So, what are you going to do with an English degree? What does 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,” we actually have quite the skill set that employers from a variety of industries are looking for, and that those doing all the questioning (you know who you are) don’t usually think about. Just to name a few, here are 10 cool 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, strategizing, being incredibly organized and a good decision maker. These are all top qualities that English majors possess and easily apply in this field of work. It’s common that many English majors will go on to become executive assistants to CEO’s of major companies, helping them create presentations and reports or even managing their everyday schedules. This is one of the cool career paths for English majors.
2. Software Development
Software development is more than just writing source code. It’s being involved in the entire development process which means having an 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 great for a stepping stone into software development.
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 (should be) is to represent the people of your state (or city) to the best of your ability. This means listening to what your constituents have to say, reflecting on their needs, representing your people and their needs before other politicians and being able to effectively communicate (or argue) your way to a positive outcome. This is one of the cool career paths for English majors.
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 always requires a lot of research, analyzing, and developing new strategies for improvement in order to see positive results. English majors are well-versed in conducting in-depth research, analyzing a variety of documents and having to come up with fresh new ideas. 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 and being able to effectively connect with clients in order to generate sales leads and business growth. Effective storytelling and the ability to connect with people through words are key skills that many employers look for in a digital marketing job candidate.
6. School Administration
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. This is one of the cool career paths for English majors.
7. Nonprofit Communication
Involvement in nonprofit organizations requires great writing and analytical skills. As English majors, we’re taught how to analyze certain pieces (advertisements, marketing materials, works of literature, etc.) and either interpret it 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. To be successful in this kind of position definitely requires good writing, organization and the ability to get a message across with much fewer words. Social media also takes a lot of analyzing and planning ahead, which is literally what English majors do from day one. This is one of the cool career paths for English majors.
9. Brand Strategy
Consistency, attention to detail, communication and organization are key skills for a successful brand strategist, which make English majors a great fit for the job. All our years of identifying which works of literature belong to a certain era, social movement or author definitely has honed these skills and made us great candidates in brand strategy. Storytelling is also a powerful tool in brand strategy and is 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 via lecture, written articles or documentaries. All of these steps require a strong background in writing and language that you’d obtain from being an English major. This is one of the cool career paths for English majors.
Which of these career paths for English majors that you didn’t know about are you going to try? Let us know below.
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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.