Category Archives: Outside the Classroom

Is Finance for you?

By Nicholas Teitler

What is Finance? Finance is the management of money and includes activities like investing, borrowing, lending, budgeting, saving, etc. There are various amounts of professions involved in the finance field, such as being a Chief Financial Officer, Financial Analysts, Loan Officers, Personal Financial Advisors, and many more. Jobs in the finance field are continuing to grow at a steady rate and are projected to continue, with the number of financial analyst jobs expected to increase 12% by 2024. Because of all of the possible careers with a finance major, the unemployment rate is lowest among graduates with a degree in finance.

Entry Level Position

A common entry-level position for people with a degree in Finance is a Personal financial advisor. Personal financial advisors advise clients when it comes to managing their finances and plan for their future financially. A bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting, or a similar major would be helpful to get this position. It is a full-time job, and the median salary for it is $88,890 a year, or $42.73 per hour. However, the highest 10 percent in this profession have earned more than $208,000 a year. It seems like some good money can be made from an entry-level position as such. Strong analytical skills, communication skills, interpersonal skills, and math skills are typically required for this profession.

Job Advertisements

Looking at a job advertisement is a great way to gain more information about the requirements of jobs within your career path. I found a job posting for a Finance Vice President for JP Morgan Chase & Co. The role of this position is to provide recommendations to senior sales managers, oversee a team, review generated reports, and report to the President or CEO of the company. The applicant must have good teamwork skills and leadership skills, as well as the skills mentioned in the personal financial advisor profession. Also, proficiency with Excel, PowerPoint, and Essbase is preferred for this position, but not required. Since this isn’t an entry-level position, 6+ years of experience in a profession in the finance field is required.

Interview

A more advanced career in the finance field is becoming a chief financial officer, or CFO. I interviewed David Teitler, the CFO of guideposts, to learn more about what being a CFO entails. Dave is responsible for the financials, operations, and technology of the company. He manages  an investment portfolio, a pension portfolio, annuity contracts, and trusts. He is involved in every major purchasing decision, including healthcare benefits, real estate (moving buildings, rent), and internal & external infrastructure. He also has direct responsibility for customer service, database management, business intelligence tools, and purchasing. Dave mentioned, “I didn’t become the CFO of guideposts until 15 years after finishing graduate school. Before being a CFO, I was the VP of Finance for Thomas Reuters, and the business manager of a smaller company before that.” Besides needing to have experience in finance before becoming a CFO, it has similar requirements to being a personal financial advisor and finance vice president, with addition to having Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint skills. CFOs possess a bachelor’s degree in finance or accounting, and most of them have a master’s degree in finance. The salary range of a CFO can range from anywhere between $250,000 to $700,000 a year.

After researching these 3 careers, I learned that achieving a CFO is possible as long as you gain experience in entry-level positions and build your way up to the highest position. I want to be a CFO in the future, but I know I will have to start at an entry-level position to gain this position.

Is there Writing involved in Finance?

Working in the finance field involves some writing, which is why companies typically require applicants to have written communication and excel skills. The most popular genre of writing involved in a finance profession is sending emails. Sending emails back and forth to both clients and employees is done daily. 70% of people from the Elon University Poll also said that emails are used on a weekly basis for writing after college for any kind of career path. Slack is also becoming very popular to send messages through. It is a messaging app that is used among many businesses due to its ability to form group conversations and private messages. PowerPoint presentations and writing notes on financial statements are also genres of writing that are popular in the finance field.

Are there Writing Challenges in Finance?

There are not that many writing challenges that the CFO of a company faces, but Dave did mention a few to help me gain a better understanding. His greatest writing challenges are adapting to his reader’s expectations and needs, and writing concisely and directly. When writing financial statements, the notes need to be very descriptive to the reader, especially if they’re a non-financial person. Dave has to be very careful and thoughtful in how he describes the financial reports to someone who may not be as familiar with the field as he is, relating to the Elon poll where 16% of people experienced this after college. Also, being the CFO of the company, he has to be very clear and concise in his writing when sending internal emails to employees to avoid intimidating them. This relates to the Elon poll where 12.8% of people found this to be a challenge after college.

What did we Learn?

Finance is a very popular field for people to go into since it has room for advancement within the career field. If you want to make a good amount of money and help people manage their money at the same time, you should consider going into finance. I found this research to be very valuable because I learned that there will be writing in any career path I choose to follow and will experience similar writing challenges as other people.

 

This post is part of a series on writing in the professions. Posts were written by students in Dr. Jessie L. Moore’s fall 2019 Writing: Argument & Inquiry class and include research from the June 2019 Center for Engaged Learning/Elon Poll survey of college graduates, age 18-34, High Impact Undergraduate Experiences and How They Matter Now.

Leave a comment

PWR Perspective on Study Abroad: Myrta Santana-Santini

Besides fulfilling the internship and research requirements of their major, some PWR students decide to take advantage of one or more of the other experiential learning opportunities that Elon offers. Studying abroad (either for the summer, winter term, or a whole semester) is one of the most popular options. One PWR major who chose to include this experience in her college journey is senior Myrta Santana-Santini; she studied in Alicante, Spain for the 2020 spring semester. While Myrta unfortunately had to return to the United States early because of the COVID-19 pandemic, her experience abroad informed her understanding of languages, world cultures, her professional goals, and herself, as she shared in her responses to the following questions:

Why did you decide to study abroad in Spain and more specifically in Alicante?

