Posts filed under Marketing

Vanessa Moore: Marketing Manager & Technical Writer

Name: Vanessa Moore

Age: 24

College & Majors/Minors: I attend California State university Long Beach. I received my B.A. in English literature and Rhetoric and Composition from here and I am currently in the M.A. program.

Current Location: Long Beach

Current Form of Employment: Marketing Manager and Technical Writer

Where do you work and what is your current position?

Well, right now I work at a small law firm. We are comprised of three construction business attorneys. I handle the marketing at the firm and I am also a technical writer. It is quite exciting actually because I am doing something that I never saw myself doing. I forget sometimes how plentiful the options are in careers for English majors and graduates. I have learned so much from this position and I have discovered another writing voice. You can never have too many writing voices. 

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

I found my first job through Snagajob. I worked at Macy’s throughout most of my academic career and left the summer after I graduated from CSULB. 

I found my current job, Marketing Manager, through my school’s online career board. I also happen to know someone that works at the firm who told me about the position, but I applied initially through my school. This job has pushed me to develop stronger and versatile writing skills. 

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

My experience as a volunteer contributor of the Union Weekly at CSULB was extremely important because I also had to develop a different writing voice. I wrote little pieces about local events; I even did a couple of advice pieces, which was a lot of fun. 

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

I constantly challenged myself. I double majored in my undergraduate career because I thought it would best prepare me for when I become a college professor and that was a wonderful challenge. Every time I saw an advisor I always asked what classes he or she recommends I take in order to be best prepared for my future endeavors. It is in my hands to make sure I am as prepared as I can be. I grasped my education back then with both hands as I do now in the M.A. program.

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

My advice for students and graduates is do not let yourself get comfortable. Keep learning, keep writing, and keep searching for writing voices because the work put in to obtain the degree should not stop after receiving it. 

Also, it’s okay if you are not perfect at everything. We think that is always expected of us, but it is not true. 


Posted on June 27, 2016 and filed under Interviews, Interview, Marketing.

Sara Strickland: Adjunct Faculty and Content & SEO Strategist

Name: Sara Strickland

Age: 23

College & Majors/Minors: B.A. in Literary Studies from the University of Texas at Dallas, working towards an M.A. in English from Texas Woman’s University

Current Location: Dallas, TX

Current Form of Employment: Adjunct Faculty and Content & SEO Strategist

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I currently hold two very different types of part-time positions. First, I work at a digital marketing agency called BizTraffic as a Content & SEO Strategist. Before I started working for this company I didn’t even know that such a position existed, much less what it meant. The majority of my time at this job is spent writing content for blog posts, emails, ebooks, whitepapers, and website pages. 

Because I work for a relatively small company, I’ve had the opportunity to try a variety of things out during my time here. I’ve written instructional manuals for our company’s internal use, created and implemented social media strategies, and learned the basic principles of website design, just to name a few.

My second job is as an Adjunct at Richland Collegiate High School. I teach AVID (which stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination) to high school seniors. But my students are no ordinary high school seniors! They are all enrolled in approximately 15 to 18 college credit hours each semester, in addition to a few courses for high school credit. Most of our students graduate simultaneously with both a high school diploma and an associate's degree.

AVID is a course designed to prepare students for college by teaching them how to excel through note taking strategies, analytical writing, discussion groups, and study groups. This is especially important for our students because their course load is so intense. We give them the tools to succeed in a college environment, and give them a little push towards attending universities once they graduate from the program. 

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

I started working when I was 16, so my very first job was as a courtesy clerk at a grocery store. My older brother was working at the store and let me know they were hiring. It was not very glamorous and involved lots of hot summer afternoons clearing carts off the lot and bagging bloody meat for customers.

Both of my current jobs I found through job websites. I originally was hired as an intern at BizTraffic, and I’ve now worked there over two years, fluctuating between part and full time as my school and work schedule permits. When I applied for the adjunct position, I applied to teach Developmental Writing at the college and was offered a class. But my class didn’t make it. Fortunately, they liked my credentials enough to offer me classes at the high school, plus I’m scheduled to teach Developmental Writing in the fall. 

