What Can I Do with a Creative Writing MFA?
Traditional Creative Writing MFA programs were elite, exclusive clubs where writers were trained to publish and teach writing. Today, though, a changed world of publishing and content have made online MFA creative writing programs a choice for thousands of aspiring writers, journalists, poets, and more . A Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is an advanced degree that focuses on the practice of writing in all its art forms. What is a Creative Writing MFA worth in the 21st century?
What Jobs Can You Get with MFA in Creative Writing?
There are many MFA in creative writing jobs, including a marketing director , creative director, executive director, assistant professor, editor, and more. Jobs for MFA creative writing graduates vary based on where the person is located and the type of work they want to do. It’s always important to weigh the pros and cons of getting any degree, but if writing or working in that world is a passion, it’s important to pursue it. Here are a few things to consider if you are searching for MFA creative writing job opportunities:
What’s the end goal? It’s always important to figure out why you want a creative writing MFA and what you wish to do with it. Although this goal should be clear before getting the degree, it’s never too late to figure it out.
Where will your writing style fit? Do you write to teach others? Are you a novelist? Does editing make you smile? All of these are factors to consider when having the creative writing MFA. Your writing style makes all the difference in the type of job being pursued.
What is the risk? There is a chance creative writing MFA jobs aren’t necessarily what someone imagined. It’s important to know and understand how to pivot when things don’t work out as planned. Is the individual willing to risk their training to step out on their own and do something different? The program may not be the type of preparation the student is looking for. These are considerations to think about.
How Long is a Creative Writing MFA Program?
This depends on the school and area of concentration the student chooses. In most cases, this degree can be completed in two to three years. This program is designed to demonstrate to students how to be critical in their reading, experiment with different types of stories and languages, hone their craft, use their imagination, understand the publishing industry and receive feedback on the styles and types of writing that interest the student.
Writing as a Profession
You’ll find a number of students with creative writing MFAs working in writer’s rooms and other areas. While this degree may be seen as one that helps students attain their dreams of becoming an author, the jobs for MFA in creative writing people seek may not be as available as others. The MFA in creative writing is just a foundational tool for individuals who want to take up space in the literary industry in some capacity.
The great thing is, there are a number of roles that aren’t in the literary industry where this degree can be beneficial. Consider working in a technical capacity where individuals write manuals and other things for governmental agencies. Additionally, copywriters work for all industries – this is a great segway into doing that in a professional capacity. Copywriters also have flexibility and variety in what they do.
One of the greatest things about writing as a profession is that words are EVERYWHERE. No matter what industry it is, there is a position that needs someone who has a creative flair and a way with words. From advertisements to blogs and other articles, someone with a creative writing MFA would fit in. There are also opportunities for these degree holders to work as advisors on what to write, how it should be written, and the way the audience should be reacting.
Is an MFA in Creative Writing Worth It?
For individuals who want to work in publishing or have a desire to become full-time writers, the MFA in Creative Writing is a good path. Many individuals with this degree also become instructors at the college level. There are pros and cons to having any degree, but individuals who want to remain in the writing profession or literary field in some capacity can’t go wrong.
There is never a shortage of opportunity for individuals who have a creative writing MFA. While many people don’t understand the types of opportunities available, this can be a very lucrative career path that utilizes the skills learned from being in a creative writing MFA program. Foundation is the first step in being successful, and this degree provides the concepts to critically think and help position organizations to do things differently.
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What Jobs Can You Get With an MFA in Creative Writing?
Author: Shannon Bowring Updated: January 31, 2023
So you took the plunge, endured the emotional upheavals and tough criticism of your writing, and took on student loan debt you’ll be paying off for years. Congratulations! You now have an MFA in Creative Writing. But what jobs can you get with your MFA in Creative Writing ?
How much can you expect to earn?
According to ZipRecruiter , as of December 2021, the average annual pay in the United States for a Creative Writing MFA is $73,613 per year. If this number seems optimistic, even unrealistic, it’s because it is. A deeper plunge into the report shows that annual salaries for writers actually range from $11,500 to $259,000. That’s a hell of a difference. We can only assume that the Big Bestselling Writers have claimed that top spot, while the rest of us aspiring authors are likely hovering far closer to that $11k range.
In other words, and I’m sure this is no surprise to anyone reading this, the majority of writers are grossly underpaid.
But I’m here to tell you not to lose hope. There are many ways, other than selling book s, to leverage that Creative Writing MFA to make a comfortable, if not lucrative, career as a writer .
If you’re a traditionalist
Many writers go into teaching after earning their MFA in Creative Writing, often at the university level. The usual trajectory is to begin as an adjunct and then work one’s way up through the ranks to professor* , which ideally comes with a sweet corner office lined with leatherbound books. Typically, you need to have published at least one book to land the coveted position of teaching others how to write in a college or university.
If you want to teach, but not in a university
There are plenty of other ways to teach the craft of writing. If you’d like to work with writers but not within the world of traditional academia, consider offering your expertise as a writing coach, tutor, or adult education teacher. There are thousands of writers out there looking for someone to share what they’ve learned about the craft of writing and the business side of becoming an author. Seek out (or create) local and/or online venues where you can share what you have learned through your own experience. Having an MFA attached to your name will help writers feel you can be trusted to know what you are talking about.
If you are an online guru
Opportunities for good writers are continually expanding and evolving online. Countless websites and businesses are always on the lookout for talented content writers, copywriters, copyeditors, grant writers, and technical writers. (One good source for these remote jobs is Remote.co .) Having an MFA in Creative Writing can help give you an edge in this competitive market. One advantage of these jobs is that they are often flexible and part-time, which is great for those looking to keep their writing muscles fresh without making a lifelong commitment.
If you are That Person always correcting other people’s grammar
The world will always need quality editors and proofreaders . This career path can take many forms—you could work for a literary magazine , publishing house, or newspaper, or try your hand as a freelancer. Editing others’ work keeps your own writing skills sharp, with the added bonus of potentially bringing in big bucks: Depending on genre and level of editing, a freelance editor can earn anywhere from $36-$70 per hour. Sign me up!
If you are a rebel
You have an MFA in Creative Writing, so think creatively . Get involved with your local writing community and run writing workshops (a quick online search can guide you on how much you should expect to charge, depending on your format and attendance). Have a guest house on a beautiful piece of property you don’t mind renting out? Start a writing retreat or writing residency to give fellow writers a place to disconnect from their busy lives and work on their novels, poems, and essays. For an additional fee, you might also offer these writers one-on-one coaching or editing services.
A Creative Writing MFA isn’t a guarantee—but it is an opportunity
As an aspiring author , you must find a way to apply your skills as a writer and make them work for you . Many authors I know have shaped successful, happy lives for themselves by doing a variety of the jobs listed above, often more than one at the same time. The post-MFA life does not come with a guarantee of monetary wealth—but if you get creative and do the work, it is possible to create a writing life that is spiritually, artistically, and emotionally fulfilling. And isn’t that what real success is all about, anyway?
Though, honestly, I wouldn’t mind earning $259,000 a year.
*With the effects of the pandemic, and the slow but steady shift away from brick-and-mortar classrooms, this route of teaching in a traditional university seems to be getting more difficult. That said, the world needs great writing teachers, so if this is the path you want to take, please be intrepid and find a way to do so. You are the unsung heroes; teach away, teach away.
Here at Aspiring Author , we love recommending bestsellers and fawning over hot new releases. On this real time recommended reading list, you will find a list of top rated books on the publishing industry, craft, and other books to help you elevate your writing career.
