Getting the Most of Your Creative Writing Degree icon

Getting the Most of Your Creative Writing Degree


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Getting the Most of Your Creative Writing Degree:

From One Creative Writing Major to Another

By Heidi Stewart
BFA, Creative Writing Major

Technical Writing and Business Communications Minor


Introduction

When I decided to major in creative writing, I had my worries. What would I be able to do with a bachelor's degree in creative writing? What kind of job could I obtain? If I couldn't become published, was I doomed to forever be a starving artist? I believe these are questions many creative writing students ask throughout their academic career. Danielle Bonanno, a senior at Bowling Green State University (BGSU) and fellow creative writing major and classmate wrote on Facebook:

I'm about to get a bachelor's degree [that] just may be less job friendly than a BA in Underwater Basket Weaving. I followed my heart, I did what I loved, and now I'm terrified that I'm going to live in a box somewhere, hiding from debt collectors. Or worse, live off of my parents, who absolutely don't deserve a 22-year-old dependent.

My purpose in writing this essay is to help creative writing majors (presumably, that would be you, the reader) gain a better idea of what they can do while in the Creative Writing Program to make the most of their degree. Hopefully, I can help you avoid some of the panic Danielle felt. I won't pretend I have all the answers because I don't. In many ways, I feel just as lost as Danielle, but I also feel as though I've taken all the steps I possibly could to insure I'm headed in the right direction. I'm going to show you how to find your direction, and I'll show you what steps you need to take to get there.

^ What Do You Do With a BFA in Creative Writing?

This is the most important question that you, as a creative writing major, can ask yourself. If you don't ask it, I can guarantee that someone else will. Anytime during your academic career when someone asks what you're majoring in and you answer with "creative writing," the next line in the script will almost always be, "What do you do with that?" The sooner you ask yourself this question and come up with an answer, the better. You don't want to reach graduation and suddenly realize you don't know what to do with your degree.

Okay, so you're reading this essay. Granted, you've read the question twice by now. Truth is, there's a lot you can do with a creative writing degree. Some would consider that an advantage, but in many ways it makes things harder. You need to know what your options are, and you need to decide early what options interest you best so you can make goals and start taking steps to reach those goals. You don't need to have everything figured out from the very beginning. Goals can change, and that's fine. But you still need to have some idea of what you'd like to do because only taking the required creative writing courses for your degree and not pursuing the subject any further could be a detriment to you when you enter the "real world."

I'm going to give you some examples of careers you can pursue with a creative writing degree, but what I list here won't be every option. There is simply too many to go into. You'll soon see what I mean. The following is a brief explanation of eight careers: author, freelance writer, teacher, editor, journalist, copy writer, corporate writer, and technical writer.

Author

Okay, so you want to major or are already majoring in creative writing. You most likely know what an author is and what you need to do to be successful at it, but bear with me. Authors create original works for submission to literary journals, publishing houses, literary magazines, or anywhere else they might get their work published. Ideally, as an author, you want to be paid for you efforts. However, most authors will have to build up their repertoire by first getting published without payment. Well-known authors may also be contracted or solicited to write works for a sum. Only a select few are able to become "successful" authors and make a living off of their works.

Authors may write books, short stories, poems, movies, television shows, music lyrics, plays, news articles/columns, radio broadcasts, advertisements, web blogs – anything with words. Contrary to what some believe, you do not need a degree to become an author. All that is needed is talent in writing, a little luck, and ideally know-how when sending out submissions for publication. For example, Christopher Paolini wrote Eragon when he was sixteen years old. He never intended to publish it. He said in an interview with TeenReads.com that "writing Eragon was just a wild challenge for myself, an attempt to produce a book-length work." His parents self-published the book and it was later picked up by an agent. However, stories like Paolini's are rare. Your road to being a successful, published author may take longer or be more difficult.

^ Freelance Writer

As a writer, you could also freelance work. You would be self-employed and either submit unsolicited work anywhere you might be published (such as the places listed for "Author") or be contracted to write work. The downside to freelancing is the constant hunt for more work once the previous job is finished. Few authors make a living in freelance, but many authors who have other jobs freelance on the side.


