General Question

Link's avatar

What kind of job can I get?

Asked by Link (327points) February 20th, 2009

I graduated Hunter College with an English degree in 2008. I live in New York City. I started looking for a new job now but I’m having a tough time finding one. I’m not looking for anything in particular (no teaching jobs however) but I’m not sure what I should focus on. In truth I feel that I can do any job as long as someone shows me what to do. Can anyone give me job hunting advice?

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10 Answers

miasmom's avatar

I think networking is key in today’s job market. Do you know anyone who is higher up in a company and has an ability to promote your name for a job? Do you have friends who know these people?

I would make sure my resume looks good, no major typos, etc. Usually just mailing your resume off isn’t going to work as well as giving it to someone in a company who can then give it to the right person.

Are you willing to leave NY, I’m not saying to do that, but if you are willing to keep your options open, then you might have more of a chance in that respect.

Also consider taking a part time job that could lead to full time work if they see you have what it takes and are an asset to their company.

Overall, don’t give up, it may take some time, but if you are persistent then I believe it will pay off in the end. Good Luck!

Grisson's avatar

Majoring in English usually means you are good a communicating. You could consider management, or technical writing, or any number of other careers.

If you’re restricting you search to NYC, then you may be facing the same problem as other financial centers. Higher than average layoffs in the financial sector affect job seekers in other industries. Of course, NYC, is somewhat larger than, say Charlotte, NC. So maybe some of that gets absorbed, but you might want to look in a city that isn’t home to a bunch of failed banks.

forestGeek's avatar

Maybe try copy editing, which is something you can also do as a freelancer while looking for something else.

BlueDing's avatar

I had the same problem when I graduated with a degree in English in ‘07. I worked at a book store for a while, and then someone I knew found out someone in their field, communications/media, was hiring. So I got my foot in the door. I still don’t know what I want to do for a career, but it’s working out for the time being. And in this economy, I’m grateful just to have a job that uses my major and expertise.

Have you thought about PR or an ad agency?

Darwin's avatar

You might also consider working for a temp agency, making sure they know you are also looking for a permanent position. A number of companies hire temps as a way of seeing who might fit into their organization. It goes both ways in that you get to see what the office “personality” is so you know whether you want to work there or not.

And then there is always the option of getting a food handler’s card (or the NYC equivalent).

My sister, also an English major (PhD, Brown) was a member of the drywall union and also repaired cars, and ran and fixed copiers for Kinkos in order to pay the bills, but did freelance editing online. She later added freelance writing for various magazines, translating services for publishers, and continued to attend various academic conventions for English majors and poets. Eventually, she met someone who got her the job of editing the official Record of the New Mexico State Legislature. That led to a job at a junior college teaching remedial English, and finally to tenure and a position creating and conducting online college courses in English and literature. In the meantime, she still writes and sometimes sells poetry.

It will be an adventure, but it will be interesting.

dlm812's avatar

Network, network, network.

Jeruba's avatar

Editors, copyeditors, and proofreaders are being laid off in technical documentation, journalism, and other fields. Their role is not understood or valued by people who can’t tell the difference between good and bad writing and don’t see why it matters. The assumption seems to be that writers can handle fixing the commas if it’s ever actually important.

Writers are being laid off in technical documentation because after all they are just writing down what the engineer says. How hard is that? Some fresh graduate in Bangalore with no training can do that as well as a seasoned stateside writer working in his or her native language, and cheaper, too. After all, it’s really just all about the tools. In fact, why not just have the engineer write it down and save a whole operation?

Newspapers are shrinking and disappearing. Don’t need so many writers now. Don’t need editors if you don’t have writers. Magazines and books are online, and anyone can write them.

One of these days we are going to be really, really sorry to have let these systems falter and fail, but right now people are running scared, and anything that doesn’t obviously add to the bottom line is a candidate for cutting.

Freelancers and contractors are the first to go.

Link's avatar

Thanks for the input guys. If writing jobs are scarce can’t I get a job putting information into a computer (I know my way around the Microsoft Office suite)? Can anyone think of a few jobs that require a degree, but not one in any specific field? Any suggestions on any of this?

I value my education and all, but I’m smart, and a hard worker, so it would be nice if I could use the degree on my wall to make some money.


fireside's avatar

Paralegal sounds like a good fit maybe.

MrBr00ks's avatar

Retail management.

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