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Internships and Career Resources

Internships offer students valuable skills and work experience in career paths for English, creative writing, and film majors. Most students enjoy and learn from their internship experience; they also find that in this economic market, the experience they gain from interning gives them an edge that can make a difference when they are up against stiff competition for jobs.

List of Available Internships

Internships for credit are available during fall, winter, and summer semesters. To receive credit, students must register for ENG 4950 and fill out online forms. For Film Studies and Production, please contact Adam Gould, who is the Film Internship Coordinator; you must register for FLM 4930. If you have any questions for English and Creative Writing Internships, please contact one of the following internship coordinators:  

English Major Internship Coordinator: Rachel Smydra

Creative Writing Internship Coordinator: Annie Gilson

ENG 4950 Internship Course Description: Experience in appropriate work position at an approved site, correlated with directed study assignments, during the fall, winter, or summer semester.  In the semester prior to enrollment, the student will plan the internship in conjunction with the Internship Coordinator and with the approval of the department chair. Students are required to email the Internship Coordinator every week during the semester they intern, and also to turn in a final paper, due the Friday of the last week of classes. May be repeated once in a different setting for elective credit only.

Prerequisites: 16 credits in English, of which at least 8 must be at the 300-400 level, and permission of the instructor and the department chair.

NOTE: This course does not count as a 400-level seminar course, which is the required capstone course for all English Majors.

Student Internship Responsibilities

You are required to perform the duties included in your internship job description. If needed, please ask your faculty and on-site mentors for clarification. Students are required to work 10-20 hours to receive credit. Aside from faithfully reporting for work and performing your duties, you have other responsibilities during the internship period as well. You are required to maintain contact with your faculty mentor, which consists of sending weekly emails that describe in a detailed summary the work you completed that week and confirm your presence at the internship site. You must submit a final 10-15 page paper that describes your experiences as an intern.

OU English and Creative Writing Alumni Job Placements

Email Rachel Smydra to request an internship application.

Oakland University's English Department supports several student organizations, allowing emerging professionals to network and gain hands-on experience in conjunction with their studies. Each organization blazes the trail for students to tailor their studies into a range of career pathways.

OU Creative Writing Club
The vibrant OU Creative Writing Club advised by Professor Kathy Pfeiffer ([email protected]) gives students a biweekly meeting place to discuss their work and the work of writers who inspire them, and to share ideas that can help strengthen the program. Join us on Facebook too!

The Oakland Arts Review (The OAR)
OAR is a national and international literary journal for undergraduates put out by the creative writing  program. Genres include fiction, nonfiction, plays and screenplays, poetry, comics, and visual arts.  Students can get involved by taking CW 3800: Literary Editing and Publishing, and may intern as  editors and readers. Contact Professor McCarty ([email protected]) for more information.

Student Video Productions
SVP is a student organization that assists Video Services with their production needs. Students of any major may join the Student Video Club and receive training on industry standard, professional production equipment. Members may crew on staff-produced programming or may work to develop their own original program ideas. Contact SVP ([email protected])

Since the fall of 2012, the English, Creative Writing and Film Department has paired up English alums with English major juniors and seniors to help students make the transition from school to career.

Alum mentors and their mentees decide how they wish to communicate: some only communicate via email or Facebook; others meet for coffee, and some mentors bring students to their workplace to give students a glimpse of their working lives. There is no one single way to mentor a student; most important of all for the student is getting to talk to someone who has graduated from our program and gone on to have a successful career.

Every year, the English, Creative Writing and Film Department Alumni Program hosts a mixer for alums and students during the OU Homecoming weekend. Included are people who have been involved in the mentoring program. We encourage all students (and alums!) to attend. It's a great way to meet new people in English and Creative Writing and to catch up with old friends. We have mentors who graduated 30 years ago, and mentors who graduated only last year. Last year's graduates were mentees themselves and now are eager to give back to others.

If you are interested in becoming a mentor or a mentee, please email Professor Annie Gilson. Let her know what year you graduated or will graduate, and the different positions you have held over the course of your career, or the career(s) you're interested in exploring. She will pair you up with someone whose interests match up with yours.

The English, Creative Writing and Film Department looks forward to welcoming you back!

Alumni Mentor Guidelines

Note: Be sure to go to the Career Center to learn about writing resumes, doing interviews, cover letters, etc. OU provides a lot of services to get you prepared for the job search. They will even do mock interviews for you!

First of all, be respectful of your mentors. They are volunteering to help you with your job search. But don't be intimidated by them. They were students here at OU, majoring in English and Creative Writing just like you. They want to help you; that's why they've volunteered to help you. They WANT to help you!

Here are some tips:

Do immediately send them an introductory email.

Do ask them how they would prefer to communicate.

Do find out how much time they have available and how often they want to communicate. Be respectful of their time constraints.

Do not blow them off. If a mentor takes the time to write you, but you feel confused or lost or strapped for time, or whatever, write them and tell them that. Silence from you equals disinterest in their minds. Be prompt and professional. Some mentors have helped their mentees get jobs!

No matter what is going on in your life, do not just leave them hanging. It's rude and it reflects badly on the program. Some former students blew off their mentors and as a result their mentors quit the program. So stay in touch!

However, do remember that, though they've volunteered for this program, they don't have a lot of spare time. (Who does?) So don't write them really long emails, unless they signal that this is ok with them. Also, don't expect a fast turn-around in response to your communications. If two weeks have gone by since you've written them, send a polite follow-up email saying that you know they're busy and asking if they still have time to work with you.

When you communicate:

You should do some list making. What kinds of questions do you have about your preferred career? The Career Center can help you draw up a list of useful questions. Again: Be sure to go to there to learn about interviews, cover letters, etc. OU provides a lot of services to get you prepared for the job search.


Welcome to our Winner 2024 Career Event. Tonight we have a couple of alumni for you to listen to and hear their stories. We have somebody from the Career and Life Design Center, and then we have Jeffrey Granat from Oakland County, who will share some information about transferable skills and networking and things like that for you to think over. We'll start with Yejie. Go ahead.

Hi. Would I be able to share my screen?

You should be able to now.

Awesome. Well, hi everyone. My name is Yejie, and I'm the current life design coach. I work for the College of Arts and Science, and I'm really glad to be here. Thanks for having me. I have a lot to say about what we can offer for you in terms of our services, but I'll try to keep it pretty brief and very high level. At the current Life Science Center, there are many ways that you can interact with us. The career coaches that will work with the College of Arts and Science are designated for you. We have coaches for per college. That's something that we can specialize in and help you out along the way. Of course, the career coaching that you get with us is for life, once you enter OU and until you feel like you're ready to spread your wings. Even when you spread your wings, you're welcome to come back just so that we can connect. Like the alumni that are here today, I think it's wonderful that we are still able to connect with all of you. We love what you're doing out there and having you contribute back to us and help the students get some insight into what it's like to be out there. Another thing that I just want to emphasize is that career is a lifelong journey. That you don't have to always know what you want to do right now. Even as a college student, even if you have picked a major in English or creative writing, you don't have to have it all figured out. I think alumni here can also probably speak to that too. I can also speak for you guys too. I chose a major and I'm doing something that's pretty much different from what I thought I would be doing back then. Having that in mind I think will help you ease some of that anxiety. The career studio, I would love for everyone to just come by and get their resume and cover letter reviewed by one of our career ambassadors who will be able to just walk you through that process. Our current hours are from Monday through Friday, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. We can also help you out with Handshake, LinkedIn, headshots. The headshots are free. Not a service that a lot of people know about. You can also request for workshops on these services, and that's the QR Code that you can use to request a workshop. When you're making an appointment with a professional staff like myself, you can meet us virtually or in person. We are actually open all year round. If you are around the area and you want to meet us in the summer, when times are a little bit slow and you have time to work on your resume or you want to practice your interviews, you're always welcome to come back. We offer services from mock interview, job internship search, career exploration, career fair preparation, LinkedIn and networking, and we can also review your personal statements, if you're applying for a grad school. Handshake, I have to talk about because there's just so many things that we do through Handshake. There are not only hundreds of on campus jobs you can look into, but a lot of 20,000 plus internship opportunities. There are 92,000 job postings and 5,000 student and alumni attendees are engaging in recruitment and networking opportunities through Handshake. On Handshake, you'll see that there is a resource section where you'll be able to find a lot of resume guides and cover letter guides. Also resume samples that are like career or English majors for creative major. For any major, you'll be able to find a resume sample you can look into and refer back to. I think the interviewing guide is also really helpful. You can make appointments on Handshake. If you go to the appointments section, you'll be able to find a career coach that you want to meet with. You can also register for events on Handshake. Always looking out for opportunities to network and connect with other people is a great way for you to explore and make the most useful time out of your time at OU. I really highly recommend that you attend an event once a month if that's possible. You can also apply for jobs on Handshake. That's pretty easy to do once you have resume uploaded. There are other resources that we can show you too. Once you come into our career studio, we'll introduce you to Big Interview, where you can scan your resume and get that feedback. We're living in a world where a lot of things are just digitally reviewed. Big Interview will help us really give you the feedback based on the industry trends, give you recommendations based on how your resume will be read by an ATS system, like an automatic tracking system. Making sure that you're utilizing key words that are going to be important for you to apply for a certain job. Then we also do assessments. You can do a focus OU assessment which will really help you assess your academic strengths, career readiness and work and stress, which are all important for you to figure out in order for you to not only choose a major, but also your career. These are just some of the resume tips that I would just leave as a last note. A lot of things you probably know by now, but just make sure that you're editing and getting it reviewed by somebody. Making sure that resumes are kept to 1-2 pages in length. Keep the style and verb tense, all of that consistent. I think it's important that you are making your resume visually appealing, because a lot of times resume is the first impression of you from the employer. You don't have to use any I statements, and always make sure that you are putting the orders, important information first. Prioritize whatever you think is the most important and relevant thing. For example, if you are applying for a job that will require certain skills, you may put the skill section above your experience. Again, the resume guide is really helpful and it's on Handshake. Make sure that you're scanning your resume with Big Interview. The Current Life Design Center is located at North Foundation Hall, Room 103. You can scan this QR code and we can get connected if you are interested in working with us, we also have job opportunities too at our office for career ambassadors. Keep that in mind, and that is about it for me.

Thanks, Yejie. A lot of good information there. Make sure you reach out to the center to take advantage of all those services. Now we're going to hear from Jeff Granat, and he works with Oakland County. You can tell us a little bit about your title and your responsibilities and so forth and then maybe you can give us some information about how our students can seek the skills that they need and opportunities and things like that. Any advice you can offer will be very useful, I'm sure.

Sounds good. Thank you so much for having me. Hi, everyone. My name is Jeffrey Granat. I'm a recruiter at Oakland County Government in Waterford. I've been here for a little over two years. Previously, I worked in workforce development for 15.5 years, doing career service activities, helping people figure out what they want to do. Helping with resumes, cover letters, stuff of that nature. This type of work is very important to me. Anytime I can work with the different schools and help job seekers, students figure out what they want to do and help them move forward, I'm all about it because I know how important it is. I remember when I was in school and I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. I was a little nervous about asking for help. I try to give back as much as I can to encourage people. Now, there are some people that know what they want to do and then there's other individuals that don't know what they want to do and that's okay, because you may change your mind quite a bit over time. If you know what you want to do, then in your job search, you need to make sure that you're being very targeted in what you're doing and make sure that you show how you add value. When you apply for a job, you need to show in your resume or your application how you're going to add value moving forward and how you've added value in the past. The employer wants to see how you're going to make the money or how you've saved the money or resolve problems. They don't want to see a laundry list of every duty that you've ever done. They want to see how you're going to provide solutions to the problems that they may have. You need to research the employer, research the job posting, and then make sure that you show how you can do what they're asking for. Now in another regard, if you're not sure what you want to do, no worries. Don't put pressure on yourself to figure out what you want to do. There's a lot of resources available. First, you can do research. There's a lot of books, there's a lot of websites out there. There's a lot of people out there that are willing to help. Feel free to ask questions of people, whether it be at colleges, you can take advantage of people like me. There's a website called LinkedIn, which is a great networking site. Start building relationships with people, reach out to people, ask them questions. Now, there will be some people willing to help, and then other people who may be a little bit less willing to help, don't be discouraged. It's not because they don't want to help, some people just don't know how to help so just don't be discouraged. Keep trying and keep pushing forward. Let's see here. It's a long journey, a long process but it is exciting because you have the opportunity to talk to people, learn about what you want to learn about, and figure out what you want to do. There may be some family members or friends that tell you what you may want to do but here's the thing, they're not going to be the people doing that job every day. You're going to be the person doing that job. You have to think about what's important to you, what values that are important to you, and what you want in a job/career. It may be that you want something temporary for a couple years to get your feet wet and then move into something else and that's okay too. Now, currently, I work at Oakland County Government. I've worked in government. I've been here for two years, excuse me for one second. My son is being noisy. I'm so sorry. Working in government, currently at Oakland County, we've got over 20 different departments. I talk to people about the different departments. I talk to them about the different job opportunities, and I help people learn about whether that opportunity is for them. A big part of my role is educating people and then helping them decide whether the role is for them. I'm not going to sell somebody on a role that's not their cup of tea, because if they end up leaving, that's not a win win for anybody. It's in my best interest to help educate people on a career that they want or a job that they want, and help them make the best decision for themselves. Any questions?