Teacher

In order to make a living, many authors will teach creative writing or English at the college or high school level. It is possible to teach at the high school level without a bachelor's degree or state certification (DeGalan, 1381) but it is rare, temporary, and usually only occurs when schools are desperate for teachers. On the flip side, some private schools may require teachers to have a master's degree. Requirements needed to teach at the college level can be just as varied. In most situations, you will need at least a Master of Fine Arts to teach at the undergraduate level and a Doctor of Philosophy to teach graduate courses.

However, there are exceptions to every rule; some colleges may accept a lower degree. In addition to a college degree, some schools may also require you to have one or a mix of the following: so many years of teaching experience, a specialized English minor, at least one or two publications. If not required, having teaching experience, a specialization in English, or a publication will look good on a resume and may help place you ahead of other job applications.

Editor

An editor can work for a publishing house, literary journal, newspaper, or anywhere written work needs editing. An editor's job will vary from employer and job environment. An editor who works at a newspaper may edit articles, write titles for stories, and design pages. An editor who works for a literary journal may log submissions, write acceptance and rejection letters, and discuss work with other editors to convince them why a particular work should be accepted or not. An editor in a publishing house may also work one-on-one with authors. All editors will generally edit work for grammar, punctuation, format, and other errors.

An editor is usually a writer himself, which enables him to pick out the strengths and weaknesses of another writer's work. Courses in editing, publishing, and technical writing may be of benefit if you would like to become an editor. Currently, there is no official degree required to become an editor; there are many different paths to becoming an editor.

Journalist

Journalism can take you in two directions: You could write stories for a newspaper or magazine or you could work in public relations. At a newspaper or magazine, you would work as a reporter, writing stories for print. You'd also do "field work," which may entail observing the scene of a story (such as a football game) and interviewing people who were involved in the story (such as people at the football game). You'd write under deadlines specifying when a story has to be completed.

In public relations, you would write stories in much the same journalistic style that reporters do. The difference is that while a reporter's job is to tell the facts and remain objective, a public relations writer's job is to "embellish" or advertise for the company they are writing for. Your work would entail writing press releases to submit to newspapers for publication. Newspapers receive hundreds of press releases every day and do not have the time to read through them all, let alone print every one. A press release with even the smallest error (such as grammar, punctuation, or not being objective enough for the newspaper's liking) will get thrown away. A public relations writer must have very good writing skills and the ability pay close attention to details if they want their company's story published.

The journalism field is highly competitive. Just taking a few courses in journalism may not be enough to help you get a job in the field (though it's not unheard of). Even with a minor in journalism, you may want to consider pursuing a master's degree in journalism (Bly 64)2.

^ Copy Writer


As a copy writer, your job would be in advertising. A copy writer may write anything from print advertisements to commercials to radio broadcasts. Specifically, they "write words that sell" (Bly 83). A copy writer may pursue employment under a company and work directly for them. Courses in advertising, business, and technical writing may help you stand out amongst other applicants if you would like a job as a copy editor. As with editing, there is no official degree for becoming a copy editor.

^ Corporate Writer


A corporate writer has a desk job and their specific work varies from employer to employer. For their company, they may write newsletter articles, speeches, training modules or pamphlets, edit the company website, or whatever else their employer may need done. As a corporate writer, you'd work eight-hour days and be on salary pay. As with previous occupations, there is no official degree required to become corporate writer. However, courses in business, technical writing, communications, or computer science may be of value.

