Author experiences, Book Marketing, Book Reviews, Education, Getting Published, Nonfiction, Writing Tips

Last day for our freebie!

Today’s the last day to get a free copy of Make It Happen: The No-nonsense Guide to Publishing and Marketing Your Ebook!

Louisa Cover2

It’s a short, handy guide with all the fundamentals you’ll need to publish your book online — from setting up a clickable Table of Contents to choosing an editor to writing press releases.

So, give it a try, and if you find it useful, please leave us a review on Amazon!

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Education, Embracing Creativity, employment, Job search, Writing Tips

How to market your liberal arts resume

Whether you are about to graduate from college or have been in the work trenches for years, finding a good job is not easy. And if you have a liberal arts degree, it can feel even harder.

But if you read my earlier post about job hunting as a liberal arts major, you know that humanities majors DO have great job skills that apply to just about any field.

Re-brand your skill set

Our degrees give us a whole host of useful skills. But if you’re applying for a job that doesn’t ask for a humanities degree, don’t put your education near the top of your resume.

Instead, create a section for the key skills sought in the job description. These might be traits you don’t associate with your humanities degree — “Technical Skills,” Leadership,” “Finance Experience,” or “Project Management.”

Don’t panic! Show that you have the capacity to do whatever is being asked. For example:

  • you need to know an industry-specific software tool; is there a similar tool you HAVE used?
  • you don’t have the technical background, but you do have analytical skills, such as problem solving, research, organizational, editing, and computer experience (MS Office, design programs, online learning, etc…).
  • you’ve had to write about very technical, complex subjects in a clear, understandable way
  • you’ve never been a manager, but you’ve led group projects in graduate school or you started a club in college and kept it going for four years
  • you run your own online business (such as etsy or selling ebooks) and handle all the finances
  • you’ve increased your blog traffic 40% over the past two years

Re-brand your unique experiences to show you CAN do the job.

Highlight your liberal arts gems

You have the “soft skills” so many employers are looking for. List these in a special section called “Key Skills” near the top of your resume. Here are some examples:

  • Critical Thinking Skills (from all those books you’ve analyzed and essays you’ve had to write!)
  • Creative Problem Solving
  • Conflict Resolution (group work, tutoring, juggling academic projects…)
  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Relating to Diverse Groups of People
  • Written Communication
  • Oral communication (if you had to give a lot of presentations and/or taught)
  • Research and Active Listening
  • Teamwork and Working Individually
  • Discipline and Juggling Multiple Projects (especially if you got good grades!)
  • Organization and Planning
  • Passion for Learning (you’re a liberal arts major!)

Tailor your list to the job description. For example, if the job requires interaction with the public, you could label your section “People Skills” or “Communication Skills.”

Format your resume so it looks professional.

Look at examples of resumes in the field you’re applying for and match the style and tone leaders in the industry use. Use the appropriate jargon and keywords of that profession. A few guidelines:

  • use bullets, rather than paragraphs (unless you include a short personal statement/objective at the beginning of your resume)
  • if you capitalize one bullet, capitalize them all (and vice versa)
  • if you put a period at the end of one bullet, do them all (and vice versa)
  • start all your bullet list items in the same way — for example, with action verbs
  • all headings should be the same style and size; all body text should be the same
  • print out your resume so you can see how it looks on paper
  • margins should not be more than 1-inch, otherwise it looks like you’re trying to fill up space

Good luck, and please leave a comment with your suggestions  and experience tailoring your resume!

Education, employment, Job search

You’re a humanities major. Now what?

If  you have an English degree like me (or pretty much any liberal arts degree), you have likely heard the same comments from people with “useful” degrees in computers or accounting about how hard it will be for you to find a “real” job.

So, what do you do? The good news is that we humanities majors have lots of excellent skills that transfer into many different fields. With our capacity for critical thinking, organization, and written communication, we’re like the chameleons of the professional world.

Here’s a five-step process to help you find a career that pays actual money!

1. Find your focus. To avoid feeling overwhelmed, start with the general field you’re interested in — healthcare? Publishing? Law? Would you like to work at a university setting? Consider if you want a private sector, nonprofit, or government job. All three categories have advantages and disadvantages. Typically, private companies pay higher, while state and federal jobs tend to have better benefits packages and can be more stable. Nonprofit jobs may allow you to work in a field you’re passionate about — say, the environment or helping children.