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- UTEP Connect
- February 2019
If you love writing fiction or poetry, or would like to teach others how to develop their creative writing talents, consider earning an MFA in creative writing.
What is an mfa.
MFA is the common abbreviation of a Master of Fine Arts and is an advanced degree in a variety of creative areas. Specifically, an MFA in Creative Writing focuses on the art and practice of writing for those interested in publishing their own original works or in pursuing a teaching career.
A bachelor’s degree is required before beginning a master’s degree program. While master’s in creative writing programs may encourage applicants who have a bachelor’s degree in English or creative writing, degree seekers may come from any field where they want to improve their writing abilities. Writing samples of your own work will be required when applying to an MFA in creative writing programs.
Why would you pursue an MFA?
A master’s in creative writing provides a foundation of theory and form along with workshops to develop your skills and hone your craft. Whether you are looking to get published or to advance your career, an MFA in Creative Writing will help you develop your voice and become a more proficient writer.
What can you do with an MFA?
An MFA in Creative Writing is preferred or required for a variety of careers. If you want to teach creative writing at any level, from elementary school through higher education, a master’s degree will be required, and a Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing sets you apart from the competition.
Many other writing opportunities benefit from having an MFA in Creative Writing. Advertising, technical publications, local newspapers and magazines, and other organizations that require skilled writers often require or prefer applicants with an advanced degree in creative writing.
The salary potential for positions requiring or preferring an MFA in Creative Writing ranges from $50,000 to $75,100 per year.
If you want to become a published author, an MFA in Creative Writing provides advanced study in the craft. The earning potential for writers varies widely depending on genre and how long they’ve been published. It takes time to establish yourself as an author or poet, and many creative individuals build their audience while working in another job.
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the median pay for writers and authors is $61,820 per year in 2017. This includes a wide range of positions creating written content, including advertising, books, magazines, scripts, and blogs. Technical writers have a median pay of $70,930 annually.
What are the advantages of UTEP’s online MFA in Creative Writing?
UTEP’s fully-online Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing lets you earn your graduate degree from anywhere in the world. The curriculum has a strong emphasis on workshops, but there’s no residency requirement, so you can earn your master’s in Creative Writing from Texas without ever leaving home. And our program is the only bilingual MFA in Creative Writing in the U.S. and the world. Classes and discussions are held in English, but creative assignments may be submitted in Spanish, allowing you to write in your native language or expand your ability.
Our students come from a variety of fields, but they all share a common passion – an interest in improving their writing ability. Whether you are interested in establishing yourself as a writer or advancing your teaching career, our online creative writing program lets you gain essential credentials without uprooting your life.
We invite you to explore our online program and see what it will take to make that next step into your profession. If you are interested in learning more about our team and UTEP Connect’s 100% online master’s and graduate certificate programs, reach out. An enrollment counselor will contact you directly.
Connect With Us
The University of Texas at El Paso Extended University UTEP Connect Online Programs 500 W University Ave. El Paso, Texas 79968
E: [email protected] P: 1-800-684-UTEP
What Kind of Job Can Someone Get With a Creative Writing Degree?
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A talent for creative writing along with a college degree can open the door to interesting careers that leverage communication skills. Employers look for writers who can effectively convey ideas and evoke emotion for the purpose of entertaining, influencing, informing or educating the public. Exciting jobs with a bachelor’s in fine arts, or BFA, include reporter, public relations specialist and filmmaker. Jobs for an MFA in creative writing graduate can also include postsecondary teaching.
Feature Writer and Reporter
A bachelor’s degree in creative writing is excellent preparation for a journalism career in print, digital media or broadcasting. Feature writing, for example, allows creative writers an opportunity to dive deeply into the stories they’re covering. They may travel a lot and interview unique individuals about their experiences and backgrounds. Depending on their interests, reporters may write a column or specialize in investigative reporting, political commentary, or arts and entertainment. Completing an internship at a newspaper or magazine and developing a portfolio of published articles can help a BFA graduate in the job market.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS , reported in 2020 that news analysts, reporters and journalists in radio and television broadcasting earned a median annual salary of $49,300 per year, while those working for print publications earned $37,900 per year. Of course, famous journalists have much higher incomes. For example, Money Inc . reports that well-known radio and television anchor and correspondent, Anderson Cooper, has a net worth of $200 million .
Public Relations Specialist
A bachelor’s degree in creative writing can lead to a successful career in the field of public relations. Large corporations, hospitals, politicians, celebrities and nonprofit organizations hire public relations staff to bolster their image and reputation. Much of the work entails writing ad copy, press releases, blogs, newsletters and public service announcements. Earning a minor in marketing or business can enhance skills in audience engagement, data analytics and communicating effectively across social media platforms.
The BLS reported that public relations specialists earned a median annual salary of $62,810 as of 2020. Those who had risen to the level of public relations managers for large companies and enterprises earned an impressive median annual salary of $134,790 .
Script Writer and Filmmaker
Creative writing majors study the art of storytelling, including the development of interesting characters, building suspense, plot twists and riveting conclusions. Some students hone their craft by writing scripts for movies and television shows or making HD videos and films in the entertainment industy. BFA majors at schools like Hamline University with an interest in digital storytelling can take classes that introduce them to animation, storyboard creation, digital video and graphic arts.
The Indeed Career Guide suggests that a degree in creative writing is a helpful background for writing marketable scripts, pitching an idea to a producer, directing actors, and helping edit or do cinematography on a film. Indeed further reports that filmmakers earn an average annual salary of $58,491 as of January 2022.
Teaching jobs for MFA creative writing graduates can be found at two- and four-year colleges. While universities typically require a Ph.D. to teach, the Master of Fine Arts, or MFA, is considered a terminal degree sufficient for many college teaching jobs, according to Southern New Hampshire University, or SNHU . In addition to teaching creative writing classes in literature and poetry, college professors immerse themselves in writing and publishing as part of their job.
Because competition is keen for English teaching jobs, being a graduate of one of the best MFA creative writing programs in the country may offer an advantage when looking for work. A few schools offer a Ph.D. in creative writing for aspiring tenure-track university professors. The BLS reports that postsecondary teachers working at a state university in 2020 earned a median annual salary of $81,110 , while those employed at a state community college earned $62,680 per year.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: News Analysts, Reporters and Journalists
- Money Inc.: The 20 Richest News Anchors in the World
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Public Relations Specialists
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Public Relations and Fundraising Managers – Pay
- Indeed Career Guide: 20 Jobs for Creative Writers
- Southern New Hampshire University: What Is an MFA Degree? What You Need to Know
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Postsecondary Teachers
Mary Dowd holds a doctorate in educational leadership and a master’s in counseling and student affairs from Minnesota State Mankato. Helping students succeed has been her passion while serving in many areas of student affairs and adjunct teaching. Currently she is a dean of students at a large, public university. Dr. Dpwd’s writing experience includes published research, training materials and hundreds of practical online articles.
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What are jobs that prefer or require MFAs in Creative Writing?
Other than getting adjunct work with your shiny new MFA, what other professions like them?
(I'm gainfully employed, and while I think my MFA helps me, it is in not appreciated by my employer in any direct way. My question is the result of sitting next to the father of an MFA graduate at his graduation ceremony and hearing him complain about the uselessness of the degree. I disagree, but wanted to gather more factual info.)
