Paul Hagen, Alumnus: Editor in Chief, Metrosource Magazine
Describe your career path. What choices did you make? How did you use your time in college to help you along in your career path?
I started my career with two internships - one at an internet startup and one at Princeton Review - that I was either referred to by fellow Fordham Students or Fordham Staff. My first job after graduating was being vacated by a fellow Fordham alum and I rose from Editorial Assistant to Associate Editor by proving myself a valuable asset to the company. When the Chief left, I was the best choice to navigate the publication through some choppy financial waters, as I'd been so involved with its cost-cutting efforts and have been with the publication nearly fourteen years. The opportunity has also allowed me to pursue side projects including appearing on radio and creating podcasts.
What advice do you have for English majors or English graduate students as they prepare for for careers? How can they stand out in a competitive job market?
Use your classes — especially those related to practical and creative writing — to learn how to offer careful, constructive critique: how to praise specifically, how to use praise to mask the sting of critique, how to ask questions that lead a writer to a suggested edit as though it were his or her own idea, how to suggest and incorporate edits that honor the spirit of the writer's intent. Investigate a wide area of topics while you're able but when you find something that grabs you, become a specialist at it. Challenge yourself to create a catalogue of work you can point to when asked for examples of what you can do: a blog, a podcast, a YouTube show. Do all you can to network across a variety of media outlets — the door to a different kind of opportunity may prove an escape hatch from an untenable situation.