Posts filed under Marketing

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.

Cassie Viau: Marketing Manager

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Name: Cassie Viau

Age: 31

College & Majors/Minors: Plymouth State University – Bachelor of Arts in English, Writing Concentration, Business Administration Minor

Current Location: Salem, NH

Current Form of Employment: Marketing Manager

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I work at a national healthcare staffing agency as the Marketing Manager. My team and I handle all of the marketing efforts for the company, including blogs, social media, digital advertising, print materials, and event planning. We have five unique divisions within the company to support, so it’s a busy job, but a ton of fun. It’s a great opportunity to do a little bit of everything in the marketing world! 

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

I started in the world of marketing back in 2009, when social media and blogs were just starting to become a mainstream idea for businesses. I happened across a job opening on Craigslist for a copywriter who would be comfortable using sites like Facebook and Twitter. I immediately jumped at the chance to start a job that would actually use my writing skills—I was working as a bank teller at the time and desperate to start a real career. I ended up getting hired for that position and spent the next six-and-a-half years working my way through the ranks at a small digital marketing agency. I eventually ended up as the Director of Social Media Services, managing a full team of content writers, graphic designers, and social media specialists.

In 2015, I was contacted on LinkedIn by my current company. They were looking for someone to come in and jumpstart their marketing efforts and liked my background. It ended up being an incredible opportunity for me to build a new team from the ground up and develop a marketing plan for a great company. And with my experience at a marketing agency, I was already used to balancing projects and deadlines for a range of clients. Now, my “clients” are the different divisions that we have.

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

While I was working at the digital marketing agency I was deeply engrained in the world of social media—especially Twitter. Through the connections I had there, I ended up with a freelance gig writing a weekly column for a local paper all about social media. I’d explain what different social media sites were, how to use them, and help people feel more comfortable with this new world that was changing quickly. The articles I wrote there ended up leading to another freelance gig teaching local real estate agents how to manage their own marketing and social media accounts. I’d work at the digital agency during the day and then consult and write at night. I lived and breathed social media marketing 24/7, and that dedication helped me stay ahead of trends and move my career along. 

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

There are a few things that I did in college that helped prepare me for my post-grad life. I was actively involved in a few different English major related clubs, including Sigma Tau Delta, the honor society. I was also a mentor for incoming English majors with a few friends. Through the mentoring group, we developed a digital “writing center” for students who had quick questions about their essays and assignments. We used AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) at the time. It was one of the first times I’d hack some sort of technology to give people what they were looking for, which turned out to be really helpful in a digital marketing career.

“Adding a Business Minor to my writing degree also helped a lot.”

I was also the founding editor of a newsletter for the English department. My version was old school—a PDF I’d create in Publisher. But now that newsletter has transformed into a blog that students contribute to. It’s really exciting to see how it’s evolved with the times.

Adding a Business Minor to my writing degree also helped a lot. During the summer between sophomore and junior year, I was calling around to different publishing companies, book agents, and publications to try and find some internship experience. One of them told me that they were sick of seeing English majors with no business sense apply for jobs and completely shut me down. I immediately went back to school and added that minor to help give myself a leg up for life after graduation!

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

“Classes in journalism, social media, marketing, or even web development can really help you round out your education and make you more marketable to employers.”

Hustle! As cliché as it sounds, if you can write and work during your time at school, you’ll already have a portfolio ready to go when you graduate. That helps tremendously when you’re applying for copywriting jobs. Employers want to see that you’ve done more than just complete assignments in class. And once you are working, whether it’s in your field or not, keep writing! Take any freelance gig you can get, start your own blog, do something that keeps you writing and honing your craft.

I’d also recommend that you branch out beyond the English department. Taking a few business classes helped give me some baseline knowledge that my bosses appreciated. As fun as it was to spend hours a day reading literature and writing poetry, I’m glad I forced myself to break out into the business department as well. You don’t have to stick to business classes either. Classes in journalism, social media, marketing, or even web development can really help you round out your education and make you more marketable to employers.

You can connect with Cassie Viau on LinkedIn here!