Having been born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, with an education that was primarily in Spanish, the best answer I can give is that I missed the language. I love the English language, but something about learning in your native language is different. I also have to confess that I chose Spain because I knew it would not be a major challenge, meaning that I could learn while also taking a break of sorts. Now as to why Alicante? The beach. I wanted to be close to the beach again, because after living my whole life close to the beach, these last three to four years in NC where the beach is three hours away has been weird.

What classes did you take while abroad?

While I was abroad, I took five classes total, one of them being a two-week intensive course on the Spanish language and grammar. This was actually funny and frustrating because while I am fluent in Spanish and it’s my first language, Puerto Rican Spanish is very different from Spain Spanish. After that course was done, I began my full semester classes which included History of Spain, Art History of Spain, Colloquial Spanish, and Pop Culture in Spain. These classes were all very interesting, and they helped me adapt to the day to day life in Spain while also learning Spanish history. My favorite was the Colloquial Spanish class because so many words that I use have multiple meanings, and being able to pick those out and see why they mean what they do to each place was an amazing experience.

Did you visit any interesting places while in Spain, and if so, where did you go?

I was only able to visit some places in Spain–not as many as I would have wanted, but enough for the time I had. I went to Barcelona, Valencia, and Granada for a weekend each, and the experiences I had in each city were unforgettable. Granada was my favorite because of the mix of cultures present there and the historical landmark La Alhambra. As an art history double major, being able to visit this fortress is something I am still not over.

I was only able to visit one place outside Spain, but it was Paris, so that made up for it. Paris is an amazing city that captivated me; one of my favorite moments from my time there was in a bookstore (because I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t visit a bookstore abroad). The Shakespeare and Company Bookstore is a hole-in-the-wall store that everyone seems to know about and want to visit, and I understand why. The space inside is cramped, covered in books of all genres, and has a calm and serene feeling even when there are many people inside. As I was walking around, I saw that they would stamp whatever book you bought with a store stamp as proof that you visited, so of course I had to buy a book. The employees also wrote surprise poems on a typewriter for customers to read. It was the perfect experience for my English-major-nerd heart.

What did you find most interesting about Spanish culture?

The most interesting things about Spanish culture, in my opinion, are how laid back they are and how little they care about the small things. We learned the saying “no pasa nada,” which translates to “everything is okay” or “there is no problem.”

How did the semester go for you after COVID-19 became a global pandemic?

Unfortunately, I only had two and half months in Spain, instead of the four and a half I was supposed to have. While I am grateful for the time I did have, it was frustrating because many of the trips I had planned were scheduled for the second half of the semester. The program also did not want to give us a refund for a portion of the semester we didn’t have there because we still finished the classes online, but it wasn’t the same. The whole purpose of those classes was the immersion–to practice what we learned in a real environment. So in a way the experience was not complete, but in the end, “no pasa nada.”

How did this experience apply to your majors and/or future career goals?

I want to hopefully work within the editing and publishing field, and I want to be able to use my bilingual abilities within my career. I have considered working with translation, and this experience taught me that even when you know something there is always more to learn, because I learned much more about the Spanish language during my time abroad within the context of Spain.

Would you recommend the Alicante program to other students? Why or why not?

I don’t know if it was because of the pandemic, but I will admit that the Alicante CIEE office was a bit disorganized. However, the professors themselves were amazing. Again, I can’t give an accurate recommendation because of the situation, but I will say that location-wise, the experience is worth it.

Also posted in Student Perspective, Student Profile | Leave a comment

PWR Internship Perspective: Abby Fuller

Besides undergraduate research, every PWR major at Elon is required to complete at least one internship before graduation. Many students find writing-related internship positions over the summer with a variety of companies and organizations across the country, but some choose to intern during the school year with local organizations or departments and programs on Elon’s campus. Senior Abby Fuller is one of the PWR students who has an on-campus internship this semester—she serves as a Publishing Intern at the Center for Engaged Learning (CEL). CEL Publishing Interns receive class credit but no pay during their first semester, and many are given the opportunity to continue the internship for a second semester with pay. Besides these benefits, Abby has shared other insights into her daily internship work as well as its correlations to her PWR courses and future career plans:

How did you hear about and apply for your internship?

I heard about the Publishing Internship through emails that were sent out to all Elon English majors and on the Elon Job Network. After doing my own research from the Job Network, I saw that the position was in my skill set and decided to apply.

What are your typical internship tasks each week?

My job changes every single day depending on the tasks that I need to complete. But I go into my workspace at the Center for Engaged Learning from 2pm–5pm on Mondays and Wednesdays. After talking with my boss, Jennie Goforth (CEL’s Managing Editor), who gives me a list of tasks for the day or week, I typically am given the full three hours to complete those tasks on my own. Some tasks I’ve done in the past include book trailers for new releases (see an example below!), social media reports for comparable publishing companies, and copy editing work.

What is your favorite thing so far about the internship?

I have loved how I am given a lot of freedom to complete the tasks in the way I think is best, and I love how much feedback I receive from my two bosses, Jennie and Jessie (CEL’s Director, Jessie L. Moore). They are both committed to making this experience something I will grow from and helping to build my professional skills. I have been so thankful for their commitment to helping me grow and learn.

Have you been able to apply the skills that you’ve learned in your PWR classes to this internship, and if so, how?

During my social media reports and book trailer proposals, I try to include rhetorical terms that look at the audience and how the ethos of CEL is being presented in this project. I have had a lot of opportunities to look at rhetorical skills in copy editing as well—to check that the voice of the writer matches the intended audience and purpose.

