Name: Jack Neary
Current Form of Employment: Head of Community at Litographs
Where do you work and what is your current position?
I've been Head of Community at Litographs for almost 2 years. We create art from books you've read and loved and hopefully some you haven't. Our posters, t-shirts, and tote bags are all created entirely from the text of classic books. From a distance, the artwork illustrates a theme, character, or setting from each book. Move closer and you'll see that the text is fully legible.
The best part of my job is creating unique campaigns for each new release to get the fans of a certain author or book excited about our take on it. We've crowdsourced tributes for Maya Angelou, tattooed thousands of people for Alice in Wonderland and celebrated Shakespeare's birthday with 500 of our closest Twitter followers.
Tell us about how you found your first and current job.
Fresh out of school, I found myself in the same position as a lot of English majors. I felt like all of my classmates were accepting offers while I was still figuring out where to apply. For the sake of doing something, I took a job that basically amounted to door-to-door sales. It didn't pay much, but I learned a heck of a lot about persistence, avoiding dog bites and door slams, and overcoming barriers to communication that I still use today.
I found my current job through my personal network. You never know which friends will be able to help your career so I recommend trying to keep in touch with as many interesting people as you can. Go through your phonebook and call someone out of the blue just to check up on them. Even if they don't have anything for you at that time, you'll be top of mind the next time they do come across a suitable opportunity.
What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?
What qualified me for my current job, apart from my writing and communication skills, was the experience I picked up working as a social media consultant for small businesses as part of a content marketing agency. I always knew that I wanted to combine my love for writing with a professional atmosphere so this office job allowed me enough room for creativity while also giving me the skills necessary to work within a team and deliver for clients. Most importantly, it taught me that I wanted to build and shape the voice of one brand that I was passionate about and not spread myself out over clients in industries that don't excite me.
What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?
I regret not doing more to prepare for post-grad life. I was involved with the Boston College arts journal, Stylus, but wish that I had made more connections with upperclassmen of similar interests who were going to go through the job search ringer before me and let me know what to expect. I would recommend finding a mentor your freshman year, whether it's an upperclassman or a professor, who can provide recommendations and support.
What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?
Be brash. A lot of employers will make assumptions about what an English major can or cannot do so it's your responsibility to act like your degree is the absolute best thing you could have done over the past 4 years. Think about the opposition candidates every time there's an election cycle. They gain traction by providing an alternative to the status quo and that's exactly what you can offer. You may be a little behind on the technical skills that someone who had an internship in your field picked up last summer, but that doesn't mean that you can't help a company look ahead and explain what you'd be able to do to help them get there.