Jeffrey, thank you so much. That was terrific. If anyone does have questions right now, please shoot them out right away. Otherwise, we'll move on to our alumni and we'll save all the questions for alumni afterward. Anybody have a question for Jeffrey Granat?

I have. I'm actually a resident of Waterford and I recently applied to a couple different jobs to work within the Waterford Government Utility billing clerk just for an example, just to get myself into that role. For creatives, is there something within the Oakland County job opportunities that would relate to someone who is good with their words or good with writing?

Absolutely. Yes, you know what? I got so excited what I was talking about that I forgot to mention that. Currently, right now, we add new opportunities each week but we've got a communications and marketing assistant position. This is an entry level-ish type position where you work on different marketing and communication type activities. We have a variety of job opportunities in these different departments. We add new opportunities regularly. We do have a department of public communications that post job opportunities regularly. They've got close to 20 people in their department and they've got digital positions that are available. Sometimes they've got some of the more communication opportunities available and we recently just posted more of a management type opportunity for a creative operations officer position. It just varies from time to time. At Oakland County, we got close to 5,000 employees, so a lot of the roles are more of specialist type roles. But what I would tell somebody is you should branch out and leave your options open. You don't want to become too much of a specialist because as time goes on, and if some areas become obsolete, you don't want to have cornered yourself so that you don't have options for yourself. Being a strong communicator will never go obsolete. Being strong digitally will never become obsolete. It's just certain technologies might go out of style. But as long as you're keeping up on the different technologies that are available, your skills will always be needed. Just like somebody with numbers. Guess what? You're never going out of style because we're always going to need somebody to handle money. That's never going away.

Jeffrey, I just want to add, because I think that your point about the communication and marketing assistant role is a terrific one. I will also say that I've had several creative writers and English majors land development assistant roles. So those are the words that you want to zero in on because those are writing related, analysis related, they need communication skills both oral and written. If there are any other key words, Jeffrey, that would be great for students to know.

Public relations journalism, stuff like that. A good place to get your feet wet, to be frank with you, isn't a nonprofit organization because they have people wear many hats. You can get a good start there sometimes as an intern, and then you can get hired on that gets your feet wet and you can develop and then later on you can move to a different organization, or you can start off in the corporate world. But I feel a great place to develop is in a nonprofit organization because you have to do more with less. It helps you really appreciate and really get creative with your skills and abilities.

Have you ever run into anyone who's volunteered with 826 Michigan, for example, since we're talking about nonprofits.

We have had students volunteer with them successfully in the past. They are a great organization. But I think Jeffrey's point is exactly right, that these nonprofits are a terrific way of getting a very broad span of skills. Sorry, Jeffrey, I didn't mean to interrupt you.

No problem. Because you can do more. There are certain areas that you do an internship or a job and you just get, I wouldn't even say stuck, but you have to work in a certain role and that's all you do. But for somebody that wants to do a little bit of everything, nonprofit gives you that exposure. They may even let you stretch beyond what the role may be. As challenging as that may be, that helps get you to the next step in all instances. But I was working in that nonprofit and I got a lot more opportunities than I may have gotten otherwise, they're there for the taking.

That's a great point. Anybody else have questions? Well, thank you so much, Jeffrey. You are just so generous and so helpful. I know the students, especially Vanessa, really appreciated that. I don't know if you mind putting your email in the chat.

Absolutely, no problem.

Thank you. That way, Vanessa, if you do want to do some networking, reach out to Jeffrey after the event. That will probably help you in your job search. Thank you again. Let's go to our alumni. I want to start off with Chanel Hermiz. Chanel is a content project coordinator at Pro Quest. That's correct, Chanel?

No. Technical writer.

Technical writer. Even better because technical writing is actually one of the jobs that I tell people to go look for. Please, go ahead.

I'm currently a legal technical writer for a company called Credit Acceptance. They're based in Michigan, but I work fully remote, which is my preference. I really enjoy remote work. I'd say don't be scared of it. I was a little nervous about it when I graduated because I graduated in 2020. It was when like everything shut down and I didn't really know what to do, but I've only had remote jobs since I graduated and I really liked it. That's something you can definitely look out for and even bring up in interviews as if you want a hybrid schedule, just something to look out for. It's pretty cool. didn't really know what tech writing was that much when I graduated from OU, I have a double major in English and Communications, but I wasn't too familiar with it. I honestly took a random job, it didn't really involve much writing. I was helping people set up websites, which is really unusual for me. But I was able to talk to my manager at the time and tell them that I liked writing. I was put on a couple of special projects where I could do copywriting for new clients and, that was really cool and it wasn't immediately in my job description. But I was able to just talk through it and say like, if there are any opportunities to write, let me know. I'm glad I did that, because that experience actually helped me get my next job, which was at Flagstar Bank as a business procedure writer and that was my entryway into technical writing. There's a whole lot you can do with tech writing. There's policy writing and procedures. Sometimes you can even create jobs for specific processes. You can even write car manuals and stuff if you wanted to do that. Not the most exciting, but it's pretty cool to be able to write it all unlike the corporate sphere. I do legal technical writing. I'm reading a lot of regulations and such and making sure that we're compliant. It's not exhilarating, but it's pretty cool. I wasn't sure that I'd be able to find a corporate job or one with any flexibility in which I could write. They are definitely out there. I'd also say apply for jobs that you think you're unqualified for. My current job wanted eight years of legal experience and eight years of decorating experience. I had a year solid of tech writing experience in a professional environment. Aim high, we can get there. It does help to have a writing portfolio even if it doesn't have any type of tech writing in it or proposal writing or whatever you're looking into just to show that you can write. Because that's obviously a skill that you can apply. I'm sure you know, if you're in these programs, I don't know.

That is terrific, Chanel. Thank you so much, and my apologies for having misread.

It's fine.

But I love the fact that you talked your way into this job. Basically they want to hear that you have the skill to talk and to communicate. As soon as they hear you guys in action, things that you practice all the time in your English classes, they are going, this person, because this person knows how to communicate. Thank you again. I just wanted to footnote one thing, Chanel, which is that for some of the car companies, if you are writing these manuals, you also can write screenplays because they film the manuals now. There's a lot of things. They've gone paperless and gone to video, and so that's a reason to go, I have a screenwriting class and then they will see that as job experience. Just as an FYI Chanel, maybe you want to come back and take a screenwriting class.

Maybe you might see me.

I would love that. Next we're going to Katy, who is a Digital Marketing Specialist at Writer and Walsh, and Katy was very kind. You will explain the two different versions of your resumes because I love that you did that because that is so cool. Folks need to realize that they can spin the work that they've done in a number of different ways, so go ahead, take it away.

I submitted the two different resumes. Anytime you're making a resume, it's good to customize it for the job that you're applying for. This is for two reasons. One, to prioritize for the job, and two, if it's being run through a computer, which is very likely it's going to look for a lot of the keywords that were in the job description. That way you can prioritize accordingly. Like if this one wants communication skills, you can make sure to list that first. For my more fun one, it was an application to discord a digital communications platform. It's mostly for gaming, but people use it for a lot of other group talks nowadays and voice chat and stuff. They're more of like a nerdy start-up the fun culture. I took a more fun angle with the resume to get their attention. I didn't hear much feedback from that, but it wasn't important. The other one I did a bit more professional, so it's like much more straightforward. I was applying to a law firm at the time for the role that I'm in now, so I still made sure to include like a little bit of color because like that's just the person I am. I'm a creative sort. I was applying for a creative position, but then I still kept everything very by the book. I like to prioritize my skills because there's just a lot of skills that you pick up through different hobbies, different careers. Whatever jobs that you've been in, you've probably accumulated something that's going to be useful. I think one of the biggest things I would say is all the skills that you've picked up doing hobbies are just as relevant as anything you've done in the career space. I do a lot of gaming for fun, so I'll run D and D campaigns. I'll organize online groups to play. That's given me a lot of experience that I can say on my resume of I'm good at planning events. I'm good at organizing groups. I'm good at remote communication. Like in reality, what I'm doing is messaging my friend in Washington asking if he wants to play games, and coordinating with a bunch of other people. But that's still relevant. Like if and if I go on social media and I promote this tournament that I'm running or something, that's event planning, that's marketing, and all of that ends up being relevant. In regards to networking, literally network with everybody. That's not just going to a place and handing out a business card. That's you meet somebody at a zoom call like this. You meet somebody at a critique group at the library. You meet somebody doing video games online that you happen to share professional stuff with. Like that friend in Washington, I ended up being a professional reference for him because he did our website for my online gaming community. I was able to be like, this is my experience working with this person. He could be like, oh yeah, this is the person who basically did the marketing for our volunteer project, which again, is just a gaming community online. But the way that we handled it, you could still pull professional skills out of that as to how it can be applied in a different environment. When I graduated, I started at a publishing company for magazines. They're really boring magazines, They're business to business. It was like the Roofing Contractor magazine that goes out to roofers in the area and talks about roofing industry things and roofing equipment and stuff like that. But what I did was I was managing their website. I was posting their content online. I was tweaking some of the print stuff to be more relevant to an online audience. That was very Englishy skills of knowing the audience that you're applying your content to doing a little bit of editing, shortening stuff up. Because like if it's for the web, it's got to be a little snappier than if it's a magazine imprint. I stayed there for a while but every time there was an opportunity for something interesting, much like Chanel is doing where I was like,I like doing graphics, were an opportunity to do graphics. Then I started getting a few projects that were relevant to that and that was really cool. Then we had our SEO person leave. SEO is search engine optimization. It's anytime you're rephrasing something so that way it can be picked up by Google a little bit better. Our SEO person left. I was like I find this interesting and as an English major, I'm really good at rephrasing things and figuring out alternate ways of saying stuff, pulling out what somebody is looking for. When you see like search queries or something, you're like what's this person actually looking for? How can I add that into a headline for this article so that they'll find it when they search that. SEO is where I settled. That was not something that I had ever conceived of when I was in college because we weren't really gaming Google that much at the time, but now it's like a huge thing and I feel like my ability to work with words and play around with them and identify the key areas and the headlines and stuff like that was really relevant to both my degree and then what became my career. Eventually I moved on. Now I'm at a law firm. I do a much more like many hats roll, like what Jeffrey was talking about earlier because it's a small firm, so there's less than 20 people there, they're very specialized. What my firm does is they only take medical malpractice cases involving birth injury, which also sounds very complicated. Basically, if something happens at birth and a child gets basically permanent brain injury, we advocate for those children and we make sure they get lifetime care. But because of that very niche thing, our website has really focused content. My like research skills from college were super relevant because I was going through academic articles and then we produced content. I was writing for that as well. Another use of the English degree and also a huge benefit from working at the writing center. I was familiar with all of the medical research and stuff from helping with nursing papers, being familiar with that language. Then also being able to take that academic language and make it into a more processable language for the random person who's googling it to in the morning. Then some of the other stuff that I do at that job is I work with a couple co workers, we do social media content. We've been interviewing our staff to figure out like what's a little snippet we can put on TikTok to get to know us? What's something we can put on YouTube that would be a little bit longer? Like learning those social media platforms was another thing that I did for fun, but then later became relevant to my job. Literally, anything you're doing for fun, even if it's sprawling on TikTok, can be applied to a job situation. My current job is wearing many hats. I really enjoy the lots of different creative outlets there because we get to conceptualize a lot of different projects, we have to figure out a lot of ways to try and reach our intended audience. Especially for my firm, because it's so niche. We got to figure out like, who are we looking for? We're looking for young parents who have gone through this thing that is very dramatic and involving medical stuff. How can we reach them? How can we reach them in a sympathetic way? Being able to frame that language and also provide information has been absolutely key with my English degree of knowing how to both read information and then reprocess it, spit it out in a way that is both persuasive and empathetic. All of those rhetorical things that you want to hear in any promotional content. That was my career journey.

