Melissa Jones graduated in May 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts inCreative Writing and minors inFrench andProfessional Writing & Emerging Media. While at Ball State, she was heavily involved with theDaily News, The Broken Plate,Jacket Copy Creative, andBook Arts Collaborative. She used experiences and expertise gained in these roles to secure an internship at Intersection Advertising Agency. After her summer internship, Intersection hired Melissa as a full-time copywriter. In this role, Melissa blends her background in writing, design, and marketing to help develop an array of creative projects—from radio commercials to billboards, from websites to television scripts, from social media to strategic plans, and everything in between.
What was your first job after graduation, and how did that lead you to your current position?
My first job after graduation was actually a paid internship at Intersection Advertising Agency in downtown Muncie. At first, I felt like I had failed myself by settling for “just an internship,” but I quickly realized it was a great decision for a few reasons.
First, it takes graduates an average of 6 months to find a job after graduation. I was lucky to secure my summer internship during the spring semester of my senior year, so it was relieving to know I at least had some sort of plan. I know several people who had no jobs or internships related to their studies set up for when they graduated, and I can’t imagine the stress and worry that would come with that. I think there’s a misguided belief that you have to get a job right after graduation, but students should know that internships are equally wise and opportunistic.
Second, my internship ended up directly leading to my current position now. When I started my internship, I learned that Intersection was actually in need of a full-time copywriter. I worked hard throughout the internship to prove myself to the company, and I was offered a full-time position toward the end of the summer.
What are the most valuable skills you learned as an English major? How have they helped you post-graduation?
The ability to communicate well in the professional world is huge, and being an English major certainly gave me that skill. (Strong writing skills also come in handy when crafting résumés or cover letters as you enter the job search.) Being an English major also teaches you to think creatively and critically, and to construct sound arguments and rationale—skills I wish everyone had.
As a creative writing major, I essentially studied storytelling. What I do now at Intersection is just that: I tell the story of various brands to various audiences. My experiences in creative writing, professional writing, and journalistic writing all come into play in my role today.
Is there a particular class or professional opportunity that you remember having a big impact on you?
Really, all of the immersive learning courses I took had a huge impact on my success during and after college. I refer to my junior year as my immersive year. Ball State recommends all students take at least one immersive learning class before they graduate; I took four in that one year: Broken Plate, Jacket Copy, Book Arts Collaborative, and Stance (which is actually in the philosophy department). These classes taught me tangible “real-world” skills, like working with and leading others who have different backgrounds and skillsets from my own, time management, working with/for clients, etc. I also was involved with the Daily News throughout all four years of school. My experiences there taught me many of the same lessons mentioned previously, and it gave me a journalistic writing experience (which I use in my role today).
Of all the classes and opportunities, I’d say Jacket Copy ended up having the biggest impact on me. For the longest time, I was certain I would go into a career in publishing as an editor. But when I first started Jacket Copy, I began to form an interest in marketing/advertising. When it came time to look for jobs/internships, I pursued both publishing and marketing opportunities. After landing my internship at Intersection, I quickly realized how much I love the advertising/marketing industry. My position today offers the perfect combination of writing, editing, and creative thinking—a mix I’m not sure I would’ve gotten in the publishing industry. My job also enables me to work for a variety of clients in a variety of industries, doing a variety of projects. Simply put, there’s never a boring day. I’m confident this was the right industry for me, and Jacket Copy gave me my first taste of it.
What advice do you have for English majors?
Take advantage of as many opportunities as possible. You will never be in a position like you are now to dabble in so many different areas. Employers look for relevant experiences, not just good grades. I truly do not believe I would be where I am today if I had not been so heavily involved throughout college.
Apply for both jobs and internships. Never feel like you’re “better” than an internship—they provide valuable opportunities and experience, and you never know where they might lead you.
Lastly, know that you probably won’t land your dream job right out of college—and that’s okay. Take on new opportunities with open arms and a good attitude; don’t be afraid to explore all your options before settling into one industry/job/city. If you keep your sights set high and work hard, you’ll eventually get to where you want to be.