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

One of the most influential writing-related jobs I’ve held was actually an unpaid, volunteer position at a local homeschool co-op. I was asked to teach a high school level American literature course once a week for an hour throughout the school year. 

Because of this experience I began to realize that not only do I love to read literature and to write, but that I really love teaching them, too! This experience contributed to my decision to pursue a masters and pursue teaching at a college level as a career. 

“I took every learning opportunity that would work with my busy schedule.”

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

I did a few things to help me prepare for post-grad life. First of all, I never stopped working during my college career which has given me a strong work history and financial security because I have never had to take out a student loan, despite paying for my entire degree myself. 

I took every learning opportunity that would work with my busy schedule. That included volunteering to teach at the homeschool co-op I mentioned before, volunteering at a local museum over spring break, and taking the BizTraffic internship. All of these gave me valuable experience that contributes to the jobs I do now, and helped me craft my future career goals. 

I also took full advantage of my professor’s feedback by improving the papers I wrote and applying what I learned to future papers. I still think of advice I received from my undergraduate professors when writing my graduate level papers. Plus I always try to give feedback to my students that is as useful as that I received from my professors. 

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

Take every learning opportunity you can and don’t limit yourself! There are so many uses for an English degree that sometimes it just takes some time and a little bit of trial and error to find the right match for your personality and talents. And it’s never too soon to get started, or too late to learn something new!

You can connect with Sara on LinkedIn and follow her on Instagram


Posted on May 30, 2016 and filed under Teaching, SEO, Content Marketing, Marketing.

Jill Overmyer: Senior Marketing Communications Manager

Name: Jill Overmyer

Age: 35

College & Majors/Minors: BS in English, Professional Writing and Editing emphasis/Psychology minor

Current Location: Dallas, Texas

Current Form of Employment: Senior Marketing Communications Manager

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I am the Senior Marketing Communications Manager for an energy and home services company in Dallas. My main responsibilities are working with executives to develop company-wide communication strategies, establishing messaging and positioning for new products and services, hiring and managing writers and freelancers, developing and executing social media and content management strategies, and writing and reviewing copy. The things I write range from executive speeches to video scripts to brochures. 

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 working as the Communications Specialist at the national headquarters of a fraternity. I found that job the old-fashioned way—I saw an ad on CareerBuilder, applied with my resume and some samples, interviewed, and accepted a job offer. 

This was vastly different from the way I found my current position. In fact, I didn't really find my current job. One day I got a phone call from a freelance client (now the Chief Marketing Officer at my company) about an "opportunity" he thought I would be good for. The next thing I knew, I was moving to Texas. 

The vast majority of my career has been in marketing and copywriting, and I found out quickly that marketing and creative teams often go from company to company together. That’s one of the reasons it’s so important to develop good working relationships and never burn bridges.

The last few positions I've held followed a similar pattern. They were offered to me through former coworkers or bosses who had moved on to different companies and were in the process of building new teams. The vast majority of my career has been in marketing and copywriting, and I found out quickly that marketing and creative teams often go from company to company together. That's one of the reasons it's so important to develop good working relationships and never burn bridges. 

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

My first freelance job was a turning point for me. I was writing content articles for a few different websites, and I realized that I could make a lot of money as a freelance writer. It opened up new doors as I learned about the different opportunities that were available. For a time period, I worked full-time from home as a freelance writer. I still do some freelance now, but I'm more discerning about which jobs I take. 

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

The entire time I was in college, I worked at my school's on-campus Writing Center as a writing tutor. I learned so much about grammar and the entire writing process, and it also allowed me to enter the job market with editing experience. 

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

I would highly recommend taking advantage of as many opportunities to build up your resume and portfolio in school as possible. This could be tutoring, writing for the school paper, and looking for internships between semesters or tracks. When you graduate with experience, you already have an edge over many other new graduates. 

