If you're considering declaring English as your major or are already pursuing an English degree, you may be wondering what type of job to look for after graduation. While a degree in English traditionally leads to careers in teaching or writing, English majors should also consider other less-traditional career paths such as advertising, public relations and politics.
An English major may consider a career in print, broadcast or new media journalism. Journalists conduct interviews, research news stories, and write and edit copy, all skills which rely on a thorough knowledge and understanding of the English language.
While acting may not be an obvious choice, an English major could translate an understanding of the language into a career as a stage or film actor. Some actors eventually write screenplays and scripts, making a degree in English an asset for new actors.
Court reporters must have not only a sharp ear but also an understanding of sentence structure, speech patterns and proper grammar. Court reporters must also be able to scan and transcribe written documents and proofread them for errors.
Advertising executives must have excellent communication skills and they must also have a knowledge of language. Part of creating a winning advertising campaign is finding the right words to sell a particular product, which requires a significant vocabulary.
Speechwriters may write for a wide range of individuals, including corporate executives, political officials, candidates and award recipients and honorees. English majors can use their writing skills along with their substantial vocabulary to write memorable and moving speeches.
A public relations professional is an expert at selling a person or an organization, rather than a product and, much like advertising, this requires excellent communication skills. A career in public relations may be right for an English major who is at ease communicating both orally and in writing.
While a degree in English may not prepare you for a singing career, it can be useful if you're interested in songwriting. Songwriters also rely on language and writing skills to create songs for artists in every genre.
Publishers have many job functions, including the acquisition of manuscripts, interacting with writers and editors, the publication of print and digital media and the marketing of these publications. Publishers must understand language and its structure and how to shape it in a way others will also understand.
Politicians must be able to communicate with a wide variety of people and, often, a large number of people at once. A degree in English is an asset for a politician because they must have excellent written and verbal communication skills and they must be able to read and understand different types of documents.
Book critics must be able to read a work, interpret it and make an unbiased and reasonable judgment about its quality, a skill that most English majors learn to develop through the course of their education.