Posts filed under Editing

Alaina Leary: Social Content Curator & Freelancer

Name: Alaina Leary

Age: 23

College & Majors/Minors: Westfield State University, English with a concentration in Writing, Editing, and Media (Bachelor of Arts degree, May 2015); Emerson College, Publishing and Writing (in-progress Master of Arts degree, expected May 2017)

Current Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Current Form of Employment: Full-time, regular, plus I have several ongoing freelance roles

Where do you work and what is your current position?

Right now, I'm working at Connelly Partners / Breaktime Media, and I'm a Social Content Curator on several different client accounts. I'm involved in a lot of different aspects of social media, including community management, content audits, analytics and regular reporting, strategy development, creating posts (writing the copy, contributing design ideas and video concepts), scheduling posts, running social media ads, and working with bloggers, user-generated content, and social media influencers. I also work with some longer form content, including print and online magazines and blogs, and help out as needed with the publicity and PR side of social.

I'm also involved in a few ongoing freelance projects, including Her Campus, Luna Luna Magazine, We Need Diverse Books, Dear Hope, and Doll Hospital. In these projects, I have varied responsibilities, mainly tied into social media, editing, writing, graphic and web design, marketing, and publicity.

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 at a start-up that owned 19 local websites. I worked mainly on the feature stories program—seeking sources, reaching out for features, interviewing sources, editing content written by our freelance writers, curating photos, writing headlines and subheads, and electronically publishing. I did a bit of copywriting, social media, and community management work as well.

I found that job on Craigslist jobs, which I've always found kind of ironic. I was afraid of using Craigslist to look for work, but at the time, I'd been applying since December of my senior year (more heavily since February of that year). I'd used every career website, but I'd never used Craigslist. So I gave it a shot, and the interview process went so well, so I accepted the position. I really enjoyed working there, and it gave me the opportunity to use more than one skill set, which was fantastic.

“As it turns out, I wasn’t right for a senior role, but the recruiter told me not to give up, and I didn’t. I reapplied for another position in March, and she asked me if I’d be interested in joining the team on the client-facing side, as part of the agency.”

I found my current job in an interesting way. I connected with a recruiter at Breaktime Media in January for a senior editor position for an entertainment website that my company owns. I was really passionate about working at the company, but I didn't have quite the experience level that was necessary for the open role. After talking with the recruiter, I was even more convinced that this company was right up my alley. When she and I talked company culture, I tried really hard not to imagine myself getting the job. I didn't want to get too excited. As it turns out, I wasn't right for a senior role, but the recruiter told me not to give up, and I didn't. I reapplied for another position in March, and she asked me if I'd be interested in joining the team on the client-facing side, as part of the agency. I've worked in an agency setting before, and I loved it, so I said yes. The interview process convinced me even more that this was the right fit for me, and I'm so glad that I didn't give up! It just goes to show you that showing particular enthusiasm about a company or a type of role can go a long way—and so can finding a recruiter who you click with!

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

While I was still in college, I worked at a media agency, as I mentioned before. In that role, I wasn't dedicated to one branch, like I am now, because it was a much smaller agency in Western Massachusetts. I started there on co-op and was hired on as staff afterward. That job was crucial to getting where I am today. Not only did I learn a variety of skills and get to use more than one skill while I was there, but I also learned what it's like to work with clients directly, which was extremely beneficial for me later getting freelance work and now, working at an agency. In that role, I had an opportunity to work with writing, editing, graphic design, journalism, video editing, social media, PR, publicity outreach, and even customer service and administrative tasks. And the biggest thing that stuck with me? My incredible relationship with my supervisor, who I still speak with on a regular basis. She was my mentor throughout the process, and we really connected. I can't tell you how important this relationship was for my career development.

“And the biggest thing that stuck with me? My incredible relationship with my supervisor, who I still speak with on a regular basis. She was my mentor throughout the process, and we really connected. I can’t tell you how important this relationship was for my career development.”

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

I took on three internships and several other professional development roles, including working freelance with two area nonprofits (Habitat for Humanity and Hope For Limpopo). I took a career prep class that gave me the opportunity to do mock interviews, practice my "60 second elevator pitch," and have my resume and cover letters critiqued. I took several other unique and useful classes, including special topics in freelance writing and advanced prose, which helped hone my skills and sharpen my ability to edit and refine my work.

