How To Love A Job Search

By Catherine Lang-Cline

I know what you are thinking, is it even possible to love a job search? I’m here to say that it can be. That is because with every change there comes opportunity, so if you look at it with those glasses on you will see the possibilities.

Let’s get really real for a moment. If you are laid off or if you are fired you can feel a bit scared or hopeless. You might also feel very relieved. Regardless of what brought you here, you need to get past the mourning process as quickly as you can and get busy with your new job of finding a job. Gather up all that you know about you;

  • What are you good at?

  • What do you want to do next?

  • What specific skills do you have?

  • What did you learn in your last job?

Look at it. Look at it again. You are a pretty awesome candidate for someone.

Now what?

  • All of that goes into a resume update.

    • Really focus on your strengths,

    • Customize your resume for the job that you want putting those skills first

  • Send your resume in for job postings.

    • Job boards are not my favorite thing as they can be a bit of a black hole, but if you get no response you at least know what kind of roles they have

  • Make a friend with a recruiter.

    • Find and work with a recruiter that you can trust and really wants to help you

    • Be open to a temporary job that leads to full time

    • Temp jobs are a great way for YOU to try a company out.

  • Send your resume to any company that you would like to work at

  • Now is your chance to get into that company of your dreams

    • Find out who the hiring manager is and send your resume directly

  • Tell everyone you know that you are looking for your next opportunity

    • The more people that know that your skills are available, the more connections you will have for that dream job

    • If someone can recommend you, that is gold

  • Get ready to talk about YOU

    • This can be hard sometimes

    • Own what you have accomplished and tell them how YOU can help them.

This is where the love comes in. You have a great history of work. You have probably worked for some great companies and learned a lot of things that will benefit your next employer. Be proud of that, really proud. You are in a position to choose where YOU want to work now, maybe get that salary you deserve. The possibilities are endless but your job search doesn’t have to be if you have a resume that says what you can do and when you interview you can really sell you. Embrace the change and love you and what you can do.

Grab the cocktail sauce, the world is your oyster.

A Day in the Life: Q+A with Alexa Sison

I am a Filipina originally from Cleveland, Ohio but I’ve been living in Columbus for 9 years now—currently living in Italian Village. I am a plant lover and sustainability activist. By day, I am fortunate to being doing something I really love and have fun as a Graphic Designer at Green Growth Brands.


Though I work in an office full-time, my mornings are always a little different. I like to check in with my body to see what it needs every day so some mornings, I need to stretch and do yoga before sitting down (or standing) to work at my desk, other days I go to the gym, do a guided meditation, or write in my gratitude journal. I like to ease into my day every morning reading emails and organize my tasks with a hot cup of lemon water or herbal tea.


Every day is always so different. We have a lot of exciting things happening and a lot of different types of projects so I never get bored! We’re always challenging what we can do with our designs and rooting each other on which I think helps us all to do our best work. Some days I work on analog projects like hand-lettering for a t-shirt or blog concepts. Other days, I’m grinding away on product labels for Meri + Jayne water bottles or our recently launched CBD-infused beauty products for Seventh Sense Botanical Therapy. CBD is something I personally really believe in, and I’m so thankful to get to work and live in this world every day. I’m so happy that Katie at Portfolio Creative connected me with such a great team of people.


I’m a hugeee foodie. My partner and I cook together at home a lot, but we also love going out to restaurants. My favorite places in Columbus are Comune and Alchemy. I have a lot of food restrictions, but those places always have options for me that make me feel good and taste amazing.

How Columbus Captured My Heart

By Catherine Lang-Cline

When I first came to Columbus it was anything but a love affair. 20+ years ago I left my home in the Chicago suburbs for what was referred to as a “flyover city”. No family, no friends, and I didn’t have a job but quickly got into Bath & Body Works as a freelance designer.

Fast forward 20+ years and this has become my home. How? It was quite the evolution. A perfect storm. Let’s start with this, Les Wexner and the people at his companies delivered some of the most amazing talent from all over the country to live and work here. Many stayed long after their career ended with LBrands and they started businesses, joined the other Fortune 500 companies here and really got involved with growing the area. Many people started seeing that Columbus was something special and keeping great talent here was key.

