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"Didn’t have a lot of artistic talents outside of what we were looking for"

that one is very surprising to me. as someone who has a lot of different artistic interest, id say its the drawing, painting, music, etc that keep me from getting board with my main focus, logo design, and certainly make me better at that main focus. i love what i do during the day, but when i go home at night, i still want to create. just not with the same kind of stuff. its good to grow horizontally and vertically.

This is a great point, Brandon. I am glad you brought it up. Improving your creativity and expanding your horizons is wonderful – sounds like you have a lot of talent! What you (or everyone else looking for a job) want to look out for is appearing overqualified for a job or not the right fit. I’ve experienced both of these situations as both an applicant and a hiring manager. As an applicant, I have been told that I was overqualified for a position I was applying for, and I’ve been told by interviewers, “While you have talent, you’re not really a good fit for what we’re looking for.” In both cases, I didn’t get the job.

Applicants often feel it’s in their best interest to list ALL of their artistic/creative talents. From a hiring manager’s perspective, I would suggest it’s not. For example, let’s say I am looking for someone to come in and design flyers (that’s really about it – nothing else). You interview for the position along with another applicant. The other applicant stresses their incredible skills in web design, and videography, while you come in and stress your skills in designing flyers. All other things equal, you’re in a much better position to get the job because you’re a better fit.

Keep in mind that the goal of a hiring manager is not to hire the best designer or most creative applicant, their goal is to hire the best designer for the position that is being offered. They want to find the applicant that’s going to be the right fit. In addition to weeding out applicants that are under qualified, they also have to weed out those that are overqualified or those that just don’t have the right skill set for the position.

Referring back to the example above, as a hiring manager, I want to know that you have designed flyers, that your focus is designing flyers and that you love designing flyers. While you may have other creative interests, I am only concerned with the ones that will help you do the job I want you to do. And in fact, if I know you’re a famous painter or someone looking to transition into the web design field, I will think twice about hiring you because I’ll be afraid that you won’t stick around long. Hiring people is expensive and time consuming, so hiring managers take extra steps to ensure they hire an applicant they think will be with them for a while. With that said, during your interview, if you stress a passion for all of these other creative outlets beyond what the job entails, the hiring manager will being to wonder if you want the job, or if you’re going to be a good fit for the job.

So what does a multi-talented, creative bird like you supposed to do? First, identify what skills the job is looking for. Next, focus your resume and interview answers on what skills the job is looking for – make sure the interviewer feels that you are a good fit for the job. Yes, this means you can and often should have multiple resumes. Lastly, remember that it’s no problem if you have many creative outlets – that’s great. I would just suggest you ONLY focus on the creative outlets that are applicable to the job that you’re applying for. If the job doesn’t include painting but includes logo design, make sure you stress your logo design talents and not painting. As an applicant, if you can figuratively paint a picture that you want the job, you can do the job and that you are a good fit for the job – there’s a good chance you’ll get the job. 

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  • BASAS - Freelancer Getting Strung Up by Client
    A very small sample of the actual illustrations drawn for the Being a Starving Artist Sucks, and Verbal Kung Fu for Freelancers book. The illustrations were done by: Matt Hein, Rich Arnold and Carlos Ponce - 3 outstanding designers.