I was an honors student, and I decided to do an in-depth thesis project on social media's influence on our relationships, which has been really helpful in my capacity working with social media and learning about human behaviors online and why they happen. It also gave me a chance to work one-on-one with a team of advisors, including a main advisor who I met with every week, and who gave me incredibly beneficial constructive criticism. 

I also worked on campus as a writing consultant at the reading and writing center, and as a tutor in almost 20 different subjects. My work as a writing tutor—and in the class I had to take to prepare to become one—was hugely helpful. My professor was adamant that all of us learn the importance of revising, and it actually changed the way I see the editing process for the better. She also inspired all of us to work on campus social justice issues. Because of that experience, along with three fellow writing tutors and the Student Veterans Association, I wrote a proposal for a veterans' center to be created on campus—and it's now in the process of becoming real.

I presented my work at five conferences, which was wonderful for my public speaking and presentation skills, and gave me the confidence I really needed when I was asked back as an alumni speaker for my college's annual English department award ceremony. 

Making connections was the best thing I did in college, though, as much as every professional experience gave me useful technical skills and practice. My work on Dear Hope came directly from the writing tutor veterans' center project, because DH's founder was a part of our four-person group. He and I have remained really close, and we believe in the same things, which is why Dear Hope is a perfect project to collaborate on. My relationships with supervisors and professors in college were also crucial. I still ask my former professors for career and professional advice (they're probably sick of me!), and connect with them about what I'm up to. The only reason I was invited back as a distinguished alumni is probably because I've kept up such strong connections. I've worked with my former professors, Catherine Savini and Beverly Army Williams, on their new website MotherShould? www.mothershould.com, and I've kept in contact with many colleagues and classmates, too.

“Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t get a job with an English degree. You can get so MANY jobs with one! In today’s fast-paced digital age, an excellent writer is a necessary skill to get people’s attention and keep it.”

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

Do it! Don't let anyone tell you that you can't get a job with an English degree. You can get so MANY jobs with one! In today's fast-paced digital age, an excellent writer is a necessary skill to get people's attention and keep it. You also don't need to be a full-time writer just because you have an English degree. People with English degrees can go to jobs in editing, digital and social media, PR, marketing, publishing, and many other fields. There are no limits unless you create them for yourself by saying that you can't do it.

Also, connect with fellow English majors and ask English grads what they're doing. Get a feel for what you might want to do early on, and try it out via an internship or co-op. Find out what your passions are and go for it! And don't be afraid to ask people in your dream job how they got there and what their advice is!

Visit AlainaLeary.com to learn more about Alaina and her work, and connect with her on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter


Abigail Fleming: Production Editor

Name: Abigail Fleming

Age: 23

College: College of Charleston 

Major: English Language & Literature

Minor: Linguistics

Current Location: Charleston, South Carolina

Current Form of Employment: Full-time Production Editor

Where do you work and what is your current position?

The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition
$38.73
University Of Chicago Press

I work for Arcadia Publishing, under The History Press imprint, as a production editor. Arcadia Publishing is the largest publisher of local history books in the country, so I get to travel vicariously through the books I edit and proofread. My projects range from true crime, culinary trails, and ghost stories to transportation history (people really love trains), and it is my job to see manuscripts through the various stages of production, up until they are ready to go to print. I spend my days elbow-deep in the Chicago Manual of Style, discussing the finer points of our house style with authors, and spiraling down fact-checking wormholes. I love it. Reading has always been my hobby, and now I get paid to do it, albeit not always about topics of my choosing (trains, anyone?).

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

After I graduated, I was still unsure of what I really wanted to do. I knew teaching wasn’t for me, yet I found myself working as the administrative assistant for a department of the local school district. I was getting restless after about six months, only doing the occasional freelance copy job (paid and volunteered), so I started looking at all of the publishing-related companies and positions in the area, only to find out that there were (and are) actually quite a few of them. After about a month or so of furious resume writing and innumerable cover letters, I landed interviews with Arcadia and the in-house publication for a local teaching hospital. Honestly, I had applied for administrative positions in addition to the jobs I actually wanted, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that they wanted me for my degree. 