Also, try to learn about as many of the different opportunities in the field as possible so you have an idea about what you want to go into when you graduate. There are so many different fields and lines of work you can move into as an English major—it really is incredibly diverse. 

I also think it’s important, whether in school or in the job market, to seek out mentors you can learn from. I've been privileged to have some wonderful mentors who have taught me a great deal throughout my schooling and professional career. I'm still in contact with most of them to this day. There are so many people you will come in contact with that you can learn from and collaborate with, and recognizing those opportunities and seeing each job as a learning experience will open up more doors than you realize. 

You can connect with Jill on LinkedIn!


Posted on April 16, 2016 and filed under Communications, Freelance, Interviews, Interview, Marketing.

Marianne M. Chrisos: Content Developer

Name: Marianne M. Chrisos

Age: 29

College & Majors/Minors: BA in English with a Minor in Psychology, MA in Writing and Publishing

Current Location: outside of Chicago, IL

Current Form of Employment: Content Developer

Where do you work and what is your current position? 

I work on a phenomenal content team at a promotional products company (the people who put your logo on cool stuff like pens, stress balls, and bags) called Quality Logo Products. I write blog posts, articles, product descriptions, web copy, email marketing copy, and other various tidbits. I also help manage and monitor our corporate social media channels; Tumblr in particular is my social domain and I take great pride in sharing marketing, branding, and design news with the millennial masses.

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 working in the customer service and sales departments of a publishing house.  I thought that might eventually lead to an editorial or acquisition position, but nothing ever opened up. I did, however, get to work on the editing of the sales team fact sheets and processes manual, and also worked to help set up conferences and worked on author orders and other fun book things. I was there for over five years, met a ton of rad people, and learned an insane amount about publishing, bookstores, and production.

In my current job, it’s all writing, all the time. I don’t interact much with our end user like I did in prior positions, but I do work with other departments to figure out what resources we can create to help serve those users better, be it resources on marketing, entrepreneurship, or how promo products can help grow a small business.  

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

Between my publishing job and current content gig, I worked as a freelance writer and editor and also as a marketing specialist for a real estate brokerage. Both of those opportunities helped me incorporate more research into my writing and cultivate different voices across different mediums. Web copy is different from academic writing, which is different from marketing emails and as someone building a career in writing, it was good to have experience in different areas.

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

I think the best thing I did in college was find like-minded English majors to bond over books, literature, words, and writing. This not only helped me survive the stress of school, but having a group of people with similar interests and goals helped me stay focused and productive when finding a job was difficult or when I was struggling creatively. 

Sometimes it feels like the English major job and accomplishment pool is very competitive; a lot of talented people fighting for a lot of the same positions, gigs, internships, publishing opportunities, etc. Having a good group of go-to peers can be encouraging. It keeps you linked to what you love and you can offer and receive support and insight. 

Need a writing group or book club? Those are your people. Need a recommendation or someone to proof your grad school application? Got that too. Need someone to geek about indie bookstores and movie adaptations with? English nerds to the rescue. Writing can be lonely; find your people.

The skills you develop as an English major can translate to a lot of different jobs and opportunities, so don’t limit yourself.

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

Be patient. Everyone wants to get out there, make a name for themselves in editing, teaching, writing, and publishing, and validate the choice to major in English. But it’s important to remember that there’s room for everyone and to stay open to all the possibilities. The skills you develop as an English major can translate to a lot of different jobs and opportunities, so don’t limit yourself. 

Also, it can be discouraging to have spent years of your life studying English and literature, writing papers, performing Shakespeare, and dreaming English-y dreams only to have to get a job doing something that doesn’t fulfill you or pertain to your passion. Remember that there is plenty outside of a 9 to 5 that can bring you creative joy and justify your English endeavors.

Respect the Oxford comma. 

Oh, and read as much as you can. Read everything. Don’t limit yourself to textbooks and syllabi suggestions (but don’t shun those either). Make time to read what you know you love and stretch yourself to reading things you don’t. Some of my favorites (things have grown me as a writer and a person) are Anne Lamott’s nonfiction and Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed. 

