So what English Major is fore? More than you think. Here are some of the many career options for students who major in English.

A student may have excellent writing skills and a love for literature but find herself asking, “What can I do with an English major?”

Fortunately, this reputation is unfounded. English majors leave college with excellent writing skills and critical thinking skills, and employers are dumbfounded by the degree to which many of today’s graduates lack these skills. Here are just a few of the many areas where a degree in English may translate into marketable job skills.

Careers in Business for English Majors

When students think about the skills needed to be successful in business, they may imagine someone who’s charismatic and has excellent interpersonal communication skills. While these skills are certainly helpful, they are not necessarily as important as good writing and critical thinking skills. People in business need to put ideas down on paper, professionally, and often creatively.

Three related business areas where English majors sometimes find themselves are in advertising, public relations, and marketing. Advertising is primarily about selling products through both images and the written word. Public relations is about promoting the public image of a company, individual, or concept. Marketing refers to efforts to promote a product or service in creative ways using a variety of media. These careers require people who can express ideas very clearly on paper and think critically and creatively about how to craft persuasive messages.

Another area of business where English majors can do well is human resources. Human resources, or HR, refers to the division of a company in charge of hiring, retaining, and providing employees services. HR professionals need to be able to write instructions, employee procedure information, or job listings very clearly, and there are possible legal ramifications if they are unable to do so. Thus, outstanding writing skills are a necessity for HR professionals.

Another growing area of business where English majors can flourish is instructional design. Instructional design professionals work with subject matter efforts to develop courses that meet a particular client’s needs. Many instructional designers create corporate training materials, and there is an increasing need for instructional designers who work for online colleges and universities. Outstanding writing skills and the ability to organize ideas are a must for instructional design professionals.

Writing Careers and Editing Careers for English Majors

Making a living as a novelist or screenwriter is no easy feat. However, there are plenty of other ways to do money writing. Print journalism may be hard to break into, but jobs on the local level are an excellent place to start. A summer internship is a great way to get a foot in the door for these positions. Increasingly, web writing is also a way for writers to make a living.

One of the more lucrative ways to make a living as a writer is through technical writing. Technical writers take complicated ideas relating to technology, medicine, or other complex field and turn jargon into language that everyday people can understand. Tech writing is an excellent option for people who have great writing skills and a knack for technology.

Another lucrative career choice for English majors is grant writing. Many organizations depend upon skilled writers who know how to write practical grant proposals. Students who are interested in grant writing should consider taking coursework in this area, which may be available online, or getting an internship where these skills are taught.

Many English majors find themselves working as editors at some point in their careers. Good editors are needed for just about any kind of publication. They are required anywhere in a company, organization where the material is created that needs to be given a polished, professional face.

While getting a job out of college is a challenge for every one, English majors may find that over time, their skill set really can give them an advantage. Writing and thinking skills are much more of an asset in the workplace than people realize. These skills are needed by people who want to market products, communicate technical information, obtain grant money, and accomplish all essential tasks.


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