^ Technical Writer


A technical writer writes about science and technology, which entails a wide variety of topics. Specifically, as a technical writer, you would "translate" technical language into laments terms or simply a language that would be easier for your audience to understand. A technical writer may write textbooks, instruction manuals, reports, advertisements, style manuals, etc. A technical writer may also edit work. Robert W. Bly (133) and the Occupational Outlook Handbook (345)3 disagree on whether or not you need a degree in one of the sciences in order to become a technical writer. I am of the opinion they are both right and wrong. Think about it: if you want to translate rocket science into "normal person speech," you may need to actually understand how rocket science works. However, if you're writing instructions on how to use a new dishwasher model, you probably won't need a degree in dishwasher science. It all depends on what you want to do. If you really enjoy science and writing, then I'd go with the science degree. If not, there are most likely other technical writing opportunities you could go for without a degree in science.

During his seminar "The Plot of the Undergrad: Tips for the Undergraduate Writer," Zach Tarvin, a fellow creative writing major at BGSU, said, "[Creative writing majors] can do a lot – people always need things written or edited … there's a lot of opportunities a lot of people don't think about." I have given you the basics. But it's important to keep in mind that jobs for writers extend far beyond just these eight (arguably, nine) careers. As a creative writer, you can do almost anything you want. You could write screenplays for television shows or movies. You could write the dialogue for video games. You could write the text for a website. The problem is deciding early what you want to do. If you want to get into video games, you're going to need more than a creative writing degree. You may need to take some computer science or digital arts classes. For writing screenplays, you may need to take some film or acting classes. The key is getting your foot in the door and working your way up the ladder, and unfortunately there is hardly ever a direct path.

The upside is that you're not alone; many popular authors have held different careers before making their name in writing. Though she had been writing stories since she was little, J.K. Rowling studied French at college and worked as a secretary and taught English as a second language in Portugal before writing Harry Potter (accio-quote.org). Even then, it wasn't until Sorcerer's Stone and Chamber of Secrets were published in the United States that Rowling was making enough money to quit her day job. Philip Pullman also taught and wrote in his early writing career. After graduation, Mercedes Lackey worked as an artist's model and later as a computer programmer (mercedeslackey.com). Currently, in addition to writing novels, she also writes song lyrics.

I've said before that the key to getting the job you want is to know early what direction you want to go into. However, realistically, many people do not know what they want to do with their lives when they enter college as a freshman, and (as seen from the author examples above) many don't even know what they want to do after they graduate. And there is nothing wrong with that. But, as a college student you should still take advantage of the opportunities presented to you, even if you are unsure if those opportunities will take you where you want to go. At the very least, you'll get an idea of where you don't want to go, and you'll get some experience to put on your resume. Remember that a job is good, even if you don't get one doing exactly what you want immediately after graduation (most people don't). You can always work your way toward your goals. But if you just let opportunities fly by, you'll come to graduation and realize you don't have much to work toward your goals with. I will discuss what I mean in the next section.

^ Exploring Campus

The best advice I can give you is don't stay in your dorm room4. You don't want to graduate and have nothing but your degree to show for it. I know working your way through college to get your degree sounds like the general idea, but your degree is not the only thing you want to receive for your time and effort (unless you already have a career and a family, then maybe it is). While on campus, you want to be sure to get involved. Every college campus will have something different to offer its students. It is your responsibility to get out there and figure out what your options are. Ask others in your college's creative writing community what they do to get more involved. Ask fellow students, your professors, you advisor, or stop by the creative writing office.

Many colleges have literary magazines that are run on campus. BGSU has ^ Prairie Margins, the undergraduate magazine, and Mid-American Review, the graduate magazine. Both magazines have their own class that students can take as well as weekly meetings. Students can attend the meetings or take the course or both if they would like to work on the magazine. Undergraduates can also intern with Mid-American Review and may have the opportunity to stay on as assistant editor for the remainder of their academic career. Students may also apply to be editor of a specific genre, such as Fiction or Poetry. Working on a literary magazine will give you valuable experience, look good on your resume, connect you with other students and faculty in the Creative Writing Program, and give you insight into how the publishing process works.

Many colleges also have campus newspapers for which you can volunteer or intern, the main difference being that volunteering requires fewer hours. You could work as a reporter, page designer, columnist, or editor. If you don't want the weekly commitment of column writing, you could send in work as a guest columnist whenever you have an idea (though there is no guarantee of being published). Working for the newspaper will give you good experience and something to put on your resume. It will also give you insight into how a newspaper is run, and will most likely let you connect with students outside of your creative writing group.