That was so cool. I just loved hearing about how you two were able to do creative thinking, pulling in your hobbies as well as your experiences in the job. Then just jumping on that SEO, I didn't even know that that was a job search engine.

It's so interesting because SEO people end up coming from tons of different areas. You get a lot of like interdisciplinary stuff. Like you'll get somebody who was in history who fell into it. Or you'll get somebody who was like super scientific programming sort that fell into it. Then it just overlaps a lot of areas. It's really interesting.

This is the thing to emphasize again and again with the English and Creative Writing degree is that it is so adaptable, it is so flexible. You can go into so many different things. I mean, you mentioned having worked at the writing center and you helped nursing students with their papers, and that exposed you to that language, and so you were able to adapt to medical writing? I did the same thing after college. I had just a BA and I ended up being the editor for a urologist. This guy had a lot of med students who had to publish. It's the same thing once you're out there and you're just going. You make these connections as you said, so Katy, I'm going to stop talking now so that we can go to Adam. Adam is the Global Commercial Council at Drive Automotive, and so please take it away.

Sure. Thanks. First of all, thanks to Professor Gilson for setting this up. I think this is great for students. Thanks for all the students for being here and the students who are listening to this thing. I appreciate it. The quick bio is yeah, the lead counsel for a big automotive division. I've been an elected official. I was a partner at one of the big law firms in Michigan. But the bio, that's all the boring stuff and we can get to that. I'll tell you the most important things. One of the things I learned at OU is don't, bury the headline. The most important thing that I can tell you is that in all my jobs I've been out of OU for a while. I think I'm the old guy on this panel. But in every single day, in every single one of my jobs, I am using the skills that I picked up at Oakland University that is not an overstatement. That is not a joke. I can put to really specific things. First off, I was a double major, English and political science English particularly. It doesn't matter whether I am talking to the Division president, whether I was talking to a judge, whether I was talking to a jury, whether I was talking to constituents trying to get their vote, whether I was talking to fellow law firm partners. In all of those circumstances, every single day, you're crafting a narrative. A non fiction narrative. But you're telling a story with the facts that exist in a way that is compelling, that convinces people to join your cause, that they want to join that team, that they want to collaborate, that they can see your point of view, even if they disagree with it every single day, and that's the skills that you pick up in an English major, by far every single day, particularly writing. There's another part of OU that really helped me and so I'm a student body president at the time when I was 20 years old, and that was a phenomenal experience. At 20, you get, you know, I think we had a budget of like a couple million bucks. You've got a staff I think we charged like we paid people eight bucks an hour. We had like a staff of eight students. But you've got to listen to your constituents. You were elected. What are their concerns? What are their worries? How are you going to address them? You've got a lot of [inaudible 00:37:49]. They gave us a lot of room to go and develop programs and services that we're going to benefit students. You've got to go execute that, and you've got to rally a bunch of different people from a bunch of different backgrounds, all to a common cause every single day. That is exactly what I'm doing in all of my roles. Please don't miss here. That doesn't mean you have to run for student body president this spring. I'd love it if you did that. That's great. I can't say enough good things about it. OU has a ridiculous number of student organizations. It did when I was there. It still does. There are so many opportunities to try new things and to spread your wings and to experiment and to take chances in an environment that's low risk. When I was student vice president, like I made mistakes. I made mistakes all the time. But the consequences weren't that bad at the end of the day. Being the lead attorney for a $3 billion international global division, the consequences are a little worse today. You got this environment to try different things in a really, really safe way. I can't advocate that enough. I was just on campus actually a couple of weeks ago for an event, and I saw all the signs in the Oakland Center for all the things that are happening around campus, and I was jealous of you guys. I really was to be able to have and be able to try so many different things all in one place. I would say, don't pass that up, because this is your chance to find out what makes you to tick, what gets you excited to get up at 6:30 in the morning or whatever it is? What gets you really fired up, and what are your passions? Because that is going to be your compass all through your life, and no matter what you do, I don't care what your job is. I don't care what your background is. Your trajectory is not going to be a straight line. That is not how this works. There are going to be twists and turns and meandering and you want to be able to predict it. I certainly couldn't, and that's true of all of us. But you use that compass of what your passions are. I didn't know exactly what I want to do. When I was at OU, I thought I'd like politics because I love the student government thing. But I wasn't sure, and I had friends who were really, really young who had run for the State House and won the State Senate, but once you're turned out, they hadn't had a job yet, and so it was really them. I really wanted to go build some more skills just in case I didn't like politics. I went to law school. I love law school. Went to the University of Michigan. It was a great experience. Still want to try politics. But also again, I wanted that substantive background in practicing law just in case it didn't work out. Always have a plan B and a plan C and a plan D and a plan E. That's what I did. I joined one of the big firms in downtown Honigman. That's where I first got introduced to automotive. I loved it, but I still have this in the back of my head, I still want to try politics. But again, I wanted to do it in sort of a risk free way. I joined and ran for City Council in Rochester Hills. I absolutely love it. Great, great experience, and it was a microcosm of what government is. You really feel like you're helping the community. There's not a lot of games that you hear about when you turn on, you pick your local news station. I mean, you're talking to your constituents, you're hearing their needs. You want to help them out and try to do some good, and then I was appointed to a vacancy on the Oakland County Board of Commissioners. What the heck is a board of Commissioners? Think it this way. It's the legislative body for Oakland County. It's like the Congress of the county, essentially, is what that is. There were 21 county commissioners at the time. That was a very different experience. Again I'm really glad that I tried all these seven things because for the very first time in my life it was partisan. You got to put an R or a D next to your name. I have never had that before. Not city council, certainly not at OU. You're just a person trying to do some good, and it begins and ends there. Once you introduce partisanship into play, it really, really changes that dynamic in a way. I mean, listen, I was a Pol Sci major, but I didn't appreciate it until I did it, and this is not a speech saying that politics is bad and terrible. I have a lot of respect for nearly every single politician you can name, maybe with a few exceptions, but the vast majority of people I have ever met are really, really trying to do the right thing on both sides of the aisle. But it does. You've got to be wired a certain way, and I don't think I was wired that way to continue down that path and because you had a lot of retired State legislators and Board of Commissioners who were turn limited out. It was a microcosm of Lansing and a little bit of Congress. The same dynamic on a really tiny scale, and so I decided I didn't want to go through politics. But one of the things I did love doing was I was acting as an outside general counsel for automotive suppliers. I was doing it at Net private practice was like, God, this is really cool. Because I'm not just a lawyer who goes to court, who waits to get a phone call from a client, who says there's some fire. You got to put it out when I'm a business person in there as a general counsel, I'm not just putting out fires. I'm preventing fires to begin with. I'm building a better house so that the house isn't going to burn down when there is a fire some day, and that strategy, that partnership, and that's what I realize, that's what I really loved about student government. Actually it wasn't politics at all. It was definitely not politics. It was this idea of getting a team together of diverse backgrounds and railing around a common cause and accomplishing an objective. That's what I loved. That's really what made me tick. I didn't figure out until I was 40 years old though. That goes back to my point, these things meander. A good friend told me about a position at an automotive company, joined at 40. That was my mid life crisis. It is by far one of the best things that I have ever done were acquired by private equity, actually one of the largest private equity funds. A little over a year ago. It's fascinating because I work all over the world. On my team I've got an attorney in Shanghai, in Germany, and Mexico City, and Brazil. You want to talk about diverse backgrounds. Every single one of those countries have different assumptions, different cultures they bring to the table, and it's cool because I'm not a Chinese lawyer or a German lawyer, or Mexican. I've got to go in and learn enough to be dangerous. You know what? I don't know anything about Argentina law, but we're just sued there. I got to figure this out today and that is the fountain of youth. I mean, I feel some days out every day, but some days I feel like I'm 20 years younger because every single day I'm learning something new about the world that I have never learned before. We have a business in Moscow, and so trying to figure out what do you do? You've got to simultaneously comply with EU, US and Russian law all at the same time. It's fascinating. You hire these local attorneys and you learn and that has been one of the greatest gifts I've got. But I never could have predicted this when I was at OU that man, those skills I use every single day. I talked a lot. I'm going to pause and let other people speak, but I really appreciate the time.

Oh my God, Adam, that was really exciting and so cool. Because what you're emphasizing is that deep thematic connection in every English and creative writing class, which is cooperation and empathy. Because that you have to utilize those skills to make the connections, to bring people aboard, and to work with people with diverse backgrounds. That was just really rousing, and by the way, I loved following your career because I am a Rochester Hills citizen. I was just so ecstatic when you became a council member here. That was really fun for me, but, you know, life goes on, so. I would like to now turn to who did I have next? Kyle Minton. Kyle is the recruiting manager for the Tech Group. I think that's right.

Yeah, that is correct. Tech group also one of Adam's constituents so hi, Adam.

Tech Group was a former client too, back in the day. I think Larry there.


Yeah. Yeah. You do you know that's funny.


It's a small world, networking guys, It's so important. Yeah. I graduated OU in 2012. My single mom was a teacher, so I wasn't really exposed to a lot of jobs and I was I'm right or I'm going to be a teacher, that's why I got the English degree. I was going to be an English teacher, secondary education. One of the really killer things about OU that not a lot of other universities do, is they give you undergraduate classroom experience in their secondary education program and I realized teaching wasn't for me which was a great lesson. I feel like some people don't learn that lesson early enough so I just was forget it, I'm just going to go just get an English degree and see what I can do and I was so terrified, which is why I love to do events like this because it's like I'm just hearing all these horror stories about how English majors can't get jobs and it's a useless degree. I was really worried. I went to career services and I went to job fairs and I always love the story. I went to the OU job fair with the ENG name tag for English, and then all these employers saw as an engineer, so they were all wanted to talk to me and I was, [LAUGHTER] I'm a word engineer, not quite mechanical. It was great, but I was able to get my resume a lot of places, and luckily at the time, and I really do advocate this Quicken Loans was just indiscriminately giving jobs to new graduates and I figured I didn't have anything to lose and I just needed to get some experience out my resume so they were English here you go, here's a job in talent acquisition. So I worked in talent acquisition and just was lucky enough to really fall in love with it and through talent acquisition I worked at Quicken for a little bit, now, I'm at Tech Group. We service automotive suppliers as well as civil architecture engineering firms, and biomedical fields and lots of different. When you work in recruiting, you get exposed to so many different jobs. I learned about so many different jobs that I had no idea existed when I was in college. You'll hear a lot of themes on this call. I think you've heard every single person from Chanel to Adam talk about just researching different jobs and getting experience. I can't stress that enough how important that is. Also there's this really cool feature thing that you can always ask people to do called just an informational interview where you interview people that look like they're in jobs that you think are really cool or that you'd be really interested in. You interview them, talk about how they got their job, ask them, you can approach them on LinkedIn, you can shoot them a message, connect to people. I think we said on the onset of this call, a lot of people really like to help new graduates because everybody was in that seat at some point and everybody remembers how just terrifying it is and not necessarily knowing what you want to do especially in the liberal arts world, especially in English and creative writing so I'd be happy, I'm sure anybody who does a call like this would probably be happy to do an informational interview with you, talk to you about their job, talk to you about their career. It's also just a great way to network, so can't stress that enough. Also I think Chanel mentioned having a portfolio. I definitely second that. I think when I was looking for jobs and I was in panic mode, I missed out on opportunities in journalism and tech writing because as soon as the shoot me your writing portfolio question came up, I was I don't have one of those and you have this great opportunity, in college you have so much time, it probably doesn't feel like you do, but you do actually have a lot of time to generate that portfolio and anything works. If you have a college paper that you're really particularly proud of, if you wrote an opinion piece for the Oakland Post, if you helped your friend set up a website and you did copy or anything like that, throw that all on some website. You could do a free wick site, you can do all different portfolio sites or portfolio templates and I'd highly recommend having something just so that question doesn't stop you in your job search there. I think leverage, obviously everybody thinks of English majors as good writers and so that opens up a lot of doors and things like tech writing or social media is really popping off for English degrees. Everybody needs people to do content writing, content management, things like that, but also English majors, I think are undervalued as really good readers. I know at my company, I rose through the ranks simply because I could take a really boring resume and read it. [LAUGHTER] A lot of times people get really fed up reading really technical documents, things that don't make a whole lot of sense to them right away and they're really bad at dealing with boredom when it comes to reading things so a lot of people brought things to my attention and it's been really good for my career in that sense. There's lots of jobs in the business analytics world. Even in the data world, I think a lot of times people discount English majors as not numbers people, but we are all very good at getting into the minutia of anything, be it letters, be a numbers, whatever so there are lots of different avenues you could go there, and again, network informational interviews and just researching different types of jobs even if you're just going to a job board and typing jobs near me and just reading the different ones. I also can get with Annie and some of the other folks on this call because I also have a lot of exposure to different job boards and I can send a list of very specific job boards. A job board for just remote work, a job board for just creative work or writing work. Then the only other thing I might suggest is if you're really desperate for experience, there is work to be had in gig work and writing content and there are also boards and websites for that as well where you can help people write resumes or you can help people write copy because they just farm these jobs out. That stuff can all go onto a portfolio, that stuff can all go onto a resume. That's just another option there for you.