Does this internship relate to your post-graduation plans, and if so, how?

As a Creative Writing and PWR double major, I have definitely been interested in getting into the publishing field post-graduation. Although I would ideally like to work in a more mainstream market and not specifically academic/higher education writing, I have been able to apply a lot of these lessons to any type or genre of work, because the process remains very similar across many fields. I also recognize that not everyone gets their dream job at their dream company in their dream field right after graduation, and I think this is a great lesson in learning about the process even if the field itself is not fully using my skill set. Lastly, as a Creative Writing major, I would love to write and have someone publish a book of mine one day, so this experience has been helpful to learn more about the field and see if this is something I could do myself one day.

Would you recommend this internship to other PWR students? Why or why not?

Yes, I definitely would. I love working with Jessie Moore and Jennie Goforth, and it has been so convenient to work on campus and to learn from people who understand my life as an Elon student as well. I would love to talk with anyone interested in this position in the future.

 

Also posted in Student Perspective | Leave a comment

PWR Perspective on Undergraduate Research: Angela Myers

Angela Myers sitting in a chair, holding a laptopOne of the unique things about Elon’s PWR program is that every major is required to complete two credits of undergraduate research during their time in college. This research can involve joining an established group project with other students and faculty in the English Department, proposing an independent study, or doing a combination of the two. One student who chose the second option is senior Angela Myers. Angela is an Honors Fellow and received the Lumen prize in 2019 to further her thesis research. Her research examines the rhetoric of colleges’ online sexual assault prevention courses, and she conducted a comparative study between courses used in the U.S. and those in New Zealand (where she studied abroad during Spring 2020). Her research also led her to launch a social media campaign about sexual assault prevention in collaboration with the GLC.

How did you come up with the idea for your research project?

I’ve always been interested in the relationship between public health and rhetoric, so I knew I wanted to do a research project at that intersection. However, I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do. One night, I woke up at 3am with the idea of researching sexual violence prevention. The idea wasn’t fully formed, but I wrote it down in my journal, went back to sleep, and researched the issue further in the morning. I discovered not a lot of scholars were studying how to communicate about sexual violence prevention, so I emailed my research mentor, Dr. Jessie Moore, and the rest is history. You never know when an idea will come to you, especially as a writer, so I always recommend keeping a notebook nearby for any ideas you might have. 

What methods did you use to study your topic?

For my Lumen project, I did mixed-methods research. My mentor and I scaffolded the research into phases. In fall of my junior year we conducted interviews with students, staff, and faculty on campus to learn more about the rhetorical situation for prevention programming at Elon University. In the winter of my junior year, I completed a rhetorical analysis of Elon’s program. When I studied abroad in the spring, I conducted a comparative rhetorical analysis with a prevention program in New Zealand, a country known for some of the best sexual violence prevention in the world. This fall, I am conducting usability tests for the project to collect user-feedback on samples that enact different recommendations from the interviews and rhetorical analyses. 

From this larger research project, I connected with the GLC to design a social media campaign around sexual violence, Elon Empowers. Elon Empowers is a university-wide social media campaign to promote the idea that sexual violence prevention is possible. Especially in a climate like 2020, it’s important to provide positive messaging and action steps people can take to improve their community. For this campaign, we will be analyzing Instagram analytics to determine the effectiveness of materials and will send out a pre- and post-campaign survey to a group of Elon students to further research the effectiveness of Elon Empowers.

What was the most interesting thing (in your opinion) that you’ve found so far in your research?

The most interesting thing I’ve found so far is that prevention programs which empower the users to act, give them the resources to do so, and promote the idea that prevention is possible are the most effective prevention programs. In order to create effective prevention programming, courses need to appeal to shared values, use clear and easy-to-understand language, and provide an overall uplifting narrative with strategies to stop sexual violence instead of simply telling people, “Don’t do it.”

How did the collaboration with the GLC come about?

During the interview phase of my Lumen and Honors research, I interviewed Becca Bishopric Patterson from the GLC. During the interview, we began talking about how students are involved in the GLC and how various Fellows have done projects with the GLC in the past. Becca mentioned how she was interested in creating a social norms campaign, or a communications/professional writing campaign which tries to change the perceptions and beliefs of the viewers through communicating a different message than a common false narrative. From there, I saw the connections between the campaign she was hoping to run and my own research findings. I’d found that many college students don’t believe prevention is possible and/or that they can’t stop sexual violence as bystanders. After the interview, I emailed Becca about the potential of a social norms campaign on the GLC’s Instagram and that’s how Elon Empowers was born. Elon Empowers intends to present the idea that prevention is possible and give Elon students small, tangible ways they can mitigate sexual violence on and off campus. Overall, there’s constantly opportunities which are only an email inquiry away for PWR majors at Elon; the campus community is always so excited when students want to take on projects and research which allows them to use their skills to help our Elon community!

Will you be presenting your research anywhere else, and if so, where and when?

Since the beginning, I have been cognizant about making sure the research is received by those who need it most. As of now, I will be publishing part of my research in the upcoming issue of Young Scholars in Writing and will be presenting it on a panel at the Conference on College Composition and Communication and SURF in Spring of 2021. I will also make sure the research is available to the GLC, the Title IX Office, and anyone else at Elon who might be interested in my findings. I’m also considering some public-facing speaking and writing engagements to share the project. 

What do you hope that your research will accomplish, or what do you hope people take away from your research?

