Name: Sue Ayers
College & Majors/Minors: Virginia Commonwealth University - BA English, St. Joseph's College - M.S.Ed - Adult Education & Training
Current Location: Richmond, VA
Current Form of Employment: Senior Learning Associate
Where do you work and what is your current position?
Currently, I am a Senior Learning Associate at Capital One. I oversee new hire training curriculum for a variety of fraud departments.
Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different).
After I graduated from VCU, I had a variety of jobs, but none in a field I really loved. I took some time to raise my children and went back to work full-time in 2006 at Circuit City. I worked as a training designer, writing curriculum for home-theater and PC installers. I was hired in this position because of my English degree and my writing skills. After Circuit City closed in 2009, I developed training for a non-profit for four years. After that, I was hired as a contractor to work as an Instructional Designer at Capital One. After seven months, a position became available. I asked the manager if she would be interested in considering me for the job and I was delighted to be offered the position.
What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?
After Circuit City closed, I began writing for a variety of online sites which I still do today. I wrote for AOL, Yahoo Sports, eHow, and a host of other sites. A quality writer can find a lot of work writing for the web. I had a few mishaps along the way (clients who didn't want to pay, potential clients who wanted me to write for free to get exposure, etc); however, I was fortunate to find many good sites that paid well so I was able to build a significant online presence.
What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?
I started out as a business major but my love of writing and literature kept pulling me back to the world of the arts. Even though I work for a large company, I am fortunate to be able to be creative in my position. The best thing I did in college was to change my major to English.
What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?
Use your skills and knowledge to your advantage. Writing is becoming a lost art with people using abbreviations and emoticons in texts and emails and it is showing in important correspondence. Make sure your command of the English language shows in your resume and cover letters when job-hunting. Do so with spelling and punctuation, too. Make sure your online presence (LinkedIn, etc) has perfect grammar and punctuation. Also, use your imagination when job hunting. I worked in a variety of jobs throughout my life but I always highlighted my excellent communication skills and my writing ability when interviewing. Having these skills will set you apart from the crowd. And keep reading... always!! You'll be surprised at the conversations about books and authors you will have with people in the business world.