to go after a promotion or apply for that high-profile marketing or design job you never thought you’d be good at (but will totally crush).

How to Transition to Contract Gigs Before Quitting Your Full-Time Position

Don’t leave your steady paycheck before you’re ready and set up to crush your career in contract work. Here’s what you’ll need to do before making the plunge to gig life.

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Want to leave your full-time job and start working contract gigs?

 

Many marketers, designers, project managers, and coding gurus are choosing contract jobs over full-time positions despite the added hurdles of this type of work.

 

From finding paying clients to figuring out estimated income taxes, it’s much easier to land a company job than venture out into the world of contract, part-time, remote, or freelance work.

 

Unless you have a cheatsheet to guide you.

 

So before you leave your 9-to-5 and burn through your savings, start working through the steps in this guide to make the transition to contract work as successful as possible.

 

(Or skip all this work, find an awesome job in Canada, and maybe even have time for a new hobby.) 

How to Transition to From Full-time to Contract Work Like You Have It All Together

 

Thanks to job boards with both full-time positions and contract gigs, it’s never been a better time to find and apply for work opportunities available in your niche.

 

But the roles in contract job postings vary based on what each company is looking for.

 

Some may require you to complete a single project with a due date while others need you to work a specific number of hours between an agreed-upon start and end date.

 

Companies generally hire contract workers for duties it would be too expensive to hire a full-time employee to do.

 

For example, a company may want to contract a digital strategist to help them whenever they launch new product campaigns.

 

If these new products only launch once or twice a year, the company saves money by not having a full-time digital strategist on staff for the rest of those workweeks.

 

But that means said contract digital strategist will need to line up several clients to work with in order to make the same salary they’ll leave behind with steady, full-time work.

 

And that’s why this first tip ranks number one in importance:

Start Saving Money

 

Full-time employees never have to worry about when their next paycheck is. They get paid every week or month even if their company lost money or customers.

 

Contract workers don’t always have this luxury.

 

Your monthly income will be entirely determined by how many jobs you find and complete during that time. If you don’t work with a set of regular clients, your income will vary month-to-month depending on how busy you are.

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And don’t forget tasks that need to get done, such as reaching out to potential clients and building your website, will take time away from your work and not earn you any income.

 

That’s why you shouldn’t quit a steady paycheck without a healthy savings account. Or a digital portfolio and website to attract clients while you’re stuck at your desk job.

Have Your Digital Portfolio, Website, and Social Media Accounts Ready to Attract Clients

 

To boost your chances of landing more contract gigs, you need a dedicated online space to share your achievements and expertise, such as a/an:

  • Active social media presence
  • Updated digital portfolio
  • Personal website with your previous work goals and accomplishments highlighted

 

While you can’t update these during company time, you can use your free time after hours to do these tasks and help yourself stand out from the competition.

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Take a few classes, work on your side hustle, and keep trying to level up your design and marketing skills so you not only attract more clients, but also increase your prices after each successful project.

 

Check out these 5 secrets to using your social media accounts to land marketing and design jobs later.

 

With your online presence established, you can start applying for gigs and sending potential clients over to check out your work.

Apply to Contract Jobs While You’re Still Employed

 

No, this doesn’t mean apply for jobs while you’re on the clock, unless you’re trying to get fired.

 

But it does mean you should practice reaching out to companies offering part-time work and squeezing it in around your full-time work hours.

 

Sure, this sounds like you won’t have any free time, but you need the practice and referrals before abandoning your paycheck.

 

See if you can pick up work for a local client or part-time remote work online.

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Since most contract work is about building relationships with clients like this, you’ll get a feel for your new role and what it will be like working on a project on your own schedule.

 

It’s better you know whether the flexibility and unstructured nature of contract work meshes well with your work style preferences.

 

And most of that comes down to where you’re most productive.

Have a Dedicated Workspace Planned (Even If It’s Not at Home)

 

As a full-time employee, you probably commute to your workspace every day and your company provides a desk, office equipment, and all the other tools you need to do your job.

 

Contractors aren’t afforded this luxury, but they can also work from pretty much anywhere as a trade off.

 

So figure out where you’re most productive — whether that’s a home office with a desktop and reliable internet connection, or a noisy coffee shop with your laptop — and set yourself up with everything you need to get your work done in lightning speed.

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Even though you may need to lay out the cash for your equipment and work setup, you should also be able to write these off during tax season as business expenses.

 

And if you need a little help staying in the work zone outside of the corporate office space, practice a few of the best productivity hacks before you get stuck in the weeds.

 

But if you’re constantly tempted by non-work activities when you should be in the zone, contract gigs may not be right for you.

Be Realistic About Your Work Style

 

Now that you know what you’ll need to start working contract gigs, you may be overwhelmed by all the additional legwork.

 

Unlike simply finding a full-time position online, you’ll need to constantly chase after your next paycheck when each contract gigs ends. And if you’re not set up for success, your bank account may take a huge hit in the process.

 

So be honest with yourself.

 

If you’re excited about working independently and flexing your skills with lots of different clients, you have everything you need to transition to contract life with the least risk possible.

 

But if you’d rather have the stability and loyalty a full-time position offers, polish up your resume and start looking for your ideal job now.

 

As luck would have it, you can find both contract jobs and full-time positions in marketing, design, and more on FreshGigs, Canada’s fastest place for top tech and creative professionals to land their dream job, so you can’t lose.

12 Hacks to Help You Find More Productivity (+ Free Time) as a Remote Worker

Finish your daily grind early and you’ll have more time to spend with your family, work on your side hustle, or play Fortnite. Get the tips and tools to make it happen now.

