Category Archives: Outside the Classroom

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.

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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.

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.

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. *

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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.


  • 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,

“High Impact Undergraduate Experiences and How They Matter Now.” Elon-Poll, 2019,

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.

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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.

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The World Of Marketing

By Sydney Daileanes

What Is Marketing All About? 

A lot of different thoughts come to mind when one considers the field of marketing. There are such a variety of jobs within the marketing profession. According to Oxford’s online dictionary, marketing is defined as the process of interesting potential customers and clients in an organization’s products and/or services. Because marketing involves researching, promoting, selling, and distributing products or services, the word process is essential to this definition.

Over the past decade, an abundance of jobs in marketing has arisen mostly because of advancements in technology. The overall employment of managers of advertising, promotions, and marketing is projected to grow eight percent from 2018 to 2028. This projected growth is greater than that of any other occupation. In order to continue expanding, organizations must continuously develop advertising, promotions, and marketing campaigns.

What is Required For This Field?

Requirements for jobs in the marketing field vary based on the level and type of career. Expectations for an entry-level job in the marketing profession are generalized. For example, I examined one entry-level job advertisement which states that it is merely helpful for applicants to have experience in public relations, gifting, advertising, celebrity speaking engagements, or business development. Background training in research methods, databases, and general office skills is preferred. Prior experience as a participant in informal seminars such as social media marketing or digital marketing techniques is advantageous but not required. For this entry-level internship position, the requirements are mostly general, however. Overall, it targets undergraduate students who are looking for academic credit and experience.

During my research, I also analyzed the requirements for advertising, promotions, and marketing managers. The requisites for these types of jobs are more rigorous and direct. A bachelor’s degree is required for most advertising, promotions, and marketing management positions. These managers typically have years of work experience in advertising, marketing, promotions, or sales.

GSK Headquarters in North Carolina

GSK Headquarters in North Carolina

I had the privilege of interviewing my uncle, Mr. Bill Daileanes, about his career working as a respiratory biologic specialist at a pharmaceutical company called GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). In simple terms, he sells to doctors and hospitals a groundbreaking drug designed to treat asthma. Bill’s goal is to grow business in his territory. It took him many years to get to achieve the position he currently holds. He started with more basic work and eventually got a job he is most passionate about. He first earned a bachelor’s degree, which is required for most jobs in sales. Then, Bill needed to gain work experience and undergo years of training at GSK. Although there may be general requirements for jobs in the field of marketing initially, one is able to progress in the field by doing on-the-job training and gaining experience.

How Much Money Can Be Made?

Wages in different marketing fields depend on the field, company, location, and position held. The average salary for an entry level job in marketing is $42,144 per year in the United States. The median wage is the wage in the middle–half of all workers in an occupation earn more than that wage and half earn less. The median annual wage for advertising and promotions managers in May of 2018 was $117,130. The lowest ten percent of those employees earned less than $57,150, and the highest ten percent earned more than $208,000. The median annual wage for marketing managers was $134,290 in May 2018. The lowest ten percent of those employees earned less than $69,840, and the highest ten percent earned more than $208,000. It is certainly hard to become a manager in the field of marketing. When I interviewed Bill, he said when he started his career at Enterprise, he was not earning nearly as much money as he is now. Even though he is not a manager at his current job, he revealed the pay is generous and there are a lot of benefits and incentives. Becoming a manager is not necessary to be successful or to earn a good living in the field of marketing.

What Types of Writing Are Expected? 

Many jobs in the marketing field require some form of informal or formal writing. Entry-level positions are designed to help employees to become more efficient and competent in different genres of writing in the field. Taking notes, planning campaigns, creating biographies for clients, and composing emails are the most common types of writing needed for entry-level marketing jobs. For example, the job advertisement that I analyzed was seeking an employee who could participate in the creative side of the business, which includes brainstorming sessions, researching celebrities and athletes for events and campaigns, and composing full biographies for client proposals.

As a respiratory biologic specialist, my uncle is not required to complete a lot of formal writing. While much of his day involves face-to-face encounters with physicians, doctors, and nurses, he also communicates with them through email. 70.4% of people in the Elon Poll say that they use email-writing weekly in their jobs. He said that his electronic communication is not merely an afterthought, however. According to the Elon Poll, 16% of graduate students responded that the biggest writing challenge they have encountered since graduating college is “Adapting to my readers’ expectations and needs.” It has taken Bill years to become skilled at constructing professional and succinct emails. When Bill worked at Enterprise, he was responsible for writing mailers. He was also responsible for writing to credit union members. If there was a sale to a certain credit union, he would have to document it in writing. Although Bill has not had to write many lengthy pieces of writing, the business emails and mailers he has had to write have to be meticulous, clear, and effective.

