Zoe Berman - 2018

Position title: Publishing

Pronouns: she/her

What career pathway have you pursued since your time in the UW-Madison English major?

I started working for Scholastic almost immediately upon graduating from UW. In my time there, I’ve gotten very involved in several corporate and employee-led DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging) committees and initiatives. From those efforts, I was motivated to pursue and receive a Certificate in Human Resources Management from Cornell via eCornell.

What did you enjoy about the English major?

I loved my creative writing workshops so much. These professors are some of the most creative and encouraging leaders I’ve had the pleasure of learning from. I still employ so many techniques and do many of the same activities in my adult life (spirals as a recording technology, little poems every day, visual miscellanea).

How did your time as an English major prepare you for your current work? What skills do humanities students bring to your industry?

Humanities skills are critical–how many times have you seen an advertisement with a glaring error and thought, “gee, if only they’d had someone who had the appropriate skill set to review this prior to launch!”? We come at situations differently, with objectivity and a willingness to work and rework the material until it’s what we need it to be.

What is one piece of career advice you would offer our English undergraduates?

Do not ever discount the skills you’ve picked up during your English major that don’t relate specifically to English coursework. Things like time and project management, development and delivery of constructive feedback, written and verbal communication, problem-solving. Even something as simple as familiarity with the Microsoft 365 applications you used for your short stories/narrative nonfic/poetry and so forth. Leverage those experiences, and walk yourselves through the processes you use to accomplish your goals on a very granular level to isolate specific skills.

Other majors, certificates, or key points of involvement during time at UW:

Creative Writing and French, Redefined A Cappella!

Anything else you’d like to share?

Publishing is but one industry of many that desperately needs strong Humanities students. Other industries may provide more immediate opportunities for roles that write articles, manage digital and print content, and write social media posts. Editorial roles in Publishing are very much geared towards managing the editorial process all the way through: author/illustrator relationships, initial manuscript pitches, editing and guiding the creator through the process, and navigating internally with Marketing and Design teams to formulate the overall package. They are less writing and creating content than they are project managing.