Posted on February 4, 2018 and filed under Marketing, Interview, Interviews.

Lauren Pope: Marketing & Communications Associate

Name: Lauren Pope

Age: 26

College & Majors/Minors: English Literature / Creative Writing

Current Location: Kansas City, MO

Current Form of Employment: Marketing & Communications Associate

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I’m currently the marketing and communications associate for a non-profit organization here in Kansas City. I work closely with the Director of Advancement to ensure the integrity of our brand, as well as manage and create all of the marketing materials. I work in both traditional and digital media maintaining the website and social media accounts and writing stories about our donors.

My favorite thing about marketing is that every day is like working a different job. It’s nice for someone like me who is creative and free-thinking to have a different task or project every day. One day I’m writing copy for our direct mailers and the next I’m visiting the Kansas City Ballet to write a story on our Youth Advisory Council. You never know what you’re going to walk into and I find that thrilling.

“I found the opportunity on LinkedIn. In fact, I found all three of my jobs I’ve had since graduation on LinkedIn.”

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 social media strategist with a small marketing company in St. Louis, MO. I found the opportunity on LinkedIn. In fact, I found all three of my jobs I’ve had since graduation on LinkedIn. It’s an amazing resource that allows you to put yourself in front of employers you might not dream of working for otherwise.

Last year I picked up and moved to Chicago on a whim after getting an offer with a University to run their social media accounts. Now I’m in charge of all of the marketing efforts at my current position. LinkedIn is a great way to market yourself and tailor your experience to get the job you want. Put those writing skills to use! If your LinkedIn isn’t reflecting your ability to write and tell a story about yourself, you’re not doing yourself any favors.

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

I was a freelance copywriter and editor for a year after graduation. It helped me keep my skills sharp while I was looking for work. It’s more appealing to employers if you have work experience while you’re looking for a job as opposed to having a gap in your work history. It shows initiative. It also adds a layer of expertise to your work that employers will love. You can be a writer and an editor and employers love that because they’re getting two skillsets in one person.

“Your degree can get you in the door but your internship experience can get you a seat at the table.”

My internship with Fleishman-Hillard in St. Louis was probably my most beneficial experience. I had no marketing experience after graduating but was hired as the marketing intern because of my ability to write. I spent six months learning about marketing and specializing in social and digital media which helped launch me into my first full time job after college. Your degree can get you in the door but your internship experience can get you a seat at the table.

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

I researched! Nobody told me growing up about all of the career paths an English degree can lead to. You go through college with everyone making jokes that you’re going to end up being a bartender or a teacher and it can be frustrating. But there are so many avenues you can go down with this degree. I spent my time deciding what I liked about being an English major and deciding how I could turn it into a career.

Publishing, editing, ghost-writing, copywriting, social media, marketing, HR, internal communications, PR and crisis management, law school; there are so many things you can do. Find the thing that speaks to you and then find an internship in that field.

“The ability to write concisely and creatively will open so many doors.”

You can keep your English degree and work in a field unrelated to what you did in school. I believe firmly that an English degree teaches critical thinking, writing ability and creativity and those are all things that every employer is looking for. The ability to write concisely and creatively will open so many doors. Don’t let the fear of not being employable after graduation steer you off this path.

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

Internships: Experience will get you everywhere. Look at your English department website and see what they offer students. Contact local businesses and see if there are openings that interest you. Check out LinkedIn and see if there are volunteer opportunities that can help beef up your resume. No experience is bad experience. I interned in publishing for my entire last year of college and didn’t end up in publishing. But that experience still interested my future employers and the work I did there helped me later in my other internships and jobs.

Apply for Jobs You Don't Feel Qualified For: I applied to jobs that I was perfectly qualified for and sometimes over qualified for without hearing anything back. Once I decided to expand my job search I was given so many opportunities I'd never dreamed of. A lot of companies will ask for more experience than the job actually requires so don't be afraid to apply with less experience than they ask. It's about the skills you can bring to a position, not the number of years you've spent behind a desk. Even if you don't get the job, you will gain experience in interviewing. The more you interview the more comfortable you'll become with selling your skills as an English major to companies that might not have considered the value of having one on their team!