As an employee moves up the corporate ladder to a manager position, the ability to write well in many different genres is likely required. In addition to writing emails, taking notes, and planning, an upper-level employee must participate in more extensive written communication. For example, many marketing managers must plan promotional campaigns such as contests or giveaways, plan advertising campaigns (writing billboards), create websites and layouts for campaigns, develop pricing strategies, and analyze research studies. Approximately 63.6% of responders in the Elon Poll said writing effectively is important in their everyday life. The genre of writing suitable for each task is dependent on many different factors, but being able to write effectively is a necessity.

Difficulties With Writing 

Most people have written academic essays, research papers, and electronic communication. The challenge is to adapt to the types of writing that each field, company, and position requires. For example, 19.6% of respondents from the Elon Poll said they struggled with writing they had never encountered before. To start off in an entry-level marketing job necessitates perfecting email skills and practicing written campaigns. One must have effective note-taking skills and the ability to compose biographies for clients. With job experience, an employee’s writing is likely to improve and expand.

When Uncle Bill must email physicians to promote his drug called NUCALA, he has to be cognizant that these physicians are some of the smartest people in the world. He must double check his punctuation and grammar. If his writing were unclear or weak, it could jeopardize his success in selling NUCALA to these doctors. With years of experience, Bill is confident that his electronic communication with doctors is proficient. Bill remembered that when he worked at Enterprise early on in his career, writing mailers was quite challenging. He said it was something he was not used to doing because he had little experience with this type of writing. While he learned to write academic papers in school, he learned to do situational writing while on the job.

Marketing Manager. Photo by John Rowley.

Being a manager in a marketing position can be extremely difficult, and even with years of experience, written communication is not easy. Possessing the ability to write in a way that will please everyone is virtually impossible. Writing for an international audience also can be incredibly challenging. Some marketing managers lack the knowledge necessary to interpret marketing report data. Based on an Elon Poll, only 44.5% of people after college say they do not use advertising and promotional materials at work.

The field of marketing is in high demand. Job growth and career opportunities are on the rise. There are many reasons people pursue careers in marketing, whether they are interested in creativity or business. It is important not to forget the relevance of being an experienced writer, no matter the profession. 


Image Sources:

GSK Headquarters in North Carolina. GSK Headquarters Link

Marketing Manager. Photo by John Rowley. Marketing Manager Link


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.

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My Experience as the PWR Social Media Intern

by Carey Spence

How I Started

I first started working as the Professional Writing & Rhetoric major’s social media intern in September. In order to become acclimated to the role, my initial work included familiarizing myself with the website, CUPID blog, and the social media. Because Professional Writing and Rhetoric just recently became its own major separate from the English major, I needed to understand all that this switch entailed. After acclimating myself with the tone and overall brand the major embodies, I then needed to make a plan for the content I wanted to create and share. After meetings with Dr. Li and Dr. Pope-Ruark, as well as communicating with the previous intern, I had a plan in place to effectively communicate as the Professional Writing intern.

What I Did

My overarching plan for the Professional Writing and Rhetoric department’s social media was to focus on engagement. While there was already content on both the Twitter and Instagram accounts, engagement was not very high. However, after meeting with Dr. Pope-Ruark, we decided that the main focus should be on the Twitter account. With this in mind, my research for content was strategically informed. I wanted to share information that was useful to my audience, with the goal of getting more engagement on tweets — retweets, comments, and likes — and moreover, expanding the account’s reach.

One of the ways I focused on engagement with the Twitter account was by tweeting at different departments. The purpose of this was to establish relationships with these other departments so that they would retweet the content I was pushing. I emphasized the Professional Writing and Rhetoric program as a major that supplements other majors such as business majors and liberal arts majors.

In this regard, I also placed a lot of emphasis on the benefits of the program. Many Elon students have never even heard of Professional Writing and Rhetoric, and therefore don’t know much about the program. I tweeted articles about the importance of writing and communication skills and snippets from the website that promote this program as applicable to all career paths. Everyone needs to learn how to effectively communicate, so why not become an expert?

For the overarching theme of engagement, one of the ideas for content I had was to reach out to alumni in order to get testimonials for both Instagram and Twitter, as well as for the CUPID blog. While it’s nice for me to say that the Professional Writing and Rhetoric program is beneficial to any career, it means a lot more to hear it from people who are actually in the workforce, putting these skills to use. Including testimonials from alumni builds the program’s overall ethos.

My Advice

My main advice for future interns, both in this position specifically and for interns in general, is to come into any task with a specific plan. Coming up with content for the social media could have been a daunting task, but when I planned out how I wanted to approach the week, or even just that specific day, it was easier for me to think back on my goal (increasing engagement) and make decisions strategically.