If there were more hours in the day, would you drag out your work tasks or actually find room in your schedule for more fun?

 

Whether that means spending time with the kiddos, working on your podcast, or leveling up your skills to earn more money, you can accomplish more if you get your virtual work done early.

 

But the only way to gain more free time is to master the beast known as productivity.

 

And if you’re wasting time on shallow work instead of knocking out monster tasks, you’re only spinning your wheels.

7 Productivity Tips You’re Not Following or Haven’t Tried (But Need To)

Sure, you may have heard some of this advice before, but this time these productivity hacks may finally sink in:

#1. Only Work When You’re Most Productive

 

One of the biggest benefits to working remotely is setting your own hours. So don’t feel compelled to be “on” when you’re not bright-eyed and ready to function at your best.

 

Why waste time groggily working four hours in the morning when you could finish the same task in two hours later in the afternoon?

 

Schedule your shallow work (i.e., answering emails or tidying up your desk) during your less productive hours and your harder tasks for when you’re ready to give them everything.

#2. Rank Your Daily To Do List

 

As part of your morning routine, write down a list of tasks you need to accomplish and then number them from the most important to the least.

Tackle your hardest tasks first and then finish the others on the momentum of completing each subsequent task after that.

Even if you don’t complete all your to-dos, you’ll always end your day with a sense of accomplishment if you finish the hardest task on your plate.

#3. Set Mini Goals

 

Your workload can seem overwhelming if you’ve got a bunch of big projects on deck. Put yourself back in control by breaking up those tasks into smaller goals.

So instead of writing “launch campaign”, for example, break it all down into specific actions like “retouch photo”, “post to Instagram”, and “write email newsletter copy”.

Crossing each of these off your list will give you the fire to keep this train going.

#4. Stop Multitasking

 

Science tells us we’re not smart enough to multitask. Our human brains love the logic of sticking to similar trains of thought on a single track of ideas for long periods of time.

 

So when we try to do too many things at once, we tend to[*]:

  • Make more mistakes
  • Work less efficiently
  • Take longer to finish tasks
  • Lose creativity

That’s why studies show multitasking reduces productivity by 40%[*]!

But when you only focus on one task at a time, or monotask, you’ll not only finish faster but work smarter.

And the more you monotask today, the greater your ability to focus on more difficult tasks sans mental fatigue in the future.

#5. Go For a Walk

Not only is sitting the new smoking for your health, it’s also a killer for productivity.

Research shows standing up, moving around, and walking especially increase blood flow to your brain and give you super mental powers (i.e., more focus and creativity)[*].

Experts in workplace ergonomics believe desk workers excel most when they follow this specifically timed combo of activity[*]:

  • Sit for 20 minutes and work.
  • Stand for eight minutes and work.
  • Stop working and walk for two minutes.

So take a stroll around the neighborhood, walk your dog, or trek a few laps around your house to get your blood pumping.

 

These are the downtimes your brain will relax and work on solving problems it was too stressed to untangle before. Kind of like your always-brilliant shower thoughts.

#6. Coffee then Nap?

 

If you ever needed a second wind, you probably tried making a cup of coffee or taking a 20-minute power nap.

But have you ever combined them?

Scientists say you can increase your energy by drinking a cup of coffee before your nap and wake up feeling energized to crush your to-do list[*].

That’s because it takes about 20 minutes for caffeine to amp up your brain. So as you’re just wrapping up your quick zzz’s, you’ll have a jolt of energy to wake you back up to finish your work.

#7. Know When You’ve “Put In a Good Day’s Work”

 

Virtual employees statistically work more hours, later into the day, and over the weekend. But even if you’re working for a results-oriented company, you need to know when you’re nearing burnout cliff.

In their book Remote: Office Not Required, Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson tell readers they can by looking at their progress and asking[*]:

“Have I done a good day’s work?”

If you answer “yes”, you can end the day on a satisfied high.

If you reply “no”, give yourself a goal to reach that will signify a productive day’s work. Then immediately stop working when you get there.

You’ll need to practice these productivity tips before they become a regular part of your work day. But apps and browser extensions may be able to add time to your day too.

5 Productivity Tools for Total Domination

 

You don’t have to go at this productivity thing alone. These five productivity tools will help you work smarter with technology on your side:

#1. The Pomodoro Timer

No one likes working under the stress of a timer, but you’ll eventually train your brain to work quickly during 25-minute pomodoro sprints and make your short breaks more productive and well-earned.

#2. Noisli and Coffitivity

There’s a reason you’re always more productive working at your local coffee shop: that background noise has been proven to increase creativity, attention, and focus[*][*].

 

Both Noisli and Coffitivity provide this ambient background noise when you can’t make it to your neighborhood java bar.

#3. Freedom

This productivity app syncs with your all devices to block time-wasting sites on your iPhone, Android, Mac, and laptop so you’re never distracted during your scheduled blocks of work time, which you can program yourself.

 

Users say they typically add at least 2.5 hours of productivity back to their schedules using Freedom (gasp!).

 

#4. Todoist

If data is your jam, Todoist will show you exactly how productive you’ve been, where you’re spending time on tasks, and how to free up more of your day.

 

Plan your tasks, organize and prioritize projects, and visualize your productivity trends to earn a high Karma score and feel good about yourself.

 

Similar to tracking your steps, your Karma score will rise if you’re more efficient and plummet if you don’t meet your goals. If you need someone to hold you accountable, Todoist may be it.

