Posts filed under Social Media

Sydney Turnquist: Social Media Coordinator

Name: Sydney Turnquist

Age: 23

College & Majors/Minors: College of Charleston. Major in Communication, Minor in Anthropology

Current Location: Charleston, SC

Current Form of Employment: Social Media Coordinator

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I work for matchstick social as the Media Coordinator. I am in charge of the advertising on social media platforms, particularly Facebook. I do a lot of work behind-the-scenes analyzing data, researching key targeting groups, creating ads, etc. Check out this article on Sydney for more info about what she does!

Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different).

College of Charleston has a great online service where you can find jobs that are posted by people in the community. I found two internships through that service, as well as my current position.

What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?

Asked a ton of questions and got to know my professors. They can help you more than just on tests and homework. They are a great reference for networking.

What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?

  • Don't give up because you think there aren't any jobs out there. There are! You just have to find them. Having an English degree can be applied in so many different ways, not just writing-related positions.
  • If your resume is written poorly, potential employers will think you have poor writing skills. Make sure your resume reflects your writing style.
  • Don't think that your employer won't stalk you on social media, because they will. Don't post pictures/comments/statues that you wouldn't share with your grandma. That's a good rule of thumb.

Check out a Company Highlight on Sydney, connect with her on LinkedIn, and take a look at her personal company, Three White Horses

Posted on January 4, 2015 and filed under Social Media.

Melissa Hattab: Social Media Coordinator

Name: Melissa Hattab

Age: 22

College & Majors/Minors: English Literature / Political Science & Women’s Studies

Current Location: New York, NY

Current Form of Employment: Social Media Coordinator at Stage17 Productions

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I work at Stage17, which is a digital platform that bridges the gap between traditional theatre and new media. We curate and create scripted and unscripted, fiction and non-fiction content as well as digital capture of live theatrical performances. We often collaborate with the Broadway community, giving them unique opportunities as artists. The staff is also all Broadway lovers – a lot of them have even performed on Broadway! 

I’m the Social Media Coordinator, so I manage all of Stage17’s social media platforms. Since we are a start-up company, I get to do a lot more than just social media. It is an all hands on deck operation, so I get to do really cool things like go on shoots, meet Broadway stars, and even go to fashion week!

Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different).

I found my job through careersushi.com. I started actively pursuing the job search second semester senior year. I saw Stage17’s offer and it looked like a place that was a perfect fit for me! I have always been a fan of theatre and the arts, so a job working right in the heart of it definitely seemed up my alley. I was extremely lucky to have something lined up when I graduated college. But, it wasn’t easy. There’s a lot of rejection in the job search. You just have to be diligent and incredibly dedicated. You can’t be willing to accept defeat. Don’t take no for an answer.

What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?

Most of the writing I’ve done has been for side projects to still feel connected to my artistic side. Any time I see something that is asking for submissions, whether it is a website or a blog or an online magazine, I make sure to submit something. I feel like with school, work, and everything in life, sometimes writing gets pushed to the back burner. While writing for professional reasons is great, sometimes you have to remember that writing for you and for pleasure is also really important.

What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?

I think the best experience I had to prepare me for the “real world” was interning at the Golf Channel. I interned for about six months my last semester in college, and it helped me feel confident in the work place and in my skill sets. It was my first experience working in a big office setting and really feeling like a part of the team. I also was able to utilize my writing skills through blog posts and marketing campaigns. I’m so glad I was given the opportunity to work there because without it I would’ve been terrified to start my first real post collegiate job! Internships throughout college are so important.

What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?

I remember saying to my friend, “I’m a Journalism major out of practicality. In a perfect world, I’d be an English Literature major.” It may sound cliché, but don’t ever let someone tell you that an English degree is impractical or a waste of money. If you want to major in it – do it! That was the best advice I ever got when I was debating actually taking the plunge and changing my major to English. If English is something you love and you’re passionate about, it is worth it to study it. Everyone needs someone who can write! Just be diligent with your school work and do your assigned reading! Don’t get discouraged. It may seem like job prospects are bleak, but I know plenty of people with English degrees with great jobs. Being able to write and communicate effectively is so important, especially in our world today when so many people are used to using emoticons and abbreviations to express themselves. You should be proud to have a degree in something that is both useful and artistic.

