Name: Michelle Swanson
College & Majors/Minors: Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Current Location: Edwardsville, IL
Current Form of Employment: Self-employed Resume Writer
Where do you work and what is your current position?
I own and operate MichelleSwanson.com, a resume writing and job search consultancy serving senior business executives worldwide. I offer a range of services designed to help my clients document and communicate their professional value. My focus is on developing resumes/CVs, executive bios, LinkedIn profiles, and letters, but my clients also rely on me to edit business plans, presentations, emails, press releases, and other business and career-related communications.
Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different).
I was a nontraditional student and returned to college to finish my degree after 6 years in the Air Force. I found my first post-college job through a staffing agency and, after about 2 years, left to start my own company.
What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?
My military service included serving as an Intelligence Analyst. In that role, I wrote reports for intelligence agencies and decision-makers at the highest levels of government. This early experience serves me well in my current career because I learned how to gather and process large amounts of information, cut through the clutter, distill the information into its crucial pieces, and communicate a message in a way that supports decision-making.
What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?
Unfortunately, I did very little to prepare for my career during college. I regret not pursuing internships or professional training such as certifications.
What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?
My advice to students and graduates would be to stay open to all the career opportunities that are out there! In college, I was aware of only about a dozen possible career paths for someone with an English degree. I wasn’t even aware that professional resume writers existed! I’ve been in business for more than 10 years, and I’m still amazed by the sheer variety of paths you can take. If you think you’ve thought about all your options… you haven’t. My clients with bachelor’s degrees in English include an IT Project Manager, Vice President of Crisis Communications, Health Insurance Product Manager, Business Analyst, Senior Director of Digital Video, Television Production Assistant, Advertising Sales Manager, Director of Marketing and Investor Relations, Award-winning Independent Film Producer, Television Director, and more. Your degree is just the beginning and does not limit your opportunities!