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

My godfather is a historian and has a website that focuses on esoteric American history. I have always copyedited his articles, so when he told me he was writing a book, I was excited. When he told me that he wasn’t going to hire a professional editor, I almost panicked. With my impending graduation, and a publication date, I had a hectic last few undergraduate months, but together we created a product that I know helped get me my current position, because I really wasn’t that experienced outside of the classroom, with the exception of an editorial internship that consisted of blogging, tweeting, and occasional copyediting.

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

My school’s English department had an internship course that helped students find internships with various local businesses and receive credit hours for the work completed. I knew I needed experience in my field, not only because I needed to improve my professional people skills, but also because I wasn’t precisely sure what I wanted to do with my degree. I ended up working in the editorial department of a then-new food magazine, and it was a rewarding experience (free cake and recipes from fantastic chefs) in that I learned what I did and did not like (like: cake, dislike: deadlines) in that particular industry.

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

I would advise every English major to read and write for fun. Academic writing is like riding a bicycle; once you know how, you can always whip up an annotated bibliography, but creativity has to be cultivated constantly. And volunteer! Internships are imminently useful, but sometimes finding meaningful ones can be tough. Whatever your interests are, there’s likely a number of websites, publications, and organizations devoted toward them.  

You can connect with Abigail on LinkedIn here; also, check out her work on StrangeHistory.org and AmericanKillers.org


Posted on May 20, 2016 and filed under Editing, Interviews, Interview, Publishing.

Brittany Olsen: Editor

Brittany holding a copy of the graphic novel she self-published about her volunteer experiences in Japan.

Brittany holding a copy of the graphic novel she self-published about her volunteer experiences in Japan.

Name: Brittany Olsen

Age: 25

College & Majors/Minors: Southern Utah University; Major: English (Creative Writing emphasis); Minor: Art (Illustration emphasis)

Current Location: Provo, UT

Current Form of Employment: Part-time

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I have two jobs right now: One is a copy editor for an SEO management company (Textbroker International), and the other is an editor for a startup modest clothing retailer's blog (She Traveled). At Textbroker, I'm simply editing product descriptions and other pieces of content marketing to pay the bills, and it's meticulous work to make sure an author's writing fits what the client is paying for. At She Traveled, I manage a very small team of writers who have a lot more freedom with their topics, and because it's a lifestyle blog, it's a lot easier for the writers and me to get very excited about what we're working on. 

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

I feel very fortunate to have a writing/editing job within two years of obtaining my undergraduate degree. Shortly after graduation in 2011, I left for an 18-month volunteer opportunity in Japan, and I found work as a copy editor at Textbroker upon returning to the United States in 2013. I applied for a position I saw listed on a local job board, and it turned out to be a great fit.

As for my job at She Traveled, it was mostly old-fashioned networking. My sister-in-law was a friend to a former model who was starting her own fashion company, and she hired me as a blog writer because she'd heard of my background in English. After nearly a year of writing, I was promoted to blog editor because the company CEO saw my dedication and organizational skills stand out in addition to my writing proficiency.

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

During my time volunteering in Japan, I spent a few hours a week teaching English as a second language. Not only did this help me understand my own language better, but I also learned how to communicate ideas in the most simplified way. I had to teach in clear, simple terms so that even my beginner students could understand difficult grammar concepts. I also was able to develop a fun and creative teaching style so that participants would stay engaged in the lessons. These experiences helped me improve my communication skills in general, which has been beneficial in both my professional and personal lives.

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

Some of the most valuable experiences I had in my undergraduate classes were peer reviews. I went into college wanting to be a writer, and many of my writing classes involved working on other students' essays and creative writing in small groups. It was through this process that I grew to love editing more than writing, and I gained valuable skills in communicating with other writers. It takes work to put into words what you like/don't like about a piece of writing and why. It's also an extremely valuable skill to learn how to communicate your comments in a professional and encouraging way. I could apply those skills in any field, but I feel fortunate to have a job where I can guide other writers.

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

I would encourage you to take up a volunteer opportunity that puts you out of your element. Growing personally and expanding your horizons will help your career prospects more than any amount of book learning, and volunteer experiences always give you interesting talking points during interviews. Employers are always looking for great communicators who can come up with creative solutions to problems, and English majors definitely fit the bill.

Visit Brittany's website, check out her blog ComicDiaries.com, and view her writing and editing work at SheTraveled.com/blog


Posted on April 17, 2016 and filed under Editing, Teaching, Copywriting, Blogging.

