What Are the Best Jobs for English Majors?
Choosing the right major is no easy task. It may be one of the biggest decisions you’ll make.
And if you weigh up the pros and cons of studying English, this critical decision is made so much harder by the swathes of misconception and mythology, most of which has been hiding the true benefits for too long – “employers don’t value liberal arts degrees”, “you can only go into teaching”, “no-one ever made it as a librarian” to name a few.
Many people are unaware that a Bachelor’s degree in English can set you up for a solid, long-term career working in a range of exciting fields.
Yes, it’s true; being an English major can mean you’ll get paid well, develop professional skills throughout your working life and achieve the career you’ve always dreamed of.
English, after all, is one of the oldest and most commonly spoken languages in the world.
To help with making this important decision, we’ve compiled a complete list of some of the very best jobs for English majors.
At Cleverism, we believe passionately in helping you to build the career you’ve always dreamed of and, as an English major, we can help you discover the many and varied options available to you to build a dream career.
Before we get into our list, first let’s review why it’s an excellent choice to major in English.
BENEFITS OF CHOOSING ENGLISH AS YOUR MAJOR
English falls into the category of liberal arts. For some, this type of major can appear to have little relevance to the demands of the modern workplace.
However, one of the obvious plus points to it is the opportunity to develop strong communication skills. From writing to reading, listening to speaking, the working world expects us be strong communicators.
In fact, it’s the #1 skill most employers are looking for. A major in English offers you the perfect chance to build a strong and impressive vocabulary, both through the written page and in your oral presentation skills.
You should also expect to deepen your emotional intelligence. And why is this important? Regulating your emotions and being flexible to the emotions of those around you helps to build productive and successful working relationships. Empathy, in particular, is one of the key skills for highly effective leaders to have.
For a company to thrive in the global marketplace, strong leaders must be able to see the bigger picture.
Through the study of characters from classic texts of English literature, students get the chance to better understand the motivations of others, including those they may eventually lead, and factor these aspects into their daily decisions.
In addition, studying English helps you develop skills in creative problem solving and critical analysis.
As the go-to language for so many global industries, from media to tech to global trade and publishing, majoring in English provides a solid foundation to build a dream career.
CLEVERISM’S BEST JOBS FOR ENGLISH MAJORS
For those with a passion for words, it’s good news. Based on a 2018 National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) report, English majors should expect a starting salary of $35,368.
This, coupled with an 80% chance of securing employment, means job prospects for English majors are on the rise.
Here’s our run down of the key industries – and roles within them – you should be considering:
Sales, Marketing and Advertising
If you’re a people-focused graduate wanting to make a solid income, why not consider a career in sales or marketing? With all those sharpened communication skills, deepened sense of empathy and creative problem-solving, a career in sales or marketing may just be the right fit.
This comes with a warning, though. Winning new clients takes resilience – customers can be a fickle bunch! Success in this field requires a strategic approach to finding new prospects, engaging with them and to closing the deal.
You’ll certainly develop a range of skills along the way that will help put you on the right footing. If you’re just starting out in the field, take a look at Ana’s post on mastering the fundamentals of sales.
Sales Account Manager
Account managers are responsible for maintaining business relationships with existing clients while prospecting for new ones.
Retaining a portfolio of customer accounts requires the ability to be adaptable to the varying challenges that each one of them brings, while winning new clients requires first-rate relationships skills.
Like many mid-career roles, gaining a position as an Account Manager usually requires sales experience. A great way to evidence your skills and commitment to the customer is by securing a position as a Sales Associate.
Responsibilities include building rapport, managing transactions and using effective listening skills to close a sale. Check out our Resume Builder to help you get started.
Advertising and Promotions Manager
Generating interest in new products and services requires great advertising, which is where an Advertising Manager comes in. You’ll be tasked with planning your organization’s creative programs across multiple media channels, while taking responsibility for directing all aspects of the company’s daily advertising requirements.
Public relations managers are responsible for building and maintain a positive public image for a company or organization. Using creative skills to produce press releases or social media messages, PR Managers work to shape and influence public opinion of the company while increasing awareness of their brand.
Key to improving market share and increasing sales is an effective company brand. A Brand Manager will monitor market trends and oversee marketing activities to ensure the right messages are being conveyed.
Strong research skills and customer insights are needed to develop strategies, analyze marketing campaigns and organize events to promote brand awareness.
If you’re someone who prefers a behind-the-scenes approach, managing external or internal communications could be for you. Communications Managers are responsible for the development and delivery of internal communications strategies, in addition to supporting an organization’s external strategy.