#5. Trello

If your company doesn’t already use Trello, it’s worth setting up an account for your own sanity.

Essentially, Trello helps you organize life.

Create digital boards for stages of your work or projects and add individual cards within those boards for all the to-do lists, tasks, and attachments associated with completing that stage or project.

The best part is you can invite users to collaborate on your boards and brainstorm together or watch projects move along to make sure they don’t creep past their due date.

Or Maybe Find a Job with More Free Time

 

Remote employees are statistically more productive than office workers. Plus, they gain time from not commuting too.

But if you feel like every day is Monday morning and you’re constantly drowning in a sea of tasks, it could just be a lack of passion for your job.

It doesn’t cost anything to browse Canada’s best available jobs in marketing, design, and communications here on FreshGigs during one of your scheduled breaks.

Find a job to keep you happily buzzing away and you’ll feel better about clocking out before overtime and being present for all the other activities in your life.

How to Create a Portfolio That Stands Out So You Can Land Your Dream Social Media Job

Building a social media portfolio is a little trickier than those in other creative fields. We’ll show you the must-have elements to include so yours is a knockout.

Putting together a social media portfolio that stands out is more than just proving how many followers you have.

Hiring managers will be looking for key metrics that show you have experience building successful social media campaigns too.

So what should you highlight in your portfolio?

Unlike graphic design or marketing, your social media portfolio will need to be a bit more comprehensive and include more than just images of your work.

As you’ll see in this guide, there are a few specific tweaks you can make so hiring managers connect with your social media portfolio out of a stack of qualified candidates.

And if you follow these tips and add these must-have elements, you’ll have no trouble landing your next social media position.

Each Portfolio Entry Should Include These 5 Items

 

It’s important to look at your portfolio a little differently than your resume.

While your resume just shows off the end result (i.e., what you achieved), your portfolio should give a well-rounded and complete picture of the entire process.

To do that, any social media campaigns you’ve worked on in the past should have their own separate section in your portfolio with the following information:

  1. The goal(s) of the campaign
  2. The strategy behind it
  3. Execution
  4. Results
  5. Key takeaways

Remember, if you want a position that’s above an entry level social media job, it’s essential to show you can go beyond the basics.

By using this template of items, you’ll tell hiring managers you have experience with ideation all the way through execution and completion.

And by sharing your key takeaways, or major lessons, you’ll show companies what you learned from the experience and what you’ll do differently next time.

This step alone proves you won’t make the same mistakes when working on their campaign, which saves them money, time, and stress.

In the same way as a resume, include these five items in their most succinct version.

Writing huge paragraphs here won’t help you get noticed. Instead, you may end up turning off hiring managers or boring them (yikes!).

Highlight only the most important pieces of information.

Then, you can add visuals to prove you have the skills they’re looking for.

Show, Don’t Tell, Your Results

Subscriber growth is, without a doubt, one of the key metrics hiring managers are looking at when choosing someone for a social media position.

So it’s always a good idea on any social media campaign you work on to include where your subscriber base started and where it is after your magic.

If your page went from 10 “likes” to 1,000, for example, this increase is worth noting.

But companies also want to see stellar engagement and click-through-rates too

Your click through rates always hold more weight than ”likes” alone and ultimately show how successful your campaign truly was.

While your last post may have earned 100 “likes”, if less than 10 people clicked through, it may not have been as successful as it could have been.

This is why you need to use your metrics to tell your campaign’s story to hiring managers who don’t know the details.

If your click through rates stand out, list these first.

And if your engagement has doubled or tripled in size, lead with that accomplishment.

Another must-have element here is your ad copy and image selection.

These two pieces contribute to both good and bad engagement and click through rates.

So it’s a smart idea to include screenshots of these, along with the stats and analytics you’re mentioning, to back up your claims.

Once you have all of these key pieces of information, you’re ready to build your portfolio.

Create a Visually Appealing Portfolio That Stands Out

 

You don’t need a degree in design to make an eye-catching portfolio.

And you don’t have to create your own personal brand website, either, although it’s a great idea.

What you can do is use free templates on sites like About.me and WordPress to create a digital portfolio you can send hiring managers a link to.

And for in-house positions, you can use free Canva templates to create a portfolio you can print out and bring to your next interview.

Double down and create both a digital and printed version of your portfolio and regularly update them so you can show off your skills any time you spot an opportunity.

There’s one more item many people consistently leave off their social media profiles.

It’s Okay to Highlight When Things Didn’t Go Well

 

Not many people include their past failures on their resume, but for a social media portfolio, it’s actually not a bad idea to include them.

Let me explain why:

Showing past performances, both good and bad, proves to hiring managers that you have the experience to handle projects when things don’t go according to plan.

You’re also displaying skills like resourcefulness, objectivity, and honesty right off the bat.

And as long as you never repeat the same mistake, and clearly explain what you’d do differently next time, companies will see you know what you’re talking about.

So even if you think a campaign was a “failure”, show hiring managers you learned a valuable lesson as a result so that experience doesn’t go to waste.

Obviously if you have a killer portfolio with plenty of awesome pieces and stats to show off, feel free to omit these bumps in the road entirely.

Now Build a Portfolio That Lands Your Next Social Media Job

 

With the secret ingredients to creating a stand out social media portfolio now in your possession, it’s time to get to work on yours and attract your next job.

Start by filling out our simple 5-part template of items to include in each social media campaign you’ve worked on. Then grab a few screenshots to back up your claims.