Check out Melissa Hattab's profile on Elite Daily, follow her on Instagram, and connect with her on LinkedIn

 

Posted on November 17, 2014 and filed under Social Media.

Felicia Clark: Communication Specialist

Name: Felicia Clark

Age: 27

College & Majors/Minors: Journalism/Creative Writing

Current Location: Appleton, WI

Current Form of Employment: Marketing agency

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I work for Candeo Creative (a marketing agency in Oshkosh, WI) as communication specialist where I post social media content for clients.

Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different).

I was a senior in college at UW-Oshkosh when I landed my first job as a copy editor at the Oshkosh Northwestern (Gannett) newspaper. I was a proofreader for Oshkosh Corporation in the Oshkosh Defense Bid & Proposal department, working 90 hours per week editing government documents. I then worked for Shop Local Appleton, Oshkosh, Green Bay (and everything in between) as the community social media manager. That's when I found the communication specialist position open at Candeo Creative. In just three short months I went from being part time to full time.

What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?

My first taste of marketing, since I was strictly a journalism major, was when I brought a Danish documentary called Free the Mind to Appleton Marcus Cinemas. It was a video that followed veterans suffering with PTSD as they took an intensive meditation course that changed their lives. It was so inspiring that I signed up to show it, knowing I needed at least 77 tickets before the theatre would play it for an audience. By the end of the month, after marketing my own event, I had 170-plus attendees and the cinemas gave me a larger room! I also found the veterans who were in the film and brought them out as a surprise for a Q&A session after the film. All the money donated went Dryhootch Fox Valley. This became one of the most important moments in both my personal and professional life. I had discovered my passion for the marketing world!

What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?

I gained leaderships skills in college by running student organizations, taking 18-19 credits per semester on top of two paying jobs, including writing two articles per week for the student-run newspaper (the Advance-Titan). Juggling so many activities at once helped me learn prioritization skills and reach any deadline, no matter how short.

What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?

  • Don't give up and be willing to leave your comfort zone to try new things. You never know where these little adventures will take you. 
  • Between each of the jobs I had in my field, I was typically working another entry level position to pay my bills. From waitressing to barista to canvasser to bookseller, I became a jack-of-all-trades, which helps me understand clients I am now marketing in my current job. Those "insignificant jobs" prepared me for the next. It took me nearly 5 years after graduation to land my dream job. You have to trust that the right job will come along.

Visit Felicia Clark at MeasureLifeInBookmarks.com for more details on her writing journey!

Posted on November 17, 2014 and filed under Communications, Editing, Journalism, Marketing, Public Relations, Social Media.

Katie Woodzick: External Relations Manager @ Hedgebrook

Photo by  Samantha O'Brochta.

Photo by Samantha O'Brochta.

Name: Katie Woodzick

Age: 28 

College & Majors/Minors: Theatre/Dance Major, Minors in English and French 

Current Location: Whidbey Island, Washington

Current Form of Employment: External Relations Manager 

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I work for Hedgebrook, which is a non-profit retreat for women writers. We have six cottages on 48 acres and award writers fully-funded residencies of 2-6 weeks in addition to offering professional development programs and public readings. I serve the organization as one of two External Relations Managers. We manage marketing, fundraising and communications campaigns. My favorite aspect of my job is managing our social media networks and analyzing data. I can totally geek out on identifying trends in data and using them to better communicate our programs and mission.

Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different). 

My first job was a work study placement working janitorial in my college's Biology wing. It was terrifying to clean the labs alone at 6 AM being watched by glass cases filled with stuffed animals. Luckily, I transferred into the Interlibrary Loan Department halfway through my first semester.

I found my current job through strategically choosing my practicum placement for graduate school. I studied for a year in Seattle University's MFA in Arts Leadership program. Each quarter, we were required to set up a 3-5 hour a week practicum with a local arts organization. I chose Hedgebrook and after two quarters, it led to a part-time position as a Development Associate, which later led to a promotion to External Relations Manager.

@ AWP.

@ AWP.

What was another job that was important in your career?

I toured with a children's theatre production of Jack and the Beanstalk for a summer. There were two actors and a bunch of set pieces and costumes in the back of our pickup truck. We traveled to a different town each week and taught the show to up to 100 kids. It was a magnificent opportunity to hone both my interpersonal and leadership skills.

What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?