This flux of talent started getting Columbus noticed. Starting as a test market for fast food, it quickly evolved to be a great market to open any restaurant. Now you could lose count of all of the great places to eat when before your choices were limited. Who doesn’t like a city that can provide you with a great meal?

Restaurants grow even more when there is something to do. The Greater Columbus Arts Council has increased the quality of life here by helping artists, museums, theaters, etc., with the help of City Council and the community. We have experienced huge strides by having an amazing art museum, wonderful theater, all types of music, and full arsenal of every type of talent either living here or visiting here and it can be found everywhere. The people living in Columbus welcomed all of this into the community.

What else was growing? Well, just about all businesses. The Columbus Partnership, Columbus 2020, the Columbus Chamber, NAWBO, WPO, EO, YPO, Vistage, Business First, Columbus CEO, Smart Business, and more, started or grew by really investing in making this a strong business community. Worth mentioning that at the same time Columbus had a mayor that was full of passion for the city, Mayor Michael Coleman and his team lead the charge on a lot of this change that continues today.

That perfect storm changed Columbus from a college town, a flyover town, and a cow town. Columbus rose up and began getting on many prestigious lists of why this is one of the best cities to live in or travel to. It has become a hub of craft breweries, entrepreneurs, fashion, food, and a place to raise your family. Columbus is offering so much that it won the Smart Cities competition for a grant to show how smart we actually are.

For me, in 20 years I have made many friends, grew a family, and grew a business. What’s not to love about that? Columbus, I am grateful to you and the wonderful, helpful, friendly people living here. When I arrived here I was skeptical, but you surprised me... and I am a bit dizzy from the love that I have for you. Happy Valentine’s Day.

Health is Important at Any Age

By Dani Shimits

When I was 23, I got my cholesterol numbers taken for the first time. It was a service offered at work and I was like sure, why not. Although I was young and considered myself a healthy individual overall, I was shocked when my total cholesterol came back high. This is when I learned cholesterol runs in my family and these numbers are something, I need to be aware of.

Heart health is important no matter what age or how healthy you think you are. There are many factors that can affect your overall health and being aware of your risk factors can help you manage your own heart health. The higher your blood pressure is, the harder your heart must work to pump the blood throughout your body. The more plaque you have built up in your arteries (which is considered your cholesterol) the harder is it for the blood to be pumped through your arteries. This leads to your heart doing extra work which then may lead to heart health issues down the road.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death among men and women in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, someone in America has a coronary event every 25 seconds. Awareness is a key factor when looking at heart health. Knowing your family history and getting yourself screened on a yearly basis can prevent heart disease.

Keeping your heart healthy is also going to keep yourself healthy overall. Being mindful of your movement and how you fuel your body daily. How are you managing your stress? Taking care of your overall well-being is also going to keep your heart healthy. It is never too late to invest in yourself and your well-being. Start now by going and getting a health screening from your doctor. Look at your numbers and be aware! Your health STARTS with you!

Tips for managing heart health:

  1. Manage overall nutrition. Be mindful of your sodium and processed food intake. Limit alcohol (I did not say avoid) intake. Cook meals at home and meal plan with your family.

  2. MOVE!!! Move throughout the day. You are at home and work the majority of your day so do things to get more movement. Example, park further away from the door, make copies to the printer that is further away from your desk or use the bathroom further away from your desk.

  3. Avoid tobacco and nicotine because they can cause damage to your arteries, raise your blood pressure and make it harder to get oxygen throughout the body.

  4. Be mindful of your stress and how much sleep you are getting. These can both lead to higher blood pressure and higher blood sugar readings, which then can lead to increased risk for heart disease.

  5. Be an advocate for YOUR health. You know your body the best, be mindful of the signals your body gives you daily. For example, I get irritable and sassy if I have not slept well. Some people get headaches when they are stressed.