There are plenty of other organizations on campus for you to get involved5 and not all of them need to be in writing. As a writer, it's important to pursue other interests as they can help shape your writing as well as other aspects of your life. You can explore religion, join the gaming club or chorus, or play an intramural sport. You can even apply your interests to your writing groups. If you like photography, you could take pictures for the newspaper. If you're interested in web design, you could volunteer to work on the website for the newspaper or literary magazine. One student editing for Mid-American Review suggested starting a podcast. In any case, it's important that you pursue what you love.

Another great way to pursue your interests is through any required general education classes. If you are required to take a foreign language, pick one that interests you. You may use it in your writing some day, or it might just be plain fun. Take a mythology course, if that interests you, or a class on modern warfare, or an art course. There may even be writing-related courses outside of your requirements, such as screen writing or book binding. One semester, I took a class on Children's Literature. When it comes right down it, do whatever you feel like. But take each class as an opportunity, rather than something you have to do. You just might learn something.

Trying to get your work published is another thing you will want to do while working for your degree. There's no point getting your degree if you're afraid of showing anyone your writing. Danielle Bonanno, who you met at the beginning of this essay, accumulated a series of opinion columns over the years that she never sent in for submission because she didn't feel they were good enough. After encouragement from professors and peers, she sent a column in to the BG News and was published.

Along with submitting articles to your school's newspaper, you can also submit short stories to your school's literary magazine6. For submitting work off campus, you can check out a copy of the most recent Writer's Market or Poet's Market by Robert Lee Brewer from your local library. Each time your work is published, your chances of being published again increase. Publications look good on a resume, and some literary magazines won't look at your work unless you have been published previously.

While I have discussed trying to take every opportunity that you can, it's important that you don't try to do too much at once. I spent one semester volunteering for the ^ BG News, editing for Mid-American Review, applying for graduate school, having sixteen credit hours, creating a proposal for an honors project, and working as secretary for a 700+ member student organization (not to mention finding time to hang out with friends and my boyfriend as well as attend other organizations I was a member of). I certainly didn't meet my limit as far as how much work I could handle at once, but I had enough on my plate to realize I did not want to figure out what my limit was. I was rather stressed for much of the semester and purposefully scheduled my next semester to be a lighter load so I could have a break. So, while exploring all opportunities possible is a good idea, you want to make sure you don't burn yourself out. Build your work load up a little bit from semester to semester and judge how much you think you can do without causing your health and grades to suffer.

^ Choosing a Minor

All creative writing students at BGSU are required to choose a minor. And I believe it's one of the best requirements the school could impose. Ask yourself this question: What could I do while in college to help strengthen my degree and make me appear more desirable toward employers? The answer is to choose a minor that complements what you hope to achieve with your creative writing degree.

The mistake most students make is they don't take the time and care needed in choosing a minor. I remember talking to a couple of students who had minored in journalism (a popular minor for creative writing majors), and of the three I talked to all of them said they had chosen journalism simply because they hadn't considered any other options. It was what everyone else seemed to be going into, so they thought they would as well. "I wish I had bothered to look around more," one had said. "I'm not entirely happy with where it's taking me, but I've got too much invested in it to switch now."

It was that statement that encouraged me to look around before settling on a minor.

Even if your college's Creative Writing Program doesn't require you to choose a minor, I highly recommend doing so. Having a minor, regardless of what it is in, will help your resume look more attractive. A minor also has the potential to influence your writing.

The first place to start looking for a minor is in your general education requirements. When picking classes to fit these requirements, look at what you're interested in and what you think you might be able to use in your writing. I had to take a certain number of classes to fit an Arts and Humanities requirement. Folklore fit within that requirement, so I took that class with the thought I might use what I learned from it in my writing. I did the same with a popular culture class. Though I decided not to minor in folklore or popular culture, the choices weren't a waste: I was able to knock out some requirements and check off a couple options for a minor.

