“So, what are you going to do with an English degree?” “What can an English major do?” “Oh, you want to write novels?” These are the questions that just about every English major gets from friends and relatives before graduation. While English majors sometimes get a bad rap for being too broad, or unprepared for real-world skills, they actually have a skill set that employers from a variety of industries are looking for. To name a few, here are 10 career paths for English majors that you didn’t know about.
1. Business Administration
In an administrative position, you’re always on your A-game, using a high degree of common sense. It involves strategizing, being incredibly organized and being a good decision maker. These are all top qualities that English majors possess and easily apply in this field of work. It’s common for English majors to go on to become executive assistants to CEO’s of major companies. They’ll help create presentations and reports, or manage schedules.
2. Software Development
Software development is more than just writing source code, it’s being involved in the entire development process. This means having extreme attention to detail, organization and being able to generate ideas with your colleagues. The creativity and analytical skills of English majors are great in this kind of the work, making an English degree a great stepping stone into software development.
Career paths for English majors aren’t all in new age fields. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who succeeded Thurgood Marshall, is a prime example that English majors can absolutely make it to the top. If you ask around to your fellow English majors what their plan is, I’m sure you’ll meet a couple who are planning to pursue law school after their degree in English. For many, an English degree is just their first step to becoming a great lawyer, judge or other government official. All those years of analyzing literary works really pays off when lawyers are interpreting and drafting their work.
Reflection, representation, and communication are among the top qualities that it takes to be a successful politician–which happen to also be among the top qualities in English majors. Typically as a politician (ex. a senator), your ultimate goal is to represent the people to the best of your ability. This means listening to what your constituents have to say, reflecting on their needs, and representing those needs before other politicians. It’s also being able to effectively communicate (or argue) your way to a positive outcome. For those English majors who are interested in politics, but not so much interested in actually being a politician, speech writing is a also a great route to follow! Thanks to courses such as rhetorical analysis and persuasive writing, political careers are always great options for English majors to pursue.
5. Digital Marketing
Marketing in general requires a lot of research, analyzing and developing new strategies for improvement. English majors are well-versed in all of these. Writing for the digital landscape is also an area that English majors can excel in from taking courses such as Multimedia Writing, Writing for the Internet, Rhetorical Analysis and SEO writing. In fact, the majority of English major curriculums include having students develop some kind of marketing materials for class projects, which ultimately helps prepare them to take on this kind of career.
A career in digital marketing also requires a person to be skilled in storytelling. They need to be able to effectively connect with clients in order to generate sales leads and business growth. Effective storytelling and connecting with people through words are key skills employers look for in a digital marketing job candidate.
6. School Administration
Career paths for English majors don’t have to go too far outside of the expected. Believe it or not, the education field has a lot of great opportunities for English majors–and not just teaching English. Many teachers and school administrators will go into their career with a strong writing or communication background (since it’s kind of important for these jobs), and it’s usually from their English degree. Getting into school administration with an English degree will definitely show its worth when it comes time to communicating effectively with staff, parents and students. It also helps when having to collaborate with other administrators in the planning process for the upcoming school year.
7. Nonprofit Communication
Involvement in nonprofit organizations requires great writing and analytical skills. English majors are taught to analyze certain pieces (advertisements, marketing materials, works of literature, etc.) and either interpret them or find strategies for improvement. Analyzing and (effectively) communicating are two important skills that English majors possess and would be of great use for in a nonprofit setting. Grant writing is also a huge part of nonprofit communication, which calls for someone who knows how to make a good argument in writing.
8. Social Media Management
Marketing and advertising majors aren’t the only ones who would thrive in social media marketing and management. Being successful also requires good writing, organization and the ability to get a message across with fewer words. Social media also takes a lot of analyzing and planning ahead. English majors do this from day one. Career paths for English majors can be also fun!
9. Brand Strategy
Consistency, attention to detail, communication and organization are key skills for a successful brand strategist. English majors are a great fit. All the years of identifying which works of literature belong to a certain era, social movement or author definitely have honed these skills and made great candidates for brand strategy. Storytelling is also a powerful tool in brand strategy. It’s becoming much more popular in marketing strategies that English majors are great for.
Anthropology is the study of human societies and their cultural development. No matter what kind of anthropologist you may become, the routine tasks are quite similar. Gather information. Make observations. Conduct interviews. Collect evidence and then analyze that data to develop a hypothesis, which you’d later report on. All of these steps require a strong background in writing and language that you’d obtain from being an English major.
What career paths for English majors do you know of? Let us know in the comments below!
Recent Barry University graduate and Florida girl living in Dallas. If I'm not up writing or editing at 3AM, then I'm probably still up binge-watching Grey's Anatomy, again.