 

Compile all this information in both a digital and print version and you’ll have a visually appealing portfolio to schmooze hiring managers 24/7.

When your portfolio is all set, take the next step and find a social media position that’s right for you.

Counting All the Reasons Your Business Needs to Hire More Remote Employees

Think employees only benefit from working remotely? Companies with remote workers make more money, have higher retention rates, and crush every other industry benchmark. Learn why now:

Do you have an open position at your company a remote worker could fill?

 

After researchers from Global Workplace Analytics read over 4,000 case studies, they discovered over two-thirds of employees want to work remotely — and 36% of them would choose the ability to do so over a pay raise[*].

 

This steady remote work trend not only benefits employees, it’s also a huge win for employers too.

 

Which may be why 34% of businesses say they expect half their full-time workforce to be virtual by 2020[*].

Why Your Next Hire Should Be a Remote Worker

When businesses hire more remote employees, they get to:

Save Money and Lower Overhead

You may not be able to fill every position in your company with a telecommuter, but you can offset your operating expenses with the savings you make from hiring a few remote workers.

 

The Global Workplace Analytics (GWA) review revealed the average real estate savings just one remote employe generates is $10,000/year[*].

 

And companies with offices in expensive metros like New York, London, or San Francisco may see even bigger savings.

 

When adding more remote workers[*]:

  • IBM saved $50 million in real estate expenses
  • McKesson saves $2 million every year
  • Sun Microsystems saves $68 million a year in real estate costs

 

But real estate isn’t your only overhead expense. You’ll also slash non-real estate costs for:

  • Utilities
  • Internet/phone systems
  • Office equipment and furniture
  • Restroom supplies
  • Snacks, coffee, etc. in the breakroom
  • Janitorial services
  • Security

 

In addition to saving money, companies will also be able to generate more revenue and provide better customer service with more virtual employees.

Earn Revenue Around the Clock

With a remote workforce, employees aren’t limited to generating revenue between the hours of 9 and 5.

 

You can have a team of employees working across time zones and in various countries to make sure you’re running a 24/7 money-making machine. Or guarantee your customers always reach a representative no matter what time it is.

 

Almost every remote worker also finds their work days more productive than those in traditional offices — and that makes your company more profitable.

Score Greater Employee Productivity and Engagement

Did you know companies lose $600 billion every year due to workplace distractions?

 

That’s why Cisco was pleased to learn they “generated an estimated annual savings of $277 million in productivity by allowing employees to telecommute and telework[*].”

 

Remote workers don’t have to deal with noisy coworkers, get pulled into unnecessary meetings, or spend forever commuting so they actually get to accomplish more during their uninterrupted work time.

Virtual employees at Sun Microsystems, for example, spend 60% of the commuting time they save performing work for their company.

 

So it’s no surprise 91% of employees say they’re more productive when working remotely[*].

 

And in a review of more than 19,000 employees, those with greater workplace flexibility had less stress and burnout[*].

 

 

Remote employees have the freedom to work when its most productive for them instead of wasting time in a cubicle for an arbitrary number of hours.

 

And 53% of remote employees admit they’re likely to work overtime whereas just 28% of in-office employees say the same.

 

As result, when comparing remote workers to their in-office counterparts[*]:

  • AT&T telecommuters work five more hours at home
  • JD Edwards virtual employees are 20-25% more productive
  • American Express remote workers produce 43% more

 

This flexibility and autonomy also creates highly engaged employees, which is great news for you.

 

According to one study, highly engaged employees produce 250% better performance-related business outcomes[*].

 

Alpine Access saw this first hand. Compared to traditional agents, their remote agents[*]:

  • Closed 30% more sales
  • Decreased customer complaints by 90%
  • Lowered turnover by 88%

 

Let’s talk about that turnover stat more.

Boast Higher Retention and Recruitment Rates

Hiring managers know losing a valued employee can cost an employer $10,000 to $30,000.

 

And on average, an employee earning $50,000 per year will cost a business 20% of that salary to replace[*].

 

That’s because recruiting top talent and training employees is expensive.

 

But since over half of remote workers say they have lower work-related stress and a better work-life balance, they’re more likely to stay with their company long term[*].

 

Maybe that’s why 46% of companies with remote employees say their attrition rate has gone down.

 

And when you have happy employees stick around, the news is likely to spread and help with your recruitment efforts too.

Select Top Candidates from a Wider Talent Pool

Open a position to a remote worker and you’ll find standout candidates in markets all across the globe.

 

You’ll never have to settle for a new hire simply because they live in your zip code and happen to be semi-qualified for the position.

 

 

Businesses will be able to recruit the best talent and they won’t have to pay to relocate these candidates either.

 

Nortel estimates they save $100,000 per employee they don’t have to relocate by hiring a remote worker instead.

Work Around Fewer Unscheduled Absences

Unscheduled absences cost employers $1,800/employee/year; which adds up to $300 billion/year for U.S. companies[*].

 

And 78% of employees who call out sick really aren’t but only do so because they have family issues, personal needs, or too much stress to go into work.

 

On the other hand, remote employees work flexible hours so they can schedule their appointments and deal with family emergencies while still putting in a full day’s work.

 

When American Management Association implemented a telework program there was a 63% reduction in unscheduled absences, for example.

 

And ConnectSolutions noticed 53% of their remote workforce was less likely to take time off, even when they were sick[*].

 

Telecommuters not only have the ability to work from their beds when they do come down with something, they also won’t show up and infect other coworkers.

 

While this creates a healthier work environment, remote workers also help your business go green.