Kate Marchewka: Early Elementary Teacher-Librarian

Name: Kate Marchewka

Age: 33

College & Majors/Minors: University of Wisconsin-Madison | Major: English Literature | Minor: Women's Studies and LGBT Studies || Grad degree: University of Washington, Masters in Library & Information Science

Current Location: Seattle, WA

Current Form of Employment: Part-time Early Elementary Teacher-Librarian

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I'm in my second year as the early elementary teacher-librarian at St. Thomas School, a private PreK-8th grade school in Medina, WA. I get to read picture books, perform felt board stories complete with voices, and sing songs with small children three days a week, and home with my son the other days. It's the best. Also, I get to ply my older kids with stickers and candy to check out books (it works...mwah ha).

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

I found my first job through some random web searching and it (very luckily) ended up being a really great job. I had just moved to San Francisco and was fresh out of college and somehow ended up working for a small woman-owned brand agency, where I learned a ton in a short period of time. It was one of the first places where I learned that being highly specific with words and being a detail-oriented person could make a hugely positive impact on a project.

My current job as a teacher-librarian was also a stroke of luck; I interned here during graduate school and found the posting on our department's online job board. It had been listed by a former student, and was exactly what I was looking for. Turned out that the part-time librarian was leaving at the end of the summer after I'd graduated from my program, so I interviewed and had that extra leg-up to get the job.

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

For almost three years, I worked first full-time and then part-time for an online flash sale retailer as a copy editor. I was the first editor officially hired into the role, and although it was a crazy pace and workload, I found that I loved the nitpicky work of editing and immensely enjoyed getting to work with writers on their writing, even if it was about tutus and eco-friendly cleaning tools. I kind of fibbed my way through the interview question, "Do you know AP?", saying, "Yes, obviously," while furiously buying up every book on the style and studying them at home after work. Between the studying and the breakneck pace of the job, I picked up skills to back up my claim pretty quickly. Occasionally, if a writer couldn't quite hit the mark or we were short staffed, I'd get to write copy myself, which was also a ton of fun and a fantastic learning experience. I'd never done that kind of writing before—researching brands to write a brand story, and making up character-limited descriptions for products on the site that millions of people were reading.

“I think that just being a reader makes you inherently better at communicating in multiple forms—written and verbal.”

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

I wasn't the person who was constantly writing on my own for fun, but I have always been a reader with a 'to-read' list 18 miles long, reading-a-book-while-walking-down-the-street kind of thing. So I think that just being a reader makes you inherently better at communicating in multiple forms—written and verbal. It certainly helped in my editing career. And keeping up with the book world has absolutely helped in my career as a librarian. Even though it can be tough to read for fun while being bogged down with undergrad classes, I think it's important to sneak a few in where you can!

Lastly, taking writing classes where your work is torn apart by a pack of hungry undergrads is very good practice for receiving constructive feedback of any sort, and for giving it to others later on down the road. =)

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

I'd say to not let yourself get pigeon holed into the "Oh, an English degree. What are you going to do, teach?" schpiel most will offer. Don't listen to those people, they don't know what they're talking about or how much you have on offer. Try to think about the skills you have and how the things you're passionate about can translate into real work/jobs. I have been a brand manager, a customer service agent, done sales and operations management, and been a copy editor, and having strong writing, editing and communication skills played heavily into every one of those jobs. I didn't ever even think about becoming a librarian until I was in my late twenties, and it was a total light bulb moment and has turned out to be a dream career for me.

You can check out Kate's photography website here, and read her blog here


Posted on April 4, 2016 and filed under Editor, Editing, Librarian, Library Science, Teaching.

Maleeka T. Hollaway: Internationally Certified Life & Business Coach, Editor, Author, & Speaker

Name: Maleeka T. Hollaway

Age: 25

College: Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University (Normal, AL)

Current Location: Huntsville, Alabama

Current Form of Employment: Internationally Certified Life & Business Coach, Editor, Author, & Speaker—in short, I am self-employed.

Where do you work and what is your current position?

Why did I just laugh out loud when I read this question? ☺ Currently, I work for myself and by myself at The OfficialMaleeka Group, LLC. I am an Internationally Certified Life and Business Success Coach as well as an editor, and that is how I make a living for myself and my daughter. I am the founder and CEO of my company.