Honestly, I didn't do that much. I mainly focused on my acting, directing and writing, while enjoying the social aspects of college. I participated in a general audition which landed me the Jack and the Beanstalk gig. After that I didn't know what to do with my life, so I applied to a dozen different AmeriCorps placements all over the country. Whidbey Island was the first place to offer me a position. I drove from Minnesota to Washington state in two days. I think that AmeriCorps is a great program with which you can ease into post-graduate life. It allowed me to try out working with non-profit organizations, which I now love. And there are so many different kinds of programs! I highly recommend AmeriCorps.

Celebrating the release of the 2014 VIDA count.

Celebrating the release of the 2014 VIDA count.

What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?

Don't let anyone tell you that your degree is impractical. I was asked many times: "So, what are you going to do with a theatre degree?" 

What is impractical is to study subjects for which you have no passion. Writing is an incredibly valuable skill that will serve you well in many professions. In this digital age, we have lost the essence of thoughtful communication. We need people who take the time to study literature, reflect on it and attempt to draw meaning from it. 

Don't be afraid of applying for positions if you don't have every single qualification listed on the job posting. Use your killer writing skills to write around any gaps in your work experience. Plus, the first thing any future employer is likely to read is your cover letter. Give yourself permission to wow them with an unforgettable first impression on the page.

Also, never stop writing. Whether it's keeping a personal journal, submitting to contests and publications, or attending a local poetry slam, it's imperative that you keep writing. You never know the impact of what you write and put out into the world. It has the potential to inspire, enlighten, and possibly even save a life.

Check out Katie's professional website and visit her blog!


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Brittany Shelley: Director of Content Marketing

Brittany Shelley: Director of Content Marketing

Amanda Rinker: Content Manager at OVC Lawyer Marketing

Amanda Rinker: Content Manager at OVC Lawyer Marketing

Andy Badalamenti: Creative Director at an Advertising Agency

Andy Badalamenti: Creative Director at an Advertising Agency

Posted on July 20, 2014 and filed under Blogging, Communications, Marketing, Non-profit, Social Media, Writing.

Emily Ladau: Freelance Writer & Disability Rights Advocate

Name: Emily Ladau

Age: 22

College & Majors/Minors: B.A. in English, Adelphi University

Current Location: Long Island, NY

Current Form of Employment: Freelance Writer and Disability Rights Advocate

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I work from my favorite blue armchair in my living room, writing, researching, and emailing my heart out. I am a freelance writer, blogger, social media professional, and most importantly, a disability rights advocate.

Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different).

Emily on Sesame Street.

Emily on Sesame Street.

If you want to get technical, my first job wasn’t writing-related at all. I appeared in several episodes of season 33 of Sesame Street when I was just ten years old. In the years since hanging out with Big Bird and Elmo, I focused on developing my voice as an advocate. For quite some time, my goal was to become an English teacher and incorporate embracing diversity and an attitude of acceptance in my classroom. However, mid-way through college, I found myself gravitating toward the idea of pursuing disability advocacy as a fulltime career.

Majoring in English certainly provided an ideal foundation because it gave me the opportunity to hone my writing and communication skills, both of which are huge facets of being a successful advocate. My skill sets and passion for activism led me to apply for a summer internship in Washington, D.C. with the American Association of People with Disabilities, through which I was placed to work at the Association of University Centers on Disabilities. Not only did this internship prove to be one of the most amazing experiences of my life, but also it set me on my current career path. I was matched with a wonderful mentor who shared her wisdom on blogging with me, ultimately inspiring me to begin my own blog, Words I Wheel By. I’ve been blogging for nearly a year, and it has opened the door for all of the paid writing and social media opportunities that comprise my current work.

You've been published in so many places. How did you go about submitting your work? Did these publications seek out your writing? 

The first paid writing gig I landed was all thanks to a series of fortunate events. Soon after I began blogging, I delved into the professional side of social media as a means of sharing my work. After a couple months of connecting and interacting with other writers and disability rights advocates, a blog coordinator reached out to ask if I’d be interested in a volunteer opportunity writing a guest post on disability in the media. That process went so well that the coordinator put me in touch with one of his freelance bosses and recommended me to be a writer.

Once my first paid piece went live, I started to build up the confidence I needed to officially consider myself a writer. Since then, getting published in different places has been the result of both submitting my work for consideration and having people approach me. I’ve spent a lot of time perfecting my pitching skills, and it’s still something I work on refining whenever I can. I’ve learned that the trick to a successful pitch email is to get right to the point, keeping it short and sweet rather than filling the page with flowery compliments.