- 1 Political biography writer? – Lauren-Clear-Monica-Ipsum Aug 18, 2011 at 20:54
- I hear getting a short story published in a literary magazine is significantly harder if you don't have an MFA in creative writing...but that hardly amounts to a full time job. – justkt Aug 19, 2011 at 1:07
- justkt - I haven't noticed a difference pre or post. (And it's almost like the opposite of a job, ends up costing you money and time since most literary magazines pay nothing.) – Lynn Beighley Aug 19, 2011 at 1:22
- Do you think the difference is that you already had a portfolio of publications? What I'd heard applied specifically to first-timers. – justkt Aug 19, 2011 at 13:29
- That makes sense. I know the huge pile of submissions most journals get, and if they scan for MFA in the cover letter, they can avoid reviewing the others as closely. A shame, though. – Lynn Beighley Aug 19, 2011 at 18:20
3 Answers 3
An MFA would come in handy when working in the publishing world. A lot of editors for publishing houses have MFAs and even owners of publishing houses occasionally have them. I know at least one of the editors at the primary house I work for has one and I'll be pursuing an MFA myself.
Not only does the experience often help editors, it gives the publishing house a good image. Having five editors with MFAs looks better than having 5 editors with HS diplomas.
As far as I've been able to ascertain through the years the "educational" institutions are about the only place that the MFA carries any weight. In a way I'm glad I didn't go for one decades ago.
- BTW, "creative writing awards" should go to many schools who hype their programs the way they do: For instance- "our students usually are able to find part time work..." It doesn't say the program they are in was a "qualifying reason" nor did they say it was "a paying job." I've got a nephew suckered by "hype" (aka BS) in another field. I also used to teach tech courses where students were "mis-led" and that was compounded by student loans that were akin to highway robbery! – Joshin Aug 20, 2011 at 23:45
I applied to an MFA program as a side-option last year, and I am about 90% per cent certain that I read this somewhere on the department's site/admissions portal. (The 10% uncertainty comes from not being able to recall where exactly , maybe on a FAQ somewhere). Paraphrased: Our students usually are able to find part time work as editors for newspapers/magazines, and copywriters for publishing houses...while they take the evening classes.
In any case, I am only telling this because they seemed to suggest that being part of an MFA made it easier to get yourself into this line of work. Not the sort of jobs you were hoping to hear, I am sure.
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Career Opportunities with an MFA in Creative Writing
Most poets who receive a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing in the United States usually pursue one of two interconnected fields: publishing or academia. While these careers are related, the paths are different in the skills they require. To be a great professor, you need a passion for learning and mentoring students, a desire to create lesson plans, and a comfort with public speaking. To work as an editor, you need a passion for reading and proofreading and a desire to develop professional relationships with writers and poets.
I received my master’s degree from the creative writing program at Florida International University , and I’ve seen the different journeys many of my peers have traveled since graduating. While some returned to fields that aren’t for creatives, many pursued careers in the publishing industry or academia. Below are three common careers for poets interested in receiving a creative writing degree.
Some creative writing programs in the United States are interdisciplinary , which means that you can study the three main genres: poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. My interdisciplinary program required students to develop their creativity and writing skills in both poetry and fiction, but I took classes in all three genres. This was a smart requirement for several reasons: First off, students who want to learn how to teach creative writing should gain knowledge in all three genres; Secondly, by immersing themselves in different genres, students discover their true passion; And thirdly, by requiring poets to take fiction classes, they learn about plot and storytelling (great for novellas in verse), and by requiring fiction writers to take poetry classes, they examine literary devices such as metaphors and similes, and they understand how to compress language.
Many programs also offer students the opportunity to learn how to teach creative writing classes. This enables them to know if they are interested in continuing to teach as an adjunct instructor once they graduate, and it also gives them teaching experience . And if students enter the program with an assistantship or fellowship, they are usually required to teach undergraduate classes, allowing them to discover if teaching is their true vocation.
To become a professor at a university level , graduates of MFA programs usually need to have published at least one book and have plenty of teaching experience. In the world of academia, self-publishing is not recognized as a credible form of publishing, so these books have to be published by either a commercial press or a literary press . After graduating, poets also have to dedicate time to submit their work to literary magazines in order to win prestigious awards and build their curriculum vitae . Becoming a professor is a long-term journey that involves receiving an associate professor position and then teaching for many years until receiving a promotion.
If after spending many years of your life in school, you can’t see yourself taking anymore classes—let alone teaching them—then the world of academia isn’t for you. But if you like reading, writing, and working with poets, then a job as an editor at a publishing house, press, or organization could be the right choice for you. For example, working as a book editor offers you the opportunity to produce a book and learn about the publishing industry, which in turn gives you knowledge about publishing your poetry.
As an editor, opportunities include working at magazines such as Poetry magazine , PEN America , or Poets & Writers . When I worked as editor-in-chief for Gulf Stream Literary Magazine , I learned so much about the editorial process, from selecting literary work, to running a magazine, to handling administrative work and understanding how literary magazines are funded. Most graduates I know received editing jobs at places that aren’t necessarily targeted at an audience of creative writers, but these jobs still involve proofreading and editing. Working as an editor is a job that is needed in many organizations as communication is essential in our world: It’s an in-demand transferrable skill.
BOOK FAIR PUBLICIST
An alternative to these two popular careers is to work as a publicist for a book festival or literary organization. For example, here in Florida, we have the Miami Book Fair International , which is a huge literary festival that attracts hundreds of thousands of readers, writers, and poets. Working as a book fair publicist will enable you to speak to authors you admire, coordinate interviews with journalists, and allow you to network with poets and writers. Not only will this type of work enhance your career, it will also make you aware of many publishing opportunities. This is a busy job for people who are good at multitasking and can handle the pressure and responsibility of coordinating a large event.
There are many book festivals in the country that need creative writing graduates, such as the Association of Writers and Writing Programs , which hosts the AWP Conference & Bookfair . This is the largest literary conference in North America. Look for the nearest book festival or conference in your city and volunteer to see if this is the right career for you.
Creative writing teaches you how to develop your imagination and writing skills, and those are skills that are necessary in almost every job. Receiving a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is a unique experience that enables you to finally carve some time to work on your book and receive feedback from a professor. While researching careers is important, the best way of knowing what you naturally enjoy is to gain experience by pursuing an internship. There are so many career opportunities in the publishing industry and in academia that you’re bound to find what you’re looking for if you have patience, perseverance, and persistence.
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Research & artistry, alumni & giving, a college of liberal arts department.
CSU's CREATIVE WRITING MFA
Poetry, fiction & nonfiction.
Three years, infinite possibilities
The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is for students with advanced abilities in the writing of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Our three-year program offers a balance of intimate and intensive writing workshops with courses in literature, form and technique, and related electives both in and out of the English Department. Writers work closely with a distinguished faculty of publishing writers that includes winners of prestigious national awards and fellowships. Coursework culminates in a thesis—a collection of poetry, short stories, or essays; or a novel or memoir—and the completion of a comprehensive portfolio. A dual-genre thesis option is available to students with exceptional promise in a second genre of writing.
Applicants should familiarize themselves with the program and the department, including course offerings and degree requirements. A complete application includes a two-page statement of purpose; a writing sample (12-20 pages of poems; two short stories or a chapter or two of a novel; two short essays or a chapter or two of a memoir); three letters of reference; and transcripts. Those applying for a Graduate Teaching Assistantship must also complete a separate GTA application.
The application deadline is January 1.
The MFA Program at CSU is a WICHE Western Regional Graduate Program . Residents of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming are eligible for in-state tuition.
For information about the application process click here .
To apply now, click here .