The marketing blog I write for is here and I can also be reached on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram!


Posted on March 11, 2016 and filed under Communications, Content Marketing, Marketing.

Jenna Stolfi: Gallery Manager, Writer & Researcher

Name: Jenna Stolfi

Age: 27

College & Majors/Minors: English with an emphasis in Creative Writing; Minor in Communications

Current Location: South Florida

Current Form of Employment: Gallery Manager, Writer, and Researcher

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I currently am the Gallery Manager, Writer, and Researcher for Daniels Antiques, a luxury antiques business.

This is not your grandma's dusty old antique shop. We specialize in selling polished WWII Binoculars, antique Louis Vuitton trunks, vintage coin-op and arcade machines, antique slot machines, and contemporary art. It is an eclectic, museum-quality collection that is a testament to both human ingenuity and a bygone era.

Jenna Stolfi in the Daniels Antiques Gallery

Jenna Stolfi in the Daniels Antiques Gallery

As the writer and researcher, I am responsible for all written content, which includes all social media accounts, email correspondences, product descriptions, marketing materials, and the blog. I learn something new every day.

My challenge each day is to make each of our items come to life, whether it be through the content I disseminate via various online channels, or through the spoken word when I am educating or selling to a prospective buyer.

As I have transitioned into taking over more responsibilities on the gallery management side of things, I have learned more about business operations than I ever expected to. 

I think if I would have gone into a larger corporation, my position would have been a lot more narrow in scope. As one of four members of the business, I have many different responsibilities. This amount of responsibility has increased my skill set in ways I never could have imagined. I have learned the art of negotiation, learned accounting practices, and even become well-versed in shipping logistics, all while building my writing portfolio.

The Daniels Antiques Gallery

The Daniels Antiques Gallery

While at first it may be appealing to go right after the big companies when you begin your job search, don't rule out smaller family-owned or local businesses, where you can become an integral member of a team.

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

When I first got out of college, the entry-level jobs I was most interested in were either unpaid or very low-paying jobs in expensive cities that would have required a cross-country move. I was apprehensive about going into debt or getting in over my head financially. 

While I continued my job search, I became a full-time server. I was fortunate to work at a high-volume restaurant for most of my tenure, and found that the flexible schedule and the pay afforded me a great opportunity: time and money. I was able to take on additional side-jobs regardless of what I was being paid.

Social media and the internet are absolutely great for finding opportunities, but it is important to thoroughly research any person or company you are going to work for, especially if it is unpaid. There are a lot of people and businesses out there that try to exploit aspiring writers or recent graduates, so exercise caution if anything seems off. Always trust your intuition.

I was fortunate to work with a few great non-profits and small businesses that needed content for their websites but were too busy and too understaffed to create content on their own. I volunteered my services for free in order to build my portfolio.

This strategy worked, and the writing experience that I gained while working as a server allowed me to transition into the next stage of my career, which was becoming the full-time writer and researcher at Daniels Antiques.

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

While it wasn't a job, one of the most important decisions I have made so far in my career was to pursue the Professional Sequence in Editing through University of California-Berkeley's Online Extension. I began this program while I was a server, and completed it while I was in my current position.

I wanted to supplement the creative skills I had practiced in my undergrad with the technical side of my craft, which is editing. This sequence begins with a much-needed refresher in grammar and mechanics, something that you don't actually spend much time on in an English degree! The middle two courses focus on copyediting, and the final course immerses you in substantive editing.

This sequence buttressed my confidence as both a writer and editor. I learned things that have helped organize my writing that I never would have thought of, such as style sheet generation. I also met a great group of diverse, virtual classmates who shared their wide range of experiences in different realms of both the writing and editing profession. 

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

When I was in college, I jumped at any opportunity that was put before me. If there was a club that sounded interesting, I attended the meeting. If a professor was looking for researchers, I volunteered. 