Help the Environment

Traffic jams during rush hours idle away almost three billion gallons of gas and account for 26 million extra tons of greenhouse gases.

 

All this pollution isn’t lost on employees; 70% of them said they would see their companies in a more favorable light if they helped reduce their commuting carbon emissions.

 

And a whopping 24% of employees even said they’d take a pay cut of up to 10% to help the environment.

Since every 1% reduction in cars on the road yields a three-fold decrease in congestion, hiring more remote employees can make your company a greener, more environmentally friendly place to work.

 

Plus, several states are now offering financial incentives for businesses to take more cars off the road and offer telecommuting options so it’s a double win for your company.

You’re So Ready to Hire Your Next Remote Worker

With these seven major reasons to choose a remote worker to fill your open position, your next step is to post your job where virtual candidates are most likely to see it.

 

Skip the standard job boards and check out Fresh Gigs, the best way to find top talent in Canada’s largest telecommuting communities.

 

Post a job here where more than 30,000 unique creative job seekers visit per month and you’ll find your perfect candidate (and start seeing these awesome benefits) in no time.

So, You Want to Be a Digital Strategist?

Before you send off that resume, find out what the job entails and which skills are required to see if this position’s a good fit for you.

Are you a digital marketer looking to take your skills to the next level?

 

Wondering if you have what it takes to become a successful digital strategist?

 

Since this field is fairly new and growing rapidly, many people are tempted to branch out into this role, but some are unsure of what it really entails.

 

Luckily, with the help of this guide, you’ll score a sneak peek into the position to see if it’s a career path worth pursuing.

 

We’ll also dive into the exact skills employers are looking for and the average salary of a strategist to give you a well-rounded picture of the role.

 

You should know exactly what you’re getting yourself into so let’s start with the basics.

What Does a Digital Strategist Actually Do?

 

While the title Digital Strategist seems straightforward, the job isn’t as simple as it sounds.

 

After all, coming up with digital strategies is just one small facet of the position.

 

A solid digital strategist will take an unbiased look at a company to identify all opportunities for growth, and potential roadblocks preventing the business from reaching its revenue goals.

 

This includes a company’s workforce, operations, and product/service offerings.

 

They’ll also monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) to see if the data they collect can provide more insight into what’s really going on.

 

From there, digital strategists create a plan-of-action including a list of targets to reach. They’ll then execute, monitor, and track the campaign’s performance to see which adjustments, if any, need to be made.

 

And these tweaks can be spread across several different departments, including social media, marketing, customer service, website design, etc.

Another side of this role is helping brands make a better connection with their customers.

 

With this, you may see process updates and changes in key touch point areas, such as adding more or less, to make the customer’s experience smoother and to facilitate a faster checkout process, both online and in-person.

 

Digital strategist may also recommend shifts in the content strategy to help guide customers in this same way.

 

All this would depend on each business and the specific challenges it is and will be facing.

 

To give you a better idea of your potential day-to-day tasks, here are some of the primary roles of a digital strategist:

  1. Establish marketing, sales, and growth targets and create plans to reach them.
  2. Understand each team member’s role in the organization to identify strengths and gaps in skill set.
  3. Review and analyze the buyer’s journey from start to finish to gauge the customer’s experience.
  4. Sift through website data for key insight, such as which traffic sources are driving the most engagement and which ones need work; or why customers keep abandoning their shopping cart before completing a purchase.
  5. Create a cohesive brand voice and ensure it’s consistent across sales brochures, website content, and social media posts.
  6. Understand the sales process and pitch to create a smoother, more intuitive system.
  7. Test ads on different marketing mediums to see which resonate best with your audience.
  8. Ensure best practices are followed on all digital marketing platforms.
  9. Set up systems and processes that can be replicated at a moment’s notice.

 

If those challenges sound exciting to you, keep reading to see if this role lines up with your experience and skills.

13 Requirements You’ll Need to Become a Digital Strategist

 

If a day in the life of a digital strategist sounds like it would be you happy place, you’ll want to show employers you’re the right candidate for the position.

 

Here are the top skills and requirements employers are looking for when they hire digital strategists:

  1. Bachelor’s degree in marketing, advertising, or another relevant field is preferred
  2. As is a minimum of 3+ years as a digital marketing manager
  3. Experience with CRM’s, SEO, and SEM
  4. Proficiency in Google Analytics and other tracking metrics, such as social media analytics, to drive web traffic and increase conversions
  5. Ability to identify and focus on actionable metrics instead of vanity ones
  6. Experience with web design, specifically UI and UX
  7. Exceptional project management skills, including proficiency with PM tools
  8. Ability to uncover holes and areas of improvement in the sales process to generate more revenue
  9. Experience split testing content
  10. Understanding pay per click strategies to execute high-converting campaigns
  11. Lead generation and management
  12. Social media management experience
  13. Ability to set up marketing automation

 

And since a digital strategist must be able to work with and adapt to a variety of different departments and teams, you’ll need to feel comfortable managing people and holding them accountable too.

With all those duties and responsibilities, you’re probably wondering…

Is a Digital Strategist Job Stressful?

 

This answer is not as straightforward either and depends on how you react to certain situations.

 

If you have an analytical thinking style, enjoy working on many different tasks each day, and you’re someone who loves to solve problems and dive deep into KPIs, this role may be ideal.

 

But that’s only if you can manage juggling multiple hats since a digital strategist looks at several areas of the business and makes tweaks to each one simultaneously.

 

By doing this, the best strategist is able to deliver results fast.