Time Management: Getting It All Done in the New Year

By Kristen Harris

If you’re anything like me, you’re headed into the new year with big plans and goals, maybe a long list of things you want to accomplish both personally and professionally. Goals are good, but how on earth are we going to get it all done?

Time management is one area where I’m continuously trying to improve. We’re all given the same number of hours in a day so I want to use my allotment wisely.

First, I have to decide what I’m going to spend my time on, and the answer can’t be “everything”.

  • Be Clear on Priorities. I have lots of different interests and new ideas every day (#curseofcreativepeople). I am also fortunate enough to be offered many opportunities, from trips and events to board positions, business connections, and creative projects. While I want to do everything all the time, I know that I just can’t. I’m one person, and being worn out isn’t fun either. Over the holidays I spent quite a bit of time thinking about what is most important to me right now and where I want to spend my time and energy this year. Being clear on priorities helps me decide whether a new idea, opportunity or plan is the right thing for right now. Which leads to...

  • Saying No, or Not Right Now. I’m really working on this one because by nature I’m a “yes” person. I like helping people, I like new opportunities, and I have a lot of different interests. But I’ve realized that I can’t do everything well all at the same time, so right now I’m working on saying “not right now”. Join a new committee? Not right now, but maybe when this current one is done in June. Start a new project? Not right now, ask me again in a few months. Meet up for a coffee chat? Not right now, but let’s schedule a time next week. Stopping to consider whether a new opportunity is something I really want to do and if it fits into my schedule has helped me say yes to lots of things, but not all at the same time.

By knowing my priorities and saying “not right now”, I’ve reduced the number of things I’m trying to fit into my day. From there, I apply a few tools and techniques to manage my time to get the things I’ve said “yes” to.

  • Schedule Meetings. I live by my calendar! While it might seem counterintuitive, scheduling meetings can be a great way to manage your time. I have weekly meetings with people on my team and try to schedule short meetings to discuss issues or solve problems. This saves us both from continuous interruptions or pop-ins and reserves time where we have each other’s undivided attention. If the issue can wait, we save it for our weekly meeting. Of course, anything critical or time-sensitive gets taken care of right away, but you might be surprised how many things can wait a few days. Plus, reducing interruptions increases productivity, so by having meetings I’m actually saving time!

  • Decide What’s Important. I’m a big fan of the Eisenhower Matrix. (I’ve used this for years but only recently found out the origin. Apparently, it was a favorite tool of President Dwight Eisenhower...who knew?!) Basically, every task is urgent or not urgent, and important or not important. Something that is urgent and important needs to be done now, and usually always happens. But items that are important but not urgent often don’t get time dedicated to them even though they could be very impactful. Things that are urgent but not important should be delegated to someone else, and just let go of anything that is both not urgent and not important–delete it from your to-do list. Using this system can help identify items that need time scheduled to make sure they happen. Great segue...

  • Schedule Work Time. I am notorious for trying to jam too much into a day. To overcome this, when I have projects that need dedicated time to concentrate (like writing this article), I schedule blocks of time on my calendar. This accomplishes three things: it reserves time to get the work done, other people see it on my calendar and give me space, and it’s a reality check on what I can really get done. Often I start to block time for projects in addition to the meetings I already have scheduled, and suddenly my calendar is full. Or overfull. If there are simply not enough hours in the day or week to accomplish everything I’ve planned, then it’s time to make some decisions. Depending on the situation I might need to shift deadlines, reschedule meetings or change priorities. But at least I’m making these decisions upfront rather than getting to the end of the day having run out of time for an important task or deadline.

    Managing time helps me accomplish what is most important, and that doesn’t necessarily mean more work. Time management means you can work on art projects, go to the gym, spend time with family, take an afternoon nap, go to the park, or start a side hustle. This year, put it on your calendar and get it done!

What’s Hot This Season? Contract Employees!

By Catherine Lang-Cline

Paychex recently put out a news release titled “New Paychex Data Shows Independent Contractor Growth Outpaces Employee Hiring in Small Businesses”. The data basically tells us that contractors are being utilized more than hiring employees to do the work. Why is this happening and would it work for your business?