Thank you so much, Kyle. That was terrific and talent acquisition. I didn't even know that's what recruiting is called now and [LAUGHTER] also the informational interview, I hope everyone really takes that advice to heart because people are generous. If they don't want to help you, they'll just not answer your email. So it's no big loss then. So this is how you network, this is how you reach out. I love your advice about the portfolio too because that is snippets from your various writing classes and that can be a huge range of different subjects. It doesn't have to just be English papers, it's all stuff, but I love that you can just reach out via LinkedIn, terrific information. Then before we go to the Q&A, I want to go to Aaron Hall, he works in the Macomb County Prosecutor's Office as an attorney and so I'm going to just let you give us the specifics, Aaron.

Well, thank you Professor Gilson. This is a lot of fun. Really appreciate the opportunity and hope a lot of the students that watch this in future learn some things about it. One of the things that I notice is it seems a lot of people are connected to law in this group. I didn't necessarily know I wanted to be a lawyer when I was an English major. I think everybody thinks maybe I'll just get a PhD and be like a wonderful professor, but then you realize there are some serious books. But I think the benefit of English, and so many of you touched on this, is that it's in the details you can teach yourself so many different things. Whenever you go into law school, after that, if that's what you choose to do or if you choose to go into business. Just like Kyle was saying, he became a technical guy with some number of stuff. I've kind of developed specialties in different areas that my undergrad I wouldn't have thought that that would prepare me for it, except that was the exact preparation that I needed. Because whenever you're reading some text from 3 or 400 years ago, it's essentially a different language. Whenever you're learning, whether I'm the chief of the probate at the prosecutor's office. Before I start at the prosecutor's office, I worked as a business attorney at the Macomb County Circuit Court. I was a research attorney. Primarily I focused on the business court. I shifted from business law with complex virtual litigation and contracts and litigation disputes all the way to criminal law. English has been a major part of that throughout the entire thing because one thing about it whatever you do in your career, you're telling a story and you have a human element to it. No one understands the human element especially if you studied any type of literature, you get that just emotional human connection. Right now, I deal with a lot of victims and cases. You're meeting with people and creates empathy. It creates the way to truly connect with other individuals. The other thing that's great about law, and especially I know we've got a lot of Oakland County folks here, and I'm glad to represent the Macomb County Coalition. I know there's a lot of Macomb County folks that go to OU, it's wonderful school, and I think we have some satellite spots where people are able to go as well. But the thing is that you got to do internships. If you're wanting to go into the government, all those internships, unfortunately, at least all the ones I did, they're unpaid. You might have to work at Starbucks like I did and then you realize, you know what, once you're a Barista, it's not that different from being a prosecutor. You're just here just dealing with people's demands on specific cases, and you're able to make it the right way and have a good resolution. I think that also I saw a lot of people worked at the Writing Center. I worked at the Writing Center. It helped me gain confidence in not being afraid of the written word. I think so many people in today's age are just scared because they see a document or a scary email. The benefit that English majors have is that they can get served a serious email or paper, or a legal document or something, and they're like, oh, that's no big deal. I think that confidence that you develop with the written word, it is so valuable whatever career you search out. I do believe in cold calling people. I've had a couple of people. We have a robust internship program at Macomb County Prosecutor's Office, and we have it for undergrads and law students. If anybody is interested, I have a good connection with the internship coordinator. I've gotten a lot of people internships and some of the interns I've written letters of recommendation for after the fact, even when I felt like I didn't have time. I've written letters and they've gone on to get jobs. The people that hired those individuals called me and said we hired so and so because of your letter. I care about helping the the next generation but everybody does. I think you guys, the benefit is like you just got to reach out. Be willing to cold call people. My email is in there. It's [email protected]. Email me if you want to get an internship, it will be unpaid. Usually sometimes you can get school credit. I know some law schools they also do externship credit or internship credit but externships, I think you pay for. But yeah, you can get a lot of credit, valuable experience if you're in I see internship credit through the English department in the chat. We have a great opportunity for every person that wants to get involved. Realistically I don't know. I think being in the prosecutor's office it's a very fulfilling role. I've done a lot of different legal jobs, and I've been around a lot of different attorneys, and it sounds like Adam has found a really cool and fulfilling career throughout his journey. But at the end of the day as a prosecutor, there's a reason they make so many TV shows based on prosecutors because there's something about you're in the action and it's exhilarating. When I was a research attorney, my main client was the judge, basically. I would talk with the judge and I would talk with some of the other research attorneys, and we would come up with an opinion. The thing is, is that if you're a social individual, that is not the best job for you. If you want to be essentially a librarian, it's a great job for you. The other thing I'd say is that, don't think that your first job is your only job, especially nowadays. You can transition in so many different ways in areas. When I started as a research attorney, I never thought about being a prosecutor. I thought I was going to transition to a business firm, but then as a research attorney, I'd watched some of these trials. I'm like, you know what, I think that would be a fun thing to do, and maybe I could see myself in there. Because of my writing experience at the research department, I was able to transition into the appellate department at the prosecutor's office and then from the appellate department I've been able to transition to a lot of different spots. Now, I'm the chief of the probate unit, a deputy chief of specially treatment courts. I've been in forfeiture units, appeals, district courts, so many different units that it all opened up because of my English degree. There are so many opportunities that you have, I I can't emphasize enough that it is such a benefit to have an English degree, and I'm grateful. It also helps because when you're busy working, you can still find time to speed breath through a good novel because you've read so many in your career. I'm happy to take any questions. I'm sorry on the last one. I think if somebody is waiting on some food, I'm trying to be as quick as possible.

Oh, that was wonderful, Aaron. Thank you so much and it's just so crazy like I did not plan or know that there were all these connections between all y'all. So anybody have questions or anybody want to add anything, having heard this just terrific presentation. Oh my goodness.

I have two questions actually. The first one is, does anyone know if the Writing Center is hiring?

For next year? Yes, they are for next year.

I'm applying.

Like a class in order to apply, but I'm pretty sure they're always hiring.

I'm technically also an alumni. I am one of the creative writers that are saying there's nothing to do with my degree. Maybe I should look into the Writing Center, if it's possible. No, don't know.

I definitely should. I didn't have to take a class to work there, Katy.

Maybe it's changed. I did it a decade ago.

Yeah. You should definitely like every year because people graduate. It's awesome there.

They are hiring now for next fall.

Okay. I'll be looking into that. My second question it's like a half of a question. We mentioned technical writing, car technical writing, communication, marketing development assistant, public relations, content editor, copywriting, editing publication. Am I missing anything?

I'm going to smuggle in project management, I know a couple of people with English, two degrees in project management roles.

Several people at my firm have English degrees and work in also administrative stuff. A bit more of like that R thing, but our office manager had an English degree and a focus on Shakespearean stuff, weirdly.

That's all I get.

Well, I would just add the digital marketing PR also the communications and marketing assistant, and then also the search engine optimizing, which I had to write down because I'd never heard of. You guys are the ones who are in that world now. Anybody else have any ideas off the top of their heads?

I do know several people who do freelance content writing for like a full time position, so you can juggle a couple different ones, especially if you're working remote. I do a hybrid one actually, because I started remote because I started this job in 2020, which was very weird, so no handshakes at the interview. That was a little odd. My first day they sent me home at lunch, they were like, here's your computer, go. But then now I come into the office once a week. That works well for me because then I still get to interact with the people that I work with. But then I can also have the flexibility of working from home and having like my own more comfortable set up and stuff.

Katy, could you give us an example of the content that you write?

We do a lot of medical content that are related to the things that we do. It'll be, here's a page on infant seizures. It'll describe what symptoms you might see, stuff like that, and then also how it might relate to medical malpractice because that's how it comes back to our firm. But then we also branch out and do stuff just informational disability, advocacy stuff, anything that could be potentially related, potentially like equipment that a child with cerebral palsy might need. Just a lot of informational content that spans the whole range of what anything could possibly be related and bring somebody back to our firm for what they need.

Nice. Vanessa, if you want to talk about this further. I was attending a reading that we hosted on campus last week, which was Rachel Gross, who is a science writer for Smithsonian, The New York Times, and a number of other journals. She was an English major. She did not do an advanced degree, but she took certain classes to familiarize herself with medical language. She's now full time a science writer. This is the crazy adaptive ability that our people have. Those are just a few ideas. But please, if you'd like to talk further, just make an appointment and we can chat about different possibilities.

Just a quick aside regarding creative writing and writing as your job. Sometimes if you are doing nothing but writing as your job, if you intend to do creative writing outside of work, it can burn you out really hardcore. Having a job that's a bit more multifaceted and might not be specifically on the writing process and generating content is sometimes better for your creative writing outside of work.

I would second that. I have a job that has nothing to do with writing. What is nice though is that I just put in like a hard 40 hours and then I have a lot of time, resources and things to put into more creative outlets. I think that's a really good point Katy.

Nice. Any other questions?

I don't know about questions, but I met somebody the other day that was a financial planner. I'm like, well, what did you study in your undergrad? They said I was an English major. I'm like what? But they just took some series license classes afterwards and they passed a bunch of exams. They said that English helped them because they're people. You can teach yourself anything and you have the confidence. I feel like the arts get bashed on all the time. You see it in all these articles, worthless degrees and all that. But realistically, you can do what you want because you have the ability to read all this complex stuff. Everything's a puzzle. Whether it's old school writing style, or a language of finance, or a language of medical malpractice, a language recruiting, whatever, it is. It's a puzzle and you can figure it out. Don't be ashamed of your English degree. Really, I think you should wear it proud.

I totally agree with that. Good. Anybody else have any other comments, questions?

I'm going to throw in. Don't get discouraged when you're applying for jobs after graduation because I applied to so many jobs and so many I never got callbacks for, and it's really competitive out there. But just keep applying and you'll get in somewhere. Once you're in, then you can start bouncing around. I don't know how employers feel about job hopping, but honestly, I did it out of college. Really, that's good with me. I'd recommend it. If you're right out of college and you just need to take a job, because you just need a job. Then you can move around. You're not stuck anywhere, especially with an English degree because it is so versatile. Then internships too. It's not on my resume. But I did do a communication marketing internship in college. That really helps me to get a job after college. I did the creative arts project, I volunteered for that with Annie. That was great, and it's really great to talk about even to interviews. Just do everything you can do. Just really get out there and do things and don't feel discouraged and you'll get there eventually.

You'll throw a lot of job applications out there that nobody will look at and nobody will read, and you'll feel like garbage, so don't. Like Chanel said earlier, apply for stuff you don't think you qualify for. When you're interviewing with the person who's actually interacting with the position, it might not one to one correspond with every single thing they had on that job listing. So if you have even a few of the skills that you think might be relevant, it might be worth applying just to interview and see if you might actually be a fit based on something that is relevant to that department because the person who's writing the job description is not always the person who interacts with that position.

I want to just add to that a lot of the jobs that are currently listed as open are not actually actively being interviewed for. You should not take any rejection or lack of response. It does not mean anything, really doesn't because they like to keep a job listing out there. This is anyway, what I heard on NPR.

This is true. I can confirm. Or they'll post a job. The unpopular opinion, but a lot of times employers will. They have to post jobs for jobs that they are considering people internal for. It's like a policy of theirs. Sometimes you'll run into a lot of those jobs where they're posting something. They have to post it for a period of so long, but they know there's like a shoe in internal person for it. There's lots of stuff like that or they'll just keep it open. They might not be actively interviewing for or it's a pipeline role, they're trying to build applicants for something later. This is all very true. Especially when you're entry level, it takes a lot of applications to get something to stick for sure. But I did want to say too, if any students listening to this or any students on this, I dropped my email in the chat. If you send me your resume, I could just stick it in our database any jobs we have open now or jobs we have open in the future. My firm B, could reach out to you and happy to represent you somewhere. Take advantage of that if you'd like.

