Name: Jill Overmyer
College & Majors/Minors: BS in English, Professional Writing and Editing emphasis/Psychology minor
Current Location: Dallas, Texas
Current Form of Employment: Senior Marketing Communications Manager
Where do you work and what is your current position?
I am the Senior Marketing Communications Manager for an energy and home services company in Dallas. My main responsibilities are working with executives to develop company-wide communication strategies, establishing messaging and positioning for new products and services, hiring and managing writers and freelancers, developing and executing social media and content management strategies, and writing and reviewing copy. The things I write range from executive speeches to video scripts to brochures.
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 working as the Communications Specialist at the national headquarters of a fraternity. I found that job the old-fashioned way—I saw an ad on CareerBuilder, applied with my resume and some samples, interviewed, and accepted a job offer.
This was vastly different from the way I found my current position. In fact, I didn't really find my current job. One day I got a phone call from a freelance client (now the Chief Marketing Officer at my company) about an "opportunity" he thought I would be good for. The next thing I knew, I was moving to Texas.
The last few positions I've held followed a similar pattern. They were offered to me through former coworkers or bosses who had moved on to different companies and were in the process of building new teams. The vast majority of my career has been in marketing and copywriting, and I found out quickly that marketing and creative teams often go from company to company together. That's one of the reasons it's so important to develop good working relationships and never burn bridges.
What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?
My first freelance job was a turning point for me. I was writing content articles for a few different websites, and I realized that I could make a lot of money as a freelance writer. It opened up new doors as I learned about the different opportunities that were available. For a time period, I worked full-time from home as a freelance writer. I still do some freelance now, but I'm more discerning about which jobs I take.
What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?
The entire time I was in college, I worked at my school's on-campus Writing Center as a writing tutor. I learned so much about grammar and the entire writing process, and it also allowed me to enter the job market with editing experience.
What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?
I would highly recommend taking advantage of as many opportunities to build up your resume and portfolio in school as possible. This could be tutoring, writing for the school paper, and looking for internships between semesters or tracks. When you graduate with experience, you already have an edge over many other new graduates.
Also, try to learn about as many of the different opportunities in the field as possible so you have an idea about what you want to go into when you graduate. There are so many different fields and lines of work you can move into as an English major—it really is incredibly diverse.
I also think it’s important, whether in school or in the job market, to seek out mentors you can learn from. I've been privileged to have some wonderful mentors who have taught me a great deal throughout my schooling and professional career. I'm still in contact with most of them to this day. There are so many people you will come in contact with that you can learn from and collaborate with, and recognizing those opportunities and seeing each job as a learning experience will open up more doors than you realize.