According to the data, small businesses are using the most contractors. This is because it is much easier to hire a person on a temporary basis to complete your project than to hire them as a full-time employee. A business can hire a highly skilled professional to tackle a project to perfection then have them step out and move on. No costs for hiring, firing, or healthcare. Think of it like this, your company will always have plumbing. Do you need to hire a plumber as an employee or just call them when their specialty is needed? More realistically, do you really need an employee that is an IT specialist or web designer 24/7 or can they set you up and go?

Large businesses use contractors a lot as well. They are used for IT, creative, trade work, transportation, and utilities. If you are a large business you report to advisors and possibly a board of directors. Full-time employees are headcount. Contractors are expenses. If things get slow or as projects become complete, it is much more pleasant to report to the board that you are cutting expenses rather than cutting headcount. The cost of hiring comes into play here as well as is trying to hire the perfect individual with the ideal skill set. Most of the time, the perfect person isn’t even looking, they are already working for someone else.

If you choose to add contractors rather than hire a full-time employee there are some rules you will need to follow according to the IRS and they listed in layman’s terms on the Paychex website that was referenced in the news release;

“The level of control an employer has over a worker generally determines whether a worker should be considered an employee or contractor for tax purposes. Here are commonly accepted indicators of control:

Behavioral: Does the employer control how and when the worker does their job?

Financial: Does the employer control when and how the employee is paid and which expenses, if any, are reimbursed by the employer?

Relationship type: Does the worker have a written contract or receive any type of benefits such as sick leave, paid vacation days, or health insurance? Is the relationship ongoing or finite in length?”

There is another option. For example; at Portfolio Creative, a staffing, recruiting, and project company has been finding temporary workers and contractors for their clients for years in marketing and advertising. Portfolio Creative can serve as a bit of a buffer for the IRS and they handle the requirements listed above as well as the additional ones on the Paychex website. This sort of situation makes it even easier to get the best talent at your office on a temporary basis.

After all, all of the cool companies are doing it, don’t get left out.

Asking for a Raise? Timing Matters

By Kristen Harris

You’ve been working hard, doing great work, contributing to your company, and you want to ask for a raise. But is now the right time? When and how do you bring it up? Is it too soon (or not soon enough)?

Asking for a raise is one thing; getting it is another. With a little forethought and preparation, you’ll improve your chance for success. Go barreling into the conversation without a plan or respect for business etiquette, and it can quickly become awkward.

The Etiquette of Asking for a Raise (or How to Not Make it Weird that You Want More Money)

#1: Talk to the right person.

Any conversation about your pay should be with your direct supervisor or manager, but realize that they may not be the final decision-maker. If their response is that they need to discuss it with someone else, respect that answer and ask when would be an appropriate time to follow up on your request. Even if you know who the final decision-maker is, do not go directly to them; this is one place where you need to follow the chain of command.

#2: Be sure the timing is right to justify an increase.

Have you been in the position long enough to prove your worth? Are you taking on increased tasks or responsibilities? Have you developed additional skills or experience? You may think “it never hurts to ask” but actually it can. Asking for a pay increase too soon or at an inappropriate time can leave a bad impression.

I believe pay increases should be tied to increased work contributions, not tenure. But, if you really need a time frame, don’t bring it up any sooner than 6-12 months into a new role. When hired, you agreed on a certain level of pay; asking for more after a few weeks or months is unprofessional and unfair to the company. They may hesitate in the future when perhaps you really have earned an increase; it’s hard to regain that trust.

#3: Schedule a time to talk.

Most people don’t like to talk about money anyway, so don’t spring this on your manager or just “pop in”. If you have a regularly scheduled one-on-one meeting with your supervisor, that’s the ideal place to start the conversation. If not, then schedule a time or check their calendar for some free time. When the meeting comes around, make sure it’s still a good time to talk because you want their undivided attention with no distractions.

#4: Choose the right setting.

Any conversation about pay needs to be one-on-one with your supervisor. If they have a private office that works; otherwise, ask to meet in another private location. You don’t want others overhearing your conversation, and definitely, do not bring up pay in a meeting or group setting.