Learn More About Our Program
The Creative Writing Program at CSU recognizes and affirms the value of, and the need for, stories from people of all backgrounds. We believe that a healthy literary culture must seek out and support work from communities whose voices have historically been marginalized. Our pedagogy, including close mentoring in a supportive community and an embrace of wide-ranging approaches, strives to hear these stories, to respect them, and to bring them into the world.
MFA Program Information
- Completion of forty-eight (48) semester credits
- E640—Graduate Writing Workshop: Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, or Poetry (12 credits)
- E513—Form & Technique in Modern Literature: Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, or Poetry (3 credits)
- One pre-20th Century literature course at the 500-level or above (3 credits)
- One course (300-level or above) outside the English Department (waived if your undergraduate degree is not in English or Creative Writing—3 credits)
- E699—Thesis (12 credits)
- Completion of portfolio
- Additional requirements for dual-genre thesis option
- For more details, consult the Guide to CSU’s MFA Program .
Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTA) are available on a competitive basis. A required orientation and pedagogy seminar provide GTAs with extensive training in teaching college composition. The GTA application is separate from the application to the program, and includes a written statement that should speak to your qualifications and enthusiasm for college teaching. Emphasize any formal or informal teaching experience, such as tutoring, writing-center counseling, or even coaching. In addition, remind your references to speak to your potential for college teaching in their letters.
All applicants who are not awarded a GTA will be automatically considered for a number of other available fellowships. Other options for financial support are detailed in the Guide to CSU’s MFA Program , below.
Most MFA students, regardless of whether they hold a GTA, are given the opportunity to teach a (paid) section of Beginning Creative Writing during their third year in the program.
We offer a variety of for-credit internships (some paid) in such areas as college teaching, public education, arts administration in literature, and literary editing – including the Center for Literary Publishing and the Colorado Review . A paid internship as editor of Greyrock Review , a literary magazine staffed by CSU undergraduates, is also available to a first-year student selected by the faculty.
Click here for Colorado Review internship information.
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“My MFA has helped me realize the value of my voice and the importance of giving myself permission to create art.”
– colin raunig, 2018, “my teachers taught me invaluable lessons in craft that i carry with me in my writing to this day.”, – andrew mangan, 2016, “my mfa degree taught me different ways of thinking, of approaching, of making… a large part of the reason why i loved the mfa program at csu was because of the people i got to work with.”, – melissa hohl, 2016, “not only did i learn an incredible amount about writing and poetry from my classes, professors, and the reading i did because of these, but i learned about the necessity of community building and literary citizenship that comes with being a poet.”, – cl young, 2018, “the m.f.a. degree was essential to my artistic and professional life… my craft deepened and focused during my time at csu, and the professors and the work helped me refine my voice and develop an artistic aesthetic.”, – claire boyles, 2018, “my mfa connected me to a group of writers who continue to nurture me and my work, who push me and my work in ways that make us both smarter and better.”, – aliceanna stopher, 2019, “great training for my life as a teacher, writer, and person. three years to concentrate on study was a gift that allowed me to grow and challenge myself to see if i could be a writer.”, – devin murphy, 2009, “i teach writing now and think often of my csu professors… i learned plenty about craft at csu, but more importantly i learned about practice and process.”, – cornelius fitzpatrick, 2015, creative writing mfa faculty.
- Associate Professor
- Assistant Professor
- Assistant Chair & Undergraduate Coordinator
- University Distinguished Teaching Scholar
Harrison Candelaria Fletcher
- Professor of English
- Director, Center for Literary Publishing
- Associate Professor, Director of Creative Writing Teaching Program
- Full Professor of English
- Visiting Assistant Professor of English
Creative writing reading series.
Each semester at Colorado State University, the Department of English welcomes major literary voices to the Lory Student Center to share their work live and to engage with the local community. Visiting writers hold audience question and answer sessions, book signings, class visits and other outreach activities.
The series features Pulitzer Prize winners, U.S. poets laureate, National Book Critics Circle Award winners, Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award winners, NAACP Image Award nominees, Oprah’s Book Club selections, National Book Award finalists and recognized voices in young adult literature among others.
Recent visitors include: Dorothy Allison, Julie Carr, Ross Gay, Eduardo C. Corral, Jennifer Egan, Robert Hass, Brenda Hillman, Pam Houston, Yusef Komunyakaa, Dinty W. Moore, Gregory Pardlo, Khadijah Queen, Susan Steinberg, Cheryl Strayed, Ira Sukrungruang, Mary Szybist, and Brian Turner.
Click in the events calendar for author information and details about upcoming readings.
- Creative Writing Reading Series: Eula Biss and Mira Jacob Sep 21 7:30 PM - 8:30 PM Grand Ballroom, Lory Student Center
- Creative Writing Reading Series: Kaveh Akbar and Franny Choi Oct 06 7:30 PM - 8:30 PM Grand Ballroom, Lory Student Center
- Creative Writing Reading Series: Writer's Harvest Nov 02 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM LSC 386, Lory Student Center
- Creative Writing Reading Series: Adrian Lürssen and Leonora Simonovis Nov 09 7:30 PM - 8:30 PM LSC 386, Lory Student Center
- Next »
Below is a selection of recent books by Creative Writing MFA Faculty in the Department of English at Colorado State University. Click on the book cover for more information about each selection.
What do CSU Writers Do?
Our graduates have appeared in a vast array of prestigious publications including The Atlantic, McSweeny's, Cincinnati Review and many others. They have found success in equally many exciting fields including communications consultant, college dean, professor, research administrator, journal editor, and many others. And their accolades include awards like the Pulitzer Prize, Colorado Book Award in Poetry, Chicago Writers Association book of the year, and more!
"If there's a book that you want to read but it hasn't been written yet then you must write it"
- toni morrison, organization of graduate student writers.
The OGSW consists of representatives from the Creative Writing MFA and is dedicated to providing students with opportunities to practice, enjoy, and participate in the creative writing community. We do this by organizing readings, workshops, visiting speakers, and other free events and services for the MFA/CSU community.
Creative Writing MFA Blog
The Creative Writing MFA blog is written by graduate students at various stages of degree completion and features posts by writers of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction about their lives as writers and members of the CSU community. Scroll through the carousel of entries below or click the button for a full listing of blog submissions.
Beginning to Remember
By Jake Friedman It’s been over ten years since I was in the academy. Though I’m beginning to remember now. The last couple of days I’ve been sick. I’d forgotten how hard the end of semester is—the Sisyphean incline of […]
On Not Writing About My Father by Dorothy Angle
I promised myself I was done writing about my father. What feels like a lifetime ago, I took my first Creative Writing class to satisfy an elective for a Masters in education. Nearly all my stories were about a young […]
On Ambition, Vision, and Voice by Henry Dykstal
One of the things that most separates my MFA experience from the workshops I’ve taken before, from undergraduate to conferences to private classes at literary centers or what have you, is voice. At all of the places but the MFA, […]
Writing as Letting Go
I knew getting an MFA would entail, well, writing a lot — and that this would hopefully make me a better fiction writer. (I mean, duh.) Maybe it’s because I don’t come from an English background, but what I didn’t […]
RELATIVE TIME: A RELFECTION ON THE FIRST YEAR(?) OF MFA
Somehow, it is spring. The branches wear shriveled green promises. The undergrads have, for the most part, abandoned pants. The birdcalls along the Spring Creek trail have swelled to cacophony. Somehow, in a few short weeks, the first year of […]
To 2021 recently graduated me (one year ago): You get a phone call from Harrison letting you know that you got into this program. It is wild, I know: you get the opportunity to focus on your writing, your craft, […]
The Ice Persists
It’s been winter for a long time now. It’s been winter in the insistent way of Colorado, snow weighing over the earth like the X-ray apron at the dentist. I crunch to the bus stop over thick, complicated patterns of […]
An Exceptional Day in the Life
You’re living with a poet who is also in the MFA program. She taught you how to make ice cream out of peanut butter, frozen bananas, cocoa powder, and honey when you’re craving something sweet late at night. You’re making […]
And to the West, Mountains
In Fort Collins, the mountains usually mean west. As I walk to campus, I walk north, west, then north again. True north is usually Eddy Hall – home of the English department. I suppose I will not yet stop having […]
When You Know, You Know
“The biggest mistake you can make is going before you’re ready.” I remember feeling absolutely crushed when someone who I looked up to, someone who I admired, said those words to me. We were on the phone, I was asking […]
Inspired Writers Series to Present Exciting Lineup of Acclaimed Authors
Phil Klay, (left) talks with MFA students in a writers workshop on Enders Island.
