4 Great Jobs for English Majors

By Amanda Cohen on January 15, 2019

The truth is, regardless of what you major in, you can go into many different career fields. College is a chance for you to explore your interests and your major doesn’t necessarily have to line up entirely with the career in which you wish to pursue. However, it definitely is nice to have a major that lines up with your future job. I wish I could focus on the many majors offered by all of the incredible universities around the world, but today I want to focus on English majors.

I was not an English major, but I was an English minor and learned so much more than just reading and writing. Even though those tools are obviously extremely prevalent in English courses, there are many more fields for English majors to go into. To learn about these potential jobs for you, read on!

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Writer

I know “writer” is extremely general, so let me get more specific. You can do newspaper writing, magazine writing, medical writing, creative writing, book writing, short story writing, social media writing, editing, and so on. I know that English majors learned more than writing skills, but why not use this tool that you’ve honed to your advantage?

The best part about the writing industry is that you can do it as a full-time job, a part-time job, a freelance job, a remote position, and so much more. Even if you don’t want this to be your main career, you can still do it on the side to make some extra money. Writing is a skill that is necessary for just about any position that you may seek in the future, so pursuing a writing position is something that is great both in the short-term and the long-term.

Researcher

All of those English courses that you took definitely had you analyze tons and tons of books (I know I had to in my classes). You learned how to read into things, you learned how to derive meaning, and you learned how to pull out the main point, or as English majors like to call it “thesis,” of any piece of work that is put in front of you. Use these skills to your advantage.

Obviously, not all research is abstract, i.e. medical research, but not all research is medical. Even if you are interested in medical research, there is no reason why you shouldn’t pursue it. Think about it this way when it comes to medical research: instead of deriving symbolism from a piece, paraphrase (and obviously cite) what the main finding of a certain medical study is. The best part of being an English major is that you learned how to properly cite your work and you know when to paraphrase and when to directly quote a source. Look into a research position; you are basically getting paid to expand your knowledge and use the skills you learned.

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Teacher

Many college English courses involve discussion and putting yourself out there by stating your opinion about a piece you read, thereby teaching your peers something new. So, you basically already have teaching experience. Many schools require you to have a teaching certificate, but some programs allow you to obtain a teaching certificate while teaching.

Not everyone can teach; it takes a very special person to teach, but the skills you learned as an English major give you a great base to learn teaching skills. You are great at reading things quickly (I know I’m not the only one who had to ready 5+ chapters a night for some of my classes), you know how to analyze, and you know how to explain what you know in a group setting. You definitely had to make many outlines throughout your college English career, which is a version of a teaching plan, so you have that covered. Take a few teaching courses, look into getting your teaching degree, and boom, you have multiple degrees and the world will become your oyster when finding a career.

Advertiser

“Advertiser” is a very general term I’m using for a variety of positions. When I use the term “advertiser” I’m referring to any position that involves selling something or promoting something. Advertisers write slogans, social media posts, proposals, presentations, and so much more. The skills that you learned in your English courses will help you with all of this. You learned how to write beautifully while also being clear in what your point is, which is important when advertising something or someone. You learned how to edit, which is great because typos aren’t professional and people won’t trust you as much as a source if you have many errors in your work. You learned how to analyze, which is important when promoting a product and gauging people’s reactions and how those reactions can benefit your work. You don’t need a degree in Communications to be a part of the advertising world.

I hope that this list helped you think about your post-graduate and/or internship plans as an English major. Remember, reach for the stars; your degree will get you so far in life. No job is too abstract or too specific for an English major. Use your skills, promote yourself, and show your potential employers that English majors know how to do a job right.

I am currently a junior at the University of Michigan.

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