Name: Melissa Hattab
College & Majors/Minors: English Literature / Political Science & Women’s Studies
Current Location: New York, NY
Current Form of Employment: Social Media Coordinator at Stage17 Productions
Where do you work and what is your current position?
I work at Stage17, which is a digital platform that bridges the gap between traditional theatre and new media. We curate and create scripted and unscripted, fiction and non-fiction content as well as digital capture of live theatrical performances. We often collaborate with the Broadway community, giving them unique opportunities as artists. The staff is also all Broadway lovers – a lot of them have even performed on Broadway!
I’m the Social Media Coordinator, so I manage all of Stage17’s social media platforms. Since we are a start-up company, I get to do a lot more than just social media. It is an all hands on deck operation, so I get to do really cool things like go on shoots, meet Broadway stars, and even go to fashion week!
Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different).
I found my job through careersushi.com. I started actively pursuing the job search second semester senior year. I saw Stage17’s offer and it looked like a place that was a perfect fit for me! I have always been a fan of theatre and the arts, so a job working right in the heart of it definitely seemed up my alley. I was extremely lucky to have something lined up when I graduated college. But, it wasn’t easy. There’s a lot of rejection in the job search. You just have to be diligent and incredibly dedicated. You can’t be willing to accept defeat. Don’t take no for an answer.
What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?
Most of the writing I’ve done has been for side projects to still feel connected to my artistic side. Any time I see something that is asking for submissions, whether it is a website or a blog or an online magazine, I make sure to submit something. I feel like with school, work, and everything in life, sometimes writing gets pushed to the back burner. While writing for professional reasons is great, sometimes you have to remember that writing for you and for pleasure is also really important.
What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?
I think the best experience I had to prepare me for the “real world” was interning at the Golf Channel. I interned for about six months my last semester in college, and it helped me feel confident in the work place and in my skill sets. It was my first experience working in a big office setting and really feeling like a part of the team. I also was able to utilize my writing skills through blog posts and marketing campaigns. I’m so glad I was given the opportunity to work there because without it I would’ve been terrified to start my first real post collegiate job! Internships throughout college are so important.
What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?
I remember saying to my friend, “I’m a Journalism major out of practicality. In a perfect world, I’d be an English Literature major.” It may sound cliché, but don’t ever let someone tell you that an English degree is impractical or a waste of money. If you want to major in it – do it! That was the best advice I ever got when I was debating actually taking the plunge and changing my major to English. If English is something you love and you’re passionate about, it is worth it to study it. Everyone needs someone who can write! Just be diligent with your school work and do your assigned reading! Don’t get discouraged. It may seem like job prospects are bleak, but I know plenty of people with English degrees with great jobs. Being able to write and communicate effectively is so important, especially in our world today when so many people are used to using emoticons and abbreviations to express themselves. You should be proud to have a degree in something that is both useful and artistic.
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