Alumni in Action
Alumni Spotlight: Hannah Kelly
Describe your current position
I’m currently working as an Associate Copywriter for Demand Inc, a B2B (business to business) sales development group. In my role, I put together copy for a wide variety of businesses looking to promote their services through email outreach. This means I work with our amazing copywriting team to brainstorm and write emails that will get our clients meetings and get their names out in the world. It’s a lot of experimenting with language and what will get the most attention from the right people at various organizations.
To what extent does writing relate to your current position? What type of writing/design do you do for work?
I write every day at work! I spend most of my time writing and editing different email variants to test against each other and find what works best. A lot of what I do is persuasive writing in that I’m always trying to piece together what I know of the audience, context, and the client I’m writing for to create the most compelling piece of copy I can (I think about the rhetorical triangle daily, if not hourly— yes, I really do). So altogether my job is like a writing puzzle every day!
Briefly describe your path from graduation at GVSU to your current position.
Shortly after graduation, I was hired as a Communications and Development Specialist for Catherine’s Health Center, a non-profit health system in the Grand Rapids area. I absolutely loved working there because I got to be creative and use every bit of my writing degree, working on graphic design, social media, marketing, film, and writing projects all at once. After working there for about a year and a half, I was approached by a fellow GV writing alumni who worked for Demand Inc. about an opening there, and I was excited to try a new adventure in a completely different field. I’ve now been there for about three months exploring what copywriting looks like, and I’ve been really enjoying it!
What parts of the writing major had the strongest impact on you as a professional?
All the classes I took on visual rhetoric and multimodal composing really helped me become a well rounded professional. I was able to learn skills in a variety of industry programs I now use all the time and got plenty of practice at being a flexible problem solver. These classes also taught me how to look at the world through a rhetorical lens and gave me the vocabulary to talk about what makes writing and design work, which has been super important for the working world.
The creative writing classes I took (fiction, CNF) also taught me how to give and receive feedback, how to pull inspiration from the world around me for my work, and, most importantly, how to find meaning through writing. Creative writing brings me joy and helps me process big thoughts and feelings, keeps me curious, and helps me find what’s important to me. That’s what’s fantastic about this major: you’re not only learning how to write for a career, but how to write to find purpose and a greater understanding of yourself and the world around you.
What advice would you offer to current/future writing majors
at Grand Valley?
1. Get involved wherever you can: One of the best things about the GV writing community is that there are so many opportunities to get involved in and out of the classroom. Attend a club, start a group chat with your classmates, make friends and learn from them— these are the people that know exactly what you’re going through and will be there for you when you’re looking for a job, looking to start a workshop group for your writing, or looking for support while just going through life. Getting involved will also encourages you to learn new skills, explore new parts of yourself, and find what you’re passionate about.
2. Consider how you want to fit writing into your life after graduation: How do you want to balance your work and your life, and how do you want your writing to fit into everything? One of the greatest parts about my current job is that it gives me ample opportunity to make time for my own creative writing, which I’ve found incredibly important for me to feel fulfilled. Prioritize your self care/what’s important to you first when looking for a job that will fit your life.
3. Don’t forget you’re doing great: Your career will find you, there’s no doubt about it. You have the skills and the experience from your classes, and you’ll make a great candidate for so many positions. It might feel scary making that transition to the working world, but you’re prepared, and you’ll find your place in time.
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