Understanding what motivates a company’s staff is key, as is a creative proficiency when writing up newsletters, press releases, internal memos and briefings.
There’s no doubt about it, the Tech industry is booming.
While the US leads the way in innovation, the ever expanding, third industrial revolution is now offering jobseekers around the globe a wide range of opportunities to find their dream career.
Despite this, the growth of technology has changed so much about how we live our lives that more specialist roles have emerged, particularly for creative communicators.
In basic terms, a UX designer is someone who optimizes the experience of a website, product or service. In today’s world, keeping users engaged is paramount to retaining or converting them to customers.
Empathy and research skills are two key attributes required for this role, where you’ll handle the full spectrum of user’s impressions and interactions with a specific brand and ensure they match to user’s needs.
Of course, you’ll need design skills too. However, UX is sub-divided by role, where specialisms as a UX Architect, UX Strategist, UX Researcher and UX analyst exist, all of whom need to work together to deliver to a brief.
And the good news is, you’ll be paid a handsome sum – UX design is the 5th highest paying entry level job in the US.
If you’re passionate about gaming and have the imagination, creativity and design skills to build virtual gaming worlds then a career in game design might be right for you.
You’ll work at the heart of designing games for a range of devices and platforms, working to engage and capture the imaginations of users.
Social Media Manager
Do you have creative flair and a good sense of how online content can engage an audience? Social media managers lead organization’s social media strategies to help them increase visibility and customer engagement.
Strategic skills, well written content, analyzing data and managing customers are all key requirements for this post.
Content Marketing Manager
Creating content while developing and delivering an effective content strategy to position a business as a leader in its industry is key to becoming a successful Content Marketing Manager.
Through the production of creative content, you’ll need to increase brand awareness, web traffic, engagement and leads that convert to sales and customer retention.
You’ll need strong writing skills, obviously, but also an editorial mindset that understands what content audiences seek to consume.
Digital copywriters use emotional intelligence to understand the needs of their audience. Through persuasive and engaging writing, you’ll be the deal closer.
In essence, the content writer attracts the customer and the copywriter tries to convert them to a sale. Your job is, ultimately, to motivate the reader to do something, so you’ll need extremely strong communication and writing skills.
SEO Managers need to understand how search engines work. Then, through a process of research, critical thinking and technical analysis, they create strategies for producing online architecture.
Most of the time they’ll work closely with digital marketing teams to manage SEO content writing, SEO analytics and the relationships they have with individuals in teams.
According to the 2019 Non-profit Employment Report from the John Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies, as many as 12.3 million paid US workers currently enjoy making a difference in the world, making the non-profit sector the third biggest employer in the US.
If you’re a passionate individual who cares about changing the world there are many options available in the non-profit sector. Why not consider managing a charity’s community program?
Or, if you’re a strong communicator and wordsmith, a career in fundraising or marketing could put your solid skills to good use.
Fundraising managers are responsible for meeting income targets while overseeing a non-profit’s fundraising initiatives.
They’ll typically work for a charity – or another type of non-profit such as an academic institution – to secure a range of financial support through, primarily, the management of external relationships and writing of bids to grant-making bodies.
Non-profit Program Directors are responsible for creating programs that further the mission and objectives of the organizations they work for.
They’ll need to support the design of effective programs and handle budgets, while meeting staffing goals and legal obligations. They’ll usually work in innovative ways to help the charity maximize their impact.
Marketing and Communications Manager
Non-profits are all about achieving a mission and vision, so require talented professionals to create marketing materials that support this.
Along with managing their social media presence, you’ll need to be a strong communicator, bring able to use your creativity and writing skills and work closely with stakeholders to execute strategies. Larger charities may even have a marketing department, where roles such as digital marketers and content producers are being hired.
Event managers need to plan and organize promotional or fundraising events for non-profits. You’ll need high organizational and interpersonal abilities in order to thrive as a non-profit event planner.
Managing the whole process – from planning through to delivery, handling suppliers, teams and attendees – requires hands-on skills and great people-management. A touch of creativity goes a long way, too.
Writing, Publishing and Creative Writing
If you’re an aspiring novelist, taking an English major is a good way to improve your chance of getting published. But what about pay, I hear you cry? According to Glassdoor, salaries for professional writers are averaging at around £50k.
The writerly route also opens up the possibility of working independently, either as a freelancer or on a contract, making it a good choice for those of a more free-spirited nature to take their careers into their own hands.
With growing numbers of people tuning in online to consume film and TV content, a dream career in the artistic fields could still be considered for those with original and imaginative talents.