Have Writing Samples Ready: If you're going to say you're a writer, be ready to prove it. Write articles on your LinkedIn page, keep and maintain a blog. Any writing is good writing. I landed my first internship after sending in my senior creative writing piece about a murder mystery! The man interviewing me said that the sample was unorthodox but he liked that I showed creativity and the depth of my writing ability. You may even consider creating an online portfolio of your writing samples to have ready if employers ask for it.

Stay Focused: It's easy to get beaten down by the rhetoric you hear from people about an English degree. I found myself questioning why I had chosen an English degree a dozen times in undergrad. But if you're focused and determined to be successful, it will work out. Keep your head down, work hard and set yourself up for life after graduation.


Posted on November 8, 2017 and filed under Communications, Interview, Interviews, Marketing.

Kyle Hendricks: Marketing and Communications Coordinator

Name: Kyle Hendricks

Age: 28

College & Majors/Minors: Major - English, Minor - Psychology

Current Location: Columbus, Indiana

Current Form of Employment: Full Time

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I am the Marketing and Communications Coordinator for the United Way of Bartholomew County. I work closely with our Director of Resource Development on all of our donor communications and fundraising efforts to ensure that we are not just asking people to donate to United Way, but giving them opportunities all year long to engage and participate in the work of United Way and our partner nonprofit agencies in our community.

My daily duties vary but usually involve writing, editing, copywriting, graphic design, managing online platforms, social media, stewarding community relationships, speaking or giving presentations, and developing long term strategies for how all of these skills work together to help United Way raise money to help people in need.

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

“There is a similar story to every job I have found my way into—I made a personal connection with someone without trying to sell myself. I developed our relationship over time and reached out when I had questions or ideas.”

After graduating college I was bartending at a local spot in my hometown. One day a professor came in for a beer and we started up a conversation. He was starting a new design program in town and we had a good talk on art and literature. He left that day and we kept in touch. I reached out not long after to see if he needed any help with his program and it turns out that he did. I started off working part time at this design space, running errands and doing some low end administrative work (all while still waiting tables in the evenings). I went on to work with him on a national architecture conference and direct some educational videos that were made specifically for that project. My work with the design program gave me the small professional experience and finished products I needed to get me started on a career path in professional communications. 

There is a similar story to every job I have found my way into—I made a personal connection with someone without trying to sell myself. I developed our relationship over time and reached out when I had questions or ideas. I took their advice and explored to learn how new opportunities they presented could help me grow.

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

I did an internship with a public relations agency in Indianapolis where I split my time promoting regional events and concerts and running book release campaigns for independent authors. This internship taught me important skills on the job, like how to write press releases, ad copy and online content. Every professional communications position that I have applied for has asked me for professional writing samples, and this internship gave me plenty experience and examples to use on my job search.

“If I had to do it over again, I would have worked more closely with my adviser to find a professional internship before graduation and I would have supplemented my class load with a few journalism and business classes.”

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

I'll be honest—aside from showing up to class and doing the work, I did not do much in college to prepare me for my current career. I took the route of an English major because I wanted to learn how to get to the root of stories and how the great ones were created. I was exploring art, poetry and literature as I'm sure a lot of you reading this have explored in your time at school. Those pursuits gave me incredible experiences, an invaluable worldview, eyes, ears, heart and mind for good storytelling, and some hard writing skills. I learned how to be an artist in school, but I did not learn how to focus my skills in a way that allowed me to make a living. That came after graduation in all of the experiences I mention above (and many more less successful tries) over the past six years.

If I had to do it over again, I would have worked more closely with my adviser to find a professional internship before graduation and I would have supplemented my class load with a few journalism and business classes.

“Every office needs some form of a good writer, so you have a good start, but you’ll need other skills to fully develop your attractiveness to potential employers after school.”