If you find yourself unsure of what to minor in after taking a few general requirements, then look at the list of minors provided by your school.7 I have this as a second step and not as the first because looking at the list first may cause someone to view the options provided as the only ones they have. I don't believe you should be deterred if something you want to minor in isn't on the list. Take a look at the list and see what interests you. Then take a couple classes related to the minors you think are interesting and see if you like any of them.

If you still can't find a minor that interests you, a possible third option is to make your own. BGSU calls this an "Individualized Planned Program." You choose whatever classes you'd like to take, give a name to the minor you've created, and have it approved by your college. A friend of mine created her own "Costume Design" major by combining Fashion and Theater classes with one or two Art courses. Not all colleges offer the option of creating your own minor, so it's important to check with your college first.

Ultimately, when choosing a minor, it's best to think about what you are most interested in. Chances are good that whatever interests you most will have an effect on your writing. For example, Laura Hillenbrand's interest in history caused her to double major in history and English at college. With those majors added to her interest in thoroughbred racing, she eventually wrote "Seabiscuit: An American Legend." I would advise caution if you decide to survey your friends or other creative writing students to see what minors they chose. You want your choice of a minor to be based on your own interests and desires and not be influenced by someone else's choices.

It's also important to take your time. Most programs give you at least two years to choose a minor, so there is no reason to rush the decision. In my own hunt for a minor, I made sure to check out all my options. I explored all my general requirements, and ran through the list of minors offered. I considered so many different minors that I eventually lost count of them all.

When deciding on a minor, it's also a good idea to look at the classes required to make sure you will be getting the experience you expect. I considered minor in English, but after looking at the descriptions of American and British literature classes required, I decided that wasn't the direction I wanted to go in. I often took the BGSU course book8 (no longer in print) home with me and looked through the classes with my mother. The descriptions provided eventually helped me in creating my own minor by combining technical writing and business courses ("Technical Writing and Business Communications"). This minor turned out to be essential for me in obtaining an internship, as you will discover in the next section.


^ Obtaining an Internship

BGSU does not currently require creative writing students to obtain an internship. Nevertheless, I strongly encourage creative writing majors to do so. An internship will give you valuable experience and will look great on your resume. It will also open you up to networking opportunities.

With all the career options a creative writing major can pursue, there is an endless possibly of internships a creative writer can apply to. I interned with ^ Mid-American Review to gain an idea of what the publishing world was like. Though I choose to volunteer instead of interning with BG News, I still gained insight into how a newspaper was run and the different career paths I could pursue within it. These internships helped me find direction in where I wanted to take my creative writing career and also introduced me to people I could turn to for references or general advice during and beyond college.

Though interning on campus will give you valuable experience, I also recommended trying for an internship or a job related to your major off campus. This will help you break out of your comfort zone and open up even greater networking opportunities.

When I originally applied for a communications internship at FirstEnergy during spring break of my sophomore year, I was told my resume was good but they wanted to see more business and technical writing classes. It was this advice that helped me create my minor. This is another reason why looking for an internship is useful: it can help give you a direction for a minor or point out weaknesses in your resume. Going in for the interview gave me insight to classes I needed to take to get the job I wanted. If I hadn't gone for the internship and had waited until I graduated to go for the job, I wouldn't have had the classes I needed and it would have been too late to go back to school to get them.

After creating my minor in "Technical Writing and Business Communications," I was surprised to see how well the two disciplines of technical writing and creative writing worked together. The editing skills I gained through technical writing allowed me to better edit my own and other's creative work by training me to pay closer attention to smaller details such as punctuation and grammar and larger details such as clarity. My creative writing skills complemented my minor by enabling me to make technical content more interesting to audiences by giving the writing a creative spin.

I applied for the internship at FirstEnergy again the following year and was given the position. My main job responsibilities entailed hardcopy and electronically editing articles for the internal newsletter; writing newsletter articles; reviewing and reporting on the usability of company websites; and hardcopy editing, reviewing, and reporting on the usability of training models. The minor I chose complemented the skills I learned while studying my major, and both provided the skills necessary for my internship.

