What can you do with an English degree?

Despite its continued popularity, year on year the number of people opting for an English degree has been declining in the United States. 

However, with the rise of the digital era, the amount of opportunities to get involved with writing and use the skills that graduates have gained in English degree courses has drastically increased.

In addition to allowing you to explore the realm of English literature, an English major provides a set of valuable skills that you can utilize in various sectors of the job market, which will be outlined below. 

What skills does an English degree provide?

While the content of English degrees varies by college, the skills they provide to students upon graduation are universal. For example, studying English prepares students to be able to work independently in the future. 

Relatively few contact hours compared to other courses and long writing assignments that require extensive research mean that graduates are not only effectively able to fulfill duties that require them to complete individually but also allow them to present findings in a comprehensive manner. 

Additionally, an English student will learn how to communicate ideas effectively. While English majors may naturally be creative, it also allows graduates to master the ability to articulate thoughts and concepts to a diverse set of audiences. 

English degrees also have courses on how to craft language in order to produce persuasive texts. These are particularly useful as they allow graduates to work for businesses in a range of sectors that endeavor to sell products to potential customers. 

What opportunities are available for English graduates?

Thanks to the skills gained on the course, English graduates can access a range of opportunities in a variety of areas, both inside and outside of traditional career pathways.

Publishing 

Traditionally entering publishing has been seen as a conventional career path after completing a degree in English. However, with the global spread of the digital revolution, the industry has changed a lot in the last few decades. 

As the global audience has been switching to reading content on various digital media outlets, publishers have been facing tough competition and thus have experienced a slight decline in the number of opportunities they can offer to graduates. 

In order to keep up with the changing trends, companies are increasingly adopting electronic publishing practices, focusing on the production of electronically available books, magazines, and journals. Despite these changes, the requirements to earn a position in a publishing company have remained the same. 

Applicants need to know the industry inside out and the direction it is heading in. Publishers are also looking for candidates that have a passion for reading and the work of the company. 

Careers in the media

Similar to publishing, working in the media has been a common career direction for students majoring in English. From being a journalist for a local paper to writing scripts for popular TV shows, the media has a range of opportunities for graduates

However, this industry has also become more competitive, not least due to the rise of digital media outlets that encourage people who do not necessarily have a background in creative writing or English to get involved. 

Thus, it is invaluable for English students who want to establish a career in the media to gain work experience throughout their studies. This could involve looking for internships in the media and also operating a personal blog. 

READ MORE: What is a Postgraduate Degree?

Grant writer

Grant writing involves working for non-profit or non-governmental organizations writing grant applications in order to receive financial support. Organizations are in particular seeking graduates with English degrees as they have acquired the ability to write using persuasive language on their degree course. 

It is also a highly rewarding role, as English majors have the opportunity to be employed by an organization that conducts meaningful and inspirational work for the betterment of society. 

Technical writer

Similarly to grant writing, an English graduate’s ability to use language effectively allows them to succeed in this role. Technical writers produce guides on how to use various products and how to access the services offered by a certain company.

Since technical writers are essential for the selling and use of products and services, there are plenty of opportunities in this sector, especially for English majors who have a good grasp of language and are able to convey information effectively. 

Advertising, Marketing and Personal Relations (PR)

Working in these sectors would allow English graduates to pursue financially lucrative career pathways. These positions are available in most businesses, meaning it is a relatively easier sector to enter compared to publishing and working in the media. 

Opportunities in advertising, marketing, and PR allow graduates who majored in English to put into practice the research skills they gained at university and communicate their findings to their target audience. 

While English students are in a good position to flourish in these roles, they also need to be knowledgeable about a particular company’s work to succeed in their application process. 

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