Years ago, degrees paved linear pathways to specific careers, and a degree in English might have limited your options to teaching, writing or editing roles. Today, an English degree will prepare you for a diverse range of positions spanning many different job titles and industries. Although teaching and writing jobs are still abundant, today’s English graduates often pursue careers in marketing, public relations, law and more.
English majors understand and are passionate about the power of language. Their ability to write, research, communicate and think critically are highly valued skills within nearly every organization. In fact, communication and critical thinking are among the top skills employers seek, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) career readiness competencies.
Below we’ve created a list of occupations that answer, “What can you do with an English degree?”
Marketing Jobs for English Degree Holders
Copywriters create material for advertisements, brochures and websites to promote and sell products or services. Copywriters are multi-taskers who manage several projects at the same time. They create scripts, ads, product descriptions, slogans and jingles. English students interested in copywriting may benefit from declaring a minor in marketing.
Social Media Coordinator
Social media coordinators work within the marketing team to develop social campaigns for a target audience. They create content for social media platforms and engage directly with followers and commenters. The best social media coordinators are creative and passionate about communicating with others.
Website Content Managers
Web content managers research, write, edit and strategize content for a company’s website. These marketing specialists strive to develop a consistent brand identity and monitor website traffic to determine the success rate of different content. Website content managers require strong analytical and organizational skills, attention to detail, creativity and awareness of search engine optimization (SEO) and website best practices.
Digital Marketing Specialists
Digital marketing specialists plan multi-channel marketing campaigns. They create and publish content for company websites, blogs, emails, social media platforms and digital ads, then measure and analyze the results. Digital marketers will also benefit from acquiring knowledge of video marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), data analysis and user experience (UX) design.
Public Relations Specialist
Public relations (PR) specialists help develop and maintain a positive brand image. English graduates make excellent PR specialists because they possess the skillset to write articles, create social media messages and craft other promotional communications to shape the company image.
Writing Jobs for English Degree Holders
A degree in English is ideal for technical writers who know how to simplify complex information for customers and employees. Strong writing and editing software proficiency are required. Technical writers often create instruction manuals and user guides and must be team players. Working closely with others to ensure content accuracy is integral to the role of technical writers.
Editors review and rewrite text to ensure grammar, content and style guide accuracy. Additionally, editors may be responsible for assigning articles and evaluating submissions. Editors are found in many industries, including journalism, literature and business. English majors interested in editing roles should plan to build a portfolio of published work.
Journalists are researchers and writers, responsible for pitching and developing stories. Additionally, journalists regularly conduct interviews and should be curious and possess strong networking skills. Journalists often work in fast-paced environments and must keep up with the latest news trends. Like aspiring editors, English majors interested in journalism positions should create a portfolio of writing samples.
Freelance writers often work with multiple clients and create different types of content, including articles and advertisement materials. In addition to writing clean and crisp copy, freelance writers should have the versatility to adopt different tones and styles of writing to match their client’s brand image. Time management skills are essential for freelance writers, who have the flexibility to set their schedules.
Grant writers usually work for nonprofit or scientific organizations and spend time researching, writing and applying for grants for business funding. Collaboration and cooperation with members of other organizations is important, so strong networking skills are required. English graduates interested in grant writing should learn about the different grants and grant databases.
Teaching Jobs for English Degree Holders
Middle or High School English Teacher
Middle and high school English teachers help students understand the fundamentals of writing and analyzing literature. Teachers must design lesson plans and follow a specific curriculum. Understanding the academic pathway to becoming a teacher is important because different states have different licensing and certification requirements.
English as a Second Language (ESL) Teacher
ESL teachers help non-native English-speaking students learn English. ESL teachers also help with subject-specific courses, such as math or science, and assist students as they transition into the American school system. English students interested in teaching English as a second language should consider ESL certification.
Tutoring is ideal for English graduates who love to teach but prefer working with individuals instead of groups. Tutors help students set academic goals and assist with homework, studying, research and more. Tutors tend to have much greater flexibility than teachers, especially when creating schedules and adopting different teaching methods.
Professors wear many hats outside of teaching in higher education. They are also responsible for continuously developing curricula, publishing research, advising and mentoring students and supporting other areas of the university, such as recruitment. Although most professors have earned a Ph.D., it is possible to teach in higher education with a master’s degree.
Other Popular Career Paths for English Degree Holders
Paralegals work alongside attorneys writing, researching and performing administrative work. They prepare and edit legal documents and require strong writing skills. English students interested in pursuing careers as paralegals should plan to complete a certification exam and may consider completing a Certificate in Paralegal Studies to gain legal knowledge.
A background in English prepares lawyers well for the extensive research and writing their profession requires. Attorneys provide legal services to clients, and usually have a specialty field, such as criminal or business law. English majors interested in this high-paying profession should plan to attain a Juris Doctorate (J.D.) degree.
In addition to assisting and educating patrons, librarians must organize, track and broaden available library materials. Librarians may find positions in public or private libraries, schools and museums. English students interested in becoming librarians should plan to complete a Master’s in Library Science (MLIS).
Begin Your Journey With UMass Lowell
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