The editing skills I acquired during my Professional Editing class provided the skills needed for me to be thorough when searching for editing mistakes or uncertainties in newsletter articles and training models. In my Technical Writing class, I learned about document usability, which gave me the insight needed to consider appropriate audiences and report on websites and training models. Though I had not taken any journalism classes at the time, my creative writing skills aided me in writing newsletter articles so that I was able to find and craft a story from various interviews and research.9

It is in this way that a minor should be chosen thoughtfully. Not only should your minor complement and influence your writing, but it should also help you with your chosen career. You don't need to go into technical writing or business as I did. You can choose a minor in history or public relations and go down a completely different career path. Zach Tarvin applied for an editing internship with Scholastic as well as an internship in web and page design with an off-campus literary magazine (he's still waiting to hear back). In any case, you should explore campus, general electives, and minor options to find the path that's right for you.

^ Final Words

In my introduction I stated I was confident in the steps I'd taken to insure I'm headed in the right direction when it comes to post-graduation. And my hope is that the previous pages have given you enough advice to discover what direction you need to go in. Take the time to explore campus, get involved in organizations, talk with people in the Creative Writing Program, try to publish some of your work, really care about the minor you choose, look for an internship, explore every option available to you, and I can almost guarantee that you will not reach graduation and think to yourself, "What I have done these past four years?"

You may also remember me stating that in many ways I am just as lost as Danielle as far as what I plan on doing after college. And while it is true that I don't know exactly what I am going to do, I do have a direction to go in. I thought long and hard about my minor and was able to receive an off-campus internship with it. And thanks to that internship, I know I don't want a long-term career in the corporate world. But also thanks to it, I have the experience and the skills necessary to work in the corporate world and earn the money needed to support myself.

My involvement in ^ Mid-American Review and the BG News has opened up opportunities for me to pursue careers at other newspapers or literary magazines. And my involvement in the Creative Writing Program has provided me with valuable contacts. Having some of my work published means I have at least a toe in the door. I know I have resources to turn to, even if I'm not sure what to use them on just yet. And that's what I hope you have gained from reading this essay – an understanding of what resources you can use and how to go after them.

Maybe you're not majoring in creative writing yet but are considering it. In which case, you're already on the right track. Keep questioning what options are available to you, and you'll have many paths to explore. Maybe you're a freshman or sophomore creative writing major and you haven't done much exploring. There's still plenty of time for you to start exploring now. Maybe you're a junior or senior and you're afraid you've run out of time. Use whatever time you have left to explore the options that are still open to you. Talk with professors or friends in the Creative Writing Program and get some advice on how to best spend your time. Also look to the future. Is graduate school an option you've considered?

Before you worry graduate school isn't an option because of money, know that most schools will fund you if you try for an assistantship or fellowship. In fact, I found financial aid easier to come across when searching graduate schools than I did during my undergraduate search. Before you worry about putting your life on hold, also know there are low-residency programs that only require you to be on campus an average of ten days out of the semester. The rest of your time is spent studying the books you want to study and planning your own course load while communicating with your advisor and professors via online communication.

Whether or not graduate school is right for you is something you will have to determine. I decided to apply because I want more time to explore. I believe teaching is something I might enjoy, and so I wanted to receive an assistantship. I also want more time to write, and I am excited about the programs I've found that will fund me for an extra year of schooling to work solely on a senior thesis where the goal will be for me to create a publishable manuscript. I am looking forward to creating new contacts and exploring other writing opportunities.

Whether you are just starting or near completing your undergraduate education, now is the time to explore and discover the options available to you. Use your interests as a guide to trying new and scary things. Use the contacts available to you in the Creative Writing Program as resources. The more you explore and the bigger risks you take (going for that job interview or submitting your writing for publication), the closer you will get to discovering which path in the field of creative writing is right for you and the less time it will take you to find it.