Recruiters are cool. They can advocate.

Thank you, Katy.

The current job through a recruiter, so it was really neat to be able to talk to somebody and then interview and have somebody as an in between, which was super cool, so cool.

On a quick note, just on the fact of a long line of either rejections or just a long period of waiting. If you're applying for the government, they're going through government HR, so it may be three months before they get to your job because they have to have the county HR, the local municipality HR review everything and then set schedule every different person that has to approve of the job for them to either be on Zoom or in person. Don't get discouraged if you don't hear back within a week, like sometimes in private practice, or they'll say yes or no, whereas in government, you may get an e-mail. We're available for an interview and you've already accepted a job a month ago. That's something to be aware of. Just know the field that you're applying in. Don't get discouraged.

My gosh. This is just such a wealth of information. I learn so much every time we host these things. You guys are all amazing and rocking. Plus now, you all have each other's information. You all can network too because that's the name of the game. I hope everyone who's here in the moment and listening to this recording realizes that every person you know in the classroom, your professors, people you meet on campus, people you're just walking down the street and having a casual conversation with. It's a potential networking moment. That sounds transactional. I don't mean it like that because anyone who knows me knows that I'm not a transactional person. I just mean that if there's 1,000 applicants for a job and you happen to talk to someone, and then they happen to know someone who's at that company, your application will rise to the top. That is how it works because nobody wants to read 1,000 applications. We trust the people in our network. Like I know everyone here and I'm all, you guys are righteous and amazing. I would totally trust you and I would only send you people that I believed in. That's how it works. Well Rachel, anything else from your end?

No. I think we're all set. If you have any questions about internships, make sure you reach out to one of us. We have some organizations and companies that we've partnered with for a long time. We can give you some more information about doing the internship for credit as well. Well, thanks everybody for joining us tonight. We really appreciate it.

Thank a lot.

Good luck.


We're going to start with internships. Emily, if I can ask you to share my screen?

Yeah, you should have access to be able to do that. Let me know if you don't and I'll double-check.

I think I'm good.

Yes, I can see it.

Well, one of the things that you might want to take a look at after this evening is the Department of English and Creative Writing and Films website and you'll go on to internships and career resources and we've got a bunch of different things for you to take a look at. One of these is our list of available internships. Here you'll find various organizations and companies that have available internships for you. There are non-profits, there's obviously for-profits -- and we put these into different categories -- marketing, editing, and things like that, businesses. We have all the non-profits at the top. Most of these are unpaid internships. Some of them, though, you might be able to negotiate some type of small stipend or something like that so never rule out contacting these organizations to see if they have anything available. The other thing is that you can look on indeed. Emily's going to talk a little bit about their resources tonight. You can always find opportunities through career resources online. We pretty much have had somebody intern at all of these organizations and so we have some good insight into what these positions can offer you. There's also availability on campus as well. I know that we have had a couple of people intern at the med school and they've helped out researchers and so forth compile and collect and write and publish data. I know we have one person who actually was a part of the publishing team and got her name included as an author on the article. We also have some positions in publishing and TV. Those are definitely resources that you're going to want to check out. Now there's a couple of different ways that you can approach this at Oakland, you can actually do an internship for credit and if you're an English major, I'll help you facilitate that internship. If you're a creative writing major or you're going to want to reach out to Annie Gilson who will have you helped organize that. You can also do this on your own. You don't have to do it for credit. You can use our resources. We can connect you with people, our contacts, and so forth that these organizations and you can pursue and do the internship on your own. You're going to hear from quite a few people tonight saying that they did an internship and they discovered perhaps that it led to something that they were interested in, in a career path, or maybe it showed them that they weren't interested in this particular topic at all.

And that's really what these internships are meant to do -- for you to try it on.

Is it something you like doing? Do you like the setting? Do you like the skills that you're employing? Do you like the atmosphere or the setting? Do you like the work? You can leave these experiences and so forth with many things or just a few things, but they give you access to the professional work experience and they're good little stepping stones that perhaps can lead you in the right direction. Let's hear from Emily now and she's gonna tell us a little bit about how you can also access Career Services to research these opportunities as well.

Awesome, thank you so much. Thanks for sharing a little bit more about internship opportunities. My name is Emily Cutlip and I am a Career Consultant for the College of Arts and Sciences and I recognize some of the names here. I know that we may have worked together in the past, so it's good to see a lot of you. I am actually going to share my screen as well in just a second here. What I'd really like to show you all is Handshake. Now, I know that many of you may be familiar with Handshake, but I do just want to go over a few important things that are tied to Handshake. All students and alumni have access to Handshake and this is the hub of our career-oriented resources, including a calendar of events. That's where you can make appointments with us. But before I dive into Handshake, just a two-second overview. Those of you who haven't engaged with our office, Career Services can help you with anything and everything career-oriented. We help students with resumes, cover letters, mock interviews, job and internship search strategy. But we can also help with things like LinkedIn optimization as well as career exploration. That's actually probably one of my favorite discussions to have with students, to explore what you can do with your major and what things might be a good fit for you. I talked to students about salary negotiation, so really you name it. We're here to help you and I have a colleague as well Caroline Kettson, who works with the College of Arts and Sciences specifically. We specialize in working with students and alumni like you. So please come and see us, earlier rather than later so we can help you plan for your future.

Handshake is again the hub of all the careers, online anyway, at OU. I just want to direct you to a couple of key things real quick. If you aren't sure how to log into Handshake if you go to oakland.edu/careerservices, there will be a link, but the direct link is oakland.joinhandshake.com. I'll go over just a couple of things I think are most important really quickly. Top left-hand side, we have a jobs tab and this is where all of our employer partners, including people like Jeff, post jobs and internships for our students and alumni. This is also where every single on-campus job will be posted so that's something to think about.

The most important thing is you want to make sure you're using filters because as you can see, there are over 20,000 current opportunities in Handshake so we have to use the filters. I will say that Handshake is heavily geared toward internships and entry-level. There are going to be opportunities outside of that as well. But because it's geared very heavily to our undergrad population, we're going to see a lot of internships and entry-level opportunities. For example, if I wanted to do technical writing, if I was going to do a mock job search, I'm going to hit the filters. Let's say I want a full-time opportunity. I would love to get paid as well. Let's say that's important to me, I'm looking for a full-time job. I'm going to keep rolling through but there's a lot of different great filters you can utilize, but minimally, I am going to at least just add a major. Let's say that I'm a creative writing major. We'll go ahead and pop that in here.

From there, I'm just going to go ahead and show the results.

That brings me count to 8,000. Now I'm going to add technical writing as my keyword and if I want to bring it down even further, let's say I'm looking within 50 miles of Detroit. That's going to bring it all the way down to 21 from over 20,000 as you can see. These are opportunities that closely align with the keywords that I popped in. But come and see me and I'll help you develop a very tailored approach to this that works specifically with you. Just a couple of other really quick things because I know we have an exciting guest list tonight to hear from, not including me. Everyone else is very exciting. [LAUGHTER] Top right-hand there, excuse me, left-hand side still. Keep your eyeballs on the Events tab. This event for example is in Handshake. You are all open to come to any and every Career Services event that you want to, even if you are an alum. Then finally at the top right, if we hit the career center, I do just want to show you all that this is where you can make appointments with people like me. If you jump in to hopefully my browser loading the appointments tab, it's super easy. You can schedule an in-person, virtual, phone, e-mail appointment and you just plug in a day and time that works for you so it's so simple. Then the last thing I want to show you is our resources tab. Some folks aren't aware that we actually have a big old library of resources that we offer up to students and alumni outside of career coaching appointments. We've got stuff for resumes, interviewing, LinkedIn, you name it. But I will just specifically point out that we have a College of Arts and Sciences specific folder, and there are things that are tailored to arts and sciences students like you. I won't go through all of these different amazing resources, but I will specifically go all the way to the bottom and you'll see that we have resume samples by major.

We've got some for creative writing, for English to check out if you're looking for some inspiration. But at the end of the day, I had a couple of minutes to share some key points with all of you. If there's a few things I want you to walk away with its students and alumni can use our services. Come and see us earlier rather than later, so we can help you plan for your future. Handshake is an amazing resource and tool for you and you're in charge and in control of your future and coming to events like this is a really great step forward. But come and see me, keep my calendar busy. With that I'm going to stop sharing my screen. I will be here for the duration of the event. I'll put my information into the chat and I'm going to hand it back to Rachel, who I think will be re- handing it over to Jeff probably.

Thank you, Emily. We're now going to hear from Jeff Granat and he works in the Oakland County Government and I'm sure he'll tell us more about what he does and where he works and how I ended up at this particular position and maybe advice that he can provide you as far as working in a similar position. Thanks, Jeff.

No problem. Thank you for having me. Hello, everyone. My name is Jeffrey Granat, and I'm a recruiter at Oakland County Government in Waterford. I've been here for a little bit over a year. Prior to that, I worked in Career Services with Oakland County, Michigan, worked for 15.5 years. I'm well-versed working with job seekers and employers. Now, in my time here working at Oakland County, I work with different departments and help them post jobs and get the word out there. I also go to job fairs and meet with different students and help them. I have a strong understanding of what departments are looking for, and I also have a strong understanding of job seekers as well. One thing I will tell you is that a degree in English or creative writing is very valuable, and don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise.

Now, what's very important about this degree is it teaches you the ability to write, it teaches you the ability to think and the ability to analyze things. These things are so important in the workplace these days.

It's very important to have these skills regardless of what position that you're in. Now, it's on you to be able to sell yourself to employers and how you can do their job. But having a degree in English or creative writing, it gives you options. You just have to explore your options and figure out what you want to do. You can work in media, you can work in journalism, you can work in education. You just look at the job description, see what the different places are asking for and then on the application or on your resume, you need to show how you can do those things. For instance, at Oakland County Government, we have different positions for we were just recently posting a Communications and Marketing Assistant position. You needed a bachelor's degree and one year of experience in either public relations or advertising or marketing or something of that nature or closely related fields. It was a close to entry-level type position. But what's key at when you're applying for a position at Oakland County is that we don't look at resumes at Oakland County, we look at what's on the application. You need to sell yourself. Somebody that has a background in English is going to be very comfortable with articulating themselves on paper. It's not like that in every employer, but at Oakland County currently, that's what's required.

One of the things that I wanted to get across to you. Another thing that I want to mention to you, again, is having options. The nice thing about this degree, it gives you options. Like I said, you could do something in marketing, you could do something in journalism, you could do something in education, you could do something in government. Sometimes if your degree is too specialized employers will only see you in that certain area and it might be difficult to expand your horizons. But when you have something that's a little bit more broad, you have more options and it depends on what you're interested in. The different kinds of courses that you've taken, any kind of internships you've had, and then utilizing your network and being able to sell yourself. Make sure that you take advantage of all the resources that are available at the university to help you in your pursuit of what you're looking for.

Excuse me, Jeff, I was just wondering. You mentioned that the position that you recently advertised asked for a year of experience, would you count a person's internship toward that experience?

Absolutely. They just have to show -- whether it's an internship or a full- time job or whatever -- they have to show that they did public relations or marketing or advertising or social media. Whatever it was that it asked for on the application, if they had a year of it, it doesn't matter whether it was as an intern or a full-time position as long as they got that one year of experience. They could have had three different internships, if they have that experience and they show it on there, then it would be counted.

Thank you. Terrific.

Do you have any skills that you think students should try to strengthen while they're at OU? What things do you think are most important for students to emphasize as far as skills?

Two of them. People might laugh at me when I say this, but the ability to communicate with other people effectively.

In the workplace, you're going to be working with all kinds of different people. Some people you get along with, some people not necessarily. That's what happens -- I'm working at Oakland County with 5,000 different people. I worked with a bunch of different departments. I'm assigned to people, different departments at different levels. Not all of them like me, but I do my best to work with them and do my best to help them. The ability to effectively communicate with them is key. I ask questions and I try to do my best to provide quality customer service. Taking classes where you'll learn to effectively communicate with people and understand people -- psychology classes, speech classes, communication classes -- stuff like that will help.