 

But for some people, just the mere thought of all this work and strategizing sounds overwhelming.

 

Instead of waking up feeling energized by a list of problems to fix each day, they may wake up dreading their huge to-do list.

 

So if that’s the case for you, a digital strategist role may not be the right fit.

 

The good news is if you’re in the latter group, the average annual salary for a digital strategist is around C$55,421.

 

So if you’re ready to land your digital strategist job, you’ll want to start by knowing where to look for open positions.

Find a Digital Strategist Job Today

 

While the role of digital strategist may be fairly new, it’s only growing in demand.

 

So if the day-to-day tasks and challenges interest you, now’s the time to strike and get in on the ground floor.

 

You’ll rack up experience before others start to notice what an awesome job it is for the right type of person — and then increase your competition for said position.

 

Don’t waste your time on typical job board sites and bookmark those which specifically list marketing and digital strategist jobs, like Fresh Gigs.

 

Since a digital strategist position can be done remotely, you can search all of Canada for the position of your dreams without packing up your life and relocating for the career you want.

 

For a list of current job openings as a digital strategist, check out this page next!

5 Secrets for Using Your Social Media Accounts to Land a Job in Marketing and Design

Like it or not, companies are checking out your social media pages before making a hiring decision. Learn how to impress more gatekeepers and become a standout candidate in this guide.

Would your social media pages convince a hiring manager you’re the perfect candidate?

 

Or would they just show how much fun you have on vacation?

 

Or worse, don’t show anything about you at all?

 

When you’re trying to land your next gig, your social media pages can do all the hard selling for you so you can focus on nailing your interview.

While they can and should display your best professional traits in marketing and design, each social media page should also convey a different aspect of yourself.

 

The more you show off your skills and personality across several platforms, the more attractive you become to hiring managers and gatekeepers of awesome positions.

So now that you see why it’s so important to curate the right image, let’s talk about how to do it.

How to Use Your Social Media Pages to Market Yourself

To give a complete picture of both your professional skills and killer personality — two huge details all gig-holders look for — follow these five tips:

#1. Always Keep It Professional — Even When You’re Most Candid

Keeping it 100% professional may be your biggest challenge if you’re used to sharing every part of your life on social media.

 

But there’s a way for you to both document your daily inspiration while subtly showing off what you do best.

 

Take the Insta of Bri Emery as an example. Creative director and product designer, her snaps all read like they’re part of the same magazine layout or enchanting travel book:

 

While documenting moments of candid life, there’s also inspiration, color and design skills she’s casually showing off too.

 

In this sense, you can use your social media pages as a way to position yourself as a brand.

#2. Think Of Yourself As A Brand

Not many people feel comfortable selling themselves. But you may have better luck when you figure out who you are as a company or brand.

 

See, every company strives to create their own unique cornerstones which define and point out their:

  • Brand story
  • Mission and statement
  • Strengths and weaknesses
  • Competitors

 

So pour yourself a cuppa energy and brainstorm your answers to these needs.

 

Once you spend the time figuring these out, it will be a breeze writing up a bio for each social media page to reflect them.

 

You’ll also give visitors to your pages a clear vision of who you are through your posts, pics, links, and everything else you share. As long as they align with your goal or purpose, they’ll only add to your personality and character.

 

But you can’t just copy-and-paste this intel — it has to be tailored for each specific platform.

#3. Use the Right Platforms to Market Different Sides of Yourself

Know how you tailor your resume and cover letter to reflect each job you apply for?

 

In the same way, you should also consider each social media platform as a different job market. And each market will require you to show off different skills to compete with everyone else.

In a nutshell, the most popular social media pages you should start working on to boost your professional image include:

 

  • LinkedIn, where you’ll highlight your professional skills, work history, and education while building meaningful connections within your industry.
  • Twitter to share news about emerging trends in your niche, start a conversation with others in your field, display your interests, and give people a sense of your short-form writing.
  • Instagram to show off your creative POV while also giving people a peek at your candid life and personality.

 

 

Sure, you may have an account on each of these platforms, but has it been optimized to attract leads and gigs for you?

 

Probably not.

 

Check out our guide on how to stand out in a crowded design market after you finish this one for more tips!

 

So while you spruce up your pages to reflect your brand ideals and goals, you may be wondering what you’re going to fill them with.

#4. Show Off Your Projects, Achievements, and Failures

Your social media pages are useless unless you create content to educate or entertain visitors who stop by or start following you.

 

Even if you’re not remotely interested in sharing your life with the world, the least you can do is use your platforms as an extension of your design portfolio.

 

Take CalArts grad and rapper Yung Jake for example. He uses his Insta to display the masterpieces he creates using emojis:

Have an article published? Video go viral? Product release everyone can’t stop talking about?

Your social media pages should be the billboard to share your achievements with the world.

 

But don’t try to be too perfect. You should also share your stumbles and avoid all forms of the humble brag as well.

 

That’s because no one likes shameless self-promotion but everyone likes hearingabout people attempting new risks and learning even more by not getting it right on the first try.

 

And the same goes for hiring managers.

 

Sharing the achievements of others is also key if you’re vying for a remote position or a coveted spot at a startup.

#5. Prop Up Other People and Trending Influencers In Your Niche

What’s the best way to show you not only have awesome taste, but are also a team player?

 

By sharing and celebrating the accomplishments of others in your area of expertise.

 

With the rise of remote positions and the constantly collaborative nature of marketing and design roles at startups, companies want to know you’re capable of doing team work just as well as your solo work.