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

1) If you're still in school, get some professional experience before you burst out of the academic cocoon. No matter what path you take you will need to learn things in a professional setting that you can't learn in a book or in a classroom or by waiting tables. Talk to your advisers about opportunities that you can connect to on campus or explore internships that your school may know about. Talk to your family members and friends about their jobs and work to see if you can find some things that interest you about those particular businesses or organizations. Every office needs some form of a good writer, so you have a good start, but you'll need other skills to fully develop your attractiveness to potential employers after school.

Don't sweat if you are already graduated and still need this experience. If you're a graduate and you haven't done any of the above, just start now! There is always time to learn. I didn't start my first true internship until I was 24.

2) Graduation is just another step in your growth process—it does not determine your employment or even your career path. You determine your employment and career by how you use your time, talents and energy after graduation. All of these tools are flexible, and deciding not to explore them to the best of your ability is a choice within itself.

3) Always value your relationships over your resources and ambitions. Like I said, every good job I have had started by making a personal connection with someone without trying to sell myself as a potential employee. Build your network consciously but not selfishly. I know this is hard when you are unemployed and can't seem to find a break, but if you stay patient and friendly you will find those connections, too.

4) Keep learning; you don't yet know all you need to know to do your job well. No matter where you are going, you will need to pick up new tools and skills to progress or even just to keep up. Sometimes those skills are hard skills—like figuring out how to code a website. Other times those skills are softer—like learning how to relate to and work with your older co-workers. Stay open to new experiences and stay kind through the rejections and tough lessons.

Along with learning, find resources that you can keep coming back to for personal inspiration and growth. A few that I visit weekly are the Creative Pep Talk podcast, hosted by Andy Miller, and The Daily Stoic, a project spearheaded by Ryan Holiday.

5) Wherever you are geographically, get involved in the community you live in. Volunteering is the easiest way to make a positive impact for others while also building your skills and relationships. Find the people you are passionate about helping and go find the group or organization that's helping them. If there isn't a group or organization in your area helping people you care about, then build one yourself. Making positive contributions to others will help you through your harder days by giving you a different perspective on your struggles and also increases your value to potential employers by showing them that you care enough about your community to get involved.

You can connect with Kyle on LinkedIn or reach out to him directly at kyhendricks (at) gmail (dot) com.


Posted on July 14, 2017 and filed under Interviews, Interview, Communications, Marketing.

Kristina DeMichele: Senior Email Content Marketing Coordinator

Name: Kristina DeMichele

Age: 27

College & Majors/Minors: BA English & Spanish, University of Dayton; MA Publishing and Writing, Emerson College

Current Location: Boston, MA

Current Form of Employment: Senior Email Content Marketing Coordinator, America’s Test Kitchen

Where do you work and what is your current position? 

I work at America’s Test Kitchen as a Senior Email Content Marketing Coordinator. America’s Test Kitchen films two cooking shows for PBS (America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country). We also publish Cook’s Illustrated magazine, Cook’s Country magazine, and many cookbooks. My role there is to manage the entire email newsletter program. I write most all of our newsletters (6 out of the 7), conduct creative tests, analyze the data, and contribute to the overall marketing strategy. I write about food every day, and I love my job!

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

I went straight to graduate school after undergrad, and I interned at a few publishing companies—Da Capo Press in their marketing department, Pearson Education in their rights department (I requested rights from Stephen King/Stephen King’s people once, which was pretty cool!). Then I heard that my colleague at Emerson’s writing center (I worked as a writing tutor there) landed a job as an Editorial Assistant at America’s Test Kitchen. I love cooking and I love publishing, so this company felt like such a perfect fit for me as a workplace. I had coffee with her, and she recommended that I apply for the social media internship. I applied, and her recommendation helped me get an interview and ultimately be offered the position. On the last day of my internship, I interviewed for the position I have now, my first full-time job out of graduate school. 

