Name: Angeline Evans
College & Majors/Minors: University of California, Irvine - BA in Environmental Analysis & Design; New York University - MA in Magazine Journalism
Current Location: Miami, Florida
Current Form of Employment: Digital Media Manager
Where do you work and what is your current position?
I work at Florida International University as a digital media manager, analyzing and strategizing for our digital publications and properties. I also write occasionally for the online magazine.
Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different).
My first job out of college was as a transportation planning assistant at the engineering firm where I interned my senior year of college. I sent in close to 30 cover letters and resumes for internship openings. But that's not really related to this blog, is it?
I found my first job out of grad school through a summer internship. The magazine editor left for a new job while I was interning for a city government, giving me an opportunity to step in as interim editor for a few issues while they searched for her replacement. When I graduated, that same editor was about to leave the new job, and I stepped into her role again. I still refer to her as my "career fairy godmother."
It's slightly inaccurate to say I "found" my current job, because I actually helped create it. I went through two rounds of interviews for a different position (managing editor), and when they couldn't choose between the two finalists due to our different skill sets, we worked to create a new position to fill a void they didn't know they had before (more geared toward digital content and strategy). The original position was found through friends on Facebook.
How do you find freelance clients?/How do your freelance gigs come about?
I have freelanced as a grantwriter and copyeditor. I contract with a small strategic communications agency (met through a previous job) for grantwriting work, and my copyediting gigs come in through referrals.
What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?
Internships, internships, internships. Write, write, write.
What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?
- Build skills or develop an expertise in a field where writing is traditionally undervalued. This has been key to my personal career journey – my boss at the engineering firm was ready to hire me back after grad school, and my current boss zeroed in on the digital publishing and web marketing skill set I had gained through years of blogging.
- The art and skill of writing is highly underrated by most employers, but oh so important. Make sure you put your skills in the right context when you apply for a job, especially if it isn't a writing-specific job. Don't make them guess how your degree benefits them, because they probably won't get it.
- Try your hand at all different kinds of real-world writing – marketing copy, press releases, poetry, fiction, essay writing, speechwriting, etc. – you never know if you'll enjoy it and find a new opportunity. Flexibility is crucial.