Arielle Westcott

There seems to be this misconception that English majors can only pursue one career: teaching.  Every time I tell someone I’m majoring in English, if they don’t first ask me ‘What do you plan to do with that?’ they usually instead say ‘Oh, you want to become a teacher!’  While it’s true that there are plenty of English majors who have chosen this career path, there’s still so much that can be done with this degree that many people don’t realize.  Below, I’ve listed 7 different careers that English majors can pursue after college.

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1) Public Relations Manager

This position is a great fit for English majors, since it requires skills in communication and writing.  As a public relations manager, you are the main point of contact between an organization and the public, communicating between these two groups regularly.  Working in this position can include serving as a spokesperson or informational source for media inquiries, developing and maintaining an organization’s outward image, composing press releases, and executing promotional campaigns.

2) Social Media Manager

Pretty much everyone is on social media—your parents and grandparents, your aunts and uncles, and maybe even your pets (I follow a fair share of animal-run instagram pages).  Because everyone has a presence online, different brands, sports teams, companies, and so on need people to manage their social media accounts to engage with the public.  Since this is a position requiring strong communication skills, English majors are an easy fit for the job.

3) Editor

Wherever there’s writing, there’s a need for editing.  With a degree in English, you’ve already had plenty of experience writing and perhaps also peer-editing the work of other students.  This practice has required you to pay close attention to small details, which is a highly valuable skill as an editor.  There are also a variety of mediums to work in, whether it be with books, magazines, websites, or really anywhere that content is written.

4) Publisher

Just like with editing, publishing is a career filled with opportunity in every branch of media.  Publishers are responsible for the development and production of content, ensuring that the teams they manage meet their schedules and release work on time.  Creativity and attention to detail are highly important skills in this industry, and I know some English majors that have been employed in this field and love it.

5) Advertising Creative

Working as an advertising creative involves coming up with ways to market products to people.  This typically means coming up with slogans, writing commercial scripts, offering ideas for product launches, and much more.  This is another career option that values creativity, since it takes the strongest ideas to catch the attention of potential consumers.  The ability to clearly express a product’s or service’s worth in a concise manner is part of what makes an English major stand out in this line of work.

6) Technical Writer

As the tech industry continues to thrive with new inventions, the need for people who can explain such inventions increases.  Technical writers determine the information necessary for users to understand how a product works and produce instruction manuals and other supporting documents to break down that information for a general audience.  This is another position that English majors can thrive in, given its need for clear and concise writing skills.

 

No matter the industry, strong writing skills, quality communication, and the ability to break down complex ideas for a general audience are of high value.

 

7) Corporate Communications Director

This career option involves overseeing teams that compose newsletters, press releases, and reports among other communication-related pieces.  As the communications director of a corporation, you will also manage the company’s brand and media relations, ensuring that the organization is viewed favorably by the public.  Not only does this position pay well, but proficiency in writing and communication are also important parts of this job, making English majors perfect candidates.

Despite what some might say, there are plenty of career options out there for English majors in a variety of industries.  No matter the field of work, strong writing skills, quality communication, and the ability to break down complex ideas for a general audience are always in high demand.  There’s nothing wrong with being a teacher, and if that’s what you want to do, go for it!  However, it’s important for all the English majors out there to know that teaching isn’t the only option.  The abilities you have gained and honed as you work toward your degree are essential even outside of the classroom.

 

Arielle Westcott is a rising junior at the University at Albany studying English Literature.  You can find her wandering around bookstores and libraries or reading in a warm patch of sunlight.  She hopes to pursue a career in book publishing and novel writing.

 

 

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