I always pushed myself to try something new and to get outside of my comfort zone, which is a spirit that I continue to feed in my post-grad life. You never really know which opportunity will either directly or indirectly take you where you want to go.

I would say one of the most formative experiences of my college career was participating in the required advanced writing workshops. The workshops were no more than 18 people, and you were required to write a piece of either fiction or a small collection of poetry, and pass it out to every member of the workshop. Then, for a full class period, you had to sit in silence while everyone discussed your work. You could not defend your work, you could not clarify anything. All you could do was listen.

It was both a petrifying and illuminating experience that taught me how to handle constructive criticism. It taught me how to put myself out there, and also how to look someone in the eye and stand by my work. 

If you are trying to become a professional writer or journalist, in the beginning so much of what you do involves the process of writing queries and submitting. It is a trying and difficult process that requires both vulnerability and detachment from yourself and your work. Workshops are an invaluable tool that can help you callous the skin you will undoubtedly need to be a writer.

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

Read as much as possible, all the time. Read books on craft, read books for fun. Ingest as many words as you can stand.

If you are trying to get published, many publications will put their contributor guidelines on their websites. Do the research. I recommend making a Twitter account to follow literary magazines, editors, other writers, and publications you want to submit to so you can get a good idea of what they are already publishing.

Explore all of your options when it comes to picking your career path. I never would have imagined myself working in a gallery, but I wouldn't change it for anything. Apply to jobs whether or not you think you have the experience. Try to add to your portfolio whenever you can.

English degrees can be one of the most valuable degrees out there because of their versatility. People are consuming so much information each day thanks to the internet. I don't think there has ever been a more important time than now to be able to write well and communicate clearly, and I don't think that's ever going to change.

You can read more of Jenna's writing online on her eco-conscious travel and lifestyle blog and on her recently launched vintage and antique book blog. You can also connect with her on Twitter.


Kelsey Manning: Ad Promo Coordinator at HarperCollins, Social Media Manager, & Contributing Editor

Name: Kelsey Manning

Age: 23

College & Majors/Minors: University of Notre Dame, Program of Liberal Studies Major, Italian and Design minor.

Current Location: Living in NJ, working in NYC

Current Form on Employment: Ad Promo Coordinator at HarperCollins, Social Media Manager for Kate White, Contributing Editor at thegloss.com and levoleague.com

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I work at HarperCollins in the Ad Promo department designing ads, postcards, social media graphics, flyers, tote bags, and other promotional items for our books and authors. That can mean anything from making a Facebook cover image for an author to designing tattoos based on a book for Comic Con.

I am also a Social Media Manager for Kate White, who is the former Editor-in-Chief of Cosmo, a career expert, and a New York Times bestselling mystery author. And I spend the rest of my time freelance writing and editing

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

I got my current job based on a referral from a former boss at Hachette, another publishing house. I interned there last summer, and this fall I was a temporary hire as a Web Designer for four months. Someone from Hachette referred me to my current boss at HarperCollins, I interviewed, and started in January. My actual first job was scooping ice cream, but my first internship that really mattered was the one at Hachette, which I got by reaching out to Notre Dame graduates on LinkedIn. I've told so many people (and actually wrote an article about it) that people still seem to underutilize LinkedIn. My junior year I just did a LinkedIn search for anyone who went to Notre Dame and worked in publishing in NYC, reached out to all of them asking for advice/informational interviews, and one hired me for an internship that summer. She became my boss last summer and referred me for the position I have now.

The other jobs I've come about in similar ways—knowing someone who knows someone, reaching out to anyone I could, and never saying no to anything. I got my job with Kate White because I offered to work for a small literary PR firm for free for a few weeks, and someone there was impressed and introduced me to Kate.

“My junior year I just did a LinkedIn search for anyone who went to Notre Dame and worked in publishing in NYC, reached out to all of them asking for advice/informational interviews, and one hired me for an internship that summer. She became my boss last summer and referred me for the position I have now.”

