What You Can Do with a Degree in English
Non-Teaching Careers for English Majors
Below is a list of possible positions and fields that you can enter with an English degree.
|Administrative Assistant||Fact Checker||Nonprofit Administrator|
|Advertising Account Exec.||Fundraiser||Personnel Trainee|
|Campaign Manager||Journalist||Production Assistant|
|Communications Specialist||Legislative Assistant||Public Relations Specialist|
|Copy Writer||Librarian||Publicity Assistant|
|Corporate Trainer||Lobbyist||Research Assistant|
|Customer Service Rep.||Marketing/Sales||Sales Representative|
|Editor/Writer||Media Analyst||Special Events Coordinator|
|Editorial Assistant||Media Buyer||Teacher/Professor|
|Educational Director||Museum Curator||Volunteer Coordinator|
|Editing||Non-Profit Organizations||Arts Administration|
|Library Science||Public Relations||Human Resources|
|View Source Reference|
Steps to Finding a Fulfilling Career: A Concise Overview
- Consider what drew you to pursue a B.A. in English, what skills you have developed and enjoy using, your personality and life goals and your experience.
- Use exercises such as those found in career guides to develop a clearer picture of who you are and of what you want.
- Use a personal mission statement to develop a professional “self-portrait.” This personal mission statement can then be adapted as part of letters and résumés.
2. Career Exploration
- Conduct informational interviews to get more information about fields and positions of interest. Informational interviews can also be an excellent networking tool and might lead to job offers, though you should make the information itself your main goal.
- Talk to friends, acquaintances, family members and friends of friends about your job search. Ask them about their work; let them know you are searching for a position.
- Volunteer or otherwise get involved with organizations that interest you. This will give you additional skills and a better understanding of the work. You will also increase your network.
- Use career guides such as those listed below, but do this only in addition to talking to real people.
- Continue to network. Keep a file of all the contacts you make and of the organizations or careers that interest you.
3. Applying for Jobs
- Many available jobs are never advertised. Search for work in classifieds and on career websites, but make sure you do not limit yourself to this. Your time might be better spent appealing to your network and other avenues for openings.
- Look at websites and publications of specific places where you would like to work and see if they are hiring. Contact their Human Resources department.
- If you do look at advertisements, make sure to check specialized sites from professional organizations and the like. For example, Idealist.org lists jobs in the non-profit sector.
- Tailor cover letters and résumés to specific positions. This may take more time but it will improve your chances of finding the right job. Read job ads for the skills and experience sought and highlight your fit for the position.
- Create skill-based résumés that highlight your motivation and transferable skills.
Bly, Robert. Careers for Writers and Others Who Have a Way with Words. Columbus, OH: McGraw-Hill, 2003.
De Galan, Julie and Stephen Lambert. Grat Jobs for English Majors. Columbus, OH: McGraw-Hill, 2000.
Jansen, Julie. I Don’t Know What I Want, But I Know It’s Not This: A Step-by-Step Guide to Finding Gratifying Work. New York: Penguin, 2003.
Lore, Nicholas. The Pathfinder: How To Choose or Change Your Career for a Lifetime of Satisfaction and Success. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998.
O’Hara, Shelley. What Can You Do with a Major in English? Hoboken: Wiley, 2005.
Pietrowski, Katy. The Career Coward’s Guide to Changing Careers. Indianapolis, IN: JIST, 2008.