People like to hate on the English major. They like to call it names like “impractical” and “indulgent.” Once, someone had the gall to call my English major “cute.” Cute? Are you freaking kidding me? Nothing about reading Proust or owning 5 brick-sized Norton Anthologies is “cute.” The only way I managed to avoid punching this person straight in the kisser was by telling myself that judgment comes from insecurity, and if they feel the need to judge my major, well, they must be scared as all hell about getting a job themselves. But I digress. Whether you’re a recent English grad, a future English grad, or just considering an English major, you already know what I’m talking about. And I’m here to tell you that all the haters are wrong. English majors DO get jobs. There are even some stats that English majors get MORE jobs than other, more “practical” majors (read more here). Employers love English majors for many reasons. For one, they likely have a masterful understanding of the English language, both written and spoken. For another, they tend to have excellent intrapersonal skills — essential for any position requiring client interaction and for fostering a positive company culture. I could go on, but we’d be here for a while. My point is, don’t let anyone argue you’re not marketable with an English degree, because you are. So let your Faulkner flag fly. Here is just a sampling of the options before you, my fellow word nerds:
Technical or Proposal Writing
Plenty of companies need talented wordsmiths to churn out documents that are essential for their success. It’s not the most glamorous writing in the world, but if you have a talent or interest in weaving a complicated set of details and jargon into a cohesive product, this route could be promising (and lucrative).
You can write. You can speak. You’re good with people. Throw in a strong opinion, a hefty dash of charisma, and a crisp suit and you, sir/madam, could be headed your way for office. Even if you’re not interested in running, there are plenty of opportunities for English majors on a campaign, from PR and fundraising to speech writing.
Marketing and Advertising is a huge field, employing writers left and right to help with social media campaigns, blogs, website copy, print ads, B2B marketing materials, newsletters, and every kind of content in between. Whether you’d rather work on the agency side or client side, opportunities abound for strong writers.
Writing chops? Interest in current events? Journalism is always an option. Print may be going out of style, but the world will always need deadline-driven writers to get that story out. There are also tons of online journals and magazines that hire freelance and contract contributors to write content.
Practicing law involves a lot of reading and writing. Getting an English major also involves a lot of reading and writing. So it makes sense that a lot of lawyers start out as Liberal Arts majors in undergrad. And if you’re not looking to go down the law school route, but you’re interested in law, look into becoming a paralegal. Some states require certification, but others allow on-the-job paralegal training, without the need for a certification.
At the end of the day, being a strong critical reader and writer will serve you well in any job you find yourself doing. So rest assured, fellow English majors. Your future is bright, and rife with employment. In the meantime, if you’re looking for some English major related knowledge to drop when you wanna stick it to the haters, see this article. Or this one.