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

I started working for myself for a few reasons. The first reason is because my business is a part of my purpose for living. Being a coach and speaker, I get the privilege to meet many individuals who need an accountability partner in life to help them get from where they are to where they desire to be. Sharing my story with others and inspiring others to live their best lives gives my heart so much joy—it’s unexplainable. The second reason I began working for myself is simple: I couldn’t find any other career-related job! Let’s be honest, it is HARD finding a “good” job when you’re fresh out of school. Companies post jobs as "entry" level and in the job descriptions, they say they require someone with 5-10 years of experience… sound familiar? 

I ran into the "lack of experience" wall many times, and even now, I’m still standing at that same wall. Because I want to be the best CEO I can be, I took the advice of a few of my trusted business mentors and they all suggested that working in Corporate America would be valuable to me. So. As much as it pains me to do so, I am working my business AND in the job hunt market (even as a Graduate Student). 

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

At this time, the most important writing job I have had is what I am doing now, editing. To date, I have edited the blogs of six different best-selling authors. The blogs I have edited for them have been published to the Huffington Post! And a few of them made the front page of multiple categories! I have also edited a few books for other published authors as well.

Being able to say my work has been published on such a large platform is a BIG deal! More than that, transforming someone else’s words into an engaging work is one of the best feelings in the world! Bringing others joy through serving them is quite humbling. 

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

That’s a loaded question (LOL)! My college years were not like the typical student. I had to complete school through many tumultuous circumstances, including being domestic violence victim and losing my full scholarship. When I left my mom’s house to come to school, I truly believed life would be laid out on a platter for me—boy, was I wrong. 

While I was in undergrad, all I did was hope and pray that I would actually finish! I had jobs here and there but never one that I fell in love with. I honestly had no solidified “plan.” When I finally received my degree (two months after I graduated—it’s a long story), I vowed never to return to school. I took one semester off, and found myself enrolled in a Master’s program—Communications Specialists to be exact. I started to think I would become a career student!

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

My best advice for my fellow English degree friends would be this: Get an internship where you can use and hone your writing skills (something I failed to do during undergrad) and find work that fulfills you and stick to it.

Most would say, “Go where the money is,” but GOOD money isn’t always guaranteed at first. There are multiple sites that have freelance writing and editing jobs for people with English degrees. Some pay well. Build up your resume as much as possible. 

Oh yes, and one more thing—NEVER GIVE UP!

Links to my work:

I contribute to the 20 Beautiful Women-Movement to Advance Sisterhood section of the Huffington Post (you can read examples of my articles here and here). I also edit many of the blogs that are published for other authors on this page and others throughout the HP online world.

I currently contribute monthly to Womeneur.com, an online community for women entrepreneurs based out of New York and New Jersey. I also contribute to PrettyWomenHustle.com, an online digital magazine for the working woman.

You can also connect with me on LinkedIn and on social media via my website


Posted on January 30, 2016 and filed under Writing, Blogging, Editing.

John Essex: Owner, Editor at Peak Medical Editing, LLC

Name: John Essex

Age: 35

College & Majors/Minors: Wabash College, Major: Biology, Minor: English (plus 2 years of medical school)

Current Location: Indianapolis, IN

Current Form of Employment: Owner, Editor at Peak Medical Editing, LLC

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I work at Peak Medical Editing, the company I started and own. I’m happy to report that my boss is a super great guy—very lax with the dress code policy. I’m a medical editor, which means I help scientific authors improve the clarity of their writing for peer-reviewed journals. I also edit various other medically focused projects, including textbooks, which are more fun than you might think. 

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

Back in college, when people would hear I had a biology major with an English minor, they would ask, “What the heck are you going to do with that combination?” I would say, “I don’t know, something.” I doubled-down on the science and went to medical school. After completing the basic medical science courses (not without a lot of prayer and struggle), I left. I knew I wanted to find something that would combine my love of writing and English (thanks to my mom, a retired English teacher) with my medical background. That’s when I became very familiar with job search websites. The programmers at those search companies must have thought it hilarious that when a user input “science” and “writer,” the output would be “TV EXTRAS WANTED!” 

Most of the jobs I was looking for required 3 to 5 years of experience. Yahoo! let me apply a search filter based on years of experience. I had 0 years of experience, so I checked the experience filter marked “0-1,” and all jobs but one fell away: a report writer for a contract research facility in Ohio. That’s not actually true—all science writing jobs fell away but the report writing job, followed by several pages of TV acting work (which, to my surprise, was in mysteriously high demand in the Midwest). 