#5: Know what you’re asking for.

Do your research, evaluate your role, and put together your case for why you’re worth the number you’ve come up with. Also, know the range you’d be fine with, and understand that there could be pre-determined pay ranges for each role in your company. Generally, the larger the company, the more structured the pay levels are. Your role might have an upper limit, and you may even already be at the top of that range. If that’s the case, ask what you can do to continue to grow and move into the next level. Check out Asking for a Raise? Four Steps to Getting What You Want and Pay Matters: Getting What You’re Worth to prep yourself.

Being thoughtful about the timing and setting of any conversation, including one about pay, greatly improves the likelihood that you’ll have a positive outcome. Be prepared and good luck!

Pay Matters: Getting What You’re Worth

By Kristen Harris

Everyone wants to be paid what they’re worth. But what exactly is that? What factors determine your worth? How do companies determine the pay for a role and how can you find that out? People generally don’t like to talk about money so anything related to pay tends to be murky and mysterious.

First, it’s important to keep in mind what type of work you’re considering. There is a big difference between pay rates for freelance or project work as opposed to hourly contract roles or full-time salaries. Let’s break it down.

> People who work on a freelance basis are running their own business, even if it’s a business of one. Generally, you’ll be a 1099 contractor with all of the responsibility of finding your own work, running the business, paying the employer’s portion of payroll taxes, and providing your own healthcare and retirement. You have flexibility, but when you don’t work you’re not paid; there’s no holiday pay or paid time off. Whether you’re paid hourly or by the project, generally freelance rates are higher than contract or full-time because you’re taking on all of the financial risk and responsibility.

> With a full-time position, you’re generally paid the same salary every week, or an hourly rate with a guaranteed number of hours per week. The employer probably also offers benefits like paid time off, holiday pay, healthcare benefits, retirement plans, and maybe even an onsite health coach or foosball table! Plus the employer’s share of your payroll taxes is paid by the company. If you divide the annual salary by 2080 hours (the number of work hours in a year), the hourly rate might actually be lowest of the three but add in an additional 30-40% of your salary for those benefits to get a true picture of your total compensation.

> The pay for an hourly staffing or contract role usually falls somewhere between a freelance rate and full-time salary. Depending on the firm you’re working with, you may have a level of benefits similar to a full-time position (that’s us) or little-to-no benefits provided by the firm. If a lot of benefits are provided, the hourly rate will be more similar to a full-time rate; when no benefits are provided some firms pay a slightly higher hourly rate (although many do not).

So, with the context of whether the position is freelance, staffing/contract or full-time, how do you know if the rate being offered is appropriate?

Pay ranges are a bit of art and science. There are some online resources where you can search by title, experience level, location, and other factors. I always like to look at 3-4 different sources, remove any outliers, then find the average. These resources usually gather their information from individuals self-reporting so this gives you a good idea of the going rate for that type of position. That’s the science. From there you have to consider other factors like your particular experience or level of expertise, your reputation, whether you already have a relationship or have worked together before, and even the company itself. Some places simply pay more than others; every business is structured differently.

Even with all of your research, at some point, it might just come down to whether the pay being offered fits within what you’re willing to accept. If there is a gap, consider other ways to bridge it. What else is important to you? Sometimes it’s easier for a company to provide additional time off, flexibility or other benefits rather than additional pay. Just keep in mind that any negotiations need to happen upfront, before taking the job. Once you agree on a rate, that should be the expectation on both sides.

We all want to feel good about ourselves and that we’re being paid “what we’re worth”. However, there really is no magic formula to come up with that number. Only you know what is most important to you, what you’re willing to compromise on, and what’s a deal-breaker.

Getting “what you’re worth” really means that you feel appropriately compensated for the work you’re doing, and that number is different for everyone. It helps to understand the different types of work arrangements, and the market for your skill set. We work with creatives in this area every day, just let us know how we can help!