Anthropology, sociology. Understanding people is key. Even if you're shy. When I was in school, I was shy, but over time, I've continued to get to work with people and I've gotten more comfortable and sometimes I still am shy, but I've improved in that area, I've got more comfortable. It's not going to go away. The ability to communicate effectively, verbally, and then the ability to communicate effectively in writing. I read applications all day. Boy, this is a real struggle for people. Now, I know doing applications aren't people's favorite things to do, but this is a job application, so you should be putting forth effort. If you are putting forth effort and this is how some of the things are coming out, then, oh my. This is why the English classes in the English Degree is going to help you because you're going to be doing a lot of writing and be prepared for the workplace. I know when people were in school, some people didn't like writing, but it's a necessity. In almost every job, at some point you're doing some kind of writing. It could just be as small as an email to somebody, or could it be a report, or preparing presentations, but this is not going away for anybody. You need to have the basic fundamentals down and continue to be practicing it. It's critical.

That is such a great point. Sorry, Rachel. I wanted to emphasize that talking in class is so important for students to develop this skill. It's really not something that we have you do it because we want to fill up space. It's such a great skill. Thank you, Jeff.

You don't realize the importance of it until a little later on. When I was in college, I did a Bachelor's Degree in Social Science and then afterwards I went back for a Master's in HR. I avoided those things and I was very uncomfortable with them at the time. Since then, I've been in the workforce now for about almost 20 years, and I've realized the importance of it. I wish that I had practiced harder. I hadn't been so shy when I was in school. I would have worked harder on overcoming my fears with some of those things, I wish I would've taken that speech class because even if I wasn't going to do on a ton in the workplace, at least I would be prepared.

Thank you, Jeff. Does anybody have any questions? I don't know if you'd be willing to pop your email address in the chat so people can follow up with any questions.

Well, you're more than welcome to stay, Jeff, but if not, thanks for sharing your expertise and insight with us tonight as far as skills and how to approach those applications and so forth in order to be successful. We greatly appreciate you joining us tonight. Thank you.

I just want to second that. Thanks so much. If it's okay with you, would you like to have students contact you or not?

Absolutely. It's a pleasure. I love going to job fairs and doing panels and talking to people. I'm still practicing as you can see. I get nervous but I enjoy it, and I enjoy helping people. Anything that I can do to help the university and the students, I'm always glad to do.

Great. Then just put your email address in the chat and students will be able to copy it down. Thanks again.

No problem.

Rachel, shall I pick up now?

Sure. Thanks.

Now we come to the alumni portion of the evening. We are so lucky to have five excellent alums with us, and I'm going to just go in alphabetical order. I'll just give you a brief overview of everyone. We have Lalita Chemello, who is the Deputy Editor at Jalopnik-G/O Media. We have Troy Frisby, who is at Hearst Television. We have Lucas Jeffrey who is at United Wholesale Mortgage. We have Brandon McCullough who's at Commerce Township Library, and we have Sarah Williams who is at Pine Rest. Lalita. Everyone's going to give us just a brief narrative of their experiences and any insights or tips they have to share. Then at the end, they can answer any questions that you all might have.

Perfect thanks Annie. First, everybody, I apologize. I'm actually on the road for work/fun, vacation. I'm in an RV, but we're stopped, so we have some quiet [LAUGHTER]. But I'm Lalita Chemello. I'm the current deputy editor at Jalopnik, which is part of G/O Media. If you're familiar with sites like The Onion, Gizmodo, that's all part of our group. So serious news to an extent, but also very good at the satirical. I've been there for a little over a year-and-a-half. But actually -- talking about the importance of internships -- I had done three throughout my college career. They were really great jumping points to get an idea on what I wanted to do in various spaces. I did an internship doing marketing with a local music booking company for a few years. I also did an internship with Crane Communications, which is actually how I got into the biz.

And then I also did an internship with the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. Sorry, they change that name a lot.

It took awhile to get to where I am the internship I had while I was at - The Crane internship I had through family member that I met who introduced me to one of the vice presidents actually at Crane Communications and we had a very nice talk and found out that he was where I applied and that was my foot in the door. A really good demonstration of networking and how important that is.

And that led to a full-time paid position and got me started in the automotive industry.

Jalopnik is actually an automotive and transportation based publication. So a lot of the stuff that we work on, we write about racing, we write about cars, we test cars and write about them. There's a lot of really interesting and fun facets and a lot of travel. I've always been a fan of the industry and that was what led me to there. But there's also a lot of other things that I had to do in between before I got to this position, which after I'd gotten my full-time job at Crane, we actually lost our account that we were working on and we were all laid off. [LAUGHTER]

And this is just a couple of years off after graduation.

One thing that I found is like one of the most important things to keep in mind in this stuff is, there's always going to be a part of you that wants to have a job in your field, in your industry as much as possible. But you also have to be able to pivot and make the best of the situation. Not working is not always an option. So interim, I was a manager at a Banana Republic for almost a year until I got back, I ended up finding a job. From there, I ended up at a dealership for another year-and-a-half and was laid off during the pandemic. But that was something that I was able -- even though it was a dealership and it was related to the auto industry -- I also created an opportunity for myself there as well.

And so we started a blog where I would talk about car maintenance and stuff so it's still got that writing aspect in there. But I wasn't completely removed from it, but it wasn't initially what my job entailed. It took a while before I was a news producer on the west side of the state at Kalamazoo, WWMT, Channel 3 and then I ended up at Jalopnik. I mean, there's a lot of other stuff in there, but the biggest thing I want you guys to keep in mind, aside from even the pivoting, is creating opportunities for yourself. It's so important to meet people and talk to them and ask them questions. A lot of them, myself included, are always here and happy to answer your questions.

That's something that I also do a lot at your age and even post grad is figuring out: where did I want to work? Where did I want to be? What would be a five- year, ten-year goal?

And then also looking into those companies and asking people -- finding them on LinkedIn, finding them on social media and other ways to connect with them and see what it is they do and some of them will be blatantly honest. I found a photographer because I was interested in that at one point who did stuff around the world. I messaged him because I was curious and he's like, "In all honesty, I'm miserable because I'm never home and it's a hard life."

With individuals that I've mentored in the past, I always like to help you guys feel out: what is it that you're interested in? What's the reality? What can we do to bridge that gap? What are things that you'd be willing to do?

And helping figure out who you can contact or have some homework to find those companies, find those places that align with not only your values, but your goals and dreams.

And at 35, I'm now the top woman at our publication.

I'm the first deputy female editor at our publication and things are going really, really great. But it took a lot of work and a lot of understanding, research and talking to a lot of people to get here. Don't ever discount the conversations that you can have, whether that's going to events or doing things like this. Those conversations, even if they're just sometimes seem like the most mundane can change your life.

Was that enough Annie? [OVERLAPPING] I apologize, I forgot how to pronounce your name.

That's okay.

In the years since we've -- since I actually recited your name aloud [LAUGHTER].

Totally okay.

Thank so much and so that was just a terrific information and we will come back to that but let's now go to Troy and hear from Troy. >> Hi yeah so I'm Troy. I'm a Senior Content Producer at Hearst Television, producing long-form video here in New York. But when I was at OU, I double majored in English and Journalism and I was fortunate that both departments really pushed me to do internships. I did a few as well one for a radio company, one for a TV station, which I think was listed the community affairs internship at CBS Detroit. I did that one back in the day and I did one for non-profit.

And as was said earlier, very helpful in terms of finding out what you want to do.

Also very helpful in terms of finding out what you don't want to do. And then when graduation was rolling around, I was really lucky that one of those companies, the radio company, was hiring for a position that I was right for.

So I did start after graduation.

Not as easy after that [LAUGHTER]. I worked there for two years, but I'd always wanted to live here in New York. Not the easiest thing to try and convince the company to hire you from a different state. So there's no shortcut there. It's just a lot of applying and casting a wide net, especially when you're early in your career.

And just being- staying at it.

And eventually a digital media start-up, they did take a chance on me and then moved out there to do short-form video, but I didn't have a huge video background. I took a film-making class in high school. I took one radio and TV class for journalism. But they were like, "You're going to be primarily writing." Again, to what Jeffrey was saying, just having good writing skills and communication skills, even if you don't have the exact skill set for that job. Sometimes people are willing to take a chance.

So I worked there for several years and then I got laid off during the pandemic.

During the time that I was working there, I also was doing some side work, reviewing cabaret basically for free tickets and the occasional free drink [LAUGHTER]. That was just to be able to do something more creative because short-form video I was producing little minute long news videos for brands like Time and USA Today and Hearst. Like the videos that play within articles, so I liked doing it and I was writing every day. But not the most creative writing so it was nice to be able to have that outlet still, even if it wasn't a full-time job.

Then when I was applying for the job, I currently have it Hearst. It was a long- form video job and I had never written video.

The work we're doing now is half-hour TV episodes and I'd been writing primarily minute-long news clips.

The reason that they took a chance on me as well was because I had video experience and then I had long-form writing experience. Those two jobs were separate. I didn't have long-form video writing experience, but combined, I had enough experience that they said, "We've taken a look at your samples and you did a writing test and we think that you can do this." My biggest thing is be adaptable, try and learn skills at your current job that could help you at the next one. Even if it's not your favorite thing to do, it's important to know a little bit of everything. Even if we're English and creative writing majors, we don't love math, but it's important to know analytics. Being able to know a little bit of everything, even if it's not something you want to make your full-time job might very well help you down the line. Then in terms of interviewing, my two big things, I think I would say, think in advance about how your past work would set you up for success in that role, even if the two jobs seem completely different. I worked in a library for seven years through high school and college. It's like multitasking, prioritization, customer service, working with people, communication. All of those things will help you even if you're doing a completely different job.

Well, and be adaptable. [LAUGHTER] Those are the two biggest things. Then lastly, always have an answer for why do you want this job. [LAUGHTER] That's the biggest thing. I did some internship supervising in my first job at the radio company and we would interview potential interns. It happened a lot more than once that people did not have a good answer to that question. If you don't know why you want to be there, it's an automatic, then what are we doing here? I think just really knowing what you can bring to the table and why you want to be there are two things that sound simple, but it's true. That's pretty much it.

That was terrific. Thank you so much, Troy. Let us now go to Lucas.

Hi everyone. My name is Lucas. I graduated from OU in 2021. I was doing creative writing on a fiction track and a minor in English. When I was at OU, I was working for a non-profit as a communications facilitator. I was doing a lot of in our weekly newsletter and our website and our social media. During the pandemic, I was doing live streaming or online videos, things like that. Then I moved to become a technical writer at United Wholesale Mortgage. What we do is write documentation. There's a team of 10 of us. We support the entire IT floor there. That's like 1,600 people on where anytime a team or a project needs something documented, needs something written out for it, they come to us and we'll work with them to write that out, whether that's steps or just general outlines of processes, but it's very expository writing, very informational. I took the work there. I never worked in an IT role. I didn't have experience technical writing before, but I applied to that and actually wasn't what I was looking to go into. I was more interested and now I'm in copy editing or editing in general, but actually, I went out for that. Technical writing is just a different style of writing. It's something that you have to learn. All the writing that I did creatively, even though I don't do creative writing on the job, it's still informed all the writing that I do every day at work. That's something that I'm very thankful for it, so I get to come into work every day and just write. I have documents that are mine to write. That's the thing that I get to do. Our team actually, every time we hire people and we've hired a round of people twice since I started there. I've been there for about a year. We'll probably hire people again in the future, very soon because there's a lot of work to go around for that, but I've actually gotten sit in on the interviews both times we did that. I know pretty specifically what we look for, which I thought might be helpful to share. I said, first we look for that you have an interest in writing or that you have experience writing and there's no one right answer to that. We have me, who majored in creative writing, we have someone who went to OU for journalism on our team, we have somebody who worked in the automotive industry writing for that, we have somebody who did a blog and then that was the only writing he'd done, but that showed that he had an interest and a passion for writing and skill in it. Really having that interest, that experience.

Like I said, I didn't have any IT experience, but our company really invest in training you up and teaching you. I spent a lot of time in the classroom at work several hours a month. I can say they still offer courses and teach you how to do all these things. As I said, so coming in and being willing to learn and I think that's a big piece of advice I try to give to people is don't be afraid to apply for jobs outside your comfort zone or things that might require learning because being a great student can get you a long way in a role because it always takes learning. A big thing that we also look for in interviews is people who are comfortable with giving and receiving criticism because all our documents that we write are for three rounds of peer review in each document. Big part of what I do is review documents for other people, give feedback, give criticism on it, mark it up, do line edits, but then I also get a lot of that on my documents. We really look for people who are comfortable taking that feedback, especially from people who might not be as experienced as you are, or getting feedback that you might not agree with because that really shows if you're able to work personally with people. Our job is very collaborative, so that's being able to go up to somebody and say, "Hey, you marked this up on my document, can we talk about it? Can we talk about why you think it should be written this way?" Things like that.