I interviewed and got the job, moved to another state and worked there for 5 years. The job involved taking research findings and writing toxicology reports that would eventually go into FDA files for new drugs. I gained plenty from that first professional job: humility, discipline, and how to work in a corporate environment. I also met my wife there, a stunning chemist who introduced me to Harry Potter

Fast forward through a job as a medical writer (the details of which I’m saving for the next question), and I became the Editor in Chief of two scientific publications: American Pharmaceutical Review and Pharmaceutical Outsourcing. It was there where I realized many scientific researchers sometimes need help conveying their ideas in English. My favorite part of my job as Editor in Chief was helping authors revise and sharpen their work, getting the best out of their manuscripts. I was not as enthused about the part of the job where I had to fend off influence from sponsors and do extensive traveling. My wife and I had just had a baby boy and I wasn’t keen on being away from them as often as the job was asking. 

I started looking at working for some of the editing companies out there, but I realized I had enough clout and experience under my belt to work for myself, so I started my own company and finally figured out what I could do with that strange combination of a major in biology with a minor in English.  

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

Before my Editor in Chief days, I was a medical writer back in my hometown of Indianapolis. There I learned how to take complex medical information and tell a compelling story for an audience of physicians and scientific leaders. Using published scientific literature, clinical trial data, and advice from researchers, I wrote PowerPoint slide decks that would be presented at medical meetings, scripts for videos, and several journal manuscripts. 

I met some of the smartest people I’ve ever known at that job. For 3 years, I worked closely with the senior medical editor, learning all the nuances of the American Medical Association style. As luck would have it, my cubicle was next to hers, so asking questions was super convenient. She graciously answered hundreds of my questions, knowing that the more informed I was as a writer, the easier her job would be editing my work. (Pro Tip: When you get into the professional world, don’t be afraid to ask questions if you don’t know something.) I edit my current clients’ work like she edited mine: constructively and instructively. She provided examples that helped me grasp certain rules, knowing that I could apply that knowledge in my next project. I do that now for my clients: I want to help them become better writers and impart little tips to improve writing beyond what is currently on the page. The world will always benefit from knowledgeable people who can clearly communicate. As an editor, it’s my job to help experts share their knowledge with the world.   

“Combine your degree with another field like business, marketing, science, or any other professional area that may interest you and you’ve got rock star potential anywhere.”

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

In college, I split my time between science and English courses. I loved the assignments and discussions in my English classes. I had fun with my essays in my junior and senior years, letting some humor slip in where I felt brave enough. There was not as much room for personality in the science classes, although I enjoyed them for other reasons. 

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

Here’s the dirty little secret about an English degree: it’s applicable everywhere. The ability to communicate clearly is the missing ingredient in many professional avenues. Combine your degree with another field like business, marketing, science, or any other professional area that may interest you and you’ve got rock star potential anywhere. 

While you’re in school, immersed in your world of literature, grammar, and writing, you can lose sight of the fact that many people are unfamiliar with that world, so you might assume everyone has your abilities. That’s not true. Other people might be experts in math, science, and business, but their knowledge and expertise is useless if they can’t string a useful sentence together to get their messages out. Enter the English Majors: rugged navigators for a world in need of clean writing and proper grammar, come to save the world through clarity of thought. 

You can see John’s website at www.PeakMedicalEditing.com. Drop him a line there or on Twitter @JohnEssex3

Posted on November 2, 2015 and filed under Freelance, Editing.

Mollie Turbeville: Content Editor & Freelance Book Editor

Name: Mollie Turbeville

Age: 26

College & Majors/Minors: I graduated from North Carolina State University with a major in English Literature and a minor in Creative Writing.

Current Location: Raleigh, North Carolina

Current Form of Employment: Full-Time Editor

Where do you work and what is your current position? 

By day, I'm a content editor for a digital marketing agency in downtown Raleigh. By night, I'm a freelance book editor. Through my editing business, Mohr Editing, I work with indie authors, small pubs, and editorial agencies. I also freelance with Kirkus Editorial and INDIE Books Gone Wild. I mostly edit middle grade and young adult novels, but I've worked on many different kinds of books for kids and adults. You can't keep me away from a good story.