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

Two internships come to mind that were both pivotal to my acceptance into graduate school and some of the keys to how I received my current position. In college, I was an Editorial Intern at Grupo SM in Madrid, Spain for their English language imprint, University of Dayton Publishing. I translated their texts from Spanish to English, and I did some writing for them as well. This international publishing experience made the difference for me in my graduate application and still stands out on my resume. I was also an Editorial Intern for Entangled Publishing, a remote internship where I got to read New Adult manuscripts (mostly in the genres of romance and science fiction) and write reviews of these manuscripts for the Executive Editor. My boss during my internship at America’s Test Kitchen told me that she thought this experience was so cool and unique—it’s how she remembered me.

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

I was one of those kids who knew exactly what she wanted to do after college from day one. I wanted to work in publishing, ideally in Boston where my family lives, and work in the editorial field. I made sure to gain experience in the publishing industry before graduation (in Spain with Grupo SM and with Entangled Publishing). To gain experience in research, I wrote an honors thesis on international digital publishing and conducted my primary research while I worked in Madrid. Networking via LinkedIn and informational interviews over the phone allowed me to establish connections to the publishing industry and learn more about where I wanted my career to go (and where I didn’t want it to go).

“Networking is the single most important thing you can do for yourself. I would not be where I am today without my connections.”

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

Networking is the single most important thing you can do for yourself. I would not be where I am today without my connections. Now, I know you’ve probably heard the common phrase “It’s all about who you know.” Well, it (kind of) is. A recommendation from a professional connection is just the first step. Then, when you have an interview with a company you’re passionate about, that’s your opportunity to impress them with who you are. Your experiences matter, too! Also, don’t be afraid to stray away from an “editorial” title. I work in marketing, yes, but I get to write creatively every single day. It’s okay to go outside the box with your job search. You’d be surprised at how many jobs rely heavily on you knowing how to write well. Most importantly, find a job that brings you joy!

Click here to read an example newsletter written by Kristina, Notes from the Test Kitchen (you can sign up to receive this newsletter in your email here). Be sure to follow the rest of Kristina's writing on her food blog, If That Dish Could Talk. You can connect with Kristina on LinkedIn


Posted on July 14, 2017 and filed under Interview, Interviews, Marketing.

Charlotte O'Farrell: Marketing and Communications Specialist

Name: Charlotte O’Farrell

Age: 27

College & Majors/Minors: University of Nottingham, English BA (Hons)

Current Location: Nottinghamshire, UK

Current Form of Employment: Marketing and Communications Specialist

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I work for home automation firm Nice UK as their Marketing and Communications Specialist.

I also freelance as a copywriter in my spare time but due to family commitments I have to be quite selective with the amount of freelance work I take on!

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

I graduated when the jobs market was still feeling the effects of the recession, so finding my first job took a bit of time. Eventually I heard about a lady in my home town who runs her own small publishing company; she was looking for an extra pair of hands and took me on as an Editorial Assistant, partly because of the skills I honed while studying for my English degree.

I took my current job because I was looking for that all-important next step in my marketing career. I could tell from the job description that the role was very autonomous and full of opportunities to learn new skills in the industry.

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

In 2013 I was working in a sales support role for a fairly large company and looking for a career path I could commit to long term. After spending some time shadowing colleagues in lots of different departments, I realised that marketing was a great fit for my interests and skills. The next time that department had an opening (for a Product Marketing Executive) I applied and was delighted to be offered the job.

That role was important for two main reasons. Firstly, it allowed me to build on strengths I already had, such as copywriting, and gave me the chance to work on projects where I could showcase those. Secondly, it gave me many solid business skills that have set me up well for a career in marketing and are transferable if I ever decide to pursue a different path. I had always thought of marketing as primarily being about the communications and social media side so a product marketing role was quite different; it introduced me to areas of the business that I wouldn’t have thought about much before.

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

I co-edited a creative writing magazine for my university. It was called The Jabberwocky, which often sparked a conversation in my job interviews after graduation!

In broad terms I spent a lot of time developing my interests through student societies and clubs, travelling when finances allowed, and taking courses outside of my specialism in any area that interested me. My university years were a wonderful time when I studied the subject I love and made lifelong friends.

“Don’t let anyone with a negative attitude towards your degree influence your thinking. Communication is vital in just about every business career and English students are masters at it.”

