We asked graduating senior Zoe Pawelczak (BA, English ’18) to share her advice about job-hunting as an English major. Here’s what she had to say.
Finding jobs can seem overwhelming, and it often times seems even more difficult as an English or creative writing major. After all, unlike engineering, advertising, etc. there is no career simply entitled English. As a senior graduating with a degree in creative writing and a minor in English, it was certainly easy to feel lost in the sea of engineers on this campus. But, once I started applying for jobs and interviewing I realized there is a market for the skills that we have gained through our majors.
I have had a few different job offers, and at first I was tempted to accept the first job I was offered simply out of anxiety that my degree would not give me many options. However, the job didn’t feel right in my gut. It didn’t have benefits or pay well enough to really get by, and I realized taking the position was causing me more anxiety than not having a job had been. So, I turned that first offer down and kept applying. Within a month I had a few more offers, but again, I had simply applied for the sake of applying rather than out of true interest in the job. Each interview provided great experience for getting out those jitters and I quickly grew much more confident in my degree. I learned that interviewing is a long process for a job you aren’t really interested in, so don’t apply to everything and everything, just to the jobs that really catch your eye.
The hardest thing is getting offered that first interview. One thing that has been amazing for me is LinkedIn. I swear I am not at all sponsored by LinkedIn, but I cannot speak highly enough about the benefits of LinkedIn Premium. The site gives you a free month of premium and to all people currently applying for jobs I urge you to take advantage of that free month. Make sure your profile is up to date and then go for it. Premium allows you to feature yourself as an applicant for positions and to look at the skills each job is looking for so you can adjust your resume accordingly. Also, even if you don’t get the free month of LinkedIn Premium, try to comb through the job posting for each job you apply for and update your skills on your resume to match what they are looking for. Yes, it can be annoying and tedious at times, but it is definitely worth it.
Also, don’t feel pressure to even take a job right after graduation. If you don’t feel ready to enter the work force or feel like you want more experience, internships are a completely viable option. Sure, it is wonderful to have that perfect internship junior year, but it’s also okay if that didn’t happen. There are plenty of paid internship opportunities out there and they are usually short-term, which offers the flexibility to see if it is something you are really interested in while still gaining great skills.
Being in the English building makes it seem as though everyone has the ability to do research and write, but these skills are rare. So, if you haven’t found a job yet don’t stress out too much. In fact, many companies don’t even want to hire someone until they have graduated anyway. There are plenty of companies, especially in the business world, looking to hire people with great communication skills, so be confident in your major and don’t settle for the sake of settling. This is a great school, you have gained great skills, so be proud of your accomplishments.