I hope this research can help improve sexual violence prevention at Elon and across the country. I’d also love for people to be able to use this research when considering how they address sexual violence in their own lives. So many times the media, organizations, and individuals use language which places the blame on the victim or they don’t communicate in a clear and effective way about sexual violence and how it can be prevented. Obviously this research is just one small piece of a much larger puzzle, but I’m happy it can contribute to the scholarship and the work being done to help mitigate sexual violence and other barriers to equity and safety for all.

Also posted in Student Perspective, Student Profile | Leave a comment

PWR Social Media Internship Reflection: Spring 2020

The Journey

Emily HollandMy journey as the PWR Social Media Intern has been educational and helped me to grow both personally and professionally, but honestly, it’s been a bit strange. To start, I actually applied for the internship a whole year before I got the position. I heard about the internship in my PWR 215 class during my first semester in college (Fall 2018), and I thought that I might as well apply for the spring. The PWR faculty chose a more experienced student for the internship that semester, which I expected, and told me that I would probably be a good candidate in about a year. And almost exactly a year later, I was asked to take over the position for Spring 2020.

Going into the internship, I expected that my faculty advisors (Dr. Moore and Dr. Li) would give me tasks with lots of specifications so that I would only create content that reflected well on the PWR program. So, I was surprised by how much creative control I was allowed over my work. I read over an internship handbook that is still in progress, but for the most part, I was allowed to develop my own plan for posting content. I researched what had already been posted on the PWR accounts and contacted the previous intern for some tips, and then I put all my ideas into a big planning document.

The previous intern said that Instagram was the best platform for getting information out about the PWR program, so I focused mostly on updating that profile to reflect a positive image for the program. Most of my regular Instagram posts were posted to Facebook and Twitter as well, but I spent more time using Instagram’s interactive story features and sharing posts from related accounts to the @elonpwr story (mostly from the English Department and the Writing Center–those accounts also shared my posts on Facebook, which created more traction on that platform). I also updated the @elonpwr Instagram bio so that it would better encapsulate what the PWR program is about at a glance.

Besides working on updating the PWR program’s image on social media, I also wanted to ensure consistency in posting, which seemed to have been lacking for a while. So, I designed graphics that fit with two series scheduled across all three platforms every week: #MondayMotivation and #WeeklyWord (posted on Wednesday to maintain the alliteration). When major PWR events happened this semester, like Fall 2020 course registration and SURF Day, I created series of posts that showcased each course and each research presentation. I also made a list of other ideas for intermittent posts, like internship ads, interviews with PWR students and faculty, and photos from class visits and research conferences.

However, my ability to execute my ideas shifted dramatically when the COVID-19 pandemic moved classes online. Besides the general challenges of adjusting to working from home, several of my “great” ideas no longer worked. Getting interviews became extremely difficult, I couldn’t visit classes that weren’t meeting in person, and internships and conferences had been cancelled. Even the two major events required a new approach to promote. So, I posted about the internships that I could still find, started doing the aforementioned interactive Instagram stories more often, added video links to the SURF Day posts, and put the rest of the ideas in my back pocket for when campus reopens next semester and I return to the internship. That’s right, I’ll be back as the PWR Social Media Intern next semester, and I couldn’t be more excited!

Advice for Future Interns

Even though I’m continuing with the PWR Social Media Internship for another semester, I’ll eventually need to be replaced, and I’d give it a 10/10 recommendation for any PWR major or PWS minor. I think the biggest pieces of advice I would give are these:

  1. Ask for advice from your faculty mentors when you need it, but you’re more prepared to make and execute your own plan than you think you are.
  2. Be flexible! You may not have to deal with a pandemic changing everything the way I did, but some of your ideas still might not work. And that’s okay. Always have a plan, a backup plan, and an open mind.
  3. Work hard, but have fun. You’ll run into problems sometimes, but you can fix them or work around them and get back to letting your creativity flow.
Also posted in Student Perspective | Leave a comment

Insurance: See How One of the Most Lucrative Industries in the World Can Work For You

by James Silk

The Insurance Industry is in a crisis. Despite being one of the most lucrative industries in the country, the average age of an employee is 65. The industry is looking for young, qualified workers. The industry provides flexible working hours, the ability to move up in a company, and the opportunity to work with hundreds of different companies. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, entry level agents can make up to $50,000 per year. As thousands of college students graduate each year and look for a job, they have a lot on their mind: Where are they going to work? How are they going to find work? What work do they even want? With all of this going on, it is easy to overlook one of the most profitable industries right now. I talked to Mike Musilli, a Client Executive at Hylant Insurance Company, one of the biggest insurance brokerage companies in the country. He told me about some of the job requirements and writing genres needed to work in the field.

About Hylant

Hylant is a national insurance company with 16 offices throughout the country and over 700 employees. Hylant’s goal is to bring a family atmosphere into the insurance industry while strengthening and protecting businesses, employees, and communities by embracing them as their own. The company offers risk management, property and casualty, employee benefits, and personal insurance services. Despite being an insurance company, they do not actually sell their own insurance plans. Instead, Hylant brokers deals with big insurance companies such as Nationwide, State Farm, and American Insurance. The company will connect a client with these big insurance companies and help the client find the right plan of insurance for their business. Hylant will then receive a commission off of the final price.

