It always makes me so happy to hear… “I always love your photos! How do you do it?“. I can already tell you now: it takes more than a pretty face to get cool pictures: it’s all about a good concept and the right execution. Last week in Barcelona I organized an amazing fashion editorial, and I will take you guys through the process step by step! *Warning* This is quite a read because the organisation of this shoot was a rollercoaster.
A writer’s block. Everyone must know what I’m talking about: those agonizing days when you have to write something but you just cannot find the right words – may it be for a school essay, a blogpost or a personal letter. I definitely had my fair share of blocked days, and let me tell you one thing: staring at your screen for hours won’t get the text done. I can almost hear you thinking… “No sh*t smartypants… so then what should I do?” Over the years that I’ve been writing I picked up a couple of tricks myself, keep reading!
You might be surprised about the title of this blogpost, I mean, if there is a place filled with creativity it is the actual internet. Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, and lots of other websites are made for people to share their creative ideas and products. So why would you say that the internet kills your creativity?
Lately I have been getting lots of questions about my Instagram. If you didn’t read my blogs with 5 Tips on how to get more Instagram Followers, I would definitely recommend you to watch this video of Chua Sihui. I was thinking about something to add to her video, but she pretty much covers it all. So there you go guys… go get Instagram Famous! ;P
Lots of Love,
Over the years I’ve always gotten lots of compliments on my writing, but I don’t think it came natural to me. To be honest, I absolutely SUCKED before going to college. Now when I read back my old essays from my 1st year at university, I cannot help but cringe. So how did I develop my skills you must wonder? It couldn’t be easier: I was simply forced to write a LOT of essays, and at a certain point I came to develop a personal style which people seemed to like.
That being said: I mean people in general, not my teachers at University. They always said that I wrote ‘too accessible’, a critic of which I never understood why that should be a bad thing. OMG! I write in a way that people can actually understand me instead of using lots of confusing academical words that no one likes. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME!
At that time, I hated the fact that I had to write 2 essays per week, but now I couldn’t be more grateful for developing such a great skill! People always ask me for tips but I never really knew what to tell them because for me writing became such a natural thing: I never thought about using special tactics or anything like it. However, lately I have been paying attention to my writing process to see what I do to improve my texts, and I found 7 tips for you guys!
“Have you ever met someone in real life been and been kinda disappointed because they were different than you expected based on their online persona? I have. More than once. More than a dozen times to be honest. I hate being disappointed. If you think your brand is just a logo or some colors or a clever tagline – you’re wrong. If you’re a blogger or small business owner, YOU are your brand.” – Elle from Wonderfelle; Digital Marketing Strategist for lipstick-wearing entrepreneurs.
Last week I already spoke about The Importance of Personal Branding, now it’s time to take it a step further! In this article I will be handing you some very practical and efficient tools to define your own personal brand. Please note beforehand that the reason I ask you to write down 10 answers for all the questions is to force you to get your creative juices flowing! This will bring you to more unique and well-thought ideas which eventually might become your business plan! Please don’t hesitate to ask help from others; they might give you insights you had never thought about before.
Is your CV in the perfect shape and ready to get you your dream job? I’ve noticed that many people don’t really know what’s best for their Curriculum, which makes them miss out on so much opportunities! After continuously working on a better CV since I was 15, several courses on job hunting, and helping countless of my friends with improving their Curriculum and Motivation Letters, it’s my time to help you guys! I structured the most important elements of a winning CV so you can check if you’re on the right track.
1. Visuals Matter
The first and even one of the most important elements of a CV: the presentation. Because let’s face it… are you really getting that job if you can’t even organize your own curriculum? I don’t think so! There are several keys to a visually attractive and organized CV:
- A clear distinction between the several categories of your Curriculum. The absolute musts are these categories (preferably in this order): Personal Details, Statement, Work Experience, Education, Extracurricular Activities, Skills, Languages and Interests. If there is space left it would be great to also add references.
- Use bold, italic, underlines or font sizes to draw the attention to the keywords and divide sections in your curriculum. Make sure you use them consistently in order to avoid confusion. For example:
2015 Founder and Creative Director, Who is that Blonde
Blog about Fashion and Creativity. Overseeing the overall concept of the website. Researching and writing blogs on a weekly basis. Communication with designers and fashion illustrations for collaborations.
- Make sure your CV isn’t longer than two pages. This is a simple matter of prioritizing and writing efficiently.
- Save your Curriculum in a PDF file and name it “CV -your full name-“. This is a proper way to present your CV and like this the HR-Department will immediately know from who is the curriculum. Imagine they get dozens of applications on a daily basis, how confusing must it be if all of them are called ‘resume.doc’!
- There are always discussions whether or not you should add a picture to your CV. So let me clear that up! In the USA and the UK, it’s recommended not to add a picture because of the anti-discrimination laws (regarding age, race and gender). In other countries there are no specific preferences.
2. Tailor to the Job
We’ve all done it. Whizzed the same CV out to lots of employers to save time… Stop! Take the time to change your CV for each role that you apply for. Research the company and use the job advert to work out EXACTLY what skills you should point out to them. They will appreciate the obvious effort. An extra plus you get if you tailor your Curriculum: it will be automatically up to date, which is very important as well! Remember: if you are looking for a serious job quality goes way over quantity.
