Name: Rachel Wong
College: Taylor University
Major/Minor: I majored in media communication with an emphasis in writing. I also minored in music composition!
Current Location: Seattle, WA
Current Form of Employment: Content Specialist at a local consulting firm
Where do you work and what is your current position?
I work at Logic20/20 as a content specialist. Basically, I'm an editor for technical writing at a consulting company and it's great!
Before Logic20/20, I worked as a scriptwriter/researcher at an SEO company. That was a pretty interesting job, because I basically wrote infographics and came up with the stats for cool data visualizations. I never even realized such a job existed before landing it!
What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?
Like any good writing/English major, I was involved in the school paper. I wouldn't say I was a model student in the major because I was so involved in other parts of college life (residence life, played on the soccer team). For me, my best career-related experience came in the form of internships. I landed a summer gig at Backpacker magazine which was amazing, and I also volunteered my time for a newspaper in Vail, Colorado right after college (I was a ski bum for a season who had to appease the parents in career aspirations). Vail attracts big-name artists and entertainers for the tourists but the newspaper staff was pretty small, so I got to interview lots of famous people! To note: Oscar from "The Office" is exactly like his character in real life.
Shoot high when applying for internships. When you offer to do work for free (both of mine were unpaid), it's easy to get your foot in the door just about anywhere.
Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different).
My first job was a copywriter at zulily (where I met DearEnglishMajor herself!). I found it online and was persistent as heck. I even called some higher up on the phone just to get the name of the recruiter. The next job I found on Craigslist and had a good recommendation. My current job was also found through a connection and also being persistent again. I took writing tests in two of the three jobs and each test was basically work that I would actually be doing. Employers are looking for a range of writing samples! Lately, I think a hot skill set is any work in email marketing, SEO stuff, and the Adobe suite. The interview process really varies— some took a week and some took six months! Be persistent, keep writing in the meantime, build up your portfolio and then just give the interview your best shot!
What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?
Woo! Yes. As a writing/English major, you're competing with a pretty large group for a very limited amount of cool jobs. Do your best to bulk up your technical skills (can you mock up a great InDesign layout? Do you know what SQL is? Can you write white papers? Can you speak HTML/CSS? Can you mesmerize with your Excel skills?). Employers love to see those hard skills, especially coming from writing folks. It gives them something tangible to go off of, and you're speaking more their language. I'm guessing you've mastered your English skills by now, so equip that career quiver with some technical prowess.