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

Early in college I thought I wanted to be a journalist, so I worked for Notre Dame's newspaper for two years. I don't anticipate working for a newspaper again (though who knows), but it was an awesome place to learn, especially how to write quickly and concisely. My internship after sophomore year was crucial too – I wrote for crushable.com and thegrindstone.com, which gave me amazing experience, confidence, and writing connections who are still helping me today.

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

Like I mentioned, I said yes to everything and tested the waters of everything I thought I might want to do. I wrote for the newspaper at first. For marketing and event planning, I worked in the ND football recruiting office. Then I thought I would like to work in publishing, so I got an internship at a small publishing house near my school. That turned out to be a good instinct. For writing and editing, I managed a national online journal written by college students.

One thing I never did was take grades too seriously. You're an English major. Unless you're going to grad school (and possibly even then), no one cares about your GPA. Enjoy your classes, get the most you can out of them, listen to your professors, improve your critical reading and writing skills, apply for grants, do research, take an internship. Just don't waste precious time stressing about grades.

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

The same advice I would give to a college student or graduate with any degree: Use college to test the waters and experiment with different career paths. If you want to write, find a way to do that. There are thousands of outlets for writing in college. If you think you might want to be an illustrator, take a few art classes. If you think you want to design websites, start teaching yourself how to code. The list goes on and on and on. Take advantage of the overwhelming amount of opportunities there are on a college campus. Don't just glance over the posters about contests, grants, research opportunities, etc. Put yourself out there, try everything.

Check out Kelsey's career articles on Levo League, fashion articles on The Gloss, and book blog on Fashioning Fiction. You can also connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.


READ MORE:

Angeline Evans: Digital Media Manager

Angeline Evans: Digital Media Manager

Melissa Hattab: Social Media Coordinator

Melissa Hattab: Social Media Coordinator

Sydney Turnquist: Social Media Coordinator

Sydney Turnquist: Social Media Coordinator

Posted on March 15, 2015 and filed under Social Media, Marketing.

Sarah Su: Community Coordinator

DEM_Round_SarahSu.jpg

Name: Sarah Su

Age: 22

College & Majors/Minors: University of California, Merced; B.A. English

Current Location: San Francisco Bay Area

Current Form of Employment: Community Coordinator at HotChalk, Inc.

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I work at HotChalk, an online education technology company that has created an education software-as-a-service model, which enables partnering universities to broaden their reach by providing online degree programs. Making learning available for everyone, everywhere, HotChalk’s turnkey solutions power all phases of the education lifecycle: recruitment, enrollment, instruction and graduation.

As a Community Coordinator, I work specifically with university ambassador programs to help connect students and alumni who have had positive experiences with our graduate online programs to encourage them to refer interested friends and colleagues to become potential, new students. Some of my tasks include: creating and finding content to stimulate engagement and discussion on various social media platforms, writing bi-weekly newsletters, monitoring contests and giveaways, and constructing and designing marketing campaigns to spotlight our online students. Because it is a developing company, every day is different and things can change instantly so I am not limited to just a certain number of tasks. I love the fast-paced environment and being able to work on different projects constantly. Currently, we are also in the process of developing a mobile app!

Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job.

I consider my current position my first ‘real world’ job which is pretty exciting because I am a recent graduate! Upon entering college, I never imagined myself ending up in a business, corporate setting; in fact I had aspirations to become the next John Green. My mindset, however, gravitated midway through my college career when I realized I didn't exactly posses the will power to punch out a 200 something page novel. I wanted a more immediate response to my work while having the opportunity to work in a team environment and devote my time to multiple projects, not just one. Being unclear on what my other possibilities were available to me, I went to my school’s career services where they gave me a list of jobs you can attain with an English degree. I became interested and started exploring the advertising and marketing industry, especially since a career counselor told me a large portion of the industry relies on effective writing skills and creativity.

“Working as an intern for the company taught me that I am much more capable than what I had originally given myself credit for.”