These virtual events curated by author and MFA professor Phil Klay are presented by Fairfield’s MFA in Creative Writing Program.
The Inspired Writers Series, curated by renowned author Phil Klay, is back with an exceptional lineup of distinguished writers for the 2023-24 season. This much-anticipated series will feature captivating discussions on various genres of literature, including the art of the personal essay, literary criticism, novels, short stories, poetry, journalism, and more.
These virtual events, presented by Fairfield’s MFA in Creative Writing program, will offer audiences the opportunity to engage with acclaimed authors, gain insights into their creative processes, and explore the intricacies of the written word. Each virtual event will be free to attend, but registration will be required to secure a spot.
Emily Bernard: The Art of the Personal Essay
Thursday, September 21, 2023 | 7:30 p.m.
Distinguished essayist Emily Bernard will take participants on a journey through the art of the personal essay, offering a glimpse into her unique writing style and storytelling prowess.
Ryan Ruby & Becca Rothfeld: The Art of Literary Criticism
Wednesday, November 8, 2023 | 7:30 p.m.
Join accomplished literary critics Ryan Ruby and Becca Rothfeld as they explore the intricacies of literary criticism and its role in shaping our understanding of literature.
Nathan Englander: Novels, Short Stories, and Adapting for the Stage
Thursday, February 29, 2024 | 7:30 p.m.
Bestselling author Nathan Englander will share his experiences in crafting novels and short stories, and discuss the process of adapting his work for the stage.
Tom Sleigh: Poetry, Journalism, and Conflict
Thursday, April 11, 2024 | 7:30 p.m.
Renowned poet and journalist Tom Sleigh will delve into the intersection of poetry and journalism, reflecting on how conflict and human experiences inspire his work.
The Inspired Writers Series aims to foster a love for literature and intellectual discourse, encouraging participants to explore the power of language and storytelling. Each event promises to be an enriching experience for both aspiring writers and avid readers.
Attendees will have the chance to interact with the authors through Q&A sessions, gaining valuable knowledge and inspiration from some of today's most celebrated literary voices.
Registration for each event is required to receive the event link.
To reserve a spot and learn more about the Inspired Writers Series, please visit quickcenter.com .
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Fairfield University Announces $1 Million Bank of America Grant to Support New Academic Division
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Volleyball to Make Mahoney Arena Debut, This Saturday at 2:30 p.m.
Fairfield Named Among Best Colleges in America by Niche
Introducing the New Master of Science in Financial Technology Program
Mark Your Calendars for First Fairfield Friday, Sept 8
Summer Residency Program Showcases Engineering Research
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September guide to the arts at the U
By Brittney Bomnin Garcia [email protected] 09-01-2023
Explore a roundup of events this month, including the launch of the Frost Music Live season, a film screening and discussion with Gloria Estefan, and a family workshop event at the Lowe Art Museum. Visit The U Creates for more information on the arts and humanities offerings at the University throughout the year.
As part of a new initiative, college students can experience the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts for $25 a ticket. Get exclusive access to discounted tickets to select shows including concerts, dance, theater, and more with a free ArshtPass membership.
Bill Cosford Cinema
Saturday, Sept. 16, 5 p.m.
“Watching Movies with Gloria Estefan: ‘Young Frankenstein’ (1974)”
The School of Communication invites the University community to join the iconic music superstar Gloria Estefan and Bill Cosford Cinema manager, Rene Rodriguez, for a screening of Mel Brooks' uproarious 1974 comedy “Young Frankenstein.” The film will be followed by an in-person discussion about Estefan's love for movies. Hosted by the Cosford Cinema, this event series invites local thought leaders to select a movie and engage in conversation. Register to attend .
5030 Brunson Drive, Suite 225 Coral Gables, Florida 33146
Explore the Cosford Cinema’s events calendar , which includes a series of weekly film screenings this fall from the list of the 2022 Sight and Sound Greatest Films of All Time.
Center for the Humanities
Thursday, Sept. 21, 7 p.m.
“Strongmen and How to Push Back Against Them”
To kick off the Stanford Distinguished Professors Series, Ruth Ben-Ghiat, professor of history and Italian studies at New York University, will give a presentation at the Kislak Center at the University of Miami. Ben-Ghiat will discuss the key elements of the authoritarian playbook—corruption, violence, propaganda, machismo, and leader cults—and how they are deployed today by autocratic forces in Italy, Hungary, the United States, and elsewhere. Register to attend .
Kislak Center at the University of Miami 1300 Memorial Drive Coral Gables, Florida 33146
Explore the Center for the Humanities’ events calendar , including a series of book talks at Books & Books featuring University faculty members.
Tuesday, Sept. 26, 7 p.m.
The Creative Writing Program presents the Fall Ibis Reading, featuring poet Nate Marshall and writer Idra Novey. The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place at the Newman Alumni Center on the Coral Gables Campus. No registration is required. Learn more about the creative writing program.
6200 San Amaro Drive Coral Gables, Florida 33146
Friday, Sept. 8, 7:30 p.m.
The Frost Music Live! 2023–24 season opens with an evening of song featuring tenor Anthony Dean Griffey and pianist Warren Jones. The program includes Frost faculty member Jodi Levitz and the Henry Mancini Institute String Quartet. Purchase tickets .
Maurice Gusman Concert Hall 1314 Miller Drive Coral Gables, Florida 33146
Saturday, Sept. 23, 7:30 p.m.
“Towering Heights—Frost Symphony Orchestra”
Led by Frost Symphony Orchestra conductor Gerard Schwarz, the performance will include Joan Tower’s Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman No. 6, William Schuman’s New England Triptych, and Brahms’ fourth symphony. Find tickets .
Wednesday, Sept. 27, 7:30 p.m.
“Seven Pillars—Sandbox Percussion”
Andy Akiho’s Grammy-nominated "Seven Pillars" includes an 11-part palindrome, consisting of ensemble and solo movements with striking lights synchronized to the music. Secure your seat for the theatrical live-experience at the Newman Recital Hall.
Explore this season’s signature events as part of Frost Music Live —a series of concerts sponsored by the Frost School of Music. All live concerts can be accessed virtually . Find more events at the Frost School of Music.
Lowe Art Museum
Tuesday, Sept. 7, 6:30 p.m.
“Lowe Ignite: The Language of Flowers: A Demonstration of the Art of ikebana”
Celebrate the centuries-old Japanese art of Ikebana or “making flowers come to life.” The program features Ikebana artists—experts in the ikenobo School, the oldest and largest school of Ikebana—who will demonstrate their artistry in several arrangements. A reception will follow the demonstration and participants can browse a related Lowe exhibition, “Transcendent Clay/Kondo: A Century of Japanese Ceramic Art.” Register to participate .
