Paris Kim: Content & Social Media Manager

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Name: Paris Kim

Age: 26

College & Majors/Minors: B.A. in English, concentration in Creative Writing

Current Location: San Francisco, CA

Current Form of Employment: Content Management for Wish, Editor-in-Chief of Marjorie Magazine

Where do you work and what is your current position? 

I currently work in content management for the Ecommerce app Wish, a growing shopping platform with over 150 million worldwide users. I am also the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Marjorie Magazine, a vintage lifestyle magazine coming onto its third print issue this spring.

Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different). 

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My first job was a lucky break after just graduating from the University of San Francisco. I spent all summer indulging myself in creative DIY projects with designing notebook covers and typewriting my own prose, and it was put to great use during my time as a creative workshop captain for Paper Source's Fillmore Street location. All of us who worked there even got to design and display our own greeting cards made in-house, and shoppers were always asking about them. A year after working for Paper Source, I wanted to move up into the field of marketing, where I landed an internship with a small web interface startup called myWebRoom. Six months after writing copy for their products and their blog, I was approached by my current company, Wish, to help build and moderate the content on the app as well as launch and moderate their social media.

Having worked in San Francisco and surrounded by tech-talk for four years now, that is when I decided to create in March 2017 my own online publication and print magazine, Marjorie, devoted to vintage lifestyle in the modern world. I love vintage, from fashion to music and design, and naturally I wanted to find an outlet to write about these passions while connect with other like-minded creatives. When there was none to be found, besides small niche communities on Facebook and Instagram, I realized that I had to make it myself.

What was another writing-related job that was important in your career? 

Freelancing in between my time at Paper Source and myWebRoom really helped propel me into the right direction in terms of what I wanted to achieve with my writing. Simply looking for opportunities on Craigslist opened doors into what sort of writing jobs were out there and which ones made the most sense for my style and background.

For a time, I also branched out to open mics across San Francisco and connected with poets to share my old typewritten prose, to which I realized that was not for me. I also found out about the incredible world of self publishing and began to publish my own books via Blurb featuring my poetry and personal essays. I still use Blurb to this day for Marjorie. It's a great start to building your portfolio and learning design, or just getting your work out there; you don't have to wait around for the big publishers at Penguin or The New Yorker to deem your book readable—if you have a story and you put social media and your networking to use, you're always guaranteed devoted readers, no matter how big or small, that will want to read, that will want to buy and invest in your talent.

What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life? 

I landed an exciting opportunity to intern for McSweeney's, reading submissions and fact-checking articles for their sister publication The Believer, while also volunteering as a tutor for grade-school students over at 826 Valencia. The interns even had monthly meet-ups with Dave Eggers himself—it was quite surreal! I was given the chance to pitch my own stories for both McSweeney's and The Believer, for the latter actually being commissioned to interview my favorite band, The Airborne Toxic Event, who happened to be in town that spring. Even though the editors ultimately passed on the final piece, they were helpful in providing alternative places to get it published and even referred me over to editors at The Rumpus. All of the ups and downs in my internship and college years spent as an English major were documented in my personal blog at the time, Paris Kim Writes.

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What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree? 

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My advice is simply to put your passions to paper, write it out, whatever IT is. A small idea, random words, just as long as you're still devoted to your words and ideas and never lose sight of these things that make you unique as an English major. And take charge of your resources. In just a few years from my Craigslist-surfing days I discovered a multitude of places to connect with other writers and find new opportunities for work. There's Shut Up and Write on Meetup, which are weekly sit-ins with other local writers at a cafe or elsewhere to just sit together and write; there's plenty of Facebook groups advertising freelance work and great media to apply to and get feedback; and of course, there's always open mics, for you never know who might be lurking in those crowds. The support is there, and I've listed a few, and it's there for you to take and know confidently that there is always something exciting waiting for you and your work on the horizon!

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Links:


Posted on May 7, 2018 and filed under Content Marketing, Social Media, Interview, Interviews.

Jean Baur: Self-Employed Writer & Speaker

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Name: Jean Baur    

Age: 71

College & Majors/Minors: Lake Forest College, English Major with Honors

Current Location: Connecticut

Current Form of Employment: Self-employed: writer and speaker

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I work from home and write books, and I also create and give presentations to a wide range of industry groups, from librarians to insurance executives.

Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different).

My first really good job was working in NYC as a corporate trainer. I researched the company, found connections, and went after them until they hired me. I was hired to teach business writing, but soon also taught presentation skills. And then they asked me and one of the account executives to revise the writing program, which we did.

What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?

I worked as a freelance writer for many years and learned that I could write just about anything if I understood what was needed. I wrote for the food industry, Time Life Books, a small publisher, ETS, and so on. This gave me confidence and diverse opportunities.

What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?

Not much. It was a tricky time as the war in Vietnam was raging and many of us were focused on social issues—stopping the war, race relations, poverty—without any real career path. I took the GREs, but knew I didn't want to go to grad school. It took me a long time to realize that my degree in English had prepared me for many types of work.