 

You may even make a connection with an influencer who could open the door to your dream career by simply reaching out or promoting their ideas.

 

Now’s not the time to be intimidated by successful people in your industry. So think about leveling up your design and marketing skills to gain more confidence in yourself if you’re nervous about this step.

 

Just know we believe your new social media pages will inspire constant retweets, shares, and friend requests if you follow these tips.

But Even With a Strong Social Media Game, You Need To Make the First Move

These social media secrets will complement your LinkedIn resume and make you stand out as the best potential candidate for the job you want.

 

But you have to take the first step and actually alert said hiring managers and gatekeepers to your pages.

 

So check out the available marketing and design positions over at Fresh Gigs next.

 

And then when companies review your application and check out your social media pages, they’ll know exactly who you are on a professional and personal level and immediately want to snatch you up.

6 Tips for Standing Out in a Crowded Design Market

Landing design jobs takes competing with highly-skilled applicants from all over the world. Learn how to make yourself memorable and more attractive to employers in this quick guide.

 

Is your inbox constantly flooded with work opportunities?

 

Are you landing interviews for positions and jobs you’ve been applying for?

 

If you haven’t found luck with either of those, you may be unknowingly disappearing into the already-saturated design crowd.

 

After all, if it seems like every designer you know has a stunning online portfolio and envy-inducing social media pages, you’re not wrong. #RealTalk, your competition is stiff.

Hiring managers and recruiters have way more choices than ever to fill jobs with the perfect candidate for their project or company.

 

So to make sure you’re always the first choice, it’s time to stand out from the crowd and give off the right impression every time.

 

How to Stand Out In a Crowded Design Market

It’s not enough to simply have a website or a top-notch LinkedIn page to catch the eye of hiring managers and gatekeepers to contract jobs.

To edge out your competition, follow these six tips like a pro:

#1. Show Off What You’ve Accomplished

To give hiring managers a peek at what you do for a living (without contacting your current employer), a website or a place to store your digital portfolio others can access are both ideal.

When you display your large and small projects, it shows companies you’re willing to take on a risk or challenge and you stepped up to the plate and knocked it out of the park.

 

Rather than spelling out every single one of your skills, you’ll be able to prove you have what hiring managers want, such as the ability to: plan, design, coordinate with others, stick to a deadline, satisfy a client’s needs, etc.

 

Your website or portfolio will show off your skills, but this next step will fill in the rest of your story.

#2. Narrow Down Your Unique Style and Stick With It Across Platforms

What sets you apart from every other candidate to a hiring manager?

 

Your skills and education, maybe.

 

But hiring managers want to see a complete, well-rounded person behind a killer resume and design portfolio. So how does everything work together to represent you?

 

Imagine yourself as a brand and create a message you want to deliver to anyone who comes across your online presence.

Whether that’s the language you use to describe yourself on LinkedIn, the colors or filters you use to define your images on Instagram, or even the style of your website logo — make sure it’s memorable, cohesive, and everywhere a potential employer may stumble upon.

 

All this will better tell your story to a hiring manager and make them feel as if they already know you amidst the stack of faceless yet awesome candidates to choose from.

 

Brand personality goes a long way to distinguish yourself from the crowd, but specializing in a specific area shows off your knowledge, skill, and passion.

#3. Focus On Specialization

Fact: Specialists tend to earn more than generalists. So if you have a specialization, it’s time to highlight this attractive quality stat.

And if you don’t have an area you’re currently dominating, find one.

 

It pays to specialize in something you’re actually passionate about as that will not only make you more excited to level up your design skills, it’s also easy to spot this contagious excitement a mile away.

Be authentically excited about your work and every hiring manager will want to snatch you up.

 

To find out what you’re really good at, list three of your strongest talents and three niches you enjoy working in. Then brainstorm ways to combine these to your advantages and design strengths.

 

You may also want to think back on projects you felt proud and happy working on to guide you forward.

 

Then similar to how your social media and website tell the visual story of your aesthetic and personality, you also need to sell yourself with your writing.

#4. Know How To Sell Yourself

Don’t waste the opportunity to tell people what you’re all about — whether on your LinkedIn bio, the About Me page on your website, or your Twitter tagline.

Since hiring managers don’t have tons of time, tell them exactly why you’re rad rather than hoping they come to the same conclusion.

 

What’s your experience? What do you specialize in? What do you want to work on next? How can someone contact you?

 

Answers to these questions shouldn’t be difficult for someone to find. Ideally, you should be able to sum up everything in a blurb no longer than a tweet.

 

You’d be amazed by how few people spend time getting this right. And how few continue learning. Don’t make these mistakes and you’re already a step ahead of the herd.

#5. Keep Your Skills Up-To-Date

Remote jobs allow companies to hire the best talent from all across the world. Since you’re no longer only competing with the townies in your area, your skills must be boast-worthy enough to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with your toughest competition.

 

Stay in-the-loop with publications, websites, and social media accounts of influencers in your niche. Continue your certifications or enroll in online classes to level up your design skills and make you hard to pass up.

#6. Leave Dead-End Jobs

 

What’s a dead-end job?

 

It’s the kind you can’t make any progress in; you can’t advance your skills nor can you move up the proverbial ladder to anything greater.

 

Basically, you’re stuck.

 

Jobs like these tend to zap the life and inspiration right out of you and may even cause you to lose sight of your creativity, motivation to improve, and desire to learn more about your niche.

 

Get out of a dead-end job yesterday. You will never look back with regret and always wish you left sooner.

