View Full Version : Jobs

05-31-2007, 09:27 AM
I honestly have no idea where to put this, so I guess this is as good a place as any.

I'm a recent college graduate (as in 19 days ago) and I'm trying to find a job that's not a menial movie theater job (the one I've been working at since 2004). I figure that proof-reading/editing/etc. would be a good job for me since 1.) I do that anyway for friends and family and 2.) I've been an avid reader since the age of 3 and if I could find a job that essentially pays me to read and proof-read, that would terrific. I'm rather anal-retentive when it comes to spelling and grammar as well.

Thing is, I have a B.A. in psychology, not English or creative writing.

If somebody could spin me around and point me in the right direction, I would be quite grateful.

05-31-2007, 09:30 AM

05-31-2007, 04:51 PM
You don't need a BA in English or creative writing. You have to be able to use the language. Your psychology background could be helpful if you're editing social science works.

Check out the Web sites for publishers in your area (or an area where you'd be willing to move) and see if they have any entry level editorial positions available. If you don't know of any, try the Yellow Pages first.

Position your resume to emphasize any research and writing experience that you have, although not "proofed papers for fellow students." If you have to create bullet points under your education heading to note worthy items, do it.

If you're not already very familiar with Word, spend some time getting to know it.

05-31-2007, 05:37 PM
If you're in the NY metro area, you'll have an awful lot to choose from.

Harper K
05-31-2007, 05:45 PM
Some cities have temp agencies that are geared directly toward editing / proofing assignments. Do some research and see if your city has one. If not, many general temp agencies will have a proofreading test you can take -- they'll record your score and keep you on file as someone who has that skill. Beyond that, you can take the Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc. tests and have those scores on file, too. Having basic writing skills and office software skills will take you farther than you think these days. Just being able to write an e-mail with proper spelling, punctuation, grammar, and capitalization puts you ahead of half the people who sent stuff to my in-box this morning. ;)

I know a lot of people are turned off to temp agencies / office work, but honestly, once you have your foot in the door, you can start letting people know where your strengths and interests lie. When I was hired at my current place of employment, I was a part-time ESL / test-prep instructor. (VERY part-time. Like, 10 hours a week. And the hourly rate wasn't stellar, either.) Within the first week, I conversationally let my co-workers and bosses know that I was a fiction and nonfiction writer and a real grammar nerd. A couple months later, when the VP had a client who wanted some language tests and workbooks developed, who did he think of to promote to a full-time writing / project management position? Yep. People talk, and the VP knew I'd enjoy the work. Based on my expressed grammar nerdishness, I also became the go-to copyeditor for the whole office.

I'd also recommend joining some clubs or volunteer organizations around your area -- great for networking, and also for picking up some unpaid job experience. Volunteer your services as a proofreader or writer. Be an English tutor for a child or a second-language learner. That's solid experience in the language field, and it'll net you a good reference person, too.

I was going to recommend Mediabistro and Pub. Marketplace, but I was beat to the punch! Check out Gawker Jobs, as well, and of course the Craigslist in your area. I don't know anyone who advertises jobs on Careerbuilder, Monster, etc. anymore -- everybody uses Craigslist.

Best of luck!

05-31-2007, 07:29 PM
You don't have to have an English degree to be an editor or proofreader, but it sure helps, and at any big publisher such a degree always gets preference. An MFA even more so.

05-31-2007, 10:10 PM
If you have keyboard skills signing on with a temp agency will get yo more than minimum wage.

I can't touchtype but I can type at a low-end touchtype speed with accuracy.

First job they gave me was auditing mortgages. Big pile of files, I check the data in specific areas and move them on. Now granted, it was a dull job, and I got out as soon as I got something real lined up, but the hours weren't terrible, the place was nice, awesome subsidized cafe for lunch and absolutely nothing to bring home with me so my freetime was my own. And it sure beat manual labor.

But an agency is a good bet. If you just want the money while you find something specific.

Harper K
05-31-2007, 11:34 PM
If you have keyboard skills signing on with a temp agency will get yo more than minimum wage.

Good point! Back in '02 and '03 when I was temping here in Atlanta, I was making at least $11 or $12 per hour on most assignments. I got up to $14 an hour on a few. Score a full-time assignment and that adds up to a pretty nice paycheck, particularly compared to what you'd get from a movie theater job.

Another good thing about my temp jobs, especially those that had me working front desk reception, is that I was allowed (and even encouraged) to read a book, surf the Internet, or work on my fiction when things got slow.

06-01-2007, 12:31 AM
Hm. I'd avoid temp agencies for long term opportunities, but they're always good for a quick buck if you can type and look good in a suit.

Instead, with your academic background, I would look at Hospital websites first. Healthcare is booming, and full of lots of documents and journals that need to be created/edited.

Your background in the science will be more than adequate to seek out work doing professional writing and editing for hospitals.

In your spare time, check out how to take some continuing ed courses in grant proposals to find yourself a lucrative, meaningful niche.

Personally, I didn't have the stomach for it. There was this pediatric palliative care thing I couldn't finish because I was learning about how all these poor kids were slowly dying in pain...

To get your foot in the door:

Look for work as Unit Coordinators or Health Information Service Clerks or something like that. Usually about 10-12 bucks an hour.

(Dallas Children's calls them "Health Unit Coordinators", but every hospital has a different name for the position.)

That's an entry-level job that isn't too hard to get, pays quite well, and will lead you directly into professional-level administration and healthcare writing. Mucky-mucks cherrypick their admin assistants and other administrators from the competent unit coordinators.

Not a bad field to be in with your academic background.

As far as a career path goes, do move into grant proposal writing. One can do quite well in that field if you can handle the science lingo.