2. Start a targeted search. If you know specific companies or organizations you’d like to work for (perhaps a nearby hospital is known for great benefits), start there. Otherwise, go to a job site (like LinkedIn or indeed) and search with humanities-related keywords of skills that are in demand, including “research,” “written communications,” “critical thinking,” “logistics,” and “project management.”

3. Take note of recurring job titles. Maybe you’ve been targeting universities and notice that “recruiter” type positions keep popping up for your skill set. Or you’re interested in a private sector job and the word “management” keeps appearing in your search results. Research those job titles that keep recurring to learn more.

4. Add any missing technical skills. Each industry uses specific software for its day-to-day operations, whether that’s an invoicing tool or an online teaching platform. As you’re researching job titles, take note of the tools you need to learn (or at least be aware of). Your local community colleges may teach the exact course you need, or you could try a site like www.udemy.com for online classes.

5. Update and “reboot” your resume to match that job title and industry.  Research the culture of the field and make sure your resume reflects that same style — in word choices and layout. Look at examples of others’ resumes in the same industry to make sure yours isn’t way off base.

If you need help, there are lots of professionals out there who can tailor your resume to help you land that job. Local colleges and universities may have career services open to the public, and your library likely has free resources, too!

Book Marketing, Education, Getting Published, Nonfiction, Writing Tips

Copyright myths…

Yesterday, I saw a commercial on TV for a “publishing company” that will publish authors’ books and “handle” all copyright issues for them. I thought, “What copyright issues”? When you put pen to paper, your creative work is automatically covered by copyright law.

If you see a publishing service that charges money to “obtain” the copyright for your work, be aware of this red flag! If you do chose to register, you can do it on your own for as little as $35. But it’s not really necessary.

The only reason you would need to register is if you decide to file a lawsuit against someone for infringing on your copyright.

And copyright has nothing to do with your ISBN. Even if you publish with Amazon or Smashwords, who assign their own numbers, your work still belongs to you. ISBNs and ASINs are ways to keep track of your books. They have nothing to do with copyright.

So, don’t get suckered by companies who charge to do services that you can easily do yourself. Check out our new book, “Make It Happen: The no-nonsense guide to publishing and marketing your ebook.” We talk more about copyright, ISBNs, and lots of other important info. you need to publish your book yourself!

Book Marketing, Conferences, Education, Getting Published, Nonfiction, Writing Tips

Freelancing in the new age…

A couple of weekends ago, Lisa and I hawked our new book Make It Happen at the Triangle Association of Freelancers (TAF) annual conference. They are such a great group! I’ve been going to the TAF conference for at least five years, and everyone is always super friendly and helpful. I’ll be posting some more about what I learned at the conference in the next week or so.

So, if you are a freelance writer in NC (or beyond), consider joining TAF. You are instantly connected with a group of experienced, professional freelance writers who are on the cutting edge of the freelance industry — they know the trends, inside and out. Plus, they are encouraging and welcoming. (And you get a really good discount at the conference!)

 

Education

What history?

education-1959551_960_720What a difference a few sentences can make. I just finished listening to one of Malcolm Gladwell’s podcasts for his series “Revisionist History.” In this episode, “Miss Buchanan’s Period of Adjustment,” Gladwell explores the fallout from the 1954 Supreme Court Case Brown v. Board of Education.

The Supreme Court found that “separate but equal” was unhealthy for Black children, that being segregated was fundamentally “bad” for their psyche and self-esteem. But that was not what the NAACP had been fighting for.

From the mouths of two Black parents who took part in the court case, Leola and Oliver Brown, they had no complaints with their daughter’s school (Monroe School, shown below). They loved the teachers, thought the education was “fantastic.” They just wanted all Black parents to have a choice of where to send their children to school.

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From Gladwell’s podcast:

So what does the US Supreme Court do in 1954 in the Brown decision? It buys into the southern way of thinking about race. Leola Brown and the other plaintiffs say, “We have a structural problem. We don’t have the power to send Linda to the school down the street.” The court says, “No, no, no, it’s a psychological problem. Little Linda has been damaged in her heart.” That may seem like a small distinction, believe me it’s not. We’re still dealing with the consequences.

Those few sentences by the Supreme Court made a huge difference to children across the segregated South. What do you think happens when Black schools and Black teachers are ruled to be inferior? What happens to teachers and students deemed “deficient”? The fallout is huge. Listen to Gladwell’s podcast, or you can find a transcript of it here.

The New York Times published an excellent, related article earlier this year: “Where Did All the Black Teachers Go?”