Another piece of advice when it comes to social media specifically is to remember the social aspect. If I wanted other people and accounts to interact and engage with the content I was producing, I had to be willing to do that myself. Just liking photos on Instagram from other accounts went a long way in increasing engagement. I also found that retweeting other departments’ tweets made them more likely to retweet mine. In fact, just liking other accounts’ tweets led to an alumni sending me content that she thought my audience would want to see, making my job easier. Thinking strategically and building relationships are my two key pieces of advice when communicating.


Carey Spence is the 2018-2019 social media intern for Professional Writing & Rhetoric. Carey is double majoring in English Literature and Strategic Communications, with a minor in Professional Writing.

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How To Market Yourself: Alumni Advice

Guest Blogger Rebecca Porter ’16

As a (graduated) senior (still in denial) I have found it helpful to look at those that were in my shoes before me and see what they have done to get to where they are now. Therefore, for my senior seminar capstone project I wanted to interact with PWR alumni to see where they are now, but more importantly understand how they got there. After weeks of communication with 15 different alumni I have collect tidbits of great advice about skill sets, marketability, and overall life in general about the professional world that I think is really important to share.

Let’s dive in.

Kevin Thompson ’12 shares, “Apply to everything-don’t limit yourself to writing or design. By the time you graduate you should be able to approach any situation and make it work.” Alexa Dysch ’15 agrees by stating, “Our degrees and skill sets enable us to work in any setting that we desire! I think at the core of ever job, you need to communicate with someone, whether a co-worker or a customer, and being able to study and understand that audience and then communicate effectively with them is a priceless tool.”

Their advice reassured me. But let’s keep going. What about when trying to market yourself to others?

Erin Nebel ‘03 said, “First, figure out what the company needs, then explain how your foundation of PWR can help the organization improve, grow and succeed.” Rachel Fishman ’15 builds off of this idea by stating, “emphasize your ability to communicate across diverse audiences and to be innovative with the mediums you use to capture your audiences!”

Alumni have emphasized that PWR majors have strong written and oral communication skills that are supported by knowledge and theories that have been proven effective. Sarah Paterson ’15 states, “PWR makes me an excellent writer and communicator in both verbal and visual contexts. PWR is flexible and can be applied anywhere, which means you are adaptable and ready to pick up new skills or learn about new industries.”

I also asked alumni about how they prepare for an interview. Molly Auger ‘11 tells me, “Rehearse your 30-second elevator speech and self-pitch and “consider your rhetorical appeals and your audience in your cover letters- don’t reiterate what can be discovered from your resume.”

Although squeezing all of your skill sets that you have learned over the past four years can be quite challenging, looking to our PWR alumni and learning how they have successfully done so is extremely helpful and reminds you to think rhetorically through each of your decisions. Why am I doing what I am doing and is this the most effective way?

There is a month left of school so sometimes the most important reminder you can give yourself: just breathe, it will all work out.

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How To Market Yourself: Portfolios

Guest Blogger Rebecca Porter ’16

Let’s review. Marketing yourself to a future employer is an important step when moving from academics and further into the professional world. As discussed in (link here) there are ways to create a resume that successfully shows off your skills ets and sets you a part from the pack. Yet, in a multimedia world there are different ways to market yourself than just a resume. In fact, after surveying PWR alumni, many stated that portfolios or personal blogs are just as valuable. How do you make an effective blog or website you ask?

Mia Brady ’13 states in order to “make it most effective you’d want to have a lot of clickable links to connect to websites or materials applicable to the student’s work.” Make sure that if you are making an interactive way to market your skills, the platform that you are doing is also interactive. The more information that you give an employer, the more likely you will stick out against other applicants. Check out alumni Caitlin Rantala‘s superwoman-themed portfolio. Cool, right? She further proves the point that you can have a fun portfolio, but you can also show off your skills at the same time. Pick a theme that means something to you. If you’re not attached to it, why should anyone else be?

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Also, choose colors and fonts that are further going to showcase who you are and the story you are trying to tell. Keep in mind who your audience is and your ultimate goal for making a website. Understand how to tailor what your interests are to the interests of your audience and work to seam those two ideas together in an innovative way. Look at this, this, this and this, for more inspiration to get you started on your portfolio.

Need more reasons why portfolios are vital? Read this. Some of the jobs you may apply require writing samples and because of this, Hillary Dooley ’14 says, “It’s easier (and helps establish ethos) to provide a link to your portfolio with not only your writing samples, but why these examples are effective forms of communication. Even if potential employers don’t review your portfolio, it lets them know that you have enough experience and have taken the time to create a portfolio.” Provide a diverse group of writing samples in your portfolio, but have a layout that is clearly organized and understandable for employers to navigate.