If you’re someone who has an eye for detail and an interest in publishing, working as an editor could be a dream career.
Your role will focus on preparing content for publishing, which means you’ll require razor sharp spelling, punctuation and grammar skills. You will also assist writers with their own ideas and help them to get published.
Are you a curious learner, with first-rate research skills, who can compose clear and coherent technical information on a range of topics?
As a technical writer, you’ll need to break down complex language to make it easier for others to understand.
You’ll be responsible for writing specialist information about products and services ranging from user guides to instruction manuals and operating guides.
One of the more traditional options for English majors, the role of a journalist is to educate the public about key events and issues in clear and engaging ways.
Research, writing, editing and proofreading skills are essential to succeeding in the industry, however, with print media readership dwindling in recent years, journalists have had to adapt to the digital age.
By the end of 2019, the number of global subscribers to Netflix reached 167 million. And what comes with increased viewership is an increased demand for content.
As a screenwriter, your job is to create entertaining scripts that move and excite your audiences.
You’ll need to be talented in creating characters, plotting stories and drawing on your imaginative skills to recreate the universes you see if your mind’s eye. Now could be a great time to consider developing your creative skills as a screenwriter
If you’re passionate about learning and helping others develop new skills, you may make an excellent teacher. Teachers work with children (pedagogy) or with adults (andragogy) to transfer their knowledge and skills. School teachers are needed more than ever before, where a 2016 UNESCO report suggested 69 million new teachers will be needed by 2030 to reach the global Sustainable Development Goals.
With many millions of children unable to access primary and secondary education, demand for outstanding school teachers is at an all-time high. You’ll need grit and resilience to be able to change young lives. But who wouldn’t want to inspire a new generation with the power of the English language?
High School/Elementary teacher
At the most basic level, a teacher of English should be able to develop student’s oral and written communication skills, including critical thinking and comprehension.
However, teaching is a highly demanding profession. Along with a deep understanding of sentence structure, grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation, you’ll need to be a master of your subject and adeptly able to manage the demands of a classroom.
If English is your second language – and you love the art of linguistics – you may like to consider a career as an interpreter.
Your role would involve taking spoken or sign language statements from one language and converting or translating them to another.
You’ll need excellent listening skills, with the ability to accurately memorize content from the original source language and reproduce it in English.
OTHER DREAM CAREERS YOU MAY LIKE TO CONSIDER
The role of an attorney is to give clients the expert legal advice and representation they need in criminal and civil cases.
With their day-to-day business consisting of preparing contracts, overseeing legal documentation and researching case law, writing is a highly drawn-from skill. Great lawyers also need to be solid and confident communicators.
Management consultants get hired by organizations to improve their effectiveness, company profile, market position or profitability. They do this by analyzing data, solving problems and managing change. They may draw from extensive experience; however, general responsibilities include conducting research, identifying issues and making recommendations for improvement.
Lifestyle Factors for English Majors
One of the key benefits to being an English major is the opportunity to consider flexible ways of working. In many of the roles we’ve outlined, you’ll find a significant number of people going freelance.
Today, more than 57 million Americans are freelancing. The largest group of freelancers offer services including writing, design, marketing and tech-based skills. Of those who freelance, 41% have advanced degrees.
There are good reasons for deciding to leave behind a structured environment for the benefits of being your own boss – freelancers are making good money – and sometimes more than they did for their company.
However, before you consider life as a freelancer, it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons. Can you be our own boss? Are you able to stick to routines? Will you be ready to take that call and deliver your work to strict deadlines?
Making the move to self-employment is a big decision. You will need to develop a business plan, showcase your abilities to clients and have a strong base of referrals to rely on.
Oftentimes, individuals move into self-employment after many years in a field once they’ve built up the skills, experience and networks of clients they need to make the successful leap.
With the average age for a freelancer at 40 years old, if you’re graduating with English as your major, you’ll likely want to ensure you’ve acquired the necessary skills and experience first before deciding to go it alone. Plus, you may just end up missing those team nights out!
THE END OF THE STORY
As a liberal arts degree, English studies have struggled with a case of bad PR in recent years.
Time, however, has changed things. These days, English graduates can evidence an important mix of the essential skills companies are looking for, namely communication, problem-solving and the ability to work in a team.
These core skills – developed through the discussion and analysis of a broad range of reading material and the appreciation of differing perspectives – enable graduates in English to consider a much broader, exciting range of growing industry sectors and relevant jobs which may just end up leading them to their dream careers.
Or, to quote the words of J.R.R Tolkien’s character Gandalf,
“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us”
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