If you’re an English major, you’ve probably gotten one question more times than you can count: “So what are you going to do with your major?” Many people think that the only thing you can do with an English major is write, and while that’s one possibility, it isn’t the only one. Because I’m at the end of my MA program, I’m very familiar with answering this question. If you aren’t sure yet what you’re going to do or just want to know what your options are, this post is for you!
Publishing – This is what I’m trying to make happen. One thing that I’ve learned is that there are so many different types of jobs within publishing that you can use an English major for. There are different levels of editors used at different parts of the process – editors that work on big picture changes, editors that work on typos, etc. – as well as other options within the industry.
Copyediting – Everyone needs a copyeditor! Copyediting is pretty close to proofreading; it’s editing a text for errors (spelling, grammar, and content) and readability. Pretty much everyone who has published text needs a copyeditor: magazines, websites, newspapers, etc.
Copywriting – This is writing something basically to market something, be it a product, a service, or a company. One big example of copywriting is a company or shop’s blog.
Freelancing – This is more about job status than about a specific career. Freelance basically means that you don’t work exclusively for one specific company, and you could do a wide variety of things as a freelancer. For example, you could be a freelance copyeditor, copywriter, social media manager, writer, etc. Some sites you can use to freelance are Upwork, Blogmutt, and Fiverr.
Marketing – Because you’ve majored in English, you are uniquely equipped to handle words. This does not mean that you are automatically meant for marketing or that you would be better in marketing than someone who majored in marketing, but there are jobs within the industry that are great for English majors. For example, some jobs within marketing that you could go into are web content creator or email marketing creator.
Social Media Management – This is kind of goes within marketing, but I’m making it separate because it’s a little different than the options mentioned above. A social media manager creates content for a company’s social media networks, posts the content, and monitors the responses and mentions.9 Ways To Use Your English Major Click To Tweet
Teaching – As a former teacher, I strongly believe that you should be an English teacher because you love literature and education. You should not become a teacher if you just don’t know what to do with your degree, and you should not go through organizations like TFA to be a teacher. I have very strong negative feelings about TFA; my entire family groans if it’s mentioned around me. The short version is TFA teachers get very short training periods and so often the students who need educated teachers the most get the least educated ones in terms of their education about education. If you want to be a teacher, please either study education (undergrad major or minor or even a master’s degree) OR complete the requirements for your teaching license.
Libraries – Feel like you know a ridiculous amount about books? Why not look into being a librarian or working in/with a library in some fashion! If you want to be a librarian, I believe you need to get a degree in library sciences, but I’m sure there are other jobs at libraries that are perfect for English majors. This is especially applicable for larger or specialty libraries. I looked through jobs related to libraries in Boston, and they included librarians in general, children’s librarian, library aide, and more.
Writing – Like I mentioned, writing is one of the most well-known uses of your English major, but it should still be discussed. This isn’t just creative writing; you could also write for magazines or websites.
Did you major in English? What career did you go into with it?
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