Your Guide in Deciding What to Wear for an Interview

By Catherine Lang-Cline

Today is the big day, the day of the interview, and you are swaying back and forth in front of your closet wondering what you should wear. There are some definite “do’s” and “don’ts” when it comes to picking out what you will wear, this is a guide to help you make the best choice.

  1. Pick something out the day before the interview, the week before the interview, just not the day OF the interview. This will make sure that there are no last minute problems with your attire. Everything fits properly, no buttons are missing, no holes and everything is wrinkle-free.

  2. Wear something simple. If you choose to be dramatic or daring in your wardrobe choice, it could backfire. Keep your choices simple. Ideally, no bold patterns, tailored, neutral colors, and simple lines. You don’t want your clothes to overpower you. YOU are the one that deserves the focus. If you wear something too bold or blousy that is the only thing that the interviewer will remember. If you know that everyone in that company wears t-shirts and ripped jeans, great! Wear a nice t-shirt and jeans. Elevate the look they have to be taken seriously.

  3. Keep jewelry to a minimum. Again, a statement piece could have its place, but you don’t want to be remembered for some giant pink earrings. Really determine if it looks good or if it looks distracting.

  4. Speaking of distracting, piercings, gauges, and tattoos can also be distracting. Use your best judgment. Sorry to say, it is ideal to remove piercings and to cover tattoos. You would be surprised how quickly a person can make a judgment call about you. I understand it is you. Loud and proud. But you can be you once they love you and you get the job. The last thing you want is to be completely qualified and you were immediately taken from consideration because of something that doesn’t even matter. It’s like when your mom finds out you got a tattoo. Chances are, she was already in love with you already.

  5. Wear something that makes you feel good about you. If you don’t have the clothes, go out and get them. Simple clothes in neutral colors are easy to find and they can be found at any price point. It may be worth just investing in that one power outfit and keeping it on hand for anytime you want to make a great first impression.

You are now ready for that interview. Go get that job!

Setting and Keeping Goals

By Catherine Lang-Cline

It can be a New Year’s Resolution or maybe you heard someone talk and it completely inspired you to make a change. Either way, goals are always made with good intentions, but how do you keep them? Start by figuring out what you want to accomplish, dig deep because it might not be what you think it is on the surface. For example, are you always feeling exhausted? Maybe the answer is not to sleep more. Maybe it’s the food you eat and your goal is to eat better or maybe you just really need a vacation? Do you hate going into work? Is the goal to get a better job or just to resolve some issues? Do you have some achy joints? Maybe it is time to figure out what is going on there?

You have determined the real issue, now let’s discuss keeping your goal on track. These are some things that have worked for me:

  1. The most effective thing that you can do is to tell someone your goal. What is even better, telling many people your goal. Create a group that all share their goals and hold each other accountable. Once it gets out of your head and into a conversation the greater the chance you will have to complete it. You may find that your group can help you with your goal and you can help with theirs.

  2. Find an image of your goal and put it in a place where you can look at it every day. Looking at your goal every day will not only help you visualize the goal, but it makes it feel more comfortable for you, especially if it is a lofty goal. It will be a constant reminder of what you are wanting to achieve. Create an entire dream board of goals! More goals create a better chance of you completing at least one.

  3. Take time out of your week to strategize how you will achieve this goal. Find some quiet time and start to write and research what it will take to make this goal happen. Treat it with the respect it deserves because we all deserve to make great changes.

  4. Add this goal to your calendar. If you are working out, mark out some time for exercise. Block out time for a vacation and plan it. Put into your calendar the time that you are going to call that doctor, purge that closet, or rewrite that resume. Don’t schedule anything for this week or maybe this month. Plan it 2 months out. Why? If you plan it too early, it is easier to make excuses. If you know that it is coming for weeks, you can plan around it and keep your promise to yourself.

Your goals can be personal, professional, lofty, or simple. (Sometimes those simple ones are fun to just check off so we can get addicted to accomplishment.) Whatever you chose to do, take it seriously, come up with a plan, and ask for help if you get stuck. For me, the feeling of getting this done is fantastic and sometimes it can change your life. True story.