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Finding Inspiration: What Are You Going to Do With That Degree?

Boise State Spring Commencement 2019, morning ceremony, photo Patrick Sweeney

I’ve been seriously job hunting for months now, probably since last summer or early August. I’m graduating in May and just like most other grads, I’m trying to find a stable job as soon as the ink has dried on my diploma. It’s an intensely anxiety-inducing ritual and honestly I felt like I was getting nowhere for a lot of that job search time. Yeah, I know I started searching too early probably, but it wasn’t just that—something has changed in the types of jobs that are available, who is listing jobs, and I think I’ve changed as well.

Remote world

I’m a creative writer. I always thought that after I graduated, I’d probably have a hard time finding a job. I thought “well, I can maybe work in book publishing, journalism, or some other writing job that needs creative writers…?” I had a lot of doubts about how well creative writing could apply to the workforce and what my chances of getting a job were and a job that I really liked.

Before the pandemic, in my opinion, remote work was certainly on the rise. But since the pandemic, and me scrolling through LinkedIn and Indeed more and more often, I’ve seen a massive spike in companies being open to remote work. During the last several months, I’ve matched with jobs I didn’t initially see as being related to my degree or my interests, and I didn’t understand why they were being recommended to me, and that was pretty discouraging.

Recently though, after digging a little deeper, I’ve discovered a wide range of companies posting jobs with a diverse set of roles and I started to notice something. Suddenly, I started to see the versatility that my degree in writing brings to the table.

I’ve also found companies that speak to me, that align with my interests, and companies that I feel I may not have had access to before. And so I’ve been applying. And applying. And I’ve ended up applying for jobs in a bunch of different fields like clothing/fashion, gaming and tv, cosmetics, food and drink, and more fields I maybe wouldn’t have thought of before.

A shift in mindset

Before, I was strictly looking for “creative writing” jobs titles and little else. I was searching things like: writer, creative writing, editor—that kind of thing. Not a lot there. Now, I’m searching things like: copywriter, editorial, marketing writer, ecommerce writer, publishing, brand writer, content writer, and I am seeing jobs tied to my creative writing skills, but in an  application I originally didn’t anticipate.

Instead of thinking why can’t I get a job as a creative writer? I started thinking what companies need my creative writing skills? And it turns out, kind of a lot.

There is writing everywhere. Think about every product you’ve ever bought, there’s probably a lot of words on it and a lot of words associated with that product. Sometimes, and I won’t name names, you can tell by reading those words just how bad that company needs me. Websites, social media, blog posts, online retailers, packages, instructions, books, it’s literally everywhere, and that makes me not feel so claustrophobic in my job search.

So, the next time someone asks me that frustrating question “what are you going to do with that degree?” I feel like I might actually have an answer for once. And maybe even more than one. And all it took was a shift in my mindset to see what those fancy algorithms already knew, that these places are looking for me, they just don’t know it yet.


-Trisha Kangas

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