Skills For Entry Level Employees

  • Personable
  • Team-Oriented
  • Social Acuity to Acquire Clients
  • Writing Proficiency
  • Solution Focused
  • Desire to Learn and Develop

Qualifications

  • Valid State License
  • High School Diploma or GED
  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • CPCU Certification
  • Work/Internship Experience

About the Job

Mike Musilli (Photo courtesy of Hylant)

Mr. Musilli’s job involves a lot of customer interaction. He spends most of his time trying to acquire and keep clients. In order to get clients, Mr. Musilli will attend conferences or reach out to any businesses that fall under his speciality. Often times he will start the relationship by inviting them to an event that is based upon their business. For example, he will invite an executive of a tech company to go to a conference relating to cyber security. After developing this initial relationship, Mr. Musilli will continue to invest in their clients’ intellectual property, meaning he will continue to show interest in the field of his customer. After he develops a good relationship with the potential customer, he discusses the possibility of getting the company’s business.

In order to retain clients, Mr. Musilli continues to show interest in the client’s company, but also uses Hylant’s resources to deliver some of the best customer service in the country. That is how Mr. Musilli retains clients.

Teamwork, according to Mr. Musilli, is one of the most important aspects of his job. Internally, Mr. Musilli has to work with a team in order to coordinate clients. There are many moving parts at Hylant, whether it is the salesman, insurance analysts, or the accountants. Each employee plays an integral role in acquiring a client, so it is important that every employee understands how to work together.

Writing Genres

One of the most important genres that Mr. Musilli uses is email. Similar to the Elon Poll, email is one of the most important genres of writing. On a daily basis, Mr. Musilli receives over 350 emails. He uses emails to send documents, communicate with clients and fellow employees, and keep up to date on company happenings.

Another important genre that Mr. Musilli often uses is peer review and peer analysis. He is assigned to review a new employee each year. After each quarter, Mr. Musilli is required to write an analysis on how the employee is performing, and what they can work on.

Another form of writing that is commonly used is financial summaries. Noted on the Elon Poll as reports, this form of writing was found to be popular amongst professionals across all fields. Each quarter, Client Executives, which are the lead sales people within the company, would report on their earnings. In addition, they would summarize how well their team was doing in gaining clients and retaining them. This summary is sent to the top executives of the company. This skill is noted on the Elon Poll. Finally, Mr. Musilli does a lot of analytical writing for clients. Client Executives will write proofs that explain how the insurance plan works and how it can help the client.

Pro Tips From Insiders

  1. Don’t be flowery in your writing. It is easy to become too verbose in your writing, especially in formal emails. It is important to remember that within the professional setting it is important to be clear and concise.
  2. Know your audience. It is important to understand who the subject of your writing is. If it is someone who does not understand industry language, make sure you adjust your language so it can be understood. Conversely, make sure you adjust your writing styles when addressing a fellow colleague or superior.
  3. Be positive. Doing peer reviews is always difficult. Be sure to mix in a few positives with the negatives. The audience is much more likely to receive your suggestions if they do not feel attacked.

 

This post is part of a series on writing in the professions. Posts were written by students in Dr. Jessie L. Moore’s fall 2019 Writing: Argument & Inquiry class and include research from the June 2019 Center for Engaged Learning/Elon Poll survey of college graduates, age 18-34, High Impact Undergraduate Experiences and How They Matter Now.

Leave a comment

How Being Open-Minded Help Me Find My Career Path

by Maecy Bischoff                                                                                                                 

In denying ourselves the chance to see a situation from different perspectives, we rob ourselves of many wonderful opportunities. By choosing to not consider all possible outcomes of that situation, we may choose a direction that actually limits us rather than allows us to flourish. Had I not realized this when I did, I may not have the career path that I now have set out for myself.

What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

From the time we enter kindergarten, we are asked what we want to be when we grow up. How are college students expected to know for sure what they want to do with the rest of their lives, let alone five-year-olds? They do not always know for certain, as the future is completely unpredictable. However, there is a good place for them to begin, and that is with listing their dream professions and analyzing them in every way possible.

I recently participated in a similar process in my English class at Elon University that was truly eye-opening. It is because of this analysis that I have a much better understanding of where I want to end up and what I have to do to get there. In order to thoroughly execute each part of the process, we completed it in parts. We started with determining exactly what kind of job we were interested in working. Next, we found a job advertisement that closely matched that occupation, which was followed by a career profile analysis. We finished by interviewing an individual who holds our desired job title.

Sometimes the unexpected happens…

To begin our search for our dream jobs, we first had to find a job ad that most closely resembled the profession of our choosing. My dream job is to perform for as many people in as many places in the world as I can. Although, when I searched for job ads for “singers/entertainers,” there was not much to run with. I then took a step back, reevaluated, and considered something that I would normally never allow to cross my mind: teaching.

Since the moment I discovered music as a passion of mine, I have always known that I do not want to teach it. To me, music is something that simply cannot be taught. It is not a step-by-step process in my opinion. You must have some sort of talent to build on. So, as I began my reluctant search for vocal teaching positions, you can imagine my surprise at how rewarding the profession sounded. The job advertisement that I had chosen was offering a teaching position in a highly reputable music school. They stated that their teachers work to “develop students” and to “prepare them for performances at school and around the community.” This is something that intrigued me. I did not realize just how much I desired to give young students with a passion for music the same nurturing in their musical growth that I received. That is something that my interview participant, Doctor Polly Cornelius, mentioned as being one of the most rewarding parts of her job. She loves to see her students grow and develop.

What would be asked of me…

In order to even be considered for a position in this profession, you will most likely need at least a bachelor’s degree or more, depending on the level of teaching. Through researching this job, I found that the salary can be as high as $170,000 and as low as about $39,000, the median being around $78,000 per year. In my interview with Dr. Cornelius, I had the opportunity to ask her about the benefits that come will her occupation. She told me that she is provided with health insurance and a retirement fund.