What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?

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Take advantage of internships, and your career counseling office at your school. Don't worry about not knowing what you want as you'll discover that as you try out different jobs. For some, the job will simply be a way to make money so that they have time to write, while for others, the job itself matters more. Remember, every organization needs people who have what you have: great analytical skills, deep knowledge of human behavior and strong writing and editing skills. It won't be easy and your career path, like mine, may zig and zag a bit. But you'll never be bored and as long as you keep reinventing yourself, you'll be fine. I've been a corporate trainer, a creative writing teacher, a freelance writer, an author, a career coach, a florist, a mother, a therapy dog handler and a speaker. So much fun!

If you want to learn more about Jean, you can visit her site at JeanBaur.com. You can also check out a few of her books here: 

By Jean Baur
By Jean Baur
By Jean Baur

Posted on April 21, 2018 and filed under Self-Employed, Writing, Writer.

Jimmy Daly: Marketing Director

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Name: Jimmy Daly

Age: 31

College & Majors/Minors: English

Current Location: Vail, CO

Current Form of Employment: Marketing Director at Animalz (a content marketing agency)

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I’m currently the marketing director at a startup agency called Animalz. We specialize in content strategy and creation for software-as-a-service companies. The company is based in New York City, but we have employees all over the world. I’m lucky enough to call Vail, CO home.

My current focus is on launching a company blog. It’s highly strategic—you won’t find information like this on other content marketing blogs.

Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different).

Every job I’ve had since graduating college 10 years ago has come through a personal connection. I first put my writing skills to use for a family friend. He ran a web design company and needed some to help with email and content marketing. That job led to connections, which led to another opportunity, which led to more connections and more opportunities.

One great thing about working in content marketing is that all of my work is public on the web. My current boss hired me after reading work I’d published for another company. 

What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?

Early in my career I worked for an agency that required me to write 2-3 articles every single day. It was a grind, but I learned more about writing in those two years than I have before or since. I learned to be efficient, to quickly identify great ideas, and to create archetypes that I could use over and over again. There’s nothing like shipping new work on a regular basis to hone your skills.

What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?

Honestly, nothing.

I studied English because I liked writing, but I spent a lot of time fretting about what I would do with the degree. What I didn’t realize at the time was that writing is the foundational skill of many jobs in the tech sector. If you can write, you can find a good job.

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What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?

A lot of people are going to ask you some variation of “So, what are you going to do with that English degree?” Ignore them. Keep an open mind. Your options are nearly limitless.

I never thought I’d spend 10 years working in software and tech, but it’s been a great adventure and I’m really excited at my future prospects. 

Most of my work is featured on the Animalz content marketing blog  including a post on commercial writing skills that I think would be useful to any English major. I also send a weekly newsletter for marketers and other creatives called Swipe File.


Posted on April 21, 2018 and filed under Marketing, Interviews, Interview.

Michelle Swanson: Self-Employed Resume Writer

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Name: Michelle Swanson

Age: 39

College & Majors/Minors: Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Current Location: Edwardsville, IL

Current Form of Employment: Self-employed Resume Writer

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I own and operate MichelleSwanson.com, a resume writing and job search consultancy serving senior business executives worldwide. I offer a range of services designed to help my clients document and communicate their professional value. My focus is on developing resumes/CVs, executive bios, LinkedIn profiles, and letters, but my clients also rely on me to edit business plans, presentations, emails, press releases, and other business and career-related communications.

“I was a nontraditional student and returned to college to finish my degree after 6 years in the Air Force.”

Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different).

I was a nontraditional student and returned to college to finish my degree after 6 years in the Air Force. I found my first post-college job through a staffing agency and, after about 2 years, left to start my own company.

What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?

My military service included serving as an Intelligence Analyst. In that role, I wrote reports for intelligence agencies and decision-makers at the highest levels of government. This early experience serves me well in my current career because I learned how to gather and process large amounts of information, cut through the clutter, distill the information into its crucial pieces, and communicate a message in a way that supports decision-making.

What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?

Unfortunately, I did very little to prepare for my career during college. I regret not pursuing internships or professional training such as certifications.

What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?

My advice to students and graduates would be to stay open to all the career opportunities that are out there! In college, I was aware of only about a dozen possible career paths for someone with an English degree. I wasn’t even aware that professional resume writers existed! I’ve been in business for more than 10 years, and I’m still amazed by the sheer variety of paths you can take. If you think you’ve thought about all your options… you haven’t. My clients with bachelor’s degrees in English include an IT Project Manager, Vice President of Crisis Communications, Health Insurance Product Manager, Business Analyst, Senior Director of Digital Video, Television Production Assistant, Advertising Sales Manager, Director of Marketing and Investor Relations, Award-winning Independent Film Producer, Television Director, and more. Your degree is just the beginning and does not limit your opportunities!

To learn more about Michelle, you can visit her site at michelleswanson.com. You can also connect with Michelle on LinkedIn.


Posted on April 21, 2018 and filed under Self-Employed, Writer.