3. Get Personal
Don’t let your experience speak for itself: explain why you are the best for this job! Write a short statement (not more than 3-5 lines) on which of your skills fit the job, in what way you are a valuable asset for the company, and also where your motivation for this job comes from. Enthusiasm is the key! Sometimes it’s tricky having to ‘sell yourself’ as it might feel like boasting and dishonest, so where do you find the balance? A great trick is to talk about how other people think about you, for example:
“Enthusiastic, focused and perfectionist… these are three words which are often used by former colleagues and employers to describe me and my work. For me it’s very important to keep developing myself and therefore I am ready to take on the challenge to become your new editor in chief! I have many great ideas about what I can do for your magazine, which I would love to discuss during an interview.”
This works because: you are humble but still talk about your skills; show your personal motivation – which isn’t ‘money’; you tailored the CV for this job because you mention the job position and the company; you make the company curious for your ideas so you are more likely to get invited for an interview. What if you don’t have work experience? Change ‘colleagues and employers’ for ‘friends and family’, they know you the best after all! And what if you don’t have ideas? Do your research! Check the work of others and see how they create value for their company. Check out the work of the company and if there is still something missing or ready to be improved. Don’t be scared to be bold and creative, but make sure you don’t step on their toes.4. Use Keywords
In case you’ve uploaded your CV to a job site so recruiters can find you, keywords are very important. Job titles and buzzwords will help a search engine pick out your CV from the digital pile. In case you are sending your tailored CV to a company keywords are also essential. You should implement the keywords which the company used in its job description into your own CV… This way you mirror their needs in your offer, which is very attractive. An extra plus: by using keywords in your curriculum you communicate information as efficient as possible. Make sure they are active, informative and relevant.
5. Feedback is Vital
The nr. 1 turnoff for a company is to see spelling and grammar mistakes in a CV, so make sure you let someone else check it before you send it! Another good reason for someone else to read your curriculum is to check if it’s really as clear and visually attractive as you thought. If you are working on something for a while it’s normal you don’t have an objective view anymore, so a second check-up is definitely recommendable!
Where these tips useful for you guys? I am considering about offering to help some of you out with your CV so I’m curious to hear if that’s something you would be interested in!
Lots of Love,
Everyone is familiar with brands nowadays… Coca Cola, Nike and Apple are three great examples of successful branding strategies which guarantee top sales on a global level. What is it that makes people want to buy the latest IPhone, even if they still have a perfectly functioning mobile device? It has something to do with the image that Apple managed to create throughout the years: an image of technical development, popularity, quality, hype and performance. Even though there is not even a review out on the quality of the newest IPhone yet, people will automatically assume that it will be an amazing Smartphone because it’s from Apple. And they need to have it. Which brings us back to the topic of this article: just like these huge multinationals, also people can create a brand, an image which they radiate to the outside world, a.k.a. their personal brand.
So what does it mean to be a Personal Brand?
Forbes Magazine explains the concept of personal branding perfectly:
“Your personal brand should represent the value you are able to consistently deliver to those whom you are serving. This does not only mean self-promotion – that you should be creating awareness for your brand by showcasing your achievements and success stories. Managing your personal brand requires you to be a great role model, mentor, and / or a voice that others can depend upon.”
Of course you have to promote yourself and create (personal) brand awareness in order to get more career opportunities, but there is more to being a personal brand. If you imagine yourself as a company, promotion would be the job of the ‘marketing department’, not the job of the ‘strategical manager’ or the ‘executive manager’. By creating a personal brand, you must embody all the aspects of a real company. This might sound quite overwhelming, but in fact it shouldn’t be much more complicated than defining who you are as a person (personally and professionally speaking) and act accordingly, consistently.
As a freelancer you are obviously trying to get as much jobs as possible to make sure you can pay your rent in the end of the month (and because – overachievers -), so it totally makes sense you often mix up your communications. We mail dozens of people/ brands on a daily basis so it’s normal to forget who exactly you mailed, what you told them, and whether they already replied.
What you do NOT want is to miss that amazing opportunity because you forgot to reply, or because you should have sent them a kind reminder. So why not keep track of your important conversations to make sure you work as efficient as possible? I tried remembering all of my important convo’s but this eventually will make your head explode – not good for your health nor your business. So how to organize your communication? It literally doesn’t have to be more complicated than a simple Microsoft Word table like shown down below:
Whether you prefer to work digital or to print it out, or whether you like to keep a daily or a weekly table: this will work perfectly fine for you! In case you prefer print you should definitely buy a map where you keep all of your tables so you can check your communication history as well. Personally I prefer to use this schedule in a thematic way so I always know where to find the communication I’m looking for. For example: I have communication tables for the brands I am reaching out to for collaborations, Agencies that are interested in working with me, Photographers that want to organize a shooting, etc. etc. But hey! Everyone has to figure out what works well for him/herself right? Down below I explain a bit more about how I would recommend using this Communication Table:
Who: Write down the name of the company, where you found them and on what e-mail you contacted them.
When: Write down the date you contacted them and, if necessary, on which date you should send them a reminder in case they forget to answer you. Personally I would recommend 7 working days, you don’t want to harass them! If they still don’t answer you after 2 reminders it’s probably best to color block this convo Red and let it go, it’s not necessary to keep wasting your time on e-mailing them.
What: Write down a couple of keywords on what the conversation is about. Also useful: use color codes to prioritize the importance of each conversation so you know on which ones you should react ASAP.
Response: Write down a couple of keywords on what their response was about. In case this block is still blank it means they didn’t answer yet and you should send them a friendly reminder!
Note: Is there anything worth mentioning about this conversation? This is the place to write it down to remind yourself, no need to keep everything stuck in your head when there is more than enough work going on!
Do you think this Communication Table will be useful for you? Give me feedback and I will be working on improving it for you guys!
Lots of Love,