^ Works Cited

Bonanno, Danielle. "Grad School and Classes I Wish Were Offered: A Rant." Web blog post.

Facebook.com. 13 Nov. 2009. 16 Nov. 2009.
note_id=181694200854>.


Bly, Robert W. Careers for Writers & Others Who Have a Way with Words. 2nd ed. New York,

NY: McGraw-Hill, 2003.


DeGalan, Julie and Stephen Lambert. Great Jobs for English Majors. Lincolnwood, IL: VGM

Career Horizons, 1994.


Lackey, Mercedes. "Biography." The World of Mercedes Lackey. 4 July 2002. 15 Jan 2010.

.


Paolini, Christopher. Interview. TeenReads.com. Sept 2003. 15 Jan 2010.
authors/au-paolini-christopher.asp#view0309>.


Tarvin, Zach. Seminar. "The Plot of the Undergrad: Tips for the Undergraduate Writer." Winter

Wheat 2009. Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio. 14 Nov. 09.


U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook 2008-2009. Indianapolis, IN: JIST

Works, 2008.


Woods, Audrey. "Harry Potter and the Magic Key of J.K. Rowling." Associated Press. 6 July

2000. 15 Jan 2010. .


Bibliography

"BGSU Student Organization Directory." BGSU. 15 Jan. 2010.
getinvolved/page12173.html>.


Brewer, Robert Lee. 2010 Poet's Market. Cincinnati, OH: Writer's Digest Books, 2009.


Brewer, Robert Lee. 2010 Writer's Market. Cincinnati, OH: Writers Digest Books, 2009.


"Minors." BGSU Undergraduate Catalog. 1 Apr. 2009. 16 Nov. 2009.
catalog/minors.html>.


"Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition." U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 05 Nov.

2009. .


"Undergraduate Catalog." BGSU. 2009. 15 Jan. 2010. .



1 Great Jobs for English Majors by Julie DeGalan and Stephen Lambert is a resource I would recommend checking out of your local library. It covers most of the careers I mention here, in addition to jobs in business administration and management. It also discusses creating a resume, how to network and successfully complete an interview, and contains strategies for finding the job you want. BGSU's English department has a copy of the book that English majors can check out for one or two days.

2 ^ Careers for Writers and Others Who Have a Way with Words by Robert W. Bly is an excellent resource for information about careers in writing. It goes a lot more in-depth than I do with nearly all the careers I have mentioned. I would highly recommend picking it up at your local library or purchasing the book from your local bookstore if you're interested in knowing more.

3 The Occupational Outlook Handbook, written by the U.S. Department of Labor, is a resource that almost all high school students are told to turn to during their search for a career. Personally, I find the book lacking information for more "obscure" careers (like writing). But it can be a useful tool if you also try looking up careers by the index. You can also check out the website www.bls.gov/oco/. Use the search bar to find careers, but make sure to try different variations (ex. "writer" and "writing"). You may get different results with each one. However, the book may go into more detail than the website with some careers, so you may still want to check your local library.

4 What about those of you who are commuting? I'd say, if you can afford it, don't do it. Living on campus makes it a lot easier to get involved and meet new people. But even if you can't live on campus, there are still ways of getting involved in your community. Join a club, volunteer, do something other than stay at home. These experiences can help shape your writing and will give you something to show on your resume when you enter the "real world."

5 You can visit your college's Office of Campus Activities or search your school's website for a list of campus organizations. BGSU's list can be found here: www.bgsu.edu/offices/sa/getinvolved/page12173.html.

6 You can find articles I wrote that were published by the BG News and my short story that was published in the 2009 edition of Prairie Margins in Appendix B.

7 BGSU's list of minors can be found at www.bgsu.edu/catalog/minors.html.

8 BGSU's course book can be found by going to www.bgsu.edu/catalog/. Hover over "Course Descriptions" in the side bar and select the appropriate year.

9 You can see specific documents created during my internship (along with document resumes explaining why each document was created and how skills learned from my major and minor effected them) in Appendix A.




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