So far, persistence has been key – with pitches, with tweets, with Facebook posts, with networking emails, with every aspect of writing. Everything I’ve done, successful or not, has been worth it just for the experience and connections. My favorite example of the pay-off so far is that I was offered an opportunity to write for The New York Times website via Twitter. The end result of that exchange is one of my favorite things I’ve written to date: “One Daughter, One Mother, Two Wheelchairs and Nothing Remarkable.”

What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?

I was offered my first writing-related job by chance during my freshman year of college. There was a book response essay contest for the entire freshman class and I won. Part of my prize was dinner with the author and some faculty members, one of whom happened to be the director of my university’s Writing Center. We chatted throughout the meal and hit it off, so she approached me a few days later to let me know she had read my essay and wanted to hire me as a writing tutor.

Following a semester-long intensive tutor training course, I got to work with students from all over my school during tutoring sessions several days per week. I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world, because it gave me exposure to immense diversity in writing habits that stemmed from different cultural backgrounds and learning styles. By reading the writing of others through a critical lens, offering guidance, and doing my best to help people comprehend an incredibly wide-range of grammatical and writing-related concepts, I was constantly motivated to consider my own writing and my understanding of the writing process in new ways.

What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life? 

I’ll be honest: since I changed career plans right in the middle of college, the real world intimidated me a bit. However, one of my primary goals was to make sure I graduated college with an already full resumé. All the clubs I joined, volunteering I did, and employment experiences I had during my time as an undergrad made it easier to transition to working after I graduated.

Also, once I realized that I wanted to shift my focus to advocacy, I began to explore possible options in case I decided to go to graduate school. As it happened, I took a year following graduation to focus on building my career, and just recently applied to a program that I learned about while I was still an undergrad. I’ll be pursuing an M.A. in Disability Studies starting Fall 2014 at the CUNY School of Professional Studies, and the program will allow me to continue my writing work as I earn my degree.

What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree? 

My first thought is, who am I to be spouting advice? Everyone will find a path that works best for them. That being said, I worry that far too many people make negative assumptions about what can be accomplished with an English degree, and I want anyone who’s ever doubted their decision to be an English major to know that there really is a world of potential out there.

In terms of practical advice, there are a few things I can’t stress enough:

  • If your goal is to write, put yourself out there. Create a blog, pitch material, develop a writing portfolio. It doesn’t matter if you’re still a student; the earlier you work towards making a name for yourself, the better. Even if you begin by doing lots of writing for free, you’ll be paid in the form of a wealth of writing clips to show off to potential employers. My blog serves as one big writing sample that I can easily present to anyone who may be interested, and I also have a separate portfolio page with a list of pieces I’ve written for other publications. This gives me credibility as an experienced writer, and provides Google with plenty of material in case anyone searches my name.
  • Social media can be a total rabbit hole, but it can also be your best friend. Some of my favorite work opportunities have come from simple online connections. It’s important not to focus only on one platform, though. I actively maintain accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and several other useful platforms (shameless plugs, I know). But the real point here is to diversify your social media outlets, because you never know where someone might stumble across your writing or you’ll find your niche.
  • Learn your limits. I find myself constantly wanting to say yes to everyone, but spreading myself too thin is just not fair to anyone. Saying no always makes me feel as though I’m being unfair to people when I have to do it, but when I have more time, I can write pieces and do work that I’m genuinely proud to call my own.
  • Most importantly, have faith in yourself. It’s super cheesy, cliché, and probably something you’ve heard a million times before, but it’s the advice that gets me through every day. Whenever self-doubt starts to creep in, acknowledge it, shake it off, and keep moving forward.

Visit Emily on her professional website and blog, Words I Wheel By. Connect with her on her Facebook and Twitter, too!


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Katie Plumb: Freelance Writer

Katie Plumb: Freelance Writer

Maggie Smith-Beehler: Poet, Author, Freelance Writer & Editor

Maggie Smith-Beehler: Poet, Author, Freelance Writer & Editor

Sam Slaughter: Fiction Writer & Brewery Social Media Manager

Sam Slaughter: Fiction Writer & Brewery Social Media Manager

Sam Slaughter: Fiction Writer & Brewery Social Media Manager

Name: Sam Slaughter

Age: 26

College & Majors/Minors: Elon University - BA, 2009, English/Creative Writing & Anthropology. Stetson University - MA, 2014, English.

