Next Steps [June 2017 Career Update]

I can’t believe it’s only been a year since I graduated with my MA in English – within 12 months I’ve gained so many new experiences that I feel like I’m far different from the person I was when I left school.

I figure this is a good a time as any to start writing about the trajectory of my career as I move from studying English to actually working. It’s definitely a weird shift.

I now understand the old cliche: experience really is the key to an actual career. The English program in my school was very focused on literature, analysis, and academic writing, which wasn’t bad at all – I love reading and writing in that sort of environment. What would be bad, however, would be if I graduated without any plan to gain solid experience in a specific field. As I move further away from school I’m realizing that an English degree affords its students many possibilities, but it’s up to students to decide where to apply their skills.

I, happily, already had a few experiences under my belt – I was running newsletters, writing for community-based projects, and creating digital content. The problem I kept running into, however, was that my range of experience was too big. I thought I was gaining good experience everywhere, but I was actually failing to distinguish myself as an expert in something specific. My resume went all over the place, my job applications went to unnoticed, and my confidence dipped because I wasn’t sure who I was really trying to be, at least in terms of writing. I knew I was a writer, of course – my problem was that I wasn’t sure what kind of writer I was going to be.

This is a realization I’ve come to recently, and I’m making changes to re-orient myself into a career path that 1. makes me excited and 2. makes sense with my past experience.

This almost seemed impossible to me, until I recognized a common theme throughout almost every role I’ve had – non-profit community work. I enjoy serving my community, and some of my favorite roles include writing for groups that aim for a higher cause. I’ve always had this strong desire to do good, and I’ve always loved writing – why not combine the two?

So that’s where I’m headed now. My goals within the next few months are to learn more about working for community-based efforts, and hopefully get more experience. Personally, I’m leaning towards PR and grant writing – two disciplines I’ve always enjoyed – but we’ll see where I end up!

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