Let us introduce you to Geoff Winslow. Geoff graduated from DePaul University in 2011 with a BA in English–he was nice enough to share some of his experiences at and after DePaul with The Underground to give you an idea of life after college with an English degree!
U-1: What is your current position? Please describe a typical day at work.
Geoff: Currently, I’m working as a legal assistant in a large law firm. My day consists of scheduling the firm’s court hearings, drafting the documents for the attorneys to bring to court, and working directly with the attorneys to make sure everything in the system is working well for our clients.
U-2: How did you find your first job after graduation and/or your current position? Please be specific! (Inquiring minds want to know)
Geoff: I was lucky enough to use a connection from high school in order to network my way into my current job. Specifically, my high school French teacher who knew the hiring manager at the law firm. She was able to drop my name which lead to a job interview, and I got hired from there!
U-3: How important has networking been in your employment searches? How did you find or build contacts in your desired field?
Geoff: To be honest, I have done little to no networking related to my field. I was able to acquire two letters of recommendation from professors I respected in the English department at DePaul and that would be the extent of it. But I would say networking is very important in finding a position.
U-4: How does your English major help you in your current position?
Geoff: The legal system requires technical accuracy. Knowing how to dot your i’s, cross your t’s, and put punctuation in the right spot goes a long way in legal arguments. Being able to look at large bodies of text and extract the relevant information quickly is essential to getting my work done in a timely manner. More importantly, the critical thinking skills that an English major helps you develop are incredibly important for analyzing legal language from all possible sides.
U-5: What advice would you give current English majors about their studies or extracurricular activities while they are still at DePaul?
Geoff: Look at every assignment as a learning opportunity. You may find some of the reading to be dull or think it’s unnecessary, and it will be, if you approach it with that mindset. It’s only if you get interested in the work that you’ll get something out of it. Don’t cut corners, or you’ll get in the habit of cutting corners in all aspects of your life. There are a ton of opportunities out there with the internet and DePaul extracurriculars that will get you writing and putting your learning to good use. Take advantage of them!
U-6: What advice would you give to graduating students as they move into the job market?
Geoff: Remember that while an English major is extremely marketable, it also comes across as very general on a resumé. Do a lot of extracurriculars prior to graduating, get into specific clubs or organizations that tie into your future goals, and hone the skills that apply to your dream job.