Current Location: DeLand, FL

Current Form of Employment: Fiction Writer and Brewery Social Media Manager

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I currently work as a social media manager for a small craft brewery in DeLand, Florida. Starting this fall, I will also be an adjunct professor at the institution that I received my MA from. In addition, I do copywriting or editing for a few different people in town on a client-to-client basis.

Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different).

I fell into one, and for the other it was just as easy. I’ve always been interested in beer, wine, spirits, brewing, et cetera. From the time my college roommate and I attempted and eventually made abysmal homebrewed beer, I knew that it was always going to be something that I circled. In stories, I think Flannery O’Connor was the one that said you had to have your characters circle the same drain, or something to that effect. Alcohol, both making it and writing about it, is my drain. When I moved out to Montana for Grad School 1.0, I called all the wineries in the area and asked if they’d teach me. One place got back to me and did so. When I got down here, my boss’s husband knew some people that homebrewed and invited me over on a day they were brewing. I brewed, then did it again and then again. I stuck around. As they began to visualize a brewery, I was always there. I made the beer, I poured the beer, I drank the beer. With previous bar experience, I was/still am necessary to the brewery in the sense that I know more about the beer than most and I can also sell it better than most (an ability to play with words helps this out a lot). I may not be able to talk to strangers face to face on the street (the writer part of me coming out), but I sure as hell can sell you a pint of craft beer from behind a bar.

For the position with the university, I asked. After graduating, I was trying any and everything to find a job that would allow me to pay my bills. Teaching appealed to me—I’d co-taught a class while a grad student with my mentor and I have other teaching experience (City Year, an Americorps program)—so I sent an email inquiring about open positions with my university. Thankfully, they had some, I interviewed and now I’m preparing to fly solo with my first college class.

To address the last part, it all happens by networking. In such a small town, it isn’t hard to be known for your words. When you make enough acquaintances who then learn you can write and write better than most, copywriting jobs occasionally pop up. Business isn’t booming, but by asking people if they could use better copy for websites or whatever, you get a job here and there. It keeps me writing a variety of things and it, who knows, could lead to other freelance gigs in the future. I just keep asking and letting people know I’m available.

What was another job that was important in your career? 

Practically, an important job was working for a newspaper as a beat reporter. Two years after I graduated from Elon, I moved from Montana, where I'd spent a year floundering in graduate school, back home to New Jersey, where I took the job as a reporter. I learned a couple of things while at that position. First, I learned to write in the very basic, journalistic way that I had neglected to do throughout college. Working as a reporter for a small weekly, you learn to strip away any of the fancy bells and whistles of language in an effort to paint a simple portrait of, say, a town council meeting. In defense of town council meetings, though, there is no place for fancy bells and whistles. 

Not so practically, a job that sticks out for me is a summer I spent working as a gravedigger. You can call it a cemetery groundskeeper or a lawn facilities technician or some other fancy title, but I was a gravedigger. I used a shovel and I put people in the ground. It sounds harsh, I know, but it was also the perfect opportunity as a writer to learn. This job, and any other not-so-important jobs I’ve held over the years, especially ones that are more manual labor than intellectual labor, allow for time to think. I plotted stories while I worked, even if I never wrote them. I catalogued details of place. I tried out dialogue while I was out amongst the headstones weed whacking.

I try to balance practically and impracticality in my life if for nothing else than to remind myself that I need to make mistakes or I’m going to lead one hell of a boring life and more importantly a life not worth writing about.

What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?

I wish I could say I did something specific. I didn’t though. Like I said earlier, I just happened to circle the same drain a lot. Really, there were two drains, so maybe this has to turn into a simile more like two planets, some gravity, and a ball in the middle. I swung from one orbit to the other and back in a figure eight pattern for a long time. Similes aside, I knew from a young age (eighth grade or so) that I wanted to write. I knew later on that I wanted to be around alcohol. Whatever I was doing, I kept those two things somewhere in my mind. They weren’t always in the front, but they were there. If your passion is strong enough, you learn to mix it into your everyday life. That’s all I did. I made sure words and booze were around all the time. The booze part is more difficult than the words part, but you learn over the years how to do it. As long as you know you haven’t forgotten about it—and the sheer fact that you remind yourself not to forget about whatever it is being the proof of that ( I think that’s how that works)—then you’ll be fine. Find your passion and don’t let it go.

