help me become a better potential employee.
May 19, 2012 6:59 PM Subscribe
How can I make myself employable / find a job in any writing or editing fields, with a BA and MFA? (in the Atlanta area, if it helps.) Snowflakey details abound.
posted by adrianna aria to Writing & Language (9 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
I have a BA in English with a creative writing concentration from a smallish public liberal arts university and an MFA in creative writing (fiction) from a state university in the Southwest. Went straight to MFA from undergrad, it was a three year program and I graduated a year ago. I moved to Dallas with my fiance and worked in a call center selling insurance for the past year. It started out as a seasonal job but I ended up staying on in the new year and it made me rather complacent in my job hunt.
Well, the relationship has gone down in flames and I'll be moving back to my hometown in the Atlanta in about a week, to live with my parents (ugh), with no immediate job prospects on the horizon (double ugh).
In grad school I taught freshman composition and remedial composition courses at the local community college and, briefly, at the university I attended. The "positions" available at grad school for the literary magazine and things like working on the freshman comp textbook each year, or anything dealing with the technology center, went to those with graduate assistantships, which I only had my final semester (during which I worked in the university's writing center). So I didn't get the kind of experience my colleagues and, I imagine, many people with MFAs got.
At this time I don't really have an interest in a career in higher education, even though the MFA as a terminal degree *could* get me a tenure track position.
I have been looking for writing/editing/whatever jobs on CareerBuilder but every one wants tons of experience that I don't have. Years of experience in copyediting or technical writing. Familiarity with software that I have no idea about. Even administrative jobs want years of experience, and I just don't have it. I have a lot of experience writing and editing papers, creating composition courses and assignments, grading and editing students' papers, but nothing in the professional world.
I am freaking out. I'm seeing a future for myself working some shitty minimum wage job or going into sales (which I abhor), living in my parents' basement, seven years of higher education squandered on useless degrees. I look at my friends who got degrees in science or technology and I wonder why the hell I didn't do that. Not to mention I'm already getting myself in a tizzy anticipating the conversations I'll have with my dad every day about how many jobs I've applied for, etc.
I don't even know where to start in making myself a more attractive job candidate. Should I get some kind of certification in copywriting, copyediting, or technical writing? What can/should I teach myself? I am good at writing and editing and I'm a fast learner, and I have no doubt in my abilities to adapt to an unfamiliar job situation, but it seems like I don't even have the chance of that unless I have 5-7 years of experience doing a thing and intimate knowledge of the specific industry for whatever company is offering the position.
Anxiety about my job situation is, of course, tied in with the general upset and depression of my fiance leaving me and living alone in this unfamiliar city with no friends like I've been doing for the past two months.
Concrete steps to take to make myself more marketable, encouragement that my life is not going to suck as much as I feel like it does now, and general helpful tips for getting through the unemployment/job searching phase would all be greatly appreciated.