Tuesday, Sept. 12, noon
“Slow Looking with the Lowe—Picasso and Collage”
During this virtual event, Tola Porter, Lowe Art Museum educator for academic and public programs, will lead participants through a 30-minute mindful and interactive program with two examples from Picasso’s long engagement with Cubist collage. Employees enrolled in the Well ’Canes Incentive Program can earn 25 points for attending "Slow Looking" virtual programs. Simply enter your ’Cane ID during the registration process. Sign up now .
Saturday, Sept. 16, session 1 at 10:30 a.m.; session 2 at 11:15 a.m.
Whether you're an experienced artist or a curious beginner, join Lowe Art Museum educators for a fun and exciting artmaking experience working with various mediums, colors, and techniques. Part of a monthly program designed for intergenerational groups, this Family Workshop complements works displayed in the Lowe's exhibition “Expressions of Self: Arnold Newman’s Artist Portraits in Context,” which is on view through Sept. 17. Save your spot .
Lowe Art Museum 1301 Stanford Drive Coral Gables, Florida 33124
Explore the Lowe's events calendar .
Jerry Herman Ring Theatre
The 2023–24 Ring Theatre season will launch in October with Oscar Wilde’s romantic comedy, “The Importance of Being Earnest.” Stay tuned for more details.
Thursday, Sept. 14, 1 p.m.
“Art for the People: A History of Illustration Techniques in Books and Popular Media”
Special Collections will present an online series of “deep dives”—informative, enticing, and educational looks into a selection of images that are representative of materials in their collections. Robin Potter Nolasco, Special Collections librarian, will discuss the history of illustration printing techniques and their many uses to make and reproduce images. Nolasco will also explore the ways images were used alongside texts to influence, entertain, and inspire the public. Register to attend the virtual event .
Thursday, Sept. 28, 2 p.m.
“Operation Pedro Pan: The Migration of Unaccompanied Children from Castro's Cuba”
The Cuban Heritage Collection will host a virtual book talk with John A. Gronbeck-Tedesco, associate professor of American studies at Ramapo College of New Jersey, in conversation with Michelle Chase, associate professor at Pace University’s Dyson College of Arts and Sciences. Using personal interviews and newly unearthed information, Gronbeck-Tedesco’s book provides a deeper understanding of how and why the program was devised. Sign up for the virtual book talk .
Find a calendar of events —including weekly mindfulness sessions for health and well-being . Explore a complete list of current exhibitions offered by the UM Libraries.
University of Miami Art Galleries
On view Wednesday, Aug. 30, through Sunday, Sept. 17
The Department of Art and Art History in the College of Arts and Sciences presents the work of incoming Master of Fine Arts (MFA) graduate students, sculptor Monia Meluzzi is from Rimini, Italy, and photographer Cherlynn Zhang is from Shunde, China. Students in the three-year MFA program earn a terminal degree that prepares them to enter the professional, studio art world and qualifies them to teach at the college level. This program is highly competitive and draws applicants from across the country and around the world.
Attend the exhibition opening reception on Saturday, Sept. 9, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
University of Miami Gallery, Wynwood Building 2750 NW Third Ave., Suite 4 Miami, Florida 33127
The gallery is open Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. or by appointment. Get more information about the University of Miami Art Galleries .
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Touring the Top 10 Moscow Metro Stations
By Claudia Looi 2 Comments
Komsomolskaya metro station looks like a museum. It has vaulted ceilings and baroque decor.
Hidden underground, in the heart of Moscow, are historical and architectural treasures of Russia. These are Soviet-era creations – the metro stations of Moscow.
Our guide Maria introduced these elaborate metro stations as “the palaces for the people.” Built between 1937 and 1955, each station holds its own history and stories. Stalin had the idea of building beautiful underground spaces that the masses could enjoy. They would look like museums, art centers, concert halls, palaces and churches. Each would have a different theme. None would be alike.
The two-hour private tour was with a former Intourist tour guide named Maria. Maria lived in Moscow all her life and through the communist era of 60s to 90s. She has been a tour guide for more than 30 years. Being in her 60s, she moved rather quickly for her age. We traveled and crammed with Maria and other Muscovites on the metro to visit 10 different metro stations.
Arrow showing the direction of metro line 1 and 2
Moscow subways are very clean
To Maria, every street, metro and building told a story. I couldn’t keep up with her stories. I don’t remember most of what she said because I was just thrilled being in Moscow. Added to that, she spilled out so many Russian words and names, which to one who can’t read Cyrillic, sounded so foreign and could be easily forgotten.
The metro tour was the first part of our all day tour of Moscow with Maria. Here are the stations we visited:
1. Komsomolskaya Metro Station is the most beautiful of them all. Painted yellow and decorated with chandeliers, gold leaves and semi precious stones, the station looks like a stately museum. And possibly decorated like a palace. I saw Komsomolskaya first, before the rest of the stations upon arrival in Moscow by train from St. Petersburg.
2. Revolution Square Metro Station (Ploshchad Revolyutsii) has marble arches and 72 bronze sculptures designed by Alexey Dushkin. The marble arches are flanked by the bronze sculptures. If you look closely you will see passersby touching the bronze dog's nose. Legend has it that good luck comes to those who touch the dog's nose.
Touch the dog's nose for good luck. At the Revolution Square station
Revolution Square Metro Station
3. Arbatskaya Metro Station served as a shelter during the Soviet-era. It is one of the largest and the deepest metro stations in Moscow.
Arbatskaya Metro Station
4. Biblioteka Imeni Lenina Metro Station was built in 1935 and named after the Russian State Library. It is located near the library and has a big mosaic portrait of Lenin and yellow ceramic tiles on the track walls.
Lenin's portrait at the Biblioteka Imeni Lenina Metro Station
5. Kievskaya Metro Station was one of the first to be completed in Moscow. Named after the capital city of Ukraine by Kiev-born, Nikita Khruschev, Stalin's successor.
Kievskaya Metro Station
6. Novoslobodskaya Metro Station was built in 1952. It has 32 stained glass murals with brass borders.
Novoslobodskaya metro station
7. Kurskaya Metro Station was one of the first few to be built in Moscow in 1938. It has ceiling panels and artwork showing Soviet leadership, Soviet lifestyle and political power. It has a dome with patriotic slogans decorated with red stars representing the Soviet's World War II Hall of Fame. Kurskaya Metro Station is a must-visit station in Moscow.
Ceiling panel and artworks at Kurskaya Metro Station
8. Mayakovskaya Metro Station built in 1938. It was named after Russian poet Vladmir Mayakovsky. This is one of the most beautiful metro stations in the world with 34 mosaics painted by Alexander Deyneka.
One of the over 30 ceiling mosaics in Mayakovskaya metro station
9. Belorusskaya Metro Station is named after the people of Belarus. In the picture below, there are statues of 3 members of the Partisan Resistance in Belarus during World War II. The statues were sculpted by Sergei Orlov, S. Rabinovich and I. Slonim.
10. Teatralnaya Metro Station (Theatre Metro Station) is located near the Bolshoi Theatre.
Teatralnaya Metro Station decorated with porcelain figures .
Taking the metro's escalator at the end of the tour with Maria the tour guide.
Have you visited the Moscow Metro? Leave your comment below.