What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?

If you want to be a writer, try to have a job that does not involve writing. It may sound counterproductive, but I felt the least inspired (and the least energized) to write when all I did all day every day was write. When i got home, I had enough energy to go to the gym and then I'd sit around and complain about my job to my family. Instead, find some physical. Use your body and tire out everything, but your mind. Work somewhere where you will interact with people. Even if it isn't something permanent, it'll be useful. Work in the service industry. If you want to write in any sort of genre, this experience will give you settings, characters, you name it. The weird people you will meet when you work at a bar will provide an endless font of ideas for stories, poems, essays, everything. If nothing else, it'll provide an insight into how not to treat other people when you are out to dinner and that, I feel is quite useful in life.

[Sidebar: Working in a job where you write some, I think is also a good thing, though seeing as that is what I do, I recognize that I am bias. I like to think of it like an engine—writing all the time it'll overheat and you'll be left on the side of some lonely highway in North Dakota wondering whether or not a true crime show was shot in the area, but writing some of the time keeps the engine running, and running well so that when you do get to write you can perform optimally.]

To add to that, and this will sound cliché so for that I apologize, but try stuff. Live a little. When you spend all of your time with your nose in a book or sitting in front of a lit screen, you tend to miss out on things. I'm not saying go out every chance you get—that is probably as useless as never going out unless you take damn good notes—but don't be afraid to occasionally interact with others. Most won't bite and if they do, they're probably trying to be playful. If they're not, then you've got one hell of a story if you get out of there alive.

Finally, writing is a job, so expect to always (unless you're one of the incredibly successful and lucky ones) to always hold down two jobs. One you may never get paid for, but it deserves just as much attention if you want to be successful at it. Write and read whatever and whenever you can. Fail at writing and get rejected a lot. Get hurt by the rejection, fume over it, hug a teddy bear or a loved one, have a beer, strengthen your resolve to not let it happen again, then get back to it. It sounds a bit harsh, I know, but if you're not writing with a passion that can overcome that stuff, then why write?

Visit Sam on his professional website and follow him on twitter @slaughterwrites.


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Kat Clark: Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications

Kat Clark: Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications

Dan Moyer Jr.: Screenwriter

Dan Moyer Jr.: Screenwriter

Christine Stoddard: Writer/Filmmaker, Co-owner & Creative Director of Quail Bell 

Christine Stoddard: Writer/Filmmaker, Co-owner & Creative Director of Quail Bell 

Posted on July 17, 2014 and filed under Copywriting, Freelance, Journalism, Self-Employed, Social Media, Writing, Teaching.

Marisa Bunney: Immersive Journalist & Social Media Specialist

Name: Marisa Bunney

Age: 24

College & Majors/Minors: B.A. in English with a minor in Religious Studies from Youngstown State University

Current Location: Miami, FL

Current Form of Employment: Immersive Journalist/Social Media Specialist

Where do you work and what is your current position?

Example of Marisa Bunney's work.

Example of Marisa Bunney's work.

I work for Ronin Advertising Group in Miami. My official title is Immersive Journalist, but as is the norm in advertising, I wear many hats. Realistically, I’m a Copywriter, Journalist, Event Planner, Account Manager, Brand Manager, and Creative Director. I manage a team of writers, produce content calendars, work with designers, create content strategies, manage social media accounts, plan events for luxury residents in Boston and San Francisco, and manage production of creative and collateral material. I also write everything from event invitations and digital e-blasts to ads, social media posts and lifestyle news and blog articles. 

I’ve done freelance work as well, writing websites, serving as a script consultant, and creating social media strategies for clients such as IBM’s #mysocialcommerce crowdsourced campaign. 

Example of Marisa Bunney's work.

Example of Marisa Bunney's work.

Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different). 

I actually started with Ronin five years ago as an intern, was promoted to a paid internship and was ultimately offered a full-time position. The interview for the position wasn’t quite as rigorous since I already had a relationship with my boss. But, I still had to sell myself. The position was different than what I’d previously done as an intern and required a fresh set of skills. In addition to copywriting, I had to be able to write SEO-friendly content and journalistic articles. I also had to be able to communicate with the client and manage expectations with a certain level of confidence and professionalism. Luckily, I was able to fulfill and exceed the demands. I’m a people person at heart and I was able to show my boss that I could handle client contact and project management and that snowballed into the position I have now. 