As my class is a writing course, we of course would like to know exactly what kind of writing, if any, our desired professions perform on a regular basis. Along with educated guesses and some research, we had the opportunity to ask some primary sources. Amongst all three of these sources, I found that the most common types of writing within this job position to be emailing with students or colleagues, or scholarly writing such as citations and letters of recommendation. Dr. Cornelius states that she writes emails everyday to handle small conflict and coordinate schedules. This can also be supported by the Elon Poll, which surveyed college graduates. It shows evidence that more than 70% of the surveyed students use email weekly in their after-college lives. She also has students who have graduated and still seek her help and support in applying for jobs.

While discovering the types of writing that our interview subjects perform was interesting, we were also eager to know the struggles they faced in completing them. Dr. Cornelius did not seem to have much trouble with the genre of writing, but more so the tone in which she had to write. In addressing conflict, she must be careful to use a respectful and professional tone so as to not dig the issue deeper. This is a common problem in writing that is often forgotten. I believe this issue would fall within the Elon Poll’s category of “Adapting to my readers’ expectations and needs,” under which 16% of the surveyed individuals fell.

 

Break it down into parts!

Through completing each part of this analysis, I learned something different from all of them. In choosing my job, I learned to remain open-minded because, without that mindset, I would have never even considered teaching music. After analyzing my job ad, I realized that there is often great pay that comes with teaching music, as well as achievable academic requirements. In analyzing my career, I read about the skills I would need to succeed as a music teacher. The interview segment is where I understood the necessary level of commitment for music teachers toward, not only their craft, but their students.

You may be surprised…

I was extremely discouraged when I did not find many job ads requesting singers or entertainers. Had I not kept an open mind, I would not have considered music teaching nor would I have discovered all the wonderful things that come along with it. By not limiting my path to one way, I suddenly saw many roads I could turn down. So, as the old saying states, “Don’t knock it ‘til you try it.”

 

Sources for Pictures:

 

This post is part of a series on writing in the professions. Posts were written by students in Dr. Jessie L. Moore’s fall 2019 Writing: Argument & Inquiry class and include research from the June 2019 Center for Engaged Learning/Elon Poll survey of college graduates, age 18-34, High Impact Undergraduate Experiences and How They Matter Now.

Leave a comment

How my Professional Writing & Rhetoric Internship prepared me for my Career in Social Media

By: Michaela Bramwell

About Me
My name is Michaela Bramwell and I am currently a junior attending Elon University, majoring in strategic communications and minoring in professional writing and rhetoric. After I graduate, my goal is to get a job managing the social media of a business, musician/band, or professional sports team. Over this past summer, I have gained experience running the social media for businesses and organizations such as the YMCA and a small business called the Barter Business Exchange.

Elon English Department Social Media Intern
I began this internship in August of 2019. My position as the social media intern for the Elon English Department expands my knowledge of the power of rhetoric and visual rhetoric, my creative graphic design skills, and my interviewing skills. This internship allows me to conduct research that provides evidence to support my rhetorical decisions in my posts. I have also learned new ways to increase engagement, such as: responding to post comments and replies, tagging users in posts, and hashtags.

Elon Office of Admissions at Elon University
I am interviewing to be the social media student worker at the Office of Admissions at Elon University. This job entails many of the things that I currently do for the English Department such as:
• interviewing faculty and staff across campus for posting content
• conducting research
• creating new social media campaign ideas to increase engagement

Identifying an Audience
One major thing that my internship has taught me is the importance of knowing your audience as a communicator. If you don’t know your audience, then you can’t create content that appeals to them. As a former Elon applicant, I was my own audience, which allows me to make educated decisions on what we post and how we communicate.

Social Media Tone

My internship has also taught me the importance of tone on social media. For the Elon English account, I have changed the overall tone to be much more relaxed and relatable, which coincides with our primary target audience, which are Elon students. I created a new “brand personality” for our Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook accounts using new hashtags, gifs, emojis, story highlights, and memes.

These types of features are used by our target audience of students. Since the Office of Admissions at Elon’s target audience is prospective students and parents of those students, the tone needs to be professional, but approachable. The social media accounts of the office of admissions are a “first look” into Elon and who we are as a university. We want people to feel welcomed, comfortable, and incorporate the familial vibe that Elon is known for, but also stay professional. These tones would be best communicated through platform feature highlights such as Instagram story highlights, videos, and Instagram TV. These features allow for a speaking individual to be seen and heard on social media and allows for the audience to truly put a face and personality to Elon.

Creating New Ideas

My internship has also allowed me to create new ideas for posts, such as the “Wacky English Wednesday” post, which has become our most popular weekly post. Every week I post a quote about an author that is strange or peculiar. I have learned that popular authors get more likes, so I have adapted the way that I post our Wacky English Wednesday.

Research
I have also conducted research and seen what other school English Departments have done with their social media. For Elon Admissions, I would look at other private universities social media accounts and see what has been working for them. I would also do research into the things that Elon has/is continuing to work on improving, such as diversity and give social media proof of those efforts.

Use of Popular Online Trends


Lastly, my internship has taught me to use popular trends and incorporate a brand into those trends. For example, my Wacky English Wednesday fact involved popular author J.K. Rowling who wrote the Harry Potter books. In that specific post, I included a link to a quiz that determined which Hogwarts house you would be, as well as a question poll that asked, “Which House are you?” These received multiple replies on all the platforms.

