Seven things every English major should do
Preparing for the job market is never easy for anyone. It is exciting yet scary to imagine what the real world has in store for you. If you are pursuing a degree like English that is underestimated and is given a bad rep., it puts even more pressure on you to prepare for the job market. However, if you take the right steps, your chances of working in your desired industry could increase exponentially. Based on my personal experience, there are seven pieces of advice that I have to offer to every English major that is interested in pursuing a writing or editing career.
1- Build an online portfolio to show off your writing and/or design prowess. A popular website among journalism folks is Weebly. It has a slew of features that allow you to customize your portfolio in a number of different ways, plus IT'S FREE unless if you want to upgrade.
2- Tailor your cover letter for each job you apply for. Many people will tell you to only craft one cover letter and send that to every company. Well my friend, that won't cut it because job descriptions vary from position to position and company to company. The description of a Marketing Coordinator will be different than the description of an Assistant Editor. A general cover letter won't do it for both. When writing a cover letter, focus on what the company is looking for and show that you do have what it takes to do the job.
3- Take advantage of as many internships, freelance opportunities as possible. Even though one or more internships may or may not guarantee a job, but it doesn't hurt to have them on your resume. If anything, they'll increase your chances of being considered.
4- Make connections, keep connections. This is a piece of advice that I avoided for as long as I could due to my semi-antisocial nature, but this is what ended up helping me in the employment world. You never know who could help you. The people that you would expect the least from could end up being a big help.
5- Don't shy away from applying to places that seem unlikely for you. I worked as the Biz & Tech Editor at the college newspaper and worked as an Editorial Intern for a trade magazine. Both of the places seemed unlikely for me since day one, but I ended up falling in love with one of them and it opened so many doors for me.
As an English major in a tough job market, you can't really afford to be picky, because not everyone is lucky enough to land their dream job. So, it's best to keep an open mind and be flexible with different kinds of writing related jobs to increase your chances of being hired.
6- Freelance on Elance. It could be a relatively easy way to freelance, as real life freelancing gigs can be hard to come by. It'll take time for you to score your first gig, but once you do, you'll be glad. It took me at least two months to score my first one.
7- Make the most of media outlets your college provides. If you want to work in media/journalism industry, try radio, TV and/or newspaper at your college. Even if you are not interested in working in media specifically, you could still build up a nice portfolio through these outlets.