January 15, 2017 at 8:17 am
An excellent read! Thanks for much for sharing the Russian metro system with us. We're heading to Moscow in April and exploring the metro stations were on our list and after reading your post, I'm even more excited to go visit them. Thanks again 🙂
December 6, 2017 at 10:45 pm
Hi, do you remember which tour company you contacted for this tour?
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Finding a Job When You Have No Experience
- Marlo Lyons
Four strategies to gain the skills you need to stand out.
Most entry level roles require two to three years of previous job experience. If you’re new to the workforce, how can you qualify? The good news is that “years of experience” can usually be taken with a grain of salt, but your resume should prove that you have the skills to do the job well. Here are four ways to gain that experience and demonstrate you’re the right person for the role.
- Volunteer or intern for someone you know. Even tasks that feel tedious can help you build transferable skills that every company is looking for and that you can highlight on your resume: organization, writing, time management, collaboration, and communication.
- Start consulting in your area of interest. You don’t need to set up an LLC or a registered corporation to offer services. You can promote your skills in the same way on social media to gain access to people who may need them and offer free consultations.
- Create and highlight a series of personal projects. For those interested in joining a more creative field or a field in which you’ll need to showcase a portfolio of work, creating personal projects that lead to learning insights or positive outcomes (like traffic growth or audience engagement) is a great way to start building that portfolio.
- Get certified in your field of interest. Citing a certification on your resume will set you apart from others who also have minimal practical experience and are trying to move into a specific field. The exact certificate you should invest in will depend on your end goal.
When you’re new to the workforce or trying to shift into a different industry, finding that first job can feel impossible. All you need is one shot, but the barriers to entry are high. Every time you find a great role, you never seem to qualify. Almost every “entry level” position requires two to five years of experience .
Most employers have these requirements for a reason. They want candidates to have some background in their field to narrow the application pool and attract people with at least a little industry knowledge. While “years of experience” can usually be taken with a grain of salt, your resume should prove that you have the skills to do the job well. Here are four ways to gain that experience and demonstrate you’re the right person for the role.
1) Volunteer or intern for someone you know.
If you can fill your free time with experiences that energize you — and that you can also add to your resume — it will be a win-win. Experience is rarely defined as working full-time. It can be part-time or volunteer work.
To get started, think of people you know: your parents, relatives, caretakers, former professors, alumni, and all their friends. Do any of them work in, or know someone who works in, your field of interest? Ask if you can volunteer or intern with them, even if just for a few days or hours a week. Gaining access to an environment where you can collaborate with seasoned professional will not only help you learn, it’s also an easy way to fill a blank space on your resume.
If you don’t know anyone in your industry, look to your larger community. Have you been involved in any local organizations or groups that need a helping hand right now? This could be youth groups, religious establishments, or nonprofits and charities in your area. If you can help them out — whether through something small like filing documents or something big like organizing an event — you can add it to your resume. Tasks that initially feel tedious can still help you build transferable skills that every company is looking for and that you can highlight on your resume: organization, writing, time management, collaboration, and communication.
What this looks like in practice:
Let’s say your goal is to do SEO/SEM work at a big corporation. Do you know someone who owns a small business with a website? Or does your local youth group need help boosting their presence on social media? In both situations, you could volunteer to help them create a strategy aimed at increasing their reach, engagement, and traffic. You could implement this strategy, track your results, and repeat the same type of work for the same or another organization — using what you learned to drive better results.
You’ll walk away with a valuable experience in your chosen field. On your resume, you could include your title and any success metrics you want to highlight. In your job interview, you can describe how you tackled a challenge on one project, what you learned, and how you applied those learnings on another project. This will demonstrate technical skills and soft skills like problem-solving, adaptability, curiosity, and your drive for continuous learning and improvement.
What this looks like on a resume:
SEO Intern (or Volunteer) Name of company
- Increased website traffic 200% by identifying and optimizing SEO keywords.
- Implemented three digital marketing campaigns through web and email and used Google Analytics to track results, showing customer conversion increased by 18%.
- Increased followers by 150% on Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook by developing and implementing a social media strategy focused on user engagement.
2) Do consulting work in your area of interest.
This may sound intimidating, but it’s easier than you imagine. You don’t need to set up an LLC or a registered corporation to offer services. Think about your favorite influencers and thought leaders on TikTok, LinkedIn, Instagram, or the social media platform you like best — people giving job advice, fashion advice, crafting tutorials, or other useful tips to their followers.
You can promote your skills in the same way on these platforms to gain access to people who may need them and offer free consultations. Having a loyal following is a great way to show that your ideas resonate with people in your field. You can even ask connections to forward your content or services to others or make it easily shareable.
If that route doesn’t feel right for you, another option is to offer freelance services through existing companies like Upwork or Fiverr. Any experience gained can be added to your resume.
Consider the example of my client, a high school teacher who wanted to move into digital marketing. When I asked her if she had any experience in the field, she told me she had used her personal social media channels to market her favorite products and companies — and even had attracted a few national brands. On her resume, she highlighted this work over her teaching experiences by placing it front and center. She ended up landing a marketing program manager job at a Fortune 500 tech company.
Another client of mine wanted to move from sales to instructional design. He set up a consultancy through Upwork and other freelance sites where he took one job a quarter. When he was ready to apply for jobs, he showcased his freelance work on his resume. In interviews, he highlighted how his years of sales experience made him a better instructional designer because he understood the sales process intimately. It wasn’t long before he landed an instructional design job on a sales enablement team at a well-known national company.
Digital Content Consultant Independent (or name of consultancy)
- Create inspiring video and social content for national brands and their products, including A, B, C brands, to create consumer engagement and drive revenue.
- Develop content strategy and messaging to target specific audiences, increasing brand awareness, and creating brand growth through digital channels.
- Align with each company’s brand leader to translate business strategies into breakthrough content.
3) Highlight a series of personal projects.
Depending on your industry, this could be a very smart route to take. For those interested in joining a more creative field or a field in which you’ll need to showcase a portfolio of work, creating personal projects that lead to learning insights or positive outcomes (like traffic growth or audience engagement) is a great way to start building that portfolio — even if you lack experience at an actual company.
Uploading or linking to your work on a personal website is key. You’ll want to make it easily accessible for recruiters and hiring managers. Just make sure it looks professional and representative of your style or brand. This will not only show your determination and grit, but it will also demonstrate your skills and capabilities.
A former employee of mine wanted to move from TV production into data science but had no practical experience in the field. Instead of giving up, she downloaded public data and analyzed it to draw insights into whether certain creative aspects of reality shows made a show a hit or a failure. “The goal was to automate how creative execs choose projects. Part of the reason I was doing this was sheer interest. But it gave me practical experience,” she told me.
When discussing this experience in job interviews, she could say, “I was working my way through business school, so I was unable to intern in data science. But I didn’t let that stop me. I started doing side projects, which included analyzing public data using [programs]. For example….” In the end, she landed a full-time data scientist role.
In your own job search, you may find that some hiring managers are less open-minded than others. They may ask, “But you haven’t done the work professionally?” In these instances, remember that you have — and own it.
For instance, you could follow up with a specific example that demonstrates your knowledge in the area: “My work may not have been for a company, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me from showing how I understand the problem that needs to be solved, how to gather and analyze the data needed to solve it, and develop descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive analytic solutions. In this instance, I even created a dashboard that provides actionable insights.” That answer shows motivation, resourcefulness, an understanding of lingo and process, dedication, and ambition.
