When you think of English major careers, what comes to mind? For many, the "typical" jobs for an English major fall into the realm of journalism or teaching. However, the reality is that an English program teaches students a wide variety of practical skills that can be applied to many careers. Whether you're interested in public relations, publishing, technical writing, or even social media marketing—there's always a demand for English majors with strong communication, critical thinking, and analytical skills.
With a better understanding of the career opportunities that exist for English majors, you can get a better feel for whether this type of program may be the right path for you in college.
Valuable Skills Gained By English Majors
There are many skills you can expect to sharpen in an English program, all of which can serve you well in a variety of career paths.
Written Communication and Argument Development
These days, the ability to form a sound argument and support your point of view with excellent writing is essential. No matter what your job prospects may look like, there's a good chance you'll need to develop and support a viewpoint that's important to you during your career. English majors learn early on how to formulate arguments, support them with strong evidence, and craft compelling content.
Such strong written communication skills make English majors versatile and flexible in nearly any work environment.
Research and Critical Thinking
Research and critical thinking are central to any English degree program. These days, there is so much information out there—and not all of it is accurate or reliable. With strong critical thinking and analytical skills, English graduates can confidently sift through large amounts of information and determine what is reliable (and what is not).
English majors are also excellent at thinking critically; whether they need to form an opinion about a particular issue or choose sides on a topic, they're able to carefully assess a situation from all viewpoints and reach their own conclusions.
Public Speaking and Attention to Detail
By their very nature, many English majors are detail-oriented people; they don't tend to overlook the "little things" because they understand the significance that even the seemingly smallest of details can make in the grand scheme of things. With this in mind, English majors can be relied upon for precise and accurate work.
Because many English degree programs now include public speaking classes, these professionals are also prepared to take on roles that involve speaking to audiences of all sizes. From presenting to a board of directors at a business meeting to teaching large seminars as an instructor, English majors can tackle this type of work with confidence because they have strong communication skills—and not just on paper.
In-Demand Career Paths for English Majors
There are so many possible careers for English majors to consider. No matter where your interests lie, there's sure to be a rewarding career path out there for you.
Copywriters and Their Role in the Market
Working as a copywriter is one of the most likely paths for an English major. This job title encompasses a wide variety of roles and responsibilities. At a basic level, a copywriter is a professional content writer who aims to persuade or educate an audience, usually with the end goal of selling a product or service. Copywriting can come in the form of website content, emails, billboards, brochures, and just about any other form of marketing you can imagine.
Copywriting is an in-demand career path for many English majors because just about every industry needs copywriters. In this sense, you can find a copywriting position in a field that truly interests and inspires you.
The Significance of Technical Writers in the Industry
If you're detail-oriented and love getting into the nitty-gritty of various topics, you might consider working as a technical writer with an English degree. These professionals handle the task of "translating" extremely technical or specialized information into written documents that a broader audience can understand.
One example of the kind of work a technical writer may do is crafting an instruction manual for a new product. This type of work can be challenging yet very rewarding, as the end result helps readers comprehend even some of the most challenging subjects. There's also a growing demand for skilled technical writers across all industries, with a predicted growth of 7 percent between 2022 and 2032 alone.
Exploring the Role of Social Media Specialists
You'd be hard-pressed to find a successful business that doesn't have a social media presence. From Facebook and X (previously Twitter) to Instagram and LinkedIn, social media platforms are frequented by the average consumer a whopping 2.5 hours per day. Brands take advantage of this captive audience by posting content to their social media pages, increasing engagement and building brand awareness.
Many companies even hire social media specialists or social media marketers to handle every aspect of the company's social media presence—and it's not uncommon for them to be English majors. Not only do you need a strong command of the English language to create compelling social media content, but strong communication skills and lots of creativity also come into play.
Understanding the Job of Public Relations Specialists
Public relations is another common career path for English majors. These professionals help clients communicate with the public and maintain a positive brand image. Their everyday duties and responsibilities may range from crafting press releases to preparing information for the media and even supervising smaller groups of employees.
Because public relations work requires excellent written and verbal communication skills, as well as an ability to collaborate with others, it is common for English majors to end up in these kinds of roles.
SEO Specialists and Their Impact
Search engine optimization (SEO) has become increasingly integral to marketing efforts. SEO specialists play an important role of developing SEO strategies, writing SEO-optimized content (such as blog posts and web pages), and many other marketing tasks.