What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?

My freelance work. I’m a hungry writer and I learn quickly. Having the ability to cross multiple industries taught me to look at every project with an open mind. Script writing, for example, is totally different from copywriting, but it helped me learn the art of storytelling; and in advertising, that’s what we do, we tell stories. My personal interests and activities helped me as well. You may not think those countless hours of Facebooking are productive, but in this industry, having a voice online will get you far. The rise of social media and online marketing are forcing us to communicate in new ways and being able to master that kind of short-form writing is an incredible asset.

What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?

As an English major, I wrote a ton—and I mean a ton—of long-form essays, which essentially gave me the tools to become a great writer. Being the perpetually curious cat that I am, I used my electives and “free time” to expand my skill set. I took poetry, film and screenwriting classes, got into journalism circles, volunteered at the campus Writing Center, edited work for friends, tutored high school students, worked in Summer internships and even wrote a children’s book that was eventually published as part of a recruiting campaign for a daycare. 

What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?

My biggest turnoff is to hear someone say that English majors have limited possibilities. On the contrary, it actually opens a lot of doors. Not everyone who wants to be in advertising should major in Advertising. One thing my boss—who just happens to be one of the most brilliant people I’ve ever known—always told me that any writer worth their salt has a degree in English. This degree teaches more than grammar basics and sentence structure. It teaches you comprehension and the elements of a great story and how to reach your audience. That knowledge translates into a number of areas: script writing, ad copy, textbook copy, news articles, social media posts, blogs, copyediting, proofreading, even strategy. Always remember this: writers tell stories. And to tell a great story, you have to see it from every angle. That means even if you’re writing technical instructions for assembling an entertainment center, you need to understand who you’re speaking to and what level of knowledge your audience brings to the table, how to create a natural progression or order for what you’re writing. Everything you write will have an arc, a beginning, a middle and an end. 

Lastly, possibly the best piece of advice I could give is to build a portfolio. Trust me, employers care more about what you can do for them than your 3.8 GPA. If you don’t have professional work, write your own stuff. Write a spec script, write product ads, start a blog, do whatever you can to have some kind of concrete work to show. That’s what will you get you your dream job.

Connect with Marisa on LinkedIn and follow her on twitter!

Check out more of Marisa's work online here:

Amanda Rinker: Content Manager at OVC Lawyer Marketing

Name: Amanda Rinker

Age: 25

College & Majors/Minors: B.A. in English, Writing Concentration from Clarion University of Pennsylvania

Current Location: San Antonio, Texas

Current Form of Employment: Content Manager at OVC Lawyer Marketing

Where do you work and what is your current position? 

I currently work at OVC, INC. (aka OVC Lawyer Marketing) which is a website development company based out of Chicago, Illinois. We provide website design, Search Engine Optimization, social media, website content, blogs, and more for attorneys located throughout the U.S. At OVC, I am the Content Manager. I mostly handle the assigning and editing of website content and blogs, but I also help out with the web operations duties of maintaining legal directory listings for our clients, creating and updating mobile websites, updating websites, and the upkeep of Google Places listings. Really, I wear many different hats at OVC but my passion is the content. It is a big responsibility to keeping content and blog schedules on track, as well as handling client turnaround on projects, but my passion for editing makes all of the pressure worth it. I love being able to take something a writer compiled, research the latest SEO techniques to implement, and conform the writing to make a client successful and happy.

I was introduced to the owner of OVC, Greg Wildman, back in 2011 through my first freelance job after college. I worked for (then Online Video Concepts, LLC) here and there for two years, adding content and updates to attorney websites. In 2013, I gained a bigger role with the company, and this year I became its first employee. With the 2014 massive growth of OVC, we hired on three more full time employees and even more contract writers and web developers. OVC, INC. has a bright future and I plan on helping to carry the torch.

Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different). 

My first job was for a multi-faith prayer website (weird, right?). After college, I started dating my now husband of four years so I was determined to find a work-from-home job. He was in the Army and we'd likely be moving around every two to three years. So I cruised Craigslist ads for three months after graduation before I came upon the interesting ad. I sent an email with my short post-graduation resume and received a response from the Chicago-based website. After a Skype interview, I was hired and worked for the website for about a year as a freelance editor eventually managing a team of writers and editing their content for publication and email newsletters. Through this amazing opportunity, I learned HTML, the content management system Joomla, Wordpress, how to publish eBooks, and really just how to be a professional in a virtual setting. I will be forever grateful for this first opportunity I had.

