The minute you declared your English major, you probably heard some variation of the question, “But what are you going to do with that?” While you may have been stumped at the time, there’s good news for you: You can do a whole lot with that diploma. Here are a few jobs to consider and a bit of advice on finding others.
English majors tend to do well in the marketing world. Whether they’re writing copy for advertisements, putting together press releases or emailing reporters to place stories, their writing and communications skills are generally appreciated. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a public relations specialist makes an average salary of $68,440 per year, while a marketing specialist makes around $71,000. After climbing the ranks, a marketing manager — who oversees an entire team or even department — averages $147,240 annually.
Editing and Writing Roles
You can put your love of language to good use in a variety of writing and editing roles. More and more companies are realizing they need extra help with blogs, emails, speeches and other announcements, and they’re hiring to fill those gaps. As a technical writer, you’ll be responsible for creating user guides, reports and other documents, averaging a salary of around $75,000. Editors, meanwhile, make an average of about $69,500. In that role, you can cover everything from magazine and newspaper editing to reviewing materials for a more traditional corporation.
Finally, there’s always freelance writing, editing, proofreading and translating. As a freelancer, you’ll be able to work for a variety of clients at the same time, completing smaller projects and setting your own rates. While pay varies depending on your experience and the rates you set, you could work your way up to a six-figure income.
You may be enamored with books and writing, but don’t despair if you can’t find a job that directly ties to both. As a paralegal, your reading comprehension, research and communication skills will come in handy as you help lawyers build their cases. This job typically pays an average annual salary of $54,500.
In a human resources position, which pays around $67,000 per year, you’ll use your language abilities to write policies, craft job descriptions and evaluate resumes for hiring purposes. Finally, you can consider joining a consulting firm. Deloitte, EY and other consulting groups have formerly been the domain of business majors and future financiers. Now, these types of companies are increasingly interested in hiring English majors for their unique analytical abilities and they’re paying them well — around $80,000 per year.
Selling Your Degree
If you believe what some people say about English degrees — that they make it difficult to find a paying job after graduation that doesn’t involve brewing coffee — then you might already be setting yourself up for disappointment. Instead, think of all the skills your English major has given you. When you see an exciting job opportunity, take the time to match the posting’s list of desired skills to your experience, and don’t be afraid to think creatively. When you can sell your experience well, you may find that your English major has perfectly prepared you for a career, after all.
Following your passion comes with risks, particularly when you’re not passionate about business, science or other fields with historically straight career paths. Trust your abilities and remember that you aren’t defined by your major. The entirety of your college experience, from your extra-curricular activities to the electives you chose, speaks volumes about what matters most to you and why an employer should give you the job.
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