One of the coordinators at the career center had told me that there was an opening for a marketing internship at HotChalk and that it may be a good match for me, so I decided to apply and was eventually offered a position for the summer. Working as an intern for the company taught me that I am much more capable than what I had originally given myself credit for. I have to admit, at first I was very anxious and timid, and feared that I didn’t belong due to my minimal background in regards to the business world. But thanks to the culture of the company and specifically my team, they appreciated my creativity and encouraged me to be innovative, while always being open and to my contributions and ideas. This gave me the confidence to utilize my skill set and current knowledge, but also challenged me to go above and beyond. I have also always been an advocate that the privilege of attaining a quality education should not be limited by personal privilege, which is a philosophy that the company strongly stands behind, and because of this I worked extremely hard to contribute all that I could to help the company thrive.

At the end of the summer, I was offered a full-time position and I was ecstatic! Not only did I grow fond of the company, I am proud to be an example that having an English degree isn't 'useless' or will result you in being jobless. The beauty of an English degree is the ability to adapt and succeed in various fields due to the fact that good communication and writing skills are invaluable and will never go out of style. My degree also comes extremely in handy because a large portion of our online students work in the education field, and I have a well-versed background in literature and believe strongly in fighting for better literacy outcomes.

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

In my senior year of college, I was a Social Media and Arts Marketing intern for a local art center in my college town. The center had minimal knowledge in regards to how social media worked, so I was basically thrown in with little assistance and it became my responsibility to update their various social media platforms on upcoming events and happenings. I have always been an internet junkie, so when I heard that social media has become extremely relevant in terms of marketing, I hopped on the bandwagon. With this internship, I took over their once inactive social media platforms, and in result was able to build a presence and voice for the center virtually.

Most importantly, I learned how to write more concisely and for a broader audience, and it taught me to write in a more informal manner which I had little experience in since my writing background revolved primarily on research papers and essays at the time. I never thought I would be able to make my love and knowledge for the internet into a job, but I did!

“Working with a career counselor gave me a sense of reassurance and made me realize my personal worth. I highly recommend taking advantage of the resources your school has to offer and speaking with a career counselor to go over and explore the different fields you may be interested in.”

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

I didn't necessarily have the widest range of experience approaching graduation, but my school's career services helped me highlight my strong suits and interests to tailor my resume and cover letters to meet the requirements of each job application. Working with a career counselor gave me a sense of reassurance and made me realize my personal worth. I highly recommend taking advantage of the resources your school has to offer and speaking with a career counselor to go over and explore the different fields you may be interested in.

College is also a great time to experiment and gain new perspectives. I took a wide range of classes from marketing to public health, and even more 'unconventional' English classes like environmental literature. I am most proud of the fact that college has enabled me to think and analyze material and situations much more critically, and in exchange it has also humbled and made me more empathetic which is vital in any work environment.

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

For students, I know thinking about your post-grad life can be pretty daunting, but start your job search early on! I researched extensively on open positions around my area. Especially so early on in your career, I think it's also important to take time to test out the waters to help you determine what you like or don't like, but remember to also never settle for something less or confine yourself to the limitations set forth by society in terms of the capability of your degree. I love my what I do, and I am so happy to have taken the risk to go out of my comfort zone to get to where I am now.

It's also important to surround yourself with like-minded individuals who see and acknowledge your full potential. Whether it be a a professor, counselor, advisor, or even a colleague at work; find someone who believes and gives you the necessary support needed to help you achieve your goals. I know that it can be very discouraging to be an English major sometimes, especially if you're constantly getting comments on how 'impractical' or 'useless' the major is in this day and age. But if that's where your passion lies and it's what you want to major in, then go for it! I always take discouragement as an ignition for motivation, and it results me to work even harder to make my dreams into a reality.

At the end of the day, this is your degree and you are the one who decides on how you want to utilize and make the best of it. Having a degree in English provides you with a range of skills and honestly you'd be surprised by how many employers in various work fields find an English degree to be impressive. It's easier said than done, but never give up and believe in yourself, and always be proud of the fact that you majored in English!


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Posted on February 6, 2015 and filed under Content Marketing, Marketing.

