Let’s face it, this job market is a pretty tough place to be fishing for employment. With book industry doomsday prophets and sweating economists preaching the end of job markets as as we know it, it’s tough to keep a positive outlook on post-graduation employment ― or employment at all for that matter. I can’t count on two hands the amount of people I know with teaching degrees that are working part-time summer jobs, and while this unfortunate phenomenon is definitely a symptom of our economy, it’s also a reflection on our overall success as job-seekers.
We go into the workforce assuming that if we don’t get a job in the same field that we’ve studied and graduated in, then we’re automatically a failure. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I had the same outlook after graduating from Centennial College’s Book and Magazine Publishing program. I was lucky enough to score a short contract at the medium-sized publisher I had interned with, and there spent about four months as an editorial assistant before they told me that they could no longer afford to keep me on.
I had tried to prepare for this because publishers had begun to fall off the face of the earth and the rest were shaking in fear. I’d been warned that despite my value to the company, they just may not have the budget to keep me on. No matter how much you prepare for that day, it’s crushing to lose a job you know you’re meant to do. Whether it’s paper filing, fixing formatting after some author fell asleep on their keyboard, or getting thrown a proofread at the last minute, if you love being around books, working in publishing is a gift every day.
My reaction to suddenly finding myself jobless in a shrinking industry was three-fold. First, I went through the obvious first phase of trying to be positive despite feeling crushed on the inside. Second, I sunk into the defeatist attitude that there was no sense anymore. The only jobs out there were ones I needed more experience to have a chance at getting. Job hunting was useless.
The third stage was something of an epiphany. After a brief, renewed surge of hope and some frantic searching through job sites and trying some different key words than I had been, I realized that not all jobs that benefit from a publishing education are actually in the publishing industry. It’s not the specific certification for one field that defines our work opportunities; it’s the applicability of the skills we gain from being educated in that field, that make us employable.
It took me about three weeks to land a new job, and the funny thing is I didn’t even apply for it. After creating my new skills-based resume and cover letter, enhancing my most employable, transferable qualities and applying to absolutely everything I could think of even remotely related to writing, editing, proofreading, or marketing, I got an email from a website called Dealfind.com. Apparently, when you put your resume up on Workopolis or Monster, it becomes searchable to employers who actually use filters to search for potential employees.
I’d been discovered by a recruitment company for Dealfind.com and was asked to come in for an interview. Had I focussed solely on publishing speak (job descriptions, titles, processes), and not on my creativity, attention to detail, organization, and knack for intuitively improving creative content, that filter would have never found me. Six months later, I’m still at Dealfind as a Media Writer and get paid a fairly decent salary as far as writers go. It may not be what I was looking for originally, but it’s a job.
Moral of the story: A creative mind isn’t only a creative mind for writing and editing stories and creating fictional content. Applying your creativity towards cross-marketing yourself to a variety of different but related industries—where your skills are clearly and vehemently needed— will pay off in more ways than one.