Name: Anna Gibson
College & Majors/Minors: MA in Publishing & Writing, BA in English, minors in corporate communication, creative and professional writing
Current Location: Columbus, OH
Current Form of Employment: Full time
Where do you work and what is your current position?
I currently work for JPMorgan Chase as a business analyst within the Letters Administration team. I’m basically a project manager for letters that are sent out to customers.
Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different).
My first job out of grad school was a correspondence letter editor at JPMorgan Chase, where I edited hundreds of letters and emails before they were sent to customers. I had applied to dozens of jobs in both Ohio (where I was originally from) and in Boston (where I completed my graduate program). I was looking for editorial jobs, and found the position on an online job board. I applied, and I got a call the next day for an interview, and I was hired within the following two weeks.
After a few years of editing letters and helping with internal communications, I knew I wanted to move up to a different positon. My manager was very supportive of me, and was the one who suggested I apply for an internal posting for a business analyst position. It would still be a position working within the letters world, but this time, on the back end of the letters process. I applied and got the job! I’ve now been employed as a business analyst for two years, and with the same company for five years.
What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?
I accepted a full-time editing internship at Wiley-Blackwell Publishing in my second year as a grad student at Emerson College. I was pretty much an assistant to the editorial assistant—they often hired interns, so we were trained as if we were going to eventually be hired and hit the ground running, so we were given immense responsibility for multiple different book projects. I didn’t realize then how useful that internship would be for the position I’m currently in. Learning to juggle multiple projects at a time, maintaining strict deadlines, leading meetings, and learning how to interact with different levels of people throughout the process made a huge difference when I started working full-time in the corporate world.
What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?
I had various internships throughout my college years, and I feel like they all gave me a huge step up in how to be successful in a corporate role. I was incredibly lucky to find paying internships, so I could intern full-time while I went to school full-time. It also gave me an opportunity to work with different companies in different types of writing/communications/editing roles, so I could see what the best fit was for me. I did everything from a corporate communications internship with a Fortune 500 company, to an editing internship with a small academic publisher. Each of these experiences gave me a good chance to hone my skills and find out what I wanted (or didn’t want!) in a career.
What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?
A professor once told me that as long as I could write well, I would always be able to find a job, and that was some of the best advice I’ve received. I have two English-major related degrees, and I have always been employed full-time. I believe that is in large part because of my ability to write and articulate clearly and professionally in any setting. I wouldn’t have gained any of those skills without an English degree that focused on writing and communication. Don’t take those skills for granted!