Nowadays, especially when you telecommute to work, employers are looking for writers and editors with a broad range of skills. You can't just be able to write anymore; you have to know some HTML, have worked in the "back end" of websites, know the latest SEO techniques, have experience with social media, and more. Not only do you have to have talent, but you must also be willing to learn how to market yourself. This involves keeping your own online portfolio and making sure it's up to date. For example, my website www.amandarinker.com is not as current as it could be, but now that I have a full time employee position I can afford to let it linger until I need it. However, when I'm in the market for new freelance opportunities, I always make sure to have the most recent articles I've written, live links to social media I've helped manage, etc. Not only should the resume be recent, but having my own hand-built portfolio website also shows my budding web development skills.

What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?

My job after the prayer site was for a digital art magazine/news website. This job taught me the importance of being an asset to a business. For example, I would take calls or push out relevant news stories for our website on nights and weekends. I was the link of broadcasting the latest art, fashion, or book news to our viewers. It was great for learning responsibility and my value as a worker. This editing position also taught me more about interviewing. I would interview innovative creators of art and learn what made them tick, or what their inspirations were. It helped me connect with people even if it was over a computer or on the phone. It can make you stir crazy working in an empty office at home, so this provided some human interaction. Finally, this freelance job gave me more insight on publishing for eReaders like Kindle, Nook and iPad. There are so many different aspects that go into publishing that readers don't think about, such as each eReader must be created in it's own file format. They all don't read the same file and make it look pretty on the screen. That was probably the hardest thing to deal with when publishing the quarterly eMagazine.

I also freelanced for a publisher that released different science-related journals. Specifically, I worked on an academic physics journal. Let me say, it's very interesting to edit around scientific terms and theories that you don't understand. However, I made it work somehow. As a copy editor you pick up inserting that "blank" noun or verb over a term you don't know. Though, I am proud to say that when I see stories about the Large Hadron Collider in the news I jump for joy because I've been editing works about it. Most notably, this job taught me how to work with the Chicago Manual of Style (whereas I was familiar with MLA style in college) and how to use different editing software for journals.

What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?

During my senior year of college, I was involved in the English Department's "BaZaar Magazine," a student publication with articles and reviews written on music, movies, and travel sites. But, my main involvement that shaped my career was my in English Club and Sigma Tau Delta (English Honors Society) from sophomore to senior year. My senior year, I was the President of the English Club and Vice President of our Sigma Tau Delta chapter. Attending STD (yes, it's a great acronym) conferences in different cities, submitting my writing and meeting book authors was the best experience I had in college. I have signed books from Alexandra Fuller, Michael Perry, and Neil Gaiman that I will treasure forever, as well as the memories of hearing them speak about their careers. Not only did these organizations look good on my resume, but they enriched my life and future career with expanding my own writing, learning from others, and gaining relationships with my peers.

The other major thing I did to prepare for post-college life ("real life" as I call it) was nab an internship at a small Pittsburgh publishing house. This helped me get my hands on manuscripts, allowed me to contribute my own book reviews to their blog, and showed me the ins and outs of a real company. Though I did intern tasks like maintain the stockroom, mail out book orders, and get everyone lunch, I learned valuable editing and business skills from the editors and book designers.

What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?

One concrete statement that I can give to English students and graduates is what I mentioned before: Be more than just a writer or editor. Know your craft but also know what will make you successful. Market yourself with the abilities you should have in today's digital age. Also, be willing to take less money if you want to get your foot in the door. I started off making $8/hour (now near minimum wage) with my first gig. But, I worked hard and made my way up to $10/hr in only a few months, and so on. Today a lot of people, especially in my generation, think they deserve more right out of college, so that's why they might not be working in the field they enjoy. It takes sacrifice and working over 40 hours a week to get somewhere. I'm not saying you may not be worth a higher salary, but to get somewhere you have to start from the bottom and fight your way to the top.

Visit Amanda on her professional website amandarinker.com, check out her profile on OVCLawyerMarketing.com and connect with her on LinkedIn!