Heather Long, ‘04, English & Economics, Markets & Investing Editor, CNNMoney
What’s been your career path?
I translate the stock market and economics for real people. The recession affected everyone. People want to manage their money better and understand what’s going on with the economy. My job is to make business news accessible – and even fun!
My career 10 years out of Wellesley has been more electric slide than straight sprint. I went to graduate school thinking I wanted to be a professor and then realized that wasn’t my calling. I worked in finance in London for a few years before moving back to the U.S. and working at my hometown newspaper in Harrisburg, PA. I spent an incredible four years there, culminating in our paper winning the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting for our work uncovering and reporting on the Penn State/Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. I then moved to New York to work for The Guardian and recently transitioned to CNN.
Networking and constantly evolving my skill-set have been key to my career path. I also think there are no wrong turns in your 20s. You glean experience and connections in every job. Employers understand that and are a lot more open these days to some zig zags in resumes.
How did your English major prepare you for your career?
I write and edit everyday. Even when I worked at an investment firm in London, I was known as the “good memo writer.” It’s a highly prized skill in the business world.
My English major also helped me to read closely, whether it’s a work of great literature of a Federal Reserve report. That’s key to being a great reporter.
I’ve also had a lot of fun finding ways to combine English and economics throughout my life and career. I recently did an article on Shakespeare’s 5 best investing tips (and no, they didn’t all come from Merchant of Venice!)
Were any internships particularly helpful to your job search?
I did a variety of internships in my time at Wellesley and in graduate school at Oxford University. Some were in journalism and some were in politics. My best advice is to write emails to the head of the department and follow/interact with them on Twitter (among other social media).
My favorite internship was the summer after my senior year at Wellesley. I published an op-ed my spring semester at Wellesley in my hometown newspaper, and it was a great experience. I wrote a completely speculative letter to the editor who published my piece asking if they ever took interns. They had never had an intern in the Opinion section before, but they liked my letter so much they called me and we talked and the rest is history. Don’t just apply to what you see online.
Update: Heather Long '04, now an economics correspondent for the Washington Post, recently penned a piece for that paper about why the world needs more "storytellers, aka English majors.