Get to Know: Sandra Barry, Senior Writer and Editor

Joined Job Portraits: March 2017 | Based in: Denver

What do you do at Job Portraits?

When I’m working on our own content, I’m generally involved early on. I might write up a draft based on someone else’s notes, or we’ll start with brainstorming and I’ll take it from there. For most of our blog posts, I also handle project management, so I kind of see things through the whole editorial process.

For client work, though, I usually start contributing later, after the strategy is established. If I’m writing, I’ll join the interviews, and then take a first stab at a draft before other team members weigh in. If I’m editing, I’ll pick things up later, in what we call the “wordsmith” stage. Usually, that’s some combination of developmental editing and copy editing — I’ll read for flow and make sure the structure serves the goals of the piece, but I’ll also fine-tune the language to make it more concise and conversational. My background is in broadcast journalism, so I spent years editing copy for people to read aloud. That comes in handy at Job Portraits, where much of the work we do is in Q&A format.

Much as I love writing, I think the best part of my job is when I get to hop on a video chat with a writer for a “live edit,” which is basically a workshop. I’ll read the piece ahead of time and flag things I’m wondering about, and then we’ll go through the wordsmith process together. Our writers are great, so it’s always productive and fun. I think of my job as helping them — and the people we interview — connect with their audience.

What were you doing before Job Portraits, and why did you join?

I also did a stint at a startup here in Denver called Craftsy, which produces online courses in things like cooking, photography, and sewing. I developed a bunch of classes and some other projects, and learned a ton. But I wasn’t doing much actual writing, and I missed it. Eventually, I started working with them on a contract basis and picking up writing and editing jobs with other clients.

I found Job Portraits when they posted a job req for the wordsmith role, and honestly, I knew I was interested right away. I liked their voice, and I liked how much thought they’d clearly put into their values and processes. They also walked the walk when it came to hiring. They respected candidates’ time and had a ton of resources available to help people figure out whether they might be a good fit. There was one post in particular I remember; it talked about looking for confidence in new team members. Miki said while they recognized that confidence can be coached, they also knew they didn’t have the bandwidth at that point to invest in the process. That self-awareness impressed me. I was like, “Okay, these people are thinking.”

What’s it like to collaborate remotely with the team?

What’s different about the Job Portraits culture?

Miki and Jackson have also never hesitated to invest in my growth, whether that means learning something new or just taking some time for process improvement. That’s rare — a lot of clients don’t have much time to offer feedback, much less give you coaching or other resources to help you improve — and hugely valuable to me.

Lighting Round!

What’s your morning routine?

What’s your superpower?

Music: No Frills Comparsa Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) | Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

What’s the worst advice you ever followed?

What’s your spirit animal?

Tell us about a book that had a big impact on you.

If you could interview one person, living or dead, who would it be?

What unpopular opinion do you hold?

What’s your next adventure?

Job Portraits tell stories about great jobs at fast-growing startups. Details at jobportraits.com.

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Job Portraits

Job Portraits specializes in Managed Employer Branding We use the truth to help teams find their people.