Career Life After the MFA

If you’re starting to worry about the challenges you’ll face in the job market and how applicable your MFA really will be when you graduate from the program or have graduated, there’s some things to consider. Many of us came into the program wanting to hone our writing skills and with goals of becoming published authors in fiction or poetry or non-fiction, etc. But, the statistics of success can be daunting, and many of us worry we’ll have to sling coffee to make a paycheck while writing at night or when there’s free time, because well, getting paid to write can be a pipe dream sometimes, right?

Not exactly.

There are, surprisingly enough, a lot of job types that strongly rely on writing skills and that having an MFA in Creative and Professional Writing can be an asset on your resume. While some are not exactly as sexy as being a best-selling author, they are positions where you can use your writing skills and may end up being careers you never thought of but end up really liking.

Below are a few of those types:

Community Management– This is sort of a catchall type of position that often may handle social media management, blogging, and essentially making content and managing a “community” built around a company or brand. Sometimes this also means creating campaigns.

Social Media– What this type of position does is create content for social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+, etc), often create marketing campaigns tailored for social media, and managing these accounts. It’s like a constant lesson in the elevator pitch and learning to get engaging content out in short, concise wording.

Professional Blogger– This can often be more of the freelance of the marketing comm/content spectrum, but essentially it is means you’re paid to write blogs for a company and brand. Sites such as e-lance can be a way to build such experience on your resume.

Digital Media Management – This is sort of another catchall position that can encompass social media, web design, and some minor graphic design/video for YouTube work. Essentially, this is a position that creates and manages all digital media for a company. Having HTML5, CSS, Java and Photoshop/In Design skills are often essential for these positions.

Public Relations– If Marketing is about bringing customers in, Public Relations often words to get brand name/brand info out. Sometimes this role is merged with Marketing depending on the company’s need. Often this role will involve writing press releases, coordinating or even writing blog posts, dealing with press, etc.

Content Writer- Usually under Marketing, this could mean developing advertising copy, blog writing, and essentially writing whatever content a Marketing department may need.

Technical Writer- A technical writer is a professional writer who produces technical documentation for technical, business, and consumer audiences. So manuals, brochures, etc. fall under this umbrella.

Grant Writer- Essentially, you’re completing a form process and writing a proposal for an organization seeking funding via grants. Or, as Wiki puts it:

 Grant writing refers to the practice of completing an application process for funding provided by an institution such as a government department, corporation, foundation or trust. Such application processes are often referred to as either grant “proposals” or “submissions.” Successful grant writing requires a clear understanding of grantsmanship. While the principles and fundamentals of grantsmanship apply broadly, it is important to know the target and to be able to tune the language appropriately.

These are just a few of the types that do implement and rely on writing skills. If any of you know of other positions not touched on in this, please list in the comments! – LaurenG


About thefivefootwoman

A long time ago...when the gods were petty and cruel, and plagued mankind with suffering...a CT Yankee, having lived in New England all of her life, has made the awesome adventurous move to live 3000 miles west in California. These are the legendary journeys.
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4 Responses to Career Life After the MFA

  1. brclements says:

    Copy writing, corporate communication, investor relations, huge variety of non-profit organization work, publishing, educational writing/editing (curriculum, course materials), political activism, human services, academic services (advising, alumni relations, student services), medical writing…

  2. Larissa Lytwyn says:

    This is great. I’ll add internal communications (copywriting and proofreading is huge) to the mix.
    Thanks for writing this, LG.

  3. acwitkavitch says:

    Thanks for mentioning corporate communications, Brian. Field is expanding…content platforms, social media, speechwriting….strong writing and editing skills are ALWAYS needed in that field! Particularly good job banks online are IABC (International Association of Business Communicators), AWC (Association for Women in Communications) and LinkedIn. There are many opportunities out there for entry level positions….

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