Being very collaborative. All the writing workshops I took at OU really prepared me for that because we did have that round table of "what do you think of the piece, what could have been done better, what was really good?" Things like that really helped prepare me. Just in general having writing samples in is something that I always encourage everybody to do when they're applying for a writing role. You'd be surprised how many people come in without writing samples. That's always very helpful. Just being able to feel comfortable asking questions and going into situations where you don't have all the answers and you need to learn. I know I said that, but just really being a learner in your role is so important. Like I said, I went in with no formal IT experience and now I'm writing about things in IT that would've been way over my head a year ago, but it's always having your mind open and being able to pick up and understand things, and then ultimately, get to write about them. That's really the best about the roles, just how much writing I get to do.

That's terrific. Thank you so much, Lucas. Brandon.

Hi. I have a new microphone. Can everyone hear me? Cool. My name is Brandon McCullough. I'm an adult librarian for the Commerce Township Community Library. I love my job. Let me go ahead and start by saying that, but I learn new things here every day. I do have three main responsibilities. First being to actually man the reference desk and handle other people's information needs. We also do a lot of collection management. All of the books, all of the materials, the media that you see, we're responsible for purchasing that. We go to professional reviews to determine what to purchase for the libraries, we had to stay within our budget, but we try to provide our communities with as much material as possible. But really, what I really love is the ability to create my own programs. That's where I get most of my creative outlet from. For instance, later this year, I am starting a monthly writing club here at the library based on a local author policy that I wrote myself. In a way, I'm able to facilitate ways for new writers to come in and just have at it. They'll have me available and I'm looking forward to it. I'm a little excited. I'm a little nervous, I hope it doesn't fall flat, but things like that, programs that I can create, that's really where the creative side of having a creative writing degree comes into place. I do have to do a lot of communications, setting up other type of programs like meeting presenters, meeting people, and ultimately, that's what my day-to-day entails. My undergrad was through OCC and that was a library technical degree. I already knew that I was headed towards that path, even though my bachelor's is in creative writing. I really wanted to find the perfect niche where I could combine my love of reading with my love of writing and I'm able to find that. Also, being able to work in a non-profit organization has really changed how I feel about my workplace because I've worked in other companies where I didn't truly believe in the product. I think I listed some things on my resume, but this is something I believe in. I'm a frontline worker in the battle to keep information available for everyone. I think the buzzword for it is the freedom to read. I'm not sure if you've been paying attention to the news, but there have been a lot of attacks against schools and libraries about some of the materials that they keep. It seems that it's more politically motivated than it is anything else. That's really one of the most fulfilling parts of having this job is we just keep the information flowing and make sure that nothing is restricted to anyone because everyone deserves to be able to read what they want to read.

When I was searching for this job, what really helped me was that I was diligent. I checked nearly every day for any openings, anything that was available, and it eventually just became a numbers game. It's just you have to keep trying until you at least get your foot in the door. It really helps to thoroughly read the job description that's available. If you can find out information about that company before you go, do that because any information that you take going into it is just going to help your chances in landing the job.

If anyone is interested in becoming a public librarian, Wayne State University has the only accredited master's program in the state of Michigan. You can take it 100% online. The good thing about it is that there is no basis waiting for you at the end of it. You just have to turn in a portfolio with some of your coursework and write a graduation assessment. Come on. This is what we do. That's really it. Another good thing is that once I leave the library, I can turn it off being a non-profit. I have all the time I want to try to write my own procrastination pace. Yeah. That's it in a nutshell.

Oh, brilliant. Thank you so much, Brandon. Now we hear from Sarah Williams.

Wow, that's a tough crowd to follow. Everyone is so put together and organized and Lalita and Brandon and you guys are amazing. I'm not nearly that prepared. [LAUGHTER] Yeah, my name is Sarah Williams. I work for Pine Rest. We're the third-largest behavioral health organization in the country.

We're an organization of about 2000 employees and our marketing department is six people, so we are really busy. [LAUGHTER] I've been there since 2015. I absolutely love it. I just felt like I arrived within the first few weeks of working there. I do all of the social media and digital communications, a lot of website work. If you go on Pine Rest, Facebook page, LinkedIn, that type of thing, pretty much all of the content there, I create.

Videos, artwork pieces, promoting our media spotlights.

But yeah, I think I'm the oldest alumni in the group here I graduated from OU in 2002, it seems like a really long time ago and I guess the biggest point I want to make is I had no idea what I wanted to do career-wise, even at graduation and it was almost like I was graduating college with really high GPA. It may have even been 4.0, I'm not sure.

But developmentally, I was more like 16-17 years old.

I was a very free spirit, writing for a skateboarding magazine and playing drums for a local band that was trying to break out there and just driving my mother crazy because I was not focused at all, or really interested at all in trying- everyone who's here tonight, you guys are trying to get tips on how to interview and find an internship and you're like all really responsible people. That's really not where my head was when I was in your position. I'd say things to my mother like, "I'm thinking of moving out to California and see if the state magazine will hire me full time" or "Our band is going to try and see if we can start traveling around and maybe someone will pick us up." And then like I think she just wanted to lock me up until I had some sense in my head. But I did figure it out for myself eventually and Annie Gilson was an incredible mentor for me at that time. She'd take me out to lunch from time to time and she always let me be myself.

I don't even remember what I was telling you anymore at that point. I'm not sure I'd want to know. But she never stepped on any of my ideas or tried to tell me that- She just always supported me creatively. But like I said, I did finally get my act together and I got my first real job at an insurance adjusting firm and really that was just for the purpose of picking up basic office skills and dressing a certain way every day and in the office at eight out at five -- I had been waitressing before then, so I really was interested in a job where I would have my weekends back to myself.

Shortly after that -- well, I was there for a few years and then I moved to Grand Rapids mostly for family reasons and that was probably the best thing I could have done for myself. I lived in Royal Oak my whole life, it's a great area, but I was stuck. I wasn't really finding a lot of new opportunity. Moved out to Grand Rapids, got my master's degree at Grand Valley State and did a couple of internships here. I've been at this for a number of years and I still don't really know what I want to be when I grow up.

If you look at my resume, it's not really an intentional career path that I've created for myself. Every job has just been the stepping stone to the next tangible thing that I wanted in life. I met my fiance. We want to move into an apartment together. Now we have to get better jobs so we can afford to do that. Then we wanted a house. Then we wanted to start a family. It's like those are the life events that pushed me and my husband to seek those higher challenging jobs and it's so true what they say about just being open to pivoting and taking on job roles that you might never think that you would do. For like three years, I organized educational programming and continuing education for realtors. Like can you think of anything more awful? [LAUGHTER] Getting up at 6:00 AM to run a conference that runs from 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

But I did it for three years because that was the time when we were starting our family and the money was better than I'd ever made before and it had benefits.

Yeah, I ended up at Pine Rest in 2015. I was just looking for something that would give me the opportunity to do more of what creative work that I liked to do. When I first got the- I applied online and I got a follow-up interview and they send you a form to fill out -- or they did at the time -- that had a bunch of questions about my knowledge on website programming and really technical stuff.

And I almost didn't continue the process because the form was so complicated and so technical.

I thought I'm never going to get this job and I don't want to spend two hours filling out this form for this job that I'm clearly not qualified for.

They hired me.

[LAUGHTER] I told them at the interview, I said, "You know the form was really intimidating, I'm not a very technical person.".

And they were just looking for someone, I think, that was open-minded and wanted to take on all of their social media channels, which was fairly new back then. Long story short, I've been there, it'll be eight years next month, a month from today, actually. It's just awesome. Yeah, I would just say when you're starting your career, just keep your head down and work really hard and don't expect a ton to happen in the beginning. Just focus on learning and being decent to the people you work with and if you can find a mentor or someone who wants to show you the ropes, take advantage of that.

Oh my God, that was so great. You're so funny because you're like, "Oh, I'm not put together. "

But you totally sound that way.

This is a lesson for everyone in the fact that it's not how you feel internally, because everyone has these same skills, all students are going to be able to go out into the world and do this kind of amazing work. I did want to pick up on one thing. That is Troy's mention of the usefulness of screenwriting for video making. I do think that that's something that has changed over the last few years -- last 5-0 years -- that a lot of tech writing now is also video writing. But Lucas, you are clearly still doing the old-fashioned tech writing. You're not actually writing for videos.

It's really important to know that some people will be making videos now, or doing what Sarah is doing, making social media posts, making websites, etc. But there are other positions still that are doing this more old- fashioned/workshop-oriented tech writing. But what is also really cool is that listen to how creative everyone is, like Brandon getting to create programs that bring in writers. I loved reading your information hero plug there because that is so true and it's so important. I don't want to take up more time because I want to be able to let you all ask questions if you have them. But I'm really so excited what a great panel that you guys were amazing. I love you all so much. Questions, anybody?

They can go in the chat or you can speak them aloud and remember what Jeff said. That is that every time you speak aloud, you are practicing for your jobs. These are your people.

We love you.

We are here for you. So it doesn't matter if you're groping, say something, if you have any questions or if you just want someone to expand on a particular point they made, just say, "can you tell me a little bit more about this or I was interested in that." But it's really good for you guys. Come on.

I just had a quick question. My biggest thing was if you could put your emails in the chat and if we had any questions. I know we're supposed to ask questions now, but my brain is really frazzled trying to take in all the information. If we can have your emails so that we can contact you with other questions too.

Thank you. That's a really good point. Remember that Jeff did put his email in there for folks too. Thank you, Lalita. Anybody else have questions? Or again, just anything that comes to mind.

When you're applying somewhere and they want writing samples, is there anything from your college experience that you could include in there or do they only want writing samples from an actual internship?

Who was it that talked about writing samples, bringing them with- that was you Lucas, please go ahead.

Yeah, I've seen quite a few portfolios for people, really what we're looking for in our tech writing specific role is in those samples the ability for people to write expository writing or informational writing. But that doesn't mean we just count anything that's not like that. I mean, we've gotten short stories or news articles or blog posts as I said, that's all anything that shows that you can write honestly is valuable, especially for tech writing because we were focused just as much on style as we are in content, showing that you have a mastery of a certain style, if you're able to write in a prose style, if you're able to write in AP style for journalism, any kind of writing sample shows whatever skills you have in that genre so all of it is valuable.

Any panelists have anything to add to that? You think that it's worthwhile for students to do a mockup post?

I can answer that. Sorry, I'm in the dark, so I'm just going to leave the camera. But yeah, one thing because I do a lot of hiring for my job and whenever we've had people turn in a writing samples sometimes, yeah, the only experience or writing you might have might be something out of college.

So picking your best representation out of that.

But also a lot of writing jobs, especially in the journalism side of things, sometimes they'll actually give you a small assignment and have you write something like a short 300 word post to give them an idea on what you can produce in a certain amount of time and what your creative capabilities are just in that stance in the moment. Like Lucas said, it's not a make or break type situation. We're looking at a lot of factors. Can you put together a cohesive sentence and write out a story from beginning to end. How is the material that you're using or if you're looking up stuff, how do you deal with referencing?

Another thing that actually helped me a lot was I actually started writing a blog myself because I didn't have enough experience to do all the journalism stuff that I was applying for. I started my own blog and website and was writing up articles and stuff on their motor sports and that's actually what led me to do stuff with Porsche and with an F1 magazine that I worked on. Don't feel like you're limited to just your college stuff, but you can turn that in or work on something tangentially that you can also turn in that's something different, shows you have initiatives.

That's a great point, Lalita. Thank you. I wanted to add another question. Shannon O. Said, "I'm curious if Lucas's work team does their workshops in- person or is it more of an online communication with co-workers?"

Yeah, it's a little of both. We are all in person at UWM. Primarily, we'll put a document out for peer review. Somebody will take it and they'll add comments or markup in Microsoft Word and they'll send it back. And then when you get your feedback back, you can go through it. Some of it is, it's just like line edits -- like you misspelled this word, you are missing a comma here. You can just take that on your own. You don't have to talk to them about it. But if there are- I always like to leave suggestions or questions about the content, say, "Hey this seems a little unclear to me, can you explain more?" That's when we'll come over to each other and we'll say, "Hey, let's talk about this. Let's discuss it together." Sometimes we'll bring in two or three or four more people if it's a question that's.

"not really sure how to phrase this kind of thing, let's get more minds on it.". So it's both digital and very collaborative verbally.

