Recent English Grad Sophie Cipolla ’20 Lands Her First Post-College Job

Most students worry about finding employment after college. With fierce competition in the job market nowadays, this concern is more than understandable. There is a common misconception that being an English major doesn’t prepare you for many fields, yet this couldn’t be further from the truth. English majors’ learn valuable skills in critical thinking, communication, writing, and research that makes them great candidates for careers in library professions, legal occupations, editing, marketing, business, and more. Sophie Cipolla ’20, who was awarded the Brother Leo Meehan, FSC, Award, attributes her success in finding a job to Saint Mary’s English Department’s wonderful preparation and continued support after graduation.

Cipolla ’20 recently began utilizing her English skills writing at Faegre Drinker law firm as a project coordinator. She found that Saint Mary’s broad range of instruction made befriending and talking with people easier, especially when it came to job interviews. 

“The sheer variety of classes I was able to take at SMC gave me a wide base of knowledge that has made me able to connect with pretty much anyone—which comes in handy during the dreaded ‘tell me about yourself’ moments during job interviews or Zoom meetings,” Cipolla said. “Many of the people I interviewed with were really impressed by the sheer scope of the readings/disciplines I was exposed to through Seminar and the English major!”

Cipolla applauded English majors’ work ethic. “We aren't just sitting around eating bonbons and discussing Shakespeare all day (not that there's anything wrong with that). We are actively connecting these incredible ideas that have stood the test of time to our present.” 

Cipolla believes that both attending Saint Mary’s and majoring in English allowed her to hone a relational mode of thinking.

“Saint Mary’s has trained me to consume massive amounts of complex information quickly, and that skill set has been an asset given how fast-paced the environment is at the law firm where I work…. Being able to write well, under pressure, is also highly prized in the workplace and can really set you apart from the competition. I credit SMC with allowing me to develop that strength.”

When asked about internships, Cipolla mentioned that they make “the process of transitioning from ‘student you’ to ‘real adult you’ feel less like stumbling around in the dark. “Internships gave me a renewed sense of clarity about myself, my own strengths and weaknesses, and what I wanted to achieve in the world.”

Cipolla acknowledges that “this is a tumultuous time to be navigating the job market, but you will find the right fit…. If you’re feeling stuck, try working backward as a thought experiment and see where it takes you.” 

“Try asking yourself, ‘What job do I want to have in 20 years?’ and working from there,” Cipolla said.

“Don't be afraid to do some LinkedIn sleuthing! Also, play to your strengths. We English majors are trained to be great writers, and that is a highly sought-after skill. Use your amazing writing toolkit to send out some winning emails to get your foot in the door for an interview!”


This is the first of a two-part series on recent English Dept. grads.