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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?  

All the best in the New Year!


The staff of would just like to wish everyone – readers and contributors alike, a very happy New Year!

Thank you so much for being part of the experience. We really hope your 2016 is amazing. Keep warm, stay safe and be good.

(And if you can’t be good, be good at it!)


SEO Specialist: Job Description

Image of Businessman working with laptop in office from Shutterstock

A Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Specialist analyzes, reviews and implements changes to websites so they are optimized for search engines. This means maximizing the traffic to a site by improving page rank within search engines.

Simply put, in the words of, “it is the job of the SEO specialist to make your website show up at the top of the search engine results. Ten years ago that job looked a lot different than it does now, and it requires a whole new skill-set from what was needed back then.

A modern specialist must be a problem solver and decision maker, with the ability to prioritize and develop relevant and engaging content. You know the old adage, “Content is king?” well, modern SEO specialists know that search engines are placing increasing value on quality content  Continue reading

What is a Brand Strategist? Job Description

Image of Creative Working Space from Shutterstock.

A Brand Strategist often works under the Brand Manager or marketing team to ensure a consistent and effective brand message. S/he will often need to be forward-thinking to anticipate future trends and success of a product or service.

A strategist will develop positioning recommendations, guide market research analysis and define brand elements and tone. A Brand Strategist will find ways to further enhance the branding of a product or service, as well as develop a marketing plan through analysis of current market data and trends. Continue reading

What is a User Experience/Interface Designer?

A note to readers: This post was totally revamped for relevancy on March 13, 2017

User Experience/Interface Designers are responsible for designing websites and other applications with user-centered design principles. This means they design sites to best support the end user through studying user research, testing and psychology principles.

A User Experience Designer primarily creates navigation structures and interface functions, which serve as the foundation of a site. An expertise in programs and coding languages is a necessity of this position.

Recommended Skills

The following are skills and past experience to look for in a UI/UX Designer, dependent on the role the person will play in your company. You’ll likely want to remove a few to provide a concise description of the position. Gain insight into technologies required from your IT team, and ask to see a portfolio of previous work to give insight into the person’s style, logic, and flexibility.

As a job seeker, aim to use these phrases as keywords when describing your previous roles, and use the following list as a starting point to round out your skills.

  • Languages and infrastructures, eg: HTML, CSS, Javascript, jQuery, Perl, XML/XSL
  • Software skills, eg: Flash, Photoshop, InDesign, Dreamweaver
  • Google Analytics
  • Project Management
  • Competitor Analysis
  • Customer Analysis
  • Content Development
  • Wireframing
  • Prototyping
  • Testing and Debugging
  • Development Planning
  • Analytics and Tracking
  • Branding
  • Graphic Design

An Entry-level employee will typically have 1-2 years’ experience in a similar role or on independent projectsd, whereas a Mid-level employee will have 2-5 years’ experience, and a Senior generally 5+ years. Executives and Upper-level Management will have 10+ years’ experience, and will likely have acquired experience in back-end development, dependent on the size of the company and what their role will involve.


UI/UX is an often self-taught career, with professionals coming from a wide range of backgrounds and schooling including Information Technologies, Web Development, Interaction Design, New Media Design, Graphic Design, and Marketing. Ask potential employees about their path to UI/UX Specialization, and what, if any, continued education courses or paths they have taken.

As a job seeker, utilize MOOCs and online courses from sites like and to add to your education. If you’re looking for a career change, you may want to consider a coding bootcamp such as or to jumpstart your skill set.


The median salary for a User Experience Designer in Canada is $58,748 as of 2017, according to This varies from $44,224 – $81,426 dependent on experience level and skill set.

Questions to Ask When Hiring for a UI/UX Designer

  • How would you describe your style?
  • How would you define our user needs?
  • What is your design process?
  • What are some apps or websites that you love?
  • Do you follow any industry blogs or authors?
  • What is your process with a shared project (Product Managers, engineers, other designers)?


