Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A Working Girl in the Windy City

'A Working Girl in the ...' is a post written by a contributing writer that appears on Working Girl twice a month. This week's post was written by a Working Girl from Chicago, Illinois about her career as a junior copywriter. 

My days are filled with working on farming equipment, fighting with super-heroes, and searching for just the right words to explain how Facebook on your Blackberry is like having peanut butter with your jelly. I'm a junior copywriter and I get paid to be creative (in other words, I write copy for ads - not copyrights as my uncles still seem to think).

I’m a Midwest Working Girl born and raised, and now I'm working in my Sweet Home Chicago, where the winters are never-ending, the Cubs are the talk of the town (this is our year!) and where you can strike up friendly conversations with anyone on a bus, in an elevator or even on the street. Though just a word of warning, be careful of the creeps...especially on the bus (a story for another time).

Ever since I was a little girl I wanted to be a writer but when I went to college in the land of cheese and obese Packer fans (don’t even get me started), I discovered and fell in love with the wonderful world of advertising. When I declared my double major in advertising and public relations, it was a no-brainer to me to choose copywriting as my career path since it is defined as a profession that takes publicity, advertising, and writing and uses them to promote an idea, a brand, or a website among many other things.

I completed two internships during my senior year of college. The first was at a regional branch of an amazing Boston-based advertising agency. There, I worked on the McDonald’s account for almost 8 months. After sitting next to giant posters of McFlurrys and Snack Wraps all day, I began to crave them all the time…and I still do. For my second internship, my copywriting professor hired me as his intern and I spent a semester writing copy for industrial heaters, air conditioning units, and eyeglass cutting machinery. Absolutely riveting stuff, I know.

When it came to finding my first real Working Girl job, I didn’t have to look far. In fact, I only sent out my resume to one person (after he contacted me for it), had one interview and voila! I was hired. I was really, really lucky. My current boss had given a presentation in one of my classes in October of senior year. Before he even spoke, I handed him my resume and cover letter. In the beginning of July, he emailed me out of the blue asking me if I would be interested in an interview. Ten days and one short interview later, I was a Working Girl.

My boss later told me (after a rowdy client holiday party) that I stood out to him because never before had someone given him their resume, in front of the whole class, before he even started talking. He said he couldn’t believe I had the guts to do that. Me? A gutsy girl? I didn’t think I was at the time, but it just goes to show how putting yourself out there and meeting the right people can really pay off. I think networking with people throughout all facets of the industry in which you want to work is the key to success and landing your “dream job”.

So where would I like to go with my job? Well eventually I’d like to lose the “junior” on my title. It makes me sound like a girl-scout-in-training. Despite that I feel lucky because I ended up with the job I truly wanted and hopefully I’ll get to stick with it and grow from here.

For now, I’ll just enjoy working on The Magnificent Mile and living in the thriving metropolis that is my home. Though the first few months were a tough adjustment for me (only 10 vacation days?!), I’m beginning to realize that I actually can handle the Working Girl lifestyle. 

But before you think I don't still have a little college in me, I'd like to just say “everybody’s workin’ for the weekend” has become my midweek battle cry even though I love my creatively quirky job. 


meg said...

That's very gusty, handing your resume to a speaker before class. I'd be too nervous, but good to know that it paid off in the end for you!

Anonymous said...

Woo Hoo! Chicago.

BrightCrayon said...


Second: I am from IL and am a Packer fan. Sorry. (Oh and a Cardinal fan.. double whammy, I know :-)