Finding a Job with an English Degree
Once you have completed school, finding a job with an English degree requires you to keep an open mind. It also requires you to consider multiple areas. The most common career choices that come to mind are writing, editing, or teaching. However, there are many other careers that welcome candidates with the skills that an English graduate brings to the table. Fields such as non-profit work, politics, human resources, and the law profession are employment arenas worth investigating. You may even want to consider some of your other strengths to help branch out the search. Freelance work is also an option if you enjoy the freedom of setting your own schedule and are having difficulty finding a job working for someone else.
Consider Writing or Teaching
After finishing school, you may be wondering what career options will be available to you. You may be surprised at the variety of job opportunities that will await you. One type of job you should consider is a job in the field of writing or teaching. When you think of an English degree, the first careers that often come to mind have to do with writing and teaching; however, some of the unique jobs within these categories may surprise you.
As a writer you could become a technical writer, copywriter, online marketing content writer, or freelance writer. You could write books or do writing for hire. You could write for a newspaper or for a magazine. There are even positions as online marketing content writers. Within the field of writing, but on the other end of the spectrum, are editors. As an editor, you could become a copy editor, editorial assistant, associate editor, managing editor, or senior editor.
As a teacher, you could become an elementary or secondary teacher or even teach at a college as a professor. You could also teach English to those who are learning it as a foreign language. This type of teaching could take you all over the globe.
Investigate Freelancing Options
You should definitely investigate your freelancing options.
Many times writers are self-employed and write freelance material as a sole source of income.
Other times they do freelance projects on the side as a way to boost their income.
If you are interested in freelance work, a website will be a valuable asset.
When you talk to prospective clients, you need to have a place to direct them for more information
about you. The website can be simple, but it should include things like your contact information,
samples of copywriting that you have done, and names of former clients and their testimonials.
Next, you should begin to generate business. One way to generate business is through
emailing and cold calling potential clients. You can also target specific clients and
offer to write a few samples free of charge or at a discount. As you develop contacts,
make sure to keep a database to record everything. Another valuable investment will be
some sort of accounting package to help you with the finances of your endeavors.
The first few years may be difficult as it takes time to generate business. A good freelance
writer must have self-discipline and good time management in order to meet writing deadlines.
Quality service is an absolute must. Freelancers must also continually search out new markets
for their work.
Consider Nonprofit Work
Don't forget about non-profit work. Non-profit employment accounts for 9.5 percent of the total U.S. employment.
It includes such things as health services, social and legal services, religious organizations, civic and
social organizations, arts and culture, and foundations.
In the non-profit sector, the pay is usually lower, but the need for quality applicants is the same. That is why you may be able to find a job more readily in the non-profit sector. Although the pay is not as substantial, there are several reasons why people often choose this type of work.
- First, non-profit jobs can be very rewarding, especially if you are working for a cause in which you believe. Many people are drawn to non-profit work because of their desire to make a difference in the world.
- Second, people are drawn to non-profit work because they can learn many new skills in a short period of time. Jobs in non-profit work usually require one person to do many roles. This leads to valuable experience that can direct you to a more expedient career advancement.
Whatever your reasons, if you are an English major, non-profit work is something to consider.
Consider Multiple Areas
Business, marketing, communications, and law practices are just a few of your options.
In the field of business, you could be an administrative assistant. If you are interested in
marketing, you could be a marketing coordinator. You could work in the field of law as a legal
secretary or paralegal. You could also be a customer service representative or communications
The truth is that all of these careers are looking for people with solid communications
skills, both verbally and with the written word. They want candidates who know how to
research and can read and understand large swaths of written text. They need individuals
who can analyze problematic situations and who will develop creative solutions for those problems.
All of these skills that they desire in a prospective employee, you will have as an English school graduate.
Use your other strengths to branch out the search
When you think of an English degree,
the first careers that often come to mind have to do with writing and teaching.
Brainstorming your unique strengths and personality traits may help you branch out your search.
Consider whether you are a detail-oriented person who loves to organize, or a creative person who
has non-stop ideas. Maybe your strengths lie in the way you relate to people, or perhaps you
are a task-oriented person who sees things through to completion. Knowing your strengths and
personality traits can help you sift through potential jobs to find the perfect match.
Another way to branch out your search is to consider your unique prior knowledge and experiences.
You may have in-depth knowledge of certain subject matter that would qualify you above other
candidates for a specific job. One job that requires such expertise is
You should also consider travel experiences, knowledge of other languages, community involvement,
sports interests and other hobbies. You never know when a certain quality, unique prior knowledge,
or experience will play a pivotal role in whether you are the one chosen for the job.
Send out your resume for every position you find
Finding a job with an English degree requires you to send out many resumes.
Make sure your resume is polished and error free. When you send out resumes,
make sure that you have a strategic approach.
Sending your resume to every possible job opening is almost never effective; however, don’t put too many parameters on potential jobs and severely limit your options. If you are open to many possibilities, you will have a better chance of finding a position quickly.
Remembering to keep an open mind, as you encounter jobs that you would like to apply for,
you should tailor your resume for each specific opportunity. Choose carefully where you send your resume.
The details you choose to include will vary depending on the specific job openings available. Don’t forget
to follow-up with each place that you send your resume. Landing an interview may require you to contact
employers via phone or email and request an interview. Showing enthusiasm and a genuine interest in the
position may win you the opportunity to at least interview for a job, and hopefully land yourself the job you desire.
Whatever job you decide to pursue, make sure your resume is polished and tailored for that specific opportunity. Make strategic choices about where you send your resume and how you tweak each detail of your resume to best fit that specific job opening. Don’t forget to follow-up with each place that you send your resume. Landing an interview may require you to contact employers via phone or email and request an interview. Showing enthusiasm and a genuine interest in the position may win you the opportunity to at least interview for a job.
Last Updated: 08/20/2013