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Case Study: Amy (Muscato) Ahn

Personal details
Degree:English Profile picture
School(s): School of English
Year of Graduation:Jun-2011
LinkedIn:https://www.linkedin.com/in/amy-ahn-790a26b9/
National of: United States of America
Employment details
Organisation: Amy Ahn Writing & Editing
Job title: Writer/Editor
Occupational Sector: Writing
What has been your route to getting your current position?
After receiving my English degree from the University of St Andrews, I knew I wanted to pursue a career where I could continue working closely with words, even though I wouldn't be writing research papers anymore. After applying to many jobs as an "editorial assistant" across the board, I finally landed one at a small PR firm in my native Washington, DC. I was happily employed there for 5 years, first as an editorial assistant, then moving to "copywriter/editor" status, then eventually becoming the firm's editorial manager. Though I enjoyed the writing and editing work, I sought something where I could have more flexibility and be my own boss. In February 2017, I branched out on my own and started my own freelance writing and editing business.
What does your job involve ?
I write and edit anything for clients -- and I mean anything. I have written and edited blog posts, press releases, event scripts, museum exhibit language -- even online dating profiles! Much of my work has a marketing focus, since I have a PR background. Lately, I've been writing lots of branding materials for clients, from web copy to talking points to value propositions. My favorite things to write are probably blog posts, since they're short and sweet but still allow you to go in-depth on a topic.
What are the best bits of your job ?
Getting to manage my relationships with clients directly. Many of my clients have jobs in communications, which I know can be stressful from my own experience. Because of this, they are always so grateful for my help, and I'm so grateful to work with them.
Why were you successful?
Every single one of my clients has come to me through word of mouth -- a friend of a friend, or someone I met at a party who needs help editing their new digital magazine, etc. Networking didn't always come naturally to me, but now that I'm doing something that is extremely authentic to who I am, I find it much easier to start talking about what I do, why I love it, and how I can help. New business opportunities have often resulted from casual conversations like these.
What skills/ knowledge from your degree have you found particularly helpful in this role?
My English degree taught me the value of critical thinking, and of course impeccable writing and grammar. I've had to drop the British way of spelling things now that I'm in the States, but the research and writing skills I learned are applicable anywhere.
What advice would you give to students wishing to follow the same path?
To anyone wanting to freelance full-time, I'd recommend getting a few years of experience in that field under your belt first. Then, when you decide you're ready, you'll have gained not only experience and a sense of professionalism, but a host of contacts and potential clients as well. If you're not sure you're ready, try freelancing on the side first while you're still employed, to make sure that there is demand for your service and that you can really do it.