The Give & Take: Issue 1

Welcome to the first issue of our newsletter, The Give & Take!

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February 6, 2020
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At Job Portraits, we're all about balance.


Welcome to the first installment of The Give & Take! We hope this biweekly newsletter will help keep our clients, candidates, friends, families, and other fans of Job Portraits up-to-date with our work, insights, and the latest news in Employer Branding. If you've received this email, we think you'll enjoy and benefit from our content. If you don't want to hear from us every other week, unsubscribe here.

Job Portraits audits a lot of company cultures, so, naturally, we often contemplate our own. Balance is particularly important to us: balance between professional and personal lives, between internal and client-facing work, between collecting and sharing new information. As the name suggests, The Give & Take will follow suit.

Here's what we'll give:
  • A short letter from a different Job Portraits team member with insights on our work, company culture, and the Employer Branding industry
  • A few links to our recent work
  • An update from our LinkedIn extraordinaire, Nate Guggia
And here's what we'll take:
  • Strong, informed stances on trending topics or best practices in Employer Branding
  • At the end of each newsletter, an opinion on hotly debated grammar rules, AP style, or journalism traditions
  • Just a few minutes of your Thursday morning :)

Everybody with me? Great, let's get to it. Today's letter is from our brilliant co-founder, Miki Johnson.


One of our most prized values at Job Portraits is "Ask great questions." That phrase embodies many things: we don't assume we know the answer, we do assume our team members and clients have insights to share, and we think everyone has an important story to tell. In keeping with that value, our weekly all-hands centers on sharing new learnings and a time to "ask anyone anything."

As we launch our newsletter, it made sense for us to start each one with a recent learning from our team. For our first newsletter, I wanted to share a sort of meta-learning: our preference for learning, rather than "knowing."

One of the most surprising things we've learned over the course of this business is that our perpetual question-asking is rare among agencies. I know someone who was reprimanded by the agency he was subcontracting with because he asked the client a question. The message seemed to be, "We are the experts, we don't need to ask your opinion." I've heard a similar sentiment from potential clients who are nervous we're going to barge in and tell them what to do. I've also heard it from our clients when we ask why they chose to work with us; they've told me that our sales process was a conversation, not an aggressive pitch.

As a team largely led by folks who cut their teeth as journalists, this lack of question-asking (and subsequent listening) is unfathomable. This world is too volatile, uncertain, confusing, and ambiguous for any one person—or company—to think they can see from every perspective. Specifically regarding Job Portraits's work, our success depends on collaboration between dozens of people on our team and on our clients'. How would that even work if we couldn't admit what we don't know and ask for help when we need it?

In true Job Portraits style, I'll leave you with a question rather than a statement: Is your organization more interested in people who know a lot already, or those who are most eager to learn?

- Miki Johnson, Job Portraits co-founder


Wondering what's new at Job Portraits? Here's a sample of our most recent work.

A Day in the Life of a Tiler: A Look Inside the Company's San Mateo HQ
Check out this photo story we created for a client, tech startup Tile. Like all great Employer Branding content, this piece looks clean and simple, but it includes substantial information about Tile's culture and values.

Get to Know: Becca Pratt, Copywriter
We create a lot of branding content for clients, but we also use our skills for our own EB purposes. Here's an employee profile of our top-notch copywriter, Becca.

Nate's News
This week, Nate's got the lowdown on the Do's and Don't's of hiring your first Employer Branding lead. If you're angling to add this position to your team, his advice will set you up for success.


A Writer's Take on... Biweekly

Hey there, fellow word-nerds! You might've noticed in the first paragraph, I noted that The Give & Take is a biweekly newsletter. If you're like me—and Miki, Becca, and all our JP journos—this set off that familiar internal alarm that screams, "Check the style guide!!!" We might ruffle some feathers with this, but here's our take on this oft-debated writing rule.

Biweekly means every two weeks. Similarly bimonthly means every other month. So, if you're sending a newsletter twice a week, don't you dare call it biweekly! You're just going to confuse everyone...and probably annoy them with your frequent emails.


Before you go, let me introduce myself! My name is Cydney Hayes, and I'm a content writer and marketer for Job Portraits. I curate and write The Give & Take, so if you have any feedback, don't hesitate to email me at cydney@jobportraits.com.

That's all from me. Happy Thursday, folks!

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