I graduated from college in 2010 with BA's in both English (writing concentration) and Music (performance). Since then I've been searching for a job, and at this point I'm not sure where to turn. I live in Western MA between the Pittsfield and Great Barrington areas. I've worked at a vet's office and most recently substituted in a local school system, but I really need something full time, or at least 2 part time jobs, to make things work (I do have loans to pay back). Right now I'm babysitting and pet sitting, and I also do a bit of freelance writing for a few horse publications.
I guess I'm looking for advice/suggestions as to where to go now!? Ideally I'd like to go to grad school in the future probably for writing, as my ultimate goal is to write for magazines, etc. I've had some success with a few equine magazines, and would love to continue to expand on that (both writing for equine-related publications and non equine-related), so I'm building my portfolio well. I worked with the career services center of my college, but they didn't have any specific advice as far as the fields I'm interested in.
I'm aware that I might not be able to have a writing-related job right off the bat, and that's fine. I've worked as a receptionist in the past and have TONS of customer service experience, and I've been applying for any sort of receptionist/assistant/office position I can find, but haven't had any luck yet (I've been doing this for 6 months). I have contacted a local temp agency, but haven't had great luck through them. Actually, I get a weird feeling in dealing with them, but haven't found another temp agency in the area. I know that I have to be patient in this economy, but I'm truly running out of time. I can substitute this fall, but finances are SO tight when I do.
So, has anyone else been in a similar situation? What did you do? Can anyone think of any entry-level positions where I might utilize my writing experience? Or of any publications looking for an entry-level writer? Or any suggestions about jobs in general? I've worked retail for years, so while I've got great customer service skills, I'd really prefer to stay away from retail if possible (though a job is a job right now, so that would be okay too). I'm running out of time (and money), so any advice would be welcome - maybe the genius COTHers here can think of something that I haven't yet. Thanks everybody!
I should mention I've also let EVERYONE know that I'm looking for a job - landlord, local friends, families I babysit for, etc. I feel like I need a new perspective on all of this - because something just isn't working.
There may not be a ton of jobs in that field and some are part-time, but something to consider is technical writing/document editing. Check with technical (scientific, engineering, medical, etc) companies in the area. They often produce a lot of documents, and it's not uncommon to have a good writer (even if unfamiliar with the subject matter) do a thorough edit to fix grammar, spelling, format, and just plain awful writing. You might have to sell some of the smaller places on the idea, since they probably won't want the expense of an editing staff member if they don't have the volume of work to support him or her. But, if you're flexible on terms, it's something that could easily be done freelance as a contractor rather than a straight-out employee and that option might be very attractive to them.
That experience might help provide more options for TA-ships in grad school. One of the guys who shared my office had a pretty lucrative (for a TA) and easy position as a technical writing coach for science and engineering students.
Also, it's not a money-maker (last I heard, it was around 15 bucks a week), but you might be able to add breadth to your portfolio by writing a regular weekly column in a small local newspaper. If you're anywhere near farm country, you could work in a livestock angle.
I was going to suggest technical writing as well. My mother, a former English teacher, took a job with building engineering group as a technical writer/office manager. She was responsible for keeping their office organized and functioning, as well as making their writing sound coherent. She learned a lot from the job and really enjoyed it.
Take it from someone who has been working in the glossy-magazine trade for decades: Unless you are a "name" writer, or writing for an adult magazine, magazine writing and/or criticism alone will not pay enough to support an adult, let alone one with a horse habit. What you get for writing interesting articles is just gravy (and maybe some great freebies).
I agree, think about editing for trade or medical publications (they pay more, because people aren't begging to work for them, IME), copy editing, research, and proofreading.
Thanks so much everyone! I've seen ads for technical writing, but haven't felt I was qualified, as I have no technological background whatsoever. But it is definitely something I will look into - thank you!
Look at non-profit organizations. Typically they have newsletters, websites, and program material that call for someone with writing skills. A non-profit usually pays at bit less than a corporate job, but the benefits tend to be pretty good and you get the chance to do lots of things because the staff tends to be small and the opportunity large.
Search for something no one else wants to do.
I will pass on what my mother told me.
" All the easy, well paying jobs are taken by people smarter than us. Look for a job that is unique. Something not many people can or will do. "
I searched for any kind of work when I was suddenly a single mother with children. I got all kinds of reasons why I could not be hired. "Over-qualified" is the catch all phrase.
I had worked for a tire business and had experience in customer relations and office management. I searched for months.
I finally gave up and tried out something I knew well. I started my own business in saddlery. I am now in my 24th year of business.
You sound like you are resourceful and intelligent. Freelance business correspondence might be an option.
Medical office transcribing is an option but it is something where you will catch the poor grammar and run on sentences Dr.s are so famous for.
Do not give up. You will find something. You have to have something that will make an HR person take notice of you. Something that will say Look at MY resume'. Look what I can do...
I wish you the best in your search. Hang in there.
Kind regards, sadlmakr