Ready to hire a UI/UX Designer? Post a job with Canada’s top marketing and creative job board now.

Looking for a job in design? Check out our listings.

Senior Graphic Designer: Job Description

Image of Fashion designers working in studio sitting on the desk from Shutterstock.

The senior graphic designer is responsible for conceptualization and implementation of design of solutions that meet marketing strategies from concept to completion. They often have the designation of “senior” because of their authority in decision-making, or because they hold the lead role on projects and supervise intermediate and junior designer(s) in creating concepts, comps, layouts and final art. In general, a Senior Graphic Designer would have a degree in graphic design and three to five years’ experience in lead designer roles or previous senior designer experience.

More than pretty pictures

This position requires specialized knowledge of methods and techniques of graphic design and layout. It also often requires higher-level executive and client interaction Continue reading

Marketing Director: Job Description


A Marketing Director oversees a company’s marketing strategy, including policies, goals and initiatives. This position is tasked with conducting marketing research and developing marketing plans for specific products or services in a company. A Marketing Director must be able to read and understand the marketplace and adjust plans accordingly. Depending on the company, he or she can be responsible for everything from analyzing markets to implementing sales strategies.

Marketing Directors should have a strong understand of statistics and math, as well as the principles of marketing and sales.

Marketing Directors should have a strong understand of statistics and math, as well as the principles of marketing and sales. As they will oversee projects, they should have strong people skills to be able to lead and direct the work of those under them. They generally report to top  management.

Most Marketing Directors have an advanced degree in business. At the minimum, they should have a degree in marketing and at least 10 years’ experience in the field. Marketing Directors might start their careers in advertising, product management or sales.


Ready to hire a Marketing Director? Post a job with Canada’s top marketing and creative job board now.

Looking for a job in marketing? Check out our listings.

Media Buyer/Planner: Job Description


A Media Buyer/Planner identifies the best mix of media channels to deliver effective marketing or advertising messages to the targeted audience. He or she would negotiate with media vendors for media space and time, monitor placements and manage contracts.  A Media Buyer also uses research data to decide on the best media strategy for product/brand exposure within the allocated budget.

Media Planners must have strong interpersonal and communication skills, and they will discuss advertising strategy with clients.

Media Planners must have strong interpersonal and communication skills, and they will discuss advertising strategy with clients. They also analyze and research market demographics and collaborate with the communication team to best reach the targeted audience.

A degree in advertising, marketing, business management or communication is generally required for this position. Little to no experience is required for entry into this position, and training usually occurs on the job.


Ready to hire a Media Planner? Post a job with Canada’s top marketing and creative job board now.

Looking for a job in media? Check out our listings.

The Job of Marketing at the Art of Marketing

SethGodinLooking for a marketing job? Consider sharpening your skills at the upcoming Art of Marketing Conference in Toronto.

(See the ticket giveaway below…)

Why should you attend? Seth Godin. Need we say more.

If that’s not reason enough, how about Jonah Berger – the guy Fast Company is calling the next Malcolm Gladwell.

Oh and by the way. Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, and Biz Stone of Twitter fame, plus David Usher, Juno award winning musician, will be there. Continue reading

Fresh Canadian Creative & Marketing Jobs May 8th, 2012

Here’s a quick run down of some of the hottest Canadian creative and marketing jobs making the rounds so far this week:

  • Social Media Manager in Vancouver with very hip and classy clothing company Indochino Apparel Inc.
    More Info + Apply for Job

  • Sales and Design Consultant in Calgary with Quintaro Imaging, a production facility for fine graphics specializing in graphic reproduction and commercial art for architects, designers and corporate professionals in hospitality and healthcare industries, as well as residential projects.
    More Info + Apply for Job

  • Digital Marketing Coordinator in Toronto with Circle of Care, an accredited non-profit multi-service agency serving clients across the Toronto Area.
    More Info + Apply for Job

  • Director, Member and Community Insights in Vancouver with Vancity credit union, very hot job with well established and community oriented company.
    More Info + Apply for Job