Something else what you do is after a document is published, we will schedule a retro for it, which is when we all get together in a meeting room that people who peer review that document and say, "okay, let's look at the feedback that we got on this document and what made sense." If it didn't make sense, instances, we do three peer reviews on each document. We say what was caught in the first peer review that wasn't caught in the second peer reviewer in third and vice versa, things like that. That helps all of us become better at giving feedback on documents so it's very verbally collaborative. We always say the best thing you can do in the role is to ask questions. A lot of people just roll over to their desk and be like, "Hey I want to ask you about this," things like that so it's collaborative in many different senses.

That is such a great way of putting it, that questions are super important. And when you ask questions, it shows that you are wanting to learn, thinking critically, which is so important. Being respectful of other people's knowledge, which is one of those bedrock skills that English and creative writing students develop in the classroom too. I mean, I want to underscore that, that Jeff was talking about how important it is to communicate with others effectively and respectively, to try to understand them, just coming to every situation with curiosity. That's so important. More questions anybody?

Yeah, I had a question and this might be a bit vague and it's going to depend on career. But there is a few mentions of video production and social media management from some of the panelists. I was just curious in general, what are some other skills that you might not learn strictly within the traditional English curriculum that are good to pick up in college or in the beginning of a career that might be helpful later on the line?

Nice question Sage, anybody? Let's go in order. Let's see Lalita, anything?

Yeah. A couple of things. One thing that I found really helpful was photography. I actually do have my certificate photography as well. But that's in this multimedia universe that we now live in, it helps to be able to do more than just writing.

So photography, I mean, I was a screenwriting major when I was at Oakland.

All of that plays a really good part in the social media side of things. The other thing is being able to put together a pitch or a creative deck if that makes sense. Thinking about like one of the things that I encourage my writers to do and that I work with our social on, is being able to take a story and figure out how to push it and make it more prevalent on social media.

So you put together a plan.

We're going to write this article. We're going to do this video with it because we can, here's how we're going to do this on Twitter. Being able to create a bigger picture for things that you're working on as well because especially with social media, like a lot of those are campaigns. You're always looking ahead to what's a holiday or what's something coming up, or what are we publishing. For marketing, like what are we putting out then and it gets you a better- If you can put that together like you would a story pitch or if you want to be a novelist and you're pitching a novel like you have to think of it that way.

Sorry, Lalita could you just just define the term creative deck?

Yeah, a creative deck is a fancy way of saying a PowerPoints [LAUGHTER] in layman's terms. But typically what it has is it's a proposal. What you're going through for us when it comes to working for like when I did magazine work or what I'm doing now is it lays out the mission of what you're going to be doing for that specific project or writing whatever it is. For instance, this month we're doing, we called it Jalopnik Spring Tune-Up and it's working out a bunch of wrenching articles that talk about things, DIY things you can do on your cars.

But instead of just writing those articles there's, "how are we going to draw more attention to it?"

So we're also going laying out a calendar. What days are we going to be putting up certain articles? Are we going to turn it into something bigger later? We have like a slideshow that basically has all of the articles we've put out so far for this month. But then also how to approach that on social media. I could hand this to you and you could see exactly what we're doing for if it was a month long campaign. What we're doing each day of what's coming in, what's due, what's going to go out and social and sometimes even pre-write some of those posts to give them an idea on what that's going to look like on the page when it does go out.

Wow, that's amazing. Lots of information there. Thank you. Let's go to Troy. I mean, you make videos, so anything you want to add?

Yeah, I think especially in my little corner of media, everything just keeps becoming more and more condensed where everyone's expected to do so many different things. There are infinite paths, but there are two primary avenues when it comes to video I think, where jobs either want you to have strong video editing skills or audio editing skills, same thing for radio and other audio mediums. Knowing those programs.

Or knowing field production.

It's like if you're not doing external production, you might be expected to know how to edit your piece. Or you may be doing field shoots and know how to how to lead a field shoot and that kind of thing.

I mean, in terms of OU, there's radio and TV class or other filmmaking classes. Working through the Oakland Post or WXOU, getting writing samples at the Post. I think those are the biggest things that I can think of. They want hard skills sometimes.

That's so helpful. Thank you. Let's go now to Lucas. Anything you can think of that would be useful. You brought up the workshops.

Yeah. I mean that's why I did videos at my previous and that was- I've been into film making, videography, since I was like six years old. The role actually, it didn't include any of that when I started, but I started in January 2020 and then in March 2020 became a huge part of the role. And writing video content and doing live streams and things like that. That was a big part of it that just was fortunate for me that I already knew how to do that. But in my current job, I think something that I use a lot that I picked up at OU, just learning how to communicate and knowing how to interact with other people and get information from them. Because I interact with a lot of subject matter experts who have the information I need to write down and I need to get it out of them and understand it myself and then figure out how to write it. That's just learning how to listen to people and process information and organize information. Luckily, I feel like that's done in every class. If someone's giving a lecture, that's all your it is, taking that information and processing it yourself.

That's a really big skill that I feel like I use every single day. It's just try and communicate with people, and listen and understand.

Excellent. Thank you so much. Brandon.

My field is a little different, but I've actually had to use a lot of my graphic design background, which includes a little bit of photography, a little bit of video editing. Mainly use it for marketing because a lot of the programs that we want to do for the community, we want to be able to be able to reach them. We do a lot of marketing through social media. That could be creating your own videos or TikTok or whatever.

Any type of graphic design skills definitely will probably help you, especially if you just happen to know web design, that's going to make you more valuable in the long run. It doesn't matter what field you end up, somehow that always comes into play. But one thing that I always was able to take from writing circles was the ability to listen and analyze. Because a lot of the time you have to do a lot of problem-solving. You truly have to understand what the problem is. Break it down, decipher it in order to help someone reach where they need to go. That has always been a helpful thing and I was resistant in writing circles. I'm sorry. But yeah, it was really helpful.

That's terrific. Thank you. The graphic design and also, again, active listening. This works we keep circling back to these really crucial bedrock skills.


It's interesting. I was such a writer when I was graduating from OU and I was so focused on the writing, especially fiction writing, and now most of what I do is graphic design and video editing, that's not something I would have envisioned, but you can surprise yourself by how well all three of those just come together really naturally, and you're able to pump the content out. As far as video creation goes I would say just keep in mind that you're competing with so much media overload. Anybody, you open up any social media feed, and there's just tons of sponsored content and content from all other organizations. I would say keep your videos really tight and less is more. We really try to keep most of our videos 30 seconds or less. You can make a really strong impact in as little as 15 seconds, and I've even done videos that are like barely five seconds long and still get that response that we want to get on social media. Much longer than 30 seconds, you're just not going to have the play through. [LAUGHTER]

The audience, you're going to lose them.

But we use, WeVideo, that's the video creation, the software. I think we're paying for it, it's really user-friendly and it's pretty low costs. If you're just looking for something to mess around with and get familiar with just buy a basic subscription to WeVideo and get in there and start messing around. We use PicMonkey for most of my graphic design, which is also a free, a very low cost software, and we're able to do everything at PicMonkey. Every year we have the same conversation is at time to buy, I can't remember the name of the program, it's like a graphic design program, and we're just able to do everything that we need out of PicMonkey. You just have to be creative and think outside the box and have fun with it. That's the most important thing. If you're nervous about,

"Oh, I don't have any video experience", It's really fun once you get into it, and it'll do the work for you if you're doing it right.

That's so interesting, and a lot of classes now are actually, I am for example, allowing people to make videos as well as writing papers. That's something that you can practice and you might want to do that if your professor gives you that option, just so that you can practice these skills. Then it sounds like you could actually make a 10 second, 20 second video that you can use just like a writing sample for when you go to an interview. I don't know, fuck me- Oh, excuse me. But you understand, any other question? If you ever have any me you know that this is like, par for the course sorry.

I was wondering if you still jump on tables when in the middle of your lectures when you're trying to make a point. [LAUGHTER]

Not anymore because I hurt myself, but I am older, a lot older.

Aren't we all.

But once upon a time I jumped on tables. I would also even roll on the floor if I needed to make an emphasis, but that was not so fun. Anyway, more questions, Brandon?

Real quick. I can't help myself, librarian. If you want a free video software to use and to play around with. There's a software- there is website called Shotcut. It's a free download. I think it's open source, but it's pretty expansive. You would probably need to go onto YouTube and watch a couple of tutorials to really be able to wrap your brain around it. But like I said, it's free. If you just want something to play around with and try to sharpen any type of video skills, I would definitely suggest checking it out.

Oh my God, this is why librarians are heroes. Yay, I love that. Good, fabulous. More questions. Anybody? Comments?

Can I add something that Brandon's video editing thing? I just wanted to say also when you're looking at jobs, I know this is a lot of stuff to take in, but if you apply for something that maybe you can't do like the shotcut.org, I did not know that was a thing, but there are plenty of videos and resources that can teach you how to use various programs. I was doing podcasting during the pandemic and that's how I learned how to edit a podcast by myself. When in doubt, there's always tons of resources to go to for you to learn how to do some things so that you at least have the basics down, and that can get you pretty far.

What a great point. One of the things I wanted to just mention is that a number of people talked about how they had to pivot, how they had to be resilient and adaptable, and for some people that was because of the pandemic, for other people this was pre-pandemic. It was just part of the job evolution. This is a really great thing to keep in mind that every time you do a social media post, every time you make a video or learn how to do some new skill set, you don't know where it's going to take you, but it's another skill that you can build on. For sure go to any of these people who've mentioned these things if this is of interest to you or if you're curious about how to take it further. Because clearly look, look at all the crazy information that they've offered up, and they all started out as readers and people who like to write, and that is the point, is that that skill set is so adaptable and expansive. You have to have courage. You have to reach out to any of us who are talking to you tonight. Because we all know a little bit about these things and none of us maybe knows as much as we'd like to but it's all there. There's a lot of help for you here. Anybody else have comments or questions to add? I see that Brandon put the Shotcut in and Troy put in Audacity Team. Thank you, that's great resources. Anybody else have more comments or questions tonight?

I just going up your comment now Annie. I'm just going to say when you're starting out early in your career path, if you just show up and you're willing to learn and you're open to being really new, and listening to what other people have to tell you and you stick with it, I think that's like 95% of what being successful is all about. Smile when you're at work. I think of it as like when I'm working with my co-workers and other people at Pine Rest, I look at it as like I want to give them the very best version of me. Like I want to give them great customer service. I actually pulled back from my days of waitressing, like, oh, I want to give you your margarita and maybe a free appetizer, because whatever, I just want to give them that great customer service. Keep the good attitude.

It's so important. Sarah, that's brilliantly said because look, use your classroom experience. That's what it's for, you're developing your ability to be an interactive human. Because that's what it is like right now us talking to you and you asking questions, that's what it is. We all need to be able to work collaboratively with whoever we're figuring things out with, and you can do that. But sometimes you need to practice it, and so use your classroom for that. Use your ability to write to reach out for support via email. Use your research skills to develop your knowledge. For example if you're going to one of these interviews, definitely research it beforehand. Definitely figure out what kinds of products they offer. What can you bring to the table? All of these things. You guys are question askers. Ask those questions, be engaged. This is how all of your life will radiate out from that curiosity, that engagement, that desire to be a collaborative human being. For sure. Anybody else have more questions or comments? This is a such a great panel y'all. You have everyone's email, mine, Rachel's, Emily's, and the panel's, so please reach out to us if you have questions that occur to you as you are mulling over all of this. This event will be processed and available as a video, but it probably won't be for at least a few weeks to a month or so. Emily, did you want to say anything else, Rachel?

You can also take a look at prior career nights. We have those posted online as well. I think we've got about three of those, don't we? Sometimes those are worth taking a look at too because we obviously have different panel members and different organizational members joining us in those videos too, so you can access those anytime.

I just want to thank you all for being here. I always love being involved in this event and I think a lot of really awesome things were shared. One of my favorite takeaways that I always love from conversations with more Arts and Sciences type majors is that things you're doing in the classroom are valuable and don't discount your service industry skills and all of these other experiences that provides so many transferable skills. I myself was a COM student and so I definitely feel you all where you're coming from. Thanks to everyone, and I hope you have a lovely night.

I'm just going to tag one more thing because I thought.


The English, Creative Writing and Film Department hosts regular information sessions to guide Creative Writing and English students from their classes to a career. These sessions focus on  several professional topics such as the following to guide you in preparing for a job search:

  • Learn about resume formatting, networking and job search strategies
  • Engage with employers about skills and opportunities
  • Talk with alumni about their career paths and advice
  • Find out about internship opportunities

Stay up to date with upcoming events by viewing the “News” section on the Department of English, Creative Writing and Film homepage and checking in on Oakland University’s Events Calendar.

Department of English, Creative Writing and Film

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