 

You Were Not Made to Fit In, So Find a Job Where You Stand Out

When you finally do decide to get out of a job that’s going nowhere, don’t fall back into the same trap with another company.

 

Most designers can work from anywhere, so broaden your job search and check out remote positions across Canada at FreshGigs today.

 

Follow today’s tips and you’ll have what it takes to get noticed for all the right reasons.

How to Level Up Your Design & Marketing Skills So You Can Earn More

If you’re looking to earn more money in your marketing or design position, this guide can help you accomplish that in just four easy steps. Check it out now:

Are you feeling stuck in your marketing or design position?

Maybe you’ve been there for years without a sizable raise or title change, or maybe you’re just a mere six months in and already bored by the lack of challenging work.

Instead of sitting there waiting for something awesome to happen, why not take control by leveling up your skills?

Do this and you’ll set yourself up to not only further your career and earn more money, but create rewarding challenges that motivate you to get out of bed each day too.

There are just four steps you’ll need to take to reach this goal — and I’ll be going over each of them today.

Let’s start with the first one, which actually requires a bit of soul searching on your end to get right:

Step 1: Identify Your Strengths and Weaknesses

 

Before you can level up your skills, you need to first figure out where you stand.

To do that, take inventory of both your strengths and weaknesses.

Jot this down in a Google doc or on paper along with a list of:

  • All the tasks you enjoy doing
  • Activities you wish you could do more of
  • Everything you don’t enjoy doing

Next, take a look at your most recent performance reviews and compare these to your very first ones (if you have them).

Notice any common trends or themes here?

Are there any areas you improved?

Or ones you did worse with?

Do these answers match the strengths and weaknesses you identified earlier?

Uncover where you stand, both objectively and subjectively, so it’s easier to identify what needs work.

You’ll turn these flaws into selling points when you hone your skills, which also happens to be your next step.

 

Step 2: Sharpen the Saw

 

From here, your goal is to make yourself even more valuable in the eyes of employers.

And to do that, you’ll need to sharpen your saw, a concept from well-known author Stephen Covey.

Essentially, if you want to earn more money, you need to hone your craft and expand your skill set.

As Darian Kovacs mentions and reiterates in this interview, it’s crucial you’re always learning, especially through experience.

This means you’ll want to:

  • Study trends and test them out for yourself
  • Learn new concepts
  • Understanding older ones on a deeper level

You can and should also consider specializing in one particular area and learning everything you can about it. This will set you apart from the competition.

It’s also essential to look for industry experts in your field and start learning from them. Ask yourself:

What concepts are they mentioning?

 

Why are they important?

 

What can I take away from this?

 

How can I apply it to my work?

 

By seeing what they’re focusing their attention on, you’ll have a better idea of how to enter the competition.

Another way to figure out where to start is to think about how your existing strengths and weaknesses play into what you actually enjoy doing.

So if one of your strengths is something you can spend hours doing without blinking, such as designing websites from the ground up, consider taking this to a more advanced level through online courses or in-person ones.

If one of your favorite activities happens to be a weakness of yours, such as spending too much time deciding which colors you’ll use for said website designs, you can apply the same advice.

To improve your overall skills in this case, you could spend time each week learning how to make decisions faster or create a cheat sheet of your favorite color combinations as a quick go-to.

In a few short weeks, you’ll turn an activity you like but may have been slowing you down into one you can use to your advantage.

This is also the time to consider stepping outside your comfort zone to learn more about what inspires you.

The more you sharpen your saw, so to speak, the fiercer your weapon of mass creation will become. And all that leveling up will lead to one killer portfolio.

 

 

Step 3: Build Your Portfolio and Track Your Performance

 

If you’re able to, track your performance over a few weeks or months to check out the results of all the hard work you’ve been able to achieve leveling up your skills.

Keep adding to and expanding your portfolio so you can show your employer or potential ones just how valuable your new skills are.

All of this will help you build an even larger arsenal of marketable skills, which will help you tremendously in this next and final step.

 

Step 4: Figure Out How to Earn More Money

 

By levelling up your skills, you’ll become more valuable to employers.

Do this and you’ll have a better chance of getting that coveted raise you’ve been working towards.

But other than an annual or merit-based bump in pay and working overtime, are there any other ways you can earn more money?

Would you ever consider moonlighting or freelancing?

If that doesn’t appeal to you, would you consider taking on a new position? One where you could use your newly acquired skills along with your existing experience to level up and earn more?

Most people get trapped by a ceiling or wage cap preventing them from moving up the payroll ladder. And when this happens, going outside your existing position may be the only way to earn more money.

If that’s the case, you’re doing yourself and your future career a disservice by staying at a job that’s not challenging your skill set or paying you enough for it.

Instead, you may want to take a peek at current job openings in the marketing and design fields in Canada to see where you can earn more money for your sought-after skills.

After all, if you beef up your service offerings and don’t actually use them, you’ll just be wasting your time.

Start Levelling Up Your Design & Marketing Skills Today

 

Now that you know how to start earning more money, your first step is to figure out where you stand.

Identify your strengths, weaknesses, and current skills so you can map out a plan of where to go from there.

While you work hard levelling up, spend time creating a portfolio and resume that attracts the right employers.

Once you have all of those pieces in line, you’ll be ready to find a position that rewards your hard work and challenges you at the same time.

The best part is you can continue to use this formula to consistently level up your skills and advance your career whenever you need a new goal to reach.

This means you’ll never have to settle for a job that doesn’t pay well or challenge you.

So are you ready to find a position that excites you to do more with your skills?