The Career Paths section regularly highlights linguists’ career journeys and job details. If you would like to recommend someone (including yourself) for a future profile, please contact Career Linguist.
How did you find your way into linguistics? And how do you understand your background in linguistics as shaping what you do / how you do what you do?
It all started out with my passion for foreign languages. When it was time for me to choose my university degree, after careful consideration of the various options available in my country, Italy, I decided to go for a Modern Foreign Languages degree. What pushed me to make this decision though was not an interest for literature itself, but rather a desire to delve more into the structure and rules of the English language, and language in general. I have always been a grammar geek: mastering all complex mechanisms that rule a foreign language has always been – in my opinion – the secret key to writing and explaining that language better. For these reasons I chose to enroll to a Modern Foreign Languages and Linguistics Bachelor’s Degree at Venice Ca’ Foscari University. I chose to study English and Russian as the main subjects, and the syllabus also included both Theoretical and Applied Linguistics courses.
Although Theoretical Linguistics can be fascinating, since I started studying it I often found myself wondering about the practical sides of it. My pragmatic view of the world shaped most of my university years and my two dissertations (BA and MA) were no exception to this, as they focused on applications of Applied Linguistics to foreign language teaching. My passion for teaching languages gradually led me to take the Applied Linguistics path and consider becoming a teacher in Italy (things turned out a bit differently afterwards). No matter how my career evolved, I have always tried to connect the dots between my academic background in Linguistics and my professional experience.
Job-wise, I started my career as a copywriter while still pursuing my Bachelor’s Degree. Back then, I was looking for a part-time job that would allow me to start putting into practice what I had been studying until then. I had no idea copywriters actually existed! When I looked at an ad or a commercial, it never crossed my mind that someone had to sit down and come up with creative ideas for that content. Which is why the job was a bit challenging. I had to stretch my writing skills in Italian and English, which meant, for me, playing with words in order to resonate with those who would read them.
I worked in Copywriting until I earned my Master’s Degree in Applied Linguistics (I specialized in English). Did Linguistics help me write better copy? I have reasons to believe that. I had to work hard on writing my two theses and that certainly helped. Also, when it was about to choose the word or phrases that best fit into a message, such extreme attention to the choice of words, was undoubtedly an activity that Linguistics helped to develop. If you ever consider working in Copywriting, Journalism or Editing, being a linguist will surely be a great asset for you.
After Copywriting, it was time for me to explore a more innovative and complex world which is known as Search Engine Marketing. The transition was facilitated by a Web Marketing and Social Media Marketing course I had taken and fueled by my growing interest for the digital world. I then learnt everything on the job.
Serena Pasqualetto is a digital marketer, linguist and freelance language trainer. She landed the digital marketing world after an M.A. in Language Sciences from the University of Venice. She has a 4-year experience in search engine marketing at a leading Italian e-commerce agency and a 2-year experience in copywriting and communications. She also collaborates with the University of Padua as a digital analytics and digital marketing lecturer. Serena is passionate about foreign languages and the use of linguistics to make global search marketing more effective.