Do you have your resume sorted, with bullet points and a “career summary” section meticulously laid out? Of course! You’ve even timed your elevator pitch, and practiced speaking about yourself in front of the mirror while watching your posture and body language cues. You feel self-assured that your creative career has made an impact in the field, and can articulate this fact to a single person or an entire roomful.
What next? Are you missing a key part of how to effectively communicate your career highlights? How do you feature those special projects that went above and beyond, whether you’ve produced award-winning work, had your creative work recognized by a major publication, and/or had your creative project featured in a major ad campaign? Are you being the best self-promoter you can be, while communicating your excellent team-building and client-facing skills?
Take a moment to look through ways in which you are featuring your career highlights, and compare this with these tips and tricks we have laid out and learned from some of the best in the business.
Career Highlights 101
Let’s kick things off with a brief reminder that your resume represents you, acts as a surrogate for you to the hiring team and should prominently feature highlights from your creative career as applies to the position you are submitting an application for. This is the #1 method of placing your top achievements in front of the HR department and specific department you are hoping to work with, and also, arguably, the easiest mistake to make. Fix it now! Zoom over to your resume, lift up those achievements that best summarize what you are capable of and feature them appropriately. Always make sure to adjust your resume for each specific job you apply for in order to make your career summary more relevant and to stand out from the pack!
Next up: influencing others through industry savvy and relevancy. Were you part of a winning team, netting a coveted award during your tenure at an agency? Nail a major client because of your design work? Communicate these facts! Get the word out, starting with social media. In fact, the best place to start is through a LinkedIn post. As LinkedIn is the career source for many recruiting professionals, attract some attention by sharing these highlights – whether you’re hunting for a job or not, the fact that these posts live on LinkedIn will garner you attention and better position you for your next stunning career move.
Other than LinkedIn, make sure you are mentioning key achievements during convention break-out meetings with small groups of peers, during industry events, award ceremonies and similar in-person interactions. Knowing your industry and being at key events for the field, such as awards, presentations and conventions, is already your first step toward a better opportunity, and nailing your career highlights while introducing yourself and handing over your business card can be the key that unlocks a new career path. Making sure you have this information handy and that you are comfortable reciting it is key for meeting new business contacts in what can sometimes be adverse circumstances.
Finally, make sure your colleagues are advocating for you! Do your best to promote their achievements, and ask them to do the same for you. Creative career highlights are best shared by others who know them well, and can vouch for your stellar work efforts.
Setting up for Career Success
Riddle me this: When you are taking away an honor, or when you’ve nailed the perfect client for a project, what’s your next move? Do you silently celebrate? Go out for dinner with your partner?
You should start by publicizing the great news, along with your team! Newsletters can go far in spreading the news to various members of your extended business “family”, creating buzz and gently reminding other clients of your added value. By sharing the news far and wide, particularly to existing clients, you are also signaling that by working with your team they will be working with creatives who can get their brand and organization out there to a wider audience. Keep the synergy and symbiotic relationship flowing: ask clients to share big news – such as if you’ve won an award for work performed with them – across social media and on their own newsletters. Make sure that you never miss the opportunity to gain a larger share of work through making known the high quality of work you perform, and the potential you have to be a game-changer in the marketplace!
In addition to asking clients to share the good news, make sure you are keeping open lines of communication with your Public Relations firm. A key part of the puzzle with PR is to make sure that your press team knows the news, if possible, even before it breaks. Give them time to prepare and strategize around which editors to approach and next steps in terms of outreach and positioning. You’re never expected to do all of your own promotion single-handedly, but for a PR team to succeed it is crucial that they are up to date on the latest news, information, and announcements. Make sure all the information they are putting out into the world is accurate, timely, and – of course – fully proofread.
Whether you are re-positioning your career highlights to transition to a different field altogether or just seeking to elevated yourself in your current field, marking your achievements will be a crucial step in launching you toward an upward trajectory. Once momentum begins to build, others in your field will be more inclined to celebrate your success! Make sure you stay on your colleagues’ minds for upcoming opportunities, and ensure that you advocate for yourself as best you can, and you’ll be able to build on your existing career highlights as you gain more acclaim and visibility in your creative profession.
Have you found a career highlights “hack” that placed you front and center for your dream job? Share your insights in the comments below!