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

My first job was as a customer service intern in college for a nonprofit organization, where I interviewed people and contributed to a local newsletter and helped develop a youth curriculum. I began working with the nonprofit through my internship class, and what started out as class credit turned into a paid summer gig. I loved to capture inspiring stories and share someone else's voice through my words! I became a copywriter for a literary consultancy and learned more about content marketing.

Over the years, I discovered a new passion: helping others refine their own words to tell the stories they've always wanted to tell. I pursued editing classes and a network of professionals through a few wonderful editorial associations. I became an editor because I loved watching a better product emerge. There's nothing more satisfying than helping someone's story come to life. After a few years of book editing, I decided to edit for content and digital marketing agencies for a change of pace. As a content editor for a digital marketing agency, I get to help businesses develop their brand identities and tell their own unique stories. My two editing worlds overlap in more ways than one. 

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

A copywriter position at a content marketing company taught me that I don't have to go looking for writing inspiration in spurts; I don't have to wait for creativity to "strike." With enough practice, I can harness creativity in an everyday routine. Demystifying the creative process has helped me overcome writer's block and fear. It is possible to commit to creative deadlines and longer projects. Perfection is overrated, and being a mature writer (or editor) is all about accepting the fact that you will always be growing; you will always be learning. 

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

My experience as editor-in-chief of N.C. State's literary arts publication helped me learn how to work in a creative team and meet deadlines while balancing a CRAZY schedule. Promoting the magazine and thinking outside of the box was also helpful in my approach to becoming a freelancer. 

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

Specialize. Become interested in one or two areas and go for it. If you want to set yourself apart, look where your passion lies and make yourself an expert. That, and always devote time to learning. I probably learned more about editing in my continued education courses through other programs and associations than I did throughout my whole college career. If you go after what you really want to learn, you may surprise yourself!

Check out Mollie's website mohrediting.com and follow her on Twitter


READ MORE

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Nicole Wayland: Freelance Copyeditor & Proofreader

Nicole Wayland: Freelance Copyeditor & Proofreader

Posted on October 26, 2015 and filed under Editing.

Jenna Ray: Writer & Editor

Name: Jenna Ray

Age: 27

College & Majors/Minors: University of Minnesota, Morris; English, Theatre Arts, Multicultural Studies

Current Location: Morris, Minnesota

Current Form of Employment: Writer/Editor

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I’m the writer/editor in the communications office at the University of Minnesota, Morris, which means I provide content for and drive production of the college’s print and digital news and publications.

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

“In my experience, finding a job is all about identifying and selling the skills you’ve gained as an undergrad or employee.”

In my experience, finding a job is all about identifying and selling the skills you’ve gained as an undergrad or employee. My first job out of school was in early childhood education; I got it by claiming that my academic background would enable me to hold a preschool class’s attention and—as an added bonus—to write the parent newsletter. I landed my next/current job by arguing that my degree, combined with my previous work experience, had given me the writing, editing, management, and collaboration skills I’d need to take on the role of campus storyteller. It also didn’t hurt that I had been a standout student at Morris two years earlier.

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

I’m really lucky, because I didn’t have an official writing job prior to my current one. I did write and publish whenever I got the chance, though, even if it was just for a personal blog or a small underground newspaper. They might not have been the most impressive publications, but they gave me a chance to practice my craft and to put together a portfolio, which was what I needed to land a full-time gig.

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

I was fortunate in that I didn’t have to work to support myself in college (thank you, scholarship donors!), so I was able to get involved in lots of student orgs and still finish three majors. I wasn’t totally sure what I wanted to do once I graduated, and I knew I might struggle to find a good job with a humanities B.A., so I did everything I could to stand out academically and practically. Being involved helped me develop real-world leadership, management, and communication skills I could take with me into the workforce.

“Know that what you’re doing today can be leveraged to help you do what you want tomorrow.”

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

Be open to new ideas and opportunities. Have the courage to work a day job while you pursue your passions at night. Know that what you’re doing today can be leveraged to help you do what you want tomorrow. Trust that the value of your English degree is so much bigger than whatever job it lands you.

Take a look at Jenna's writing at morris.umn.edu/newevents.com, and positively.com/author/jennaray. You can also connect with Jenna through LinkedIn

 

Posted on February 22, 2015 and filed under Writing, Editing.