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

Don’t let anyone with a negative attitude towards your degree influence your thinking. Communication is vital in just about every business career and English students are masters at it. Your degree isn’t “just reading a few books” (unfortunately this is something that was said to me in all seriousness once!) – it’s the perfect foundation for some really fulfilling, interesting careers and savvy hiring managers will recognise that.

“...”if you do find yourself struggling after graduation, don’t panic! It took me several years to see the full benefit of an English degree and I had some unrelated jobs in the meantime, which were valuable and fun for different reasons. Don’t be afraid to take a job that’s not part of your original master plan.”

That said, try to bear in mind that it is just the starting point and be open to new paths that present themselves as your career plays out. You might find fulfilment in a job that’s connected to your degree but is a little different to what you were imagining, like bid writing. If you’re stuck and looking for a way forward, try listing the skills you’ve built on during your years of study and, importantly, what you’ve done to show you have them – perhaps you’ve written a blog or were your friends’ go-to person for proofreading work. This might prompt you to think of careers you’ve never considered before.

Finally, if you do find yourself struggling after graduation, don't panic! It took me several years to see the full benefit of an English degree and I had some unrelated jobs in the meantime, which were valuable and fun for different reasons. Don't be afraid to take a job that's not part of your original master plan.

You can connect with Charlotte O'Farrell on LinkedIn here


Posted on September 9, 2016 and filed under Marketing.

Steffany Powell: Manager of Global Content Marketing

Name: Steffany Powell

Age: #oneoftheolds

College & Majors/Minors: University of Washington (UW): English with an Emphasis in Creative Writing / Masters in Communication in Digital Media

Current Location: Seattle

Where do you work and what is your current position?

Mondelez International (the makers of Oreos, to name a few). My title is Manager of Global Content Marketing.

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

When I graduated from the UW, I thought I could just get a writing job no problem. I had two issues when I graduated: 1. It was March of 2007 and little did I know that The Great Recession was weeks away from taking away most of my job prospects. 2. I had little or no technical skills when it came to working in corporate America. Long story short, there were no jobs and I did not know Excel. I finally settled on a job working at a small eCommerce company. There I wrote product descriptions, marketing copy and I managed the blog posts. It was fun. But it paid $18 an hour. Part time. No benefits. 

But I got scrappy. I took any writing job I could so I could fill my resume with writing jobs. I worked contract (fyi most of the best content writing jobs are contract) and I lived cheap. I learned new skills. I took classes. Finally, I went back to grad school to really focus on what I wanted to do: online content strategy.

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

I wrote horoscopes and event previews for a mobile site called Go2. This was pre-smartphone so it was pretty popular and had been around for about 10 years when I started. I was really able to hone my craft because no matter what, I had to produce 12 horoscopes (one per sign) every day of the year. They had to be short, insightful and most of all funny. It is not always easy to be funny, but I became good at it and actually enjoyed that job even though it paid nearly nothing. To this day, I credit that job and those strict deadlines with my success.

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

I was a teacher’s assistant for one of my creative writing teachers. This actually showed me that I didn’t want to write books, at least, not right off the bat. He was/is a successful writer and I learned so much from him (especially that I did not yet have the ego to be a published author).

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

“Specialize in some aspect of writing or publishing. Don’t be a generalist.”

Specialize in some aspect of writing or publishing. Don’t be a generalist. Even MBAs think they can write. You need to distinguish yourself and be great, not just good. If you think of yourself as an editor you should know not just Chicago style but also AP and MLA. You should know how to write and maintain a style guide. If you want to be a copywriter you should learn how to write in many voices. Learn more than just one style of writing and if you need to make a living—learn technical writing.  Play with enough technology so you can speak to developers. Finally, learn localization techniques and get good at them. Get fluent in a foreign language. If you want to be an author, live. Get out of your hometown and don’t write about yourself for at least five years.

Please note, some of this advice was given to me when I was in school. Some of it is just stuff I know because I work in online content. But all of it I have found to be true. Don’t take my word for it, wait… do. That is my other advice to you. Be fearless, be arrogant, but make sure you can back it up.


