We’re hiring experienced writers. Work at the nexus of startups, storytelling, and recruiting.

Help startups build strong employer brands with culture-focused storytelling that improves the candidate experience

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November 12, 2018
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Basics: We’re looking to start relationships with 2–3 experienced writers based in the U.S. You’ll work remotely, and we’ll compensate you $45–65 per hour on a freelance basis. We work project-to-project, but you can expect an average of five hours per week in 2018, with opportunities for more hours per week starting in January. In summer 2019, we’ll look to bring on at least one writer full time. Apply here when you’re ready. :)

Everybody writes. But you’re not everybody’s writer. Before you dive into this job description, here’s an easy test of whether you might click with our team: Do you remember, with satisfaction, an email or letter you wrote more than a year ago? Sounds a bit silly, but if your answer is yes, we hope you’ll read on.

We often joke during meetings that our entire business, boiled down, is pen on paper. From written stories to video scripts to web copy, companies pay us for our ability to write clearly, consistently, and with some amount of oomph. Of course, they might not realize that’s what they’re paying for; on the surface, we solve business problems. But mindset matters, and we depend on our entire team — from sales folks to project managers — to approach writing as a craft.
Meet our founders, Miki and Jackson (out getting burritos in the Mission in San Francisco).

What is our business? When a company needs to hire a lot of people, fast, we create stories about their work culture to help them market their job openings. Industry types call this “employer branding,” “recruitment marketing,” or whatever jargon is popular that week. This is about half of our work; the other half is a mix of other strategic creative services (see below).

Keen to research us? This blog post will take you down the Job Portraits rabbit hole.

There are five kinds of writing we need to either do more of, be better at, or be capable of in the first place: journalistic writing, copywriting, technical storytelling, ghostwriting, and coaching others to write. Instead of creating five job descriptions, we’ve decided to look for writers who can help us raise the bar on at least two counts. To be clear, we don’t expect one person to solve all our problems. Rather, we want you to be the kind of person who appreciates a wide breadth of writing challenges. We want you to love working with words.

Finally, it’s worth noting that you won’t be alone. Our senior writer and editor Sandra is an experienced former journalist. You’ll collaborate with her; Christina, our senior editor who hails from publishing; and most of our other team members, too.

All right, let’s do this. Below are the five writer types we’re hiring for. If you feel like you could be a match for two or more, please apply here. Got questions? Jackson is friendly and has answers: jackson@jobportraits.com.
About half of our writing projects stem from interviews we conduct with teams at startups. Typically, one of our San-Francisco-based team members will visit the company in person (like Miki, photo center) and the writer on the project will join via conference call.

1. Journalistic Writer

In our early years, our founders approached our work from the perspective of journalism (the truth-seeking kind, not the click-seeking kind). We still share much of that ethos and are up front with readers about our ethical stance. Nearly everything it takes to be a great journalist also translates to what we do, from news judgment to interviewing skills to speed, so if you’ve been in the trenches, let us know. Projects you may take on, with the help of one of our creative leads (Olivia and Jonaki), include:
  • Interview a small group of people at a client company and condense the transcript into a 1,500-word Q&A-format feature story. Examples: Remix, Eventbrite, Medallia.
  • Develop a concept for a feature story, report it out, and then work through the revision process with the client. Example: Google.

2. Copywriter

Our work increasingly includes copywriting in addition to crafting stories. These projects are highly strategic and typically begin with a couple of our team members (you included) conducting research interviews with a client’s employees to learn about their experience at work. Any number of follow-up projects might spring from this foundation. A few possibilities:
  • Draft a canonical “recruiting voice” guide for a client’s employer brand. These docs include key phrases, concepts, and values that will drive all the creative work that follows.
  • Draft copy for a careers page with careful attention to the needs of different job seeker audiences, including engineers, salespeople, designers, and others. Examples: Mavenlink, Everbridge.
  • Draft bios for a client’s social media profiles. Develop other key copy for social accounts, including headlines, pinned posts, and calls to action.

3. Technical Storyteller

A lot of our work revolves around engineering teams at startups. We’re great at exploring what’s compelling about a team’s culture, but hope to find someone who can help us execute on proper technical writing projects, as well. (For inspiration, we love Stackshare.io’s stories.) Ideally, you’re an engineer now or were in a past life. This work is also in line with what developer advocates do at many tech companies. Things we’re frequently asked to do include:
  • Write technical blog posts from scratch, in collaboration with one or more engineers at a startup. This may involve hands-on work with code.
  • Coach and edit engineers who are working on their own technical blog posts.
  • Help an engineer conceive of and create a presentation they can deliver at an industry event.
Jonaki and Miki gather ‘round the coffee table (with whiteboard paint!) to suss out … something.

4. Ghostwriter

We already have a handful of clients for whom we provide writing, editing, and ghostwriting support. We’d like to serve them even better, and also begin accepting new clients (we’ve got a waitlist). We believe good ghostwriting inspires — and requires — an ability to mind-meld. If you’re a match for this work, you have an instinct for what clients need to be mentally at ease and build trust. You’ll also need both high self-confidence and a sixth sense for when to defer. Possible projects include:
  • Work directly with a client to discover their writing voice, including their preferred cadence and tone and their relative interest in technical language and jargon.
  • Ghostwrite blog posts in a client’s voice, then navigate the review process with that person and their colleagues in PR/Comms.
  • Help a prominent industry figure draft a speech.

5. Writing Coach

Some of the bullet points above involve coaching. But here, we have a specific plan in mind: We’d like to offer clients the service of producing an employee-focused blog — that is, a blog about their culture and people that will help them to recruit more effectively. Your task would be to work directly with the company’s team members to help them publish posts under their own names. You’d collaborate with many people to get this done (strategists, social media folks, project managers), but you’d be known for your ability to warmly and confidently coach, edit, and/or ghostwrite for people who have little or no public writing experience.

That’s the deal. Do two or more of these feel like a match? Please
apply here. Got questions? Ask Jackson (below, with fancy arms): jackson@jobportraits.com.

A final note: We believe our success is dependent on our ability to build a team that represents a wide diversity of backgrounds, experiences, and viewpoints. A deep-seated curiosity about people is a value that unites our team. In fact, our bottom line depends on our desire and ability to have meaningful conversations and build trusting relationships with people who are different from us. We welcome everyone who is passionate about our mission and feels they can contribute to our work, and we especially encourage candidates from underrepresented groups to apply.

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