New Ideas for Office of Admissions Social Media
My new idea for the Elon Admissions account is interviewing different staff, faculty, and students who have various positions, on why they believe students should apply to Elon. This would convey the “family” aspect of Elon by saying no matter what you do here at Elon, you are a part of our family. I would make sure to get a diverse group of people to interview to also prove Elon’s commitment to diversity. Another idea I have would be to do a “Student Takeover” on Instagram, where different students post on the Instagram story about a day in the life of an Elon student.

Conclusion
Overall, I feel very prepared to interview for this job because of my experience with the Elon English Department Social Media. I feel that I can create new ideas that will help grow the following of Elon Admissions.

 

*This post was written a week prior to my interview and I recently found out that I got the job and accepted the position. *

Leave a comment

Thinking About Finance?

By Sydney Moses

Studying to be a finance major can be difficult and at times very stressful, but if you are passionate about business, the hard work pays off. There are many different routes of careers in finance, such as an investment banker, a financial analyst, a portfolio manager, a trader, and a stockbroker. This post will provide information from a variety of sources, specifically a personal interview with Steve Moses, who works in Finance, an Elon Poll, and the Occupational Outlook Handbook.

What Employment in Finance Depicts?

The profession I researched was in finance. The typical requirements for an entry-level position include an education level of a business administration (BA), a Master of Business Administration (MBA), and a chartered financial analyst (CFA). Successful completion of Series 7 & 63 licenses is usually strongly desired because the exams certify and grant permission to work in the stock market. Non-educational requirements include being able to work in groups or independently, formulating strategies, and working in high-pressure environments. The average salary range for entry-level individuals working in finance, specifically in wealth management is $60,000, and successful professionals is $80,000 a year (Occupational Outlook Handbook). States such as New York, California, Massachusetts, and Texas are locations that one could pursue a career as a financial analyst and major companies are JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, and Bank of America Securities. Having an internship is vital nowadays for employers to see your interest in the career and to receive skills that are not obtained in the classroom.

Different Kinds of Regularly Applied Writing in Finance:

Genres employees of finance routinely compose include online chatting with other employees, firms or asset managers, hedge funds, and brokers. Another genre used frequently is emailing, which provides follow-up answers to questions about strategies that would arise in phone calls while consulting with clients. Email is also used to communicate internally to gather a company consensus on different problems that have become apparent and requires everyone’s opinion. Later on, in this post understanding the importance of email in finance will be demonstrated through an interview with a person from the career. Jobs in finance also require a high proficiency in Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. Other writing genres include progress or expense reports and business proposals.

Writing Challenges that Employees in Finance Face:

Writing clearly and concisely is an important skill a member of the finance community requires. For example, when developing a marketing deck, an employee should be direct and transparent. Furthermore, when creating a PowerPoint, use bullet points as not to give too much information, and “rank the bullet points in terms of importance.” Another writing challenge is soliciting businesses to answer the question “WHY” to provide clients a reason to retain your products or services (Moses). A massive problem an employee in finance might face is an immensely large quantity of emails received. Some emails are not necessary or relevant to the employer and can result in emails being inefficient at times.

Findings Compared to the National Survey Findings Reported by the Elon Poll and the Center for Engaged Learning:

The Elon University Poll: “High Impact Undergraduate Experiences and How They Matter Now,” a survey of college graduates age 18 to 34 conducted June 7 to 12th, 2019, has findings that show how often employees use different writing genres. As illustrated earlier, knowing how to write for different disciplines is important even for jobs that are number oriented. According to the poll, which describes genres written weekly, depicted that 31.8% reported writing “Reports (e.g. expense reports, progress reports, white papers, etc.),” 13.6% created “Proposals (e.g. business proposals, grant proposals, etc.),” 20.6% built “Presentations”, and 35.5% utilized “Client correspondence.” The most significant genre used by the employees surveyed were “Emails,” which 70.4% wrote weekly (Elon Poll). In finance specifically it is important to understand when it is necessary to send emails and how to write them.

Interview with an Employee in the Business World:

Steve Moses is currently an owner, a managing partner, trader, and risk manager at Additive Advisory and Capital RIA (registered investment advisor). The responsibilities Mr. Moses’ profession entails are trading, monitoring markets from a directional and volatility perspective, reading fundamental and derivative research, looking at technical stock charts, and communicating with brokers about what they are thinking and seeing. Writing genres he actively uses include email, “Slack,” and “Bloomberg” to communicate with other employees, brokers, and potential clients. As seen throughout this post email is crucial to work communication, as illustrated in the interview, poll, and research. The most rewarding part of the interviewee’s career is discussing a trade idea or strategy either by sending an email or having a phone conversation with a current client or prospect, portraying how important writing eloquently is for financial success. A challenge Mr. Moses faces is potential clients not responding to phone calls or emails or giving very little feedback. Since feedback and responding to clients is a significant element of running a business, he informed me that he “prefers a no response versus being strung along!” Mr. Moses also advised me that he wished he knew more about markets and investing and had a mentor to help guide him before starting his career.

Takeaways:

  • Writing in business, specifically, finance can be challenging.
  • Individuals must be clear and concise when writing emails, engaged in client correspondence, building decks, and customized reports.

Works Cited

“Financial Analysts : Occupational Outlook Handbook:” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/financial-analysts.htm?view_full.

“High Impact Undergraduate Experiences and How They Matter Now.” Elon-Poll, 2019, www.elon.edu/u/elon-poll/wp-content/uploads/sites/819/2019/07/2019_7_31-ElonPoll_Report.pdf.