Posted on July 9, 2016 and filed under Interview, Interviews, Marketing, Content Marketing.

Rachel Grate: Content Marketing Specialist at Eventbrite

Name: Rachel Grate

Age: 22

College & Majors/Minors: English Major, Gender & Women's Studies Minor

Current Location: San Francisco, CA

Current Form of Employment: Content Marketing Specialist at Eventbrite

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I work at Eventbrite, a tech company in San Francisco, as a Content Marketing Specialist. The easiest way to describe my job is that I produce content for event organizers (specifically music organizers — think the people behind your favorite music festival or the owner of your favorite live music venue). The type of content is a lot more diverse than you might expect — I write blog posts and ebooks, but also produce infographics, podcasts, video, quizzes and more. The theory of content marketing is that by producing free content that helps event organizers, they'll later choose us to help them ticket their event. 

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

I'm currently at my first full-time job, which I found by interning at the company before my senior year of college. I liked it so much — and they liked me — that I came back! 

It wasn't quite as easy as that might sound because they didn't have clearance to hire anyone in my role at first. My manager really advocated for me to be able to extend me an offer to come back as a full-time contractor after graduation — which proves how important your network is. (I also contracted for them part-time during my senior year of college, which probably helped me stay top of mind.) A few months after I returned as a contractor, I had proved my value to the company and was converted to a full-time employee.

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

I ultimately decided reporting wasn't for me (I wasn't a fan of the long hours and low pay), but I'm really appreciative of my background in journalism. It started all the way back in high school, on the school newspaper and yearbook. But as an editor in college and through one internship at a newspaper, that experience extended and taught me a lot about writing well, capturing attention, editing others' writing, and meeting deadlines. 

Even though I'm in Marketing professionally now, they're more similar than you may think. (I also still do freelance journalism for a couple different online publications — I just don't like to rely on it for my paycheck.)

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

An easier question might be what didn't I do. At school itself, I worked for the school newspaper as the Life & Style editor, I worked as a writer for the Office of Communications & Marketing, and my senior year I was the Marketing & Communications Intern for our Career Planning office. 

I spoke up in class, and I've had coworkers actually compliment me on my confidence in meetings as a result. And I kept my grades up — recruiters may not care about the GPA number itself, but having "Dean's List" or "Cum Laude" next to your name is a quick way to prove you're a hard worker.

I also had an internship every summer since I graduated high school. Play around in your internships — I worked at a newspaper, a nonprofit, a tech company; I worked in reporting, communications, PR and marketing. It's a great way to find out what career is really right for you.

The first two internships were unpaid, but I learned a lot, got some bylines, and seriously improved my resume — and did babysitting on the side to make money. The next two internships were paid — and I was lucky enough to get an internship at a place I loved so much I came back post-grad.

“If you want to be a writer, you have to know what each writing assignment you take is worth. Early on in your career, that might mean taking on work for free, because the worth is in the education and experience. But once you reach a certain level, be confident in your skill and your own worth, and expect to be compensated accordingly.”

Finally — if you, like me, don't want to deal with a never-ending job search, it's best to get started early. I ended up accepting an offer at the place I interned at before my senior year, but I started applying to other opportunities over winter break. A lot of places won't be willing to wait for you to graduate — but some will. And it's always better to get the conversation started early. One place I applied took two months to respond to me — but they eventually did offer me a role.

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

Don't let the Starbucks barista jokes get you down. I had what are largely considered to be some of the least useful degrees out there (in English and Women's Studies), and I had a job lined up before graduation. But don't get me wrong — it will take work.

If you want to be a writer, you have to know what each writing assignment you take is worth. Early on in your career, that might mean taking on work for free, because the worth is in the education and experience. But once you reach a certain level, be confident in your skill and your own worth, and expect to be compensated accordingly.

You can find me on LinkedInTwitter (@RachelSGrate), or check out my content on the Eventbrite blog or HelloGiggles and Mic sites!


Posted on July 3, 2016 and filed under Marketing, Content Marketing.