In a multimedia world, having different platforms to show off why your qualified is helpful when entering the professional world and creating a portfolio is a great place to start. By creating other materials besides a resume you are applying your skills in innovative ways that are appealing to employers.

And our alumni have other helpful advice they’ve shared with me. Read the next post to find out.

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An Intro to PWR Student Explores SURF

Guest Blogger Meara Waxman ’19

Color scheme, organization of text, and images: all of these aspects are important to consider when creating a rhetorically effective poster and presentation. As I milled around the different posters lining the Great Hall and Elon’s SURF Day (Student Undergraduate Research Forum), I started to notice that the most complicated posters did not always turn out to be the most rhetorically effective.

poster1First, I saw that the scientific presenters often filled their entire poster with words and complicated graphs. As shown in the image to the right, it was difficult to pull out the most important information. Even as my eyes were naturally drawn to the images in the top right-hand corner, I could not immediately tell what the image was supposed to depict. The issue was not that the information was too technical, just that there was too much information on the page. Since the presenter was also speaking about the topic, I felt that this poster, while informative, could have been more effective if it had used the text to highlight the main points instead of summarizing all of the research.

poster2I saw another poster that also had a lot of information condensed onto a small space, but this one worked a little better because of the systematic color scheme. In the image on the left, the author chose green to highlight the section titles, and she outlined the bottom in a transparent green to continue the theme. Since her presentation was on photosynthesis, the color choice was not only relevant, but it also served to emphasize the topic of the poster. This visual presentation did a really good job of incorporating the contrast and repetition elements of the C.R.A.P principles of graphic design because of the green color and the consistent section headers. However, this poster did have a scatterplot right in the middle of the page, which cluttered up the central focus point of the poster and distracted from the highlighted bullet points.

The final poster that I will bring into my discussion is a poster that addressed all of the C.R.A.P principles (contrast, repetition, alignment, and proximity). Compared to the other posters I discussed above, this poster (left) seemed rather simple. However, this simplicity actually enticed more audience members because it was not too overwhelming. The text and images aligned nicely and complimented each other well. Additionally, the format of the text was repeated throughout the poster, which kept the visuals consistent.

poster3The most rhetorically interesting part of the poster, however, required the viewer to pay careful attention. At first, I thought that this poster did not do a good job with repetition because the colors of the text were different for every section, and I did not understand the reasoning behind that decision. However, upon closer inspection, I realized that the colors of the text came from the different colors of the map about Senegalese migration. This rhetorical decision subtly highlighted the map and drew attention to the most important features of the image.

Overall, I was extremely impressed with the SURF presentations that I saw, and I am excited to hopefully become a presenter in the next few years. Seeing the posters today and noticing which elements made the posters rhetorically effective helped me understand the importance of making a poster visually appealing as well as academically engaging. Perhaps not everyone who looked at the posters realized that the rhetorical decisions of the presentation made the difference between what they considered “good” and “bad” posters, but those choices were still important underlying elements. In other words, the rhetorical language gave the posters the extra push they needed to be engaging, effective, and appealing.

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Words From The Wise: Parting Thoughts From Soon-to-be Graduates

With Commencement just a few weeks away, the Cupid Blog wanted to take a minute and talk to a few of the soon-to-be graduating seniors about what they have learned and hear any PWR words of wisdom they might have to share.


                                                                                                                          Dustin Swope 

11225510_10206820098124938_560738177_n“PWR has taught me the power of rhetoric as a tool for enacting change in the world, as well as the need to lead future authors by example towards an ethical relationship with rhetoric.”

“My advice  is to start every project by learning as much as you can about the topic, the people that you’re writing to, and possibly the people that you’re writing for. Then, use this information to spread knowledge and make a positive difference in the world.”






Rachel Lewis 

11205105_10206526807630559_8413733152649991146_n-2“PWR taught me how to communicate. It taught me that writing has value within the sphere of social justice, and it taught me that social media can be huge when it comes to uplifting the voices of marginalized voices. More than anything, PWR has taught me that communication is great, but communication backed by theory and ethics has the ability to make a huge influence on the ways that we interact in the world. Because of PWR, I have had the opportunity to manage a number of social media accounts, I know how to send a professional email that will get a response, and I know how to design a brochure that allows my readers to skim without losing any important information.”



Miranda Allan


“Keep track of how your PWR definition and identity evolve throughout your coursework. It’s something we’re always wrapped up in, but we don’t always examine it critically. As a senior, I wish that I had more materials chronicling my growth throughout the program!”

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