What can I do with an English Major?
The question is not necessarily, “what can I do with an English major?” but rather, “what do I want to do and how can an English major help me?” Employability has more to do with your combination of skills, experiences and achievements than with your actual major. In many cases, especially with L&S majors, employers have no preference towards particular majors…they’re looking for a unique blend of attributes to fill their needs.
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) the qualities and skills that employers rate as most important for job candidates are also attributes that a liberal arts education tends to cultivate:
- Communication skills
- Strong work ethic
- Interpersonal Skills (relate well to others)
- Problem solving skills
According to NACE, employers feel that candidates in the current job market lack communication skills and more specifically writing skills, which are areas in which English majors additionally excel. Employers are also concerned about candidate’s experience. They want candidates to come in with experience in the form of internships, job experience, volunteer activities and other types of hands on experience.
The English Department works with L&S Career Services to help its majors find internship, job and volunteer opportunities that will give them the experience they need to find the job they want. There is also a two course sequence ENGLISH 317 (Writing for the Marketplace) and ENGLISH 318 (Writing Internship) that students can take to sharpen their professional writing skills and get an internship that might lead to a career.
Some of the common professions that English majors pursue are:
- Magazine and Book publishing
- Newspaper Publishing/Journalism
- Technical Writing
Other unusual jobs that you might not think of include:
- Dictionary editing
- Probation officer
- Crossword puzzler creator
- Congressional aid
Some of the most popular careers for UW-Madison students who majored in English include:
- Education and Teaching
And a few articles on the subject:
The Chronicle of Higher Education
Temple University – Who Majors in English?