Nathaniel Tower: Internet Marketing Specialist

Name: Nathaniel Tower

Age: 32

College & Majors/Minors: Washington University in St. Louis; Majors in English Literature and Secondary Education; Minor in Writing

Current Location: Minneapolis

Current Form of Employment: Full-time Internet Marketing Specialist

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I'm currently an internet marketing specialist at a web design agency called First Scribe. We're a small agency with about 25 employees. I manage the accounts of 15 or so clients, which involves SEO, email marketing, content marketing, reporting, and more. The position requires a balance of verbal and written communication skills. As with any job involving clients, customer service is the key ingredient to success. All the technical skills in the world won't help if you can't adequately communicate with the client. I'm also now in charge of the company's blog, which is one of my favorite parts of the job.

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

When I graduated from college, I landed a high school teaching job in St. Charles, MO. Even though I went to college with the intent of becoming a teacher, getting a teaching job was no easy feat. I mailed an application packet (resume, transcripts, cover letter, portfolio samples, letters of recommendation) to just about every school district I could think of in the St. Louis metro area. That's right, mailed. As in stuffed papers in big envelopes, licked them shut, and slapped postage on them. No one accepted electronic applications then, so I spent a fortune on stamps. I had plenty of interviews, but it seemed almost impossible to find employment. Everyone wanted experience, but how do you get experience unless someone will hire you when you don't have experience?

When an opening at the school where I student taught popped up, I thought for sure I was going to get the job. The principal even told me I was guaranteed to get the opening unless someone with "ten years of teaching experience and a PhD" came along. When I got the phone call telling me they were hiring someone else, the conversation went something like this:

Me: So how much experience does he have?

Him: Two years.

Me: So he must have a PhD, right?

Him: No, just a Bachelor's.

Ouch. I had been bamboozled. But the principal promised he would help me get a job. A few weeks later, I called him and said I was applying for a job in another school district. Turned out he knew the associate principal there. Turned out the associate principal went to the same college as me. Are you surprised to hear I got the job?

I held that teaching job for 9 years before my wife and I decided we needed a change of scenery. So we quit our jobs and packed up and moved to Minneapolis. Because of some roadblocks with the Minnesota Department of Education, I decided to end my teaching career and look for a new career. I applied for everything that had writing in the title. It eventually paid off, and here we are.

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

In 2008, I founded a literary magazine called Bartleby Snopes. We publish 8 pieces of fiction per week, along with two print best-of issues. We also publish tiny books called flash novels. It's not a "job" in the money-making sense, but it has plenty of reward. It's made me a better writer and a better editor. I'm also much more organized and much better at marketing. I'm sure it played at least a small role in landing my current job.

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

Not as much as I should have, that's for sure. I spent the first year of college skipping classes and thinking I was too smart for everything. Then I started to get serious, which meant going to class and writing all my papers at the last minute. I never spent a minute at the university's career center, and I only spoke to my advisor during the required bi-yearly sessions. The one thing I did right was get a summer job as a "teacher" in a summer school program. I had the attitude that I knew what I wanted to do and that it wouldn't be that hard to get a job. And now I'm doing something I never imagined I would do, something that barely even existed when I was in college.

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

  1. Don't listen to anyone who tells you an English degree is useless. The world we live in struggles with communication. An English degree has a lot of value because it tells the world you can communicate. There are many job opportunities that require some amount of writing.
  2. Value your talents. There are a million freelancing opportunities that pay practically nothing. Don't accept jobs that don't pay you what you're worth.
  3. Be willing to explore new opportunities. Don't assume an English major has to be a novelist, journalist, or teacher. Every business needs to have something written. An English major can write anything. Believe it or not, the biggest obstacle to launching a website isn't approving the designs. It's finding a person to write all the content.

Check out Nathaniel Tower's writing (and juggling!) blog at nathanieltower.com, visit his Amazon author page, connect with him on LinkedIn and follower him on Twitter!

Posted on November 17, 2014 and filed under Marketing, Teaching, Writing, Editing, Content Marketing.