Businesses across the globe want to get their websites and web pages ranking higher on the search engine results pages—and they often turn to English majors for help refining and executing their SEO strategies.
Delving Deeper: The Role and Impact of English Majors in Different Professions
In addition to the English major careers described above, there are several other professions where English majors continue to make a significant impact with their knowledge and expertise.
The Impact of English Majors in Journalism and Reporting
Journalism and reporting are seemingly natural career choices for English majors because this type of work requires strong research and analytical skills, critical thinking skills, and communication skills (all pillars of an English program).
Journalists and reporters are responsible for presenting accurate news and updates as objectively and accessibly as possible. Hired by news and broadcast companies, newspapers, magazines, and other publishers, journalists and reporters play a critical role in how we access and process information daily.
How English Majors Excel as Brand Strategists
For those interested in more of a marketing role, many English majors go on to work as brand strategists. This type of work involves crafting marketing strategies content to build a brand's reputation and image with the public.
Working as a brand strategist involves a lot of audience research, creative brainstorming, content creation, and collaboration with others—making it an ideal role for many English majors.
The Advantage of English Majors in Consultancy Roles
English majors often take on consultancy roles across a wide range of disciplines. This type of work generally involves being hired on by a client to help solve a particular problem or assist with an area of growth. Businesses may hire consultants for everything from their marketing strategies to their overall branding. These professionals then help to identify best practices, conduct market research, and recommend solutions.
English Majors as Medical Writers: A Closer Look
Medical writing is another career that has grown in demand recently. Medical writers handle the research and crafting of highly technical scientific documents to be published in the medical field. Examples of the types of content medical writers tackle include promotional literature, research manuscripts, and even content for healthcare websites.
English majors often make great medical writers because of their detail-oriented nature and ability to write confidently and accessibly about complex subjects.
The Importance of English Majors in User Experience (UX) Writing
More companies today are also hiring User Experience (UX) writers, which can be a great career path for those who enjoy writing about more technical topics.
Understanding UX Writing and Its Relevance Today
UX writers are focused on writing content to improve the overall experience of a user on a website, while using app, or within a particular software program. UX writers must be proficient in technical writing, but they are also responsible for optimizing things like website menus and even chatbot content.
How English Majors Are Excelling in UX Writing
English majors generally make for excellent UX writers because they are proficient in audience research; they can develop a solid understanding of what their target users need and then tailor their content to meet those expectations. UX writing also tends to be highly technical, so English majors with a technical writing background tend to do well in UX roles.
What Makes English Majors Successful Grant Writers?
When businesses and nonprofit organizations need help getting proposals and projects funded, they turn to grant writers to help make it happen.
Grant Writing: A Lucrative Path for English Majors
Grant writers are responsible for researching, drafting, and submitting proposals that help organizations get the funding they need for projects. These professionals are often hired by nonprofit organizations and charities—so this type of work can be very rewarding. Grant writing is a natural option for many English majors, who already possess many of the research and communication skills needed to write persuasive and detailed grant proposals.
How Can English Majors Make an Impact in the Field of Interpretation and Translation?
While translation and interpretation may not seem like a natural choice for an English major at a glance, the reality is that many people who study English go on to work as translators and interpreters.
The Scope of English Majors in Interpretation and Translation
English majors tend to have strong "translation" skills in the sense that they're able to take complex information and present it in a way that is more accessible to other audiences. This is essentially what the work of an interpreter or translator entails. English majors are adept at working as translators or interpreters, helping others better understand and comprehend content in different languages.
Are English Majors the Perfect Fit for the Role of Librarians?
Libraries need professionals to help people find books and other resources among a huge array of information. They also need people to help keep their facilities organized and updated. In this sense, English majors make for excellent librarians because of their strong attention to detail, their ability to stay organized, and their general love for books and research. However, it should also be noted that to become a librarian, most English majors will need a second bachelor’s degree in education-library sciences or a master degree of library science on top of their English degree.
Ready to Hone Your Knowledge of English?
As you can see, there's a lot that you can take away from an English degree—and even more that you can do as a possible career after finishing an English program in college.
In fact, many who decide not to pursue English as a major end up choosing it as a minor to complement their selected degree. That's because doing so allows you to graduate with many of the same essential skills as an English major, but with the ability to explore other interests as well.
Interested in English as a minor? University of the Cumberlands offers a 42-credit English minor that pairs well with any number of undergraduate degree programs. This program is also available in concentrations that range from Creative Writing and Literary Studies to Secondary Education. Get in touch to learn more or start your application today!