Moses, Steve. Personal interview. 8 September 2019

 

This post is part of a series on writing in the professions. Posts were written by students in Dr. Jessie L. Moore’s fall 2019 Writing: Argument & Inquiry class and include research from the June 2019 Center for Engaged Learning/Elon Poll survey of college graduates, age 18-34, High Impact Undergraduate Experiences and How They Matter Now.

Leave a comment

A Day in the Life of a Physical Therapist

By Olivia Hamilton

Agile North Physical Therapy (Agile North)

The job of a physical therapist is very interesting and unique. To build upon my previous knowledge about this professional field, I conducted an informational interview with physical therapist Dr. Bryan Labell, who has been practicing physical therapy since 1998. Dr. Labell graduated from Penn State and went on to get his doctorate from Massachusetts General Hospital’s Institute of Health Professions. He completed many training programs and internships at hospitals in the Boston area before opening up his own private practice called Agile North

Physical Therapy, located in Danvers, Massachusetts. Dr. Labell explained that his daily tasks include hands-on work with patients demonstrating exercises and conducting mobility tests.

Why Choose Physical Therapy?

Different physical therapists might have a different reason for why they chose their profession, but most have one thing in common: the desire and passion to help people.

To be a physical therapist, you must be passionate about the job. Dr. Labell explains that one of the reasons he chose physical therapy was because of his passion for the field. He also believes it is the best way to spend quality time and have meaningful relationships with his patients while watching them improve.

I have been a patient at Agile North Physical Therapy and have seen the passion that Dr. Labell and his assistants have for their jobs. They want the best for each and every patient and they helped me to find my passion for this field. What I most appreciate about Agile North is the friendly and welcoming environment that the team creates for the patients.

Job Requirements

The job requirements to be a physical therapist can vary from practice to practice. The Occupational Outlook Handbook states that most entry-level jobs require or highly prefer the following:

  • Doctorate in physical therapy
  • Licensed physical therapist (required)
    • Requirements for a license varies for every state
    • All include passing a national exam
  • Completed residency experience (preferred)

Getting on Track

Starting in college, do research and take prerequisite courses for physical therapy graduate programs. Dr. Labell said he took the prerequisites for a science major and minored in exercise and sport science. Most physical therapy graduate programs require anatomy, physiology, and biology. Other preferred areas include chemistry, physics, and psychology.

Helpful Skills to Have

  • Passion
  • Motivation
  • Good Time Management
  • Good Communication Skills

These skills are helpful in the field of physical therapy because having good time management and strong communication skills will make the work of a physical therapist easier and more enjoyable. In order to enjoy the career, you must be passionate about helping others to achieve their goals.

Salary Range

The salary of a physical therapist varies widely. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, the average salary working in hospitals and offices of occupational and speech therapists was around $88,000 in 2018.

  • A physical therapist working in a residential care facility makes around $94,000
  • A physical therapist working in a private practice makes around $90,000

Writing Responsibilities of a Physical Therapist

Physical Therapy Patient Report (Physical Therapy Office Forms)

While physical therapy consists of more hands-on work, there is still some writing done daily. The most frequent writing throughout the day is note taking. Physical therapists are constantly jotting down small notes and details on patient charts regarding improvements. Other types of writing that physical therapists encounter include writing patient reports and corresponding over email with patients, doctors, insurance companies, and other staff members. Dr. Labell said that he spends around 15-25% of his time writing. According to the Elon Poll results, around 32% of college graduates say that they write reports for their profession weekly and 70% say they write emails weekly. These are the two types of writing most commonly found in the physical therapy field.

Writing Challenges

Physical therapy consists of writing a lot of patient reports and corresponding with doctors and insurance companies through email. When I asked Dr. Labell to explain the writing challenges he faces, he said there aren’t any that he could think of. He said that because he had so much practice through internships, writing patient reports was never really a challenge for him personally. However, one challenge new physical therapists may face is encountering types of writing that they have no previous experience in. This corresponds to the results of the Elon Poll which says that 20% of college graduates’ biggest writing challenge is when they encounter a genre of writing they have previously never encountered.

Positive and Rewarding Aspects

There are many rewarding aspects of this profession because patients are constantly reaching and exceeding their goals of healing an injury or returning to a sport. Dr. Labell says that all improvements big and small are rewarding because he gets to see his work change patients’ lives. To hear about rewarding stories specific to Dr. Labell’s practice, visit Agile North’s website and click on “Success Stories.”

Challenging Aspects

One of the main challenges that physical therapists face is coaching each patient every day to reach their best. Not all patients are motivated! When a patient comes in unwillingly, it is the job of the physical therapist to motivate them, which is not always easy.

Another challenge of a physical therapist is constantly being on their feet. Throughout the day, there is little down time to sit and relax. Physical therapists are constantly moving around working one-on-one with each patient to ensure the maximum success. If you want to learn more about the daily routines of a physical therapist, including rewards and challenges, watch Rachel Chavez’s Physical Therapist – Day in the Life video. Rachel Chavez is a physical therapist for the County of San Diego’s Health & Human Services. In the video, she describes some of the physically challenging aspects of her work.

Physical therapy is a great career option for those who have interest in science and health fields and enjoy helping others!

 

This post is part of a series on writing in the professions. Posts were written by students in Dr. Jessie L. Moore’s fall 2019 Writing: Argument & Inquiry class and include research from the June 2019 Center for Engaged Learning/Elon Poll survey of college graduates, age 18-34, High Impact Undergraduate Experiences and How They Matter Now.

Leave a comment