Data Science Analyst Independent (or name of consultancy)
- Analyzed data, created models, and interpreted the results to enable executives to choose which reality shows to greenlight based on data versus gut instinct and lower the risk of failure with the goal of saving companies millions of dollars.
- Created automated dashboard with visuals that were both aesthetically pleasing and tell a story through patterns and relationships in data.
4) Get certified in your field of interest.
Citing a certification on your resume will set you apart from others who also have minimal practical experience and are trying to move into a specific field. The exact certificate you should invest in will depend on your end goal, but there are a few that are relevant for a wide variety of jobs. Becoming a certified associate in project management (CAPM), for instance, is a valuable qualification across industries. Every project in every job you will ever do in your career will benefit from that knowledge.
Technology certifications similarly show your ambition to be an exceptional worker who stays ahead of the trends — particularly those focused on generative AI or machine learning. For people interested in administrative, project management, finance, marketing, or data analysis roles, the Microsoft Office Specialist certification demonstrates the ability to create masterful PowerPoint presentations and use excel formulas. AWS or Google analytics certifications are useful for people pursuing specific fields such as cloud computing or digital marketing, respectively.
You can find a list of most certifications on the U.S. Department of Labor website.
Earlier in my career, I didn’t have any traditional Human Resources (HR) experience, but wanted to get hired for a role in the field. I knew I had to prove I understood the tenets of HR, so I used my time working in immigration and child labor regulations to qualify to take the Senior Professional Human Resources (SPHR) and the Global Professional Resources (GPHR) exams. I also spent a year achieving a coaching certification because I knew from job descriptions, coaching was a skilled many companies values.
Together, these qualifications helped me break into the industry.
You can highlight certificates in a specified section on your resume.
Senior Professional Human Resources (SPHR) – HR Certification Institute
Global Professional Human Resources (GPHR) – HR Certification Institute
Professional Certified Coach (PCC) – International Coaching Federation
Remember that passion often trumps experience. You can teach nearly any hard skill, but you can’t teach motivation, dedication, or grit. Showing that you’re doing everything you can to be prepared to bring value to a company — despite not having what is traditionally considered “professional experience” — will set you apart from everyone else.
- Marlo Lyons career, executive, and team coach and the award-winning author of Wanted – A New Career: The Definitive Playbook for Transitioning to a New Career or Finding Your Dream Job . You can reach her at www.marlolyonscoaching.com.
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WVU Provost’s Office Offers Five Additional Final Recommendations
West Virginia University’s downtown campus is seen in this undated photo. WVU’s Office of the Provost issued additional final recommendations for changes to programs and staffing Friday after appeals hearings. The university is dealing with a $45 million budget shortfall. (WVU Photo/Jennifer Shephard)
MORGANTOWN — The West Virginia University Office of the Provost announced five more final recommendations Friday from appeals hearings held as part of the Academic Transformation program portfolio review process.
The university’s master’s degree in creative writing and master’s in special education will remain, but five departments will see other degree programs discontinued and faculty rosters reduced.
Department of English
Future graduate students will continue to hone their skills in fiction, nonfiction and poetry as part of the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program under a final recommendation by the Program Review Appeal Committee.
The Department of English in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences successfully appealed a preliminary recommendation to discontinue the MFA in Creative Writing, as well as the number of positions recommended for reduction in the unit. The unit will now be asked to reduce the number of faculty in the unit from the current number to 28.
Despite sustained declines in undergraduate student enrollment, decreased student credit hour production and a low student-to-faculty ratio, the Committee recognized the unit’s need for sufficient faculty to teach service courses and plans to become more efficient in the delivery of its instruction. The unit presented a plan to merge the MA in English with the MA in Professional Writing, which also factored into the committee’s Wednesday decision.
“The English Department and its faculty made a strong case for maintaining its excellent MFA program by their willingness to improve instructional efficiencies and rethink their curriculum,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Maryanne Reed.
School of Music
The committee also granted the appeal presented by the School of Music to amend the preliminary recommendation to reduce the number of faculty positions in the unit. As a result, the final recommendation now calls for a reduction in the College of Creative Arts unit to 34.
The School appealed the number of faculty position reductions that would affect the BM Music Composition, BM Music Performance, MM Performance and DMA Performance programs citing its plan to adjust faculty workloads and improve instructional efficiency. The Committee also received data during the Wednesday hearing indicating the need to retain certain expertise for accreditation and to deliver the DMA programs.
The following preliminary recommendations were not appealed and will be presented to the WVU Board of Governors as listed below:
Bachelor’s degrees in music business and industry, music education and music therapy will continue at their current levels of activity, while WVU’s bachelor’s in music performance: jazz and commercial music will be discontinued. The music department has the provost’s approval to plan a process for a new bachelor’s degree in commercial music.
Master’s degrees in conducting, music business and industry and music education will continue at their current level of activity, while master’s degrees in collaborative piano, composition and collaborative piano and composition will be discontinued.
Department of Communication Studies
The Eberly College’s Department of Communication Studies was unsuccessful in its Thursday appeal of preliminary recommendations to reduce the number of faculty positions from the current number to 11.
Key considerations and concerns that led to the final recommendation include a sustained decrease in enrollment in the unit’s majors and in student credit hour production. The Committee also noted the unit delivers a large number of elective courses for non-majors.
The Department did not appeal recommendations for undergraduate or graduate programs in Communication Studies that focused largely on revising curriculum.
School of Education
The School of Education in the College of Applied Human Sciences made its case during a Thursday hearing that the MA Special Education program has grown enrollment in each of the last two fall terms and is operating in a cost-effective manner. As a result, the committee overturned a preliminary recommendation to discontinue the program.
The unit lost its appeals regarding recommendations to discontinue the MA Higher Education Administration and PhD Higher Education programs; both would need significant revisions.
A recommendation to reduce the number of faculty positions in the school from the current number to 18 will also remain unchanged. A decrease in student credit hour production and low student-to-faculty ratios factored into the committee’s final recommendation. A plan to adjust the workload for some tenured and tenure-track faculty was also considered.
A preliminary recommendation to discontinue the EdD Higher Education Administration program was not appealed.
The School also agreed with a recommendation to revise the BA Elementary Education program that includes a plan to participate in Ohio Reciprocity and an Expanded State Strategy by fall 2024.
“This is an opportunity to reinvent how West Virginia University supports K-12 education and the development of future educators in the state and region,” Reed said. “The conversations I’ve had with Dean Cyprès and the faculty in the College of Applied Human Sciences reinforce my optimism that the unit is committed to working with the state Department of Education to build a stronger pipeline of qualified K-12 teachers.”
Department of Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering
An appeal by the Department of Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering to reduce the number of faculty positions in the unit from the current number to five was unanimously denied during a Thursday hearing.
The key components that led to the Committee’s final recommendation include significant and sustained enrollment declines across programs, a decrease in student credit hour production, low student-to-faculty ratios and a failure to reduce faculty positions in parallel with enrollment trends.
The unit in the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources did not appeal a preliminary recommendation to explore developing a cooperative PhD program within a newly created program.
Separate from the program portfolio review process, a $4 million gift from Antero Midstream will provide support for undergraduate and graduate students in petroleum and natural gas engineering. The funding will also support upstream coursework for graduate programs and a newly developed online master’s degree and certificate program in midstream engineering, the first of its kind in the U.S.
The BOG will hear public comments from those who have signed up or submitted their comments in writing in advance of Sept. 14 before a planned vote on the final recommendations during its regular meeting on Sept. 15.
The University will announce final recommendations on Sept. 5 for the remaining three units presenting appeals.
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