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English: What Can I Do With This Degree?

Writing/Editing

Creative Writing
  • Books
  • Poetry
  • Plays
  • Screenplays
  • Scripts
  • Greeting Cards
  • Lyrics/Jingle writing
Journalism
  • Writing/Reporting
  • Editing
Technical Writing
  • Science and medical writing
Freelance Writing

Employers

  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Broadcast media companies including television, radio, and the movie industry
  • Trade, professional, or consumer publications
  • Internet sites
  • Large corporations
Government agencies including:
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Department of Defense
  • Department of State
  • Veterans Affairs
  • National Archives and Records Admin.

Universities
Technical industries
Self-employed/Freelance

Information & Strategies

  • Select elective coursework in a particular area of interest.
  • Write for campus publications such as college newspapers, magazines, or departmental/program newsletters
  • Volunteer to assist or tutor students in a writing center.
  • For technical writing positions obtain a concentration in technical writing. Take science and/or computer courses to gain knowledge about technical areas and trends.
  • Become familiar with the proposal writing and submission process involved in freelance writing.
  • Gain as much experience as possible through volunteer positions, internships, or part-time jobs.
  • Demonstrate patience and persistence in starting a career in writing.

Education

  • Teaching
  • Administration
  • Student affairs
  • Academic advising
  • Information science
  • Non-classroom teaching
  • Tutoring

Employers

  • Public schools
  • Private schools
  • Colleges and universities
  • Language institutes, local and abroad
  • Libraries
  • Museums
  • Private learning centers
  • Test preparation organizations
  • Nonprofit organizations involved with literacy

Information & Strategies

  • Obtain appropriate state certification for public school teaching. Earn certification to teach multiple subjects or age groups for increased job opportunities.
  • Earn a master's or doctorate degree for post-secondary teaching.
  • Plan to attend graduate school in college student personnel or information science if those are areas of interest.
  • Gain volunteer experience working with children through Big Brother/Sister programs, tutoring, summer camps, YMCA's, etc.
  • Participate in school activities such as debate or literary clubs, campus publications, or student government.
  • Get involved in roles of leadership such as resident advisor, peer mentor, student advisor, etc.
  • Maintain a high grade point average and secure strong faculty recommendations for graduate school applications.

Publishing

  • Editing
  • Advertising
  • Sales
  • Circulation
  • Production
  • Publicity
  • Marketing
  • Promotion
  • Administration

Employers

  • Trade publishing
  • Special interest magazines
  • Trade magazines
  • Association magazines
  • Sunday newspaper supplements
  • Educational publishing
  • Religious books and magazines
  • Professional and scholarly publishing
  • University presses
  • Independent publishers
  • Alternative media publishers such as e-books or audiobooks

Information & Strategies

  • Obtain an internship in the publishing industry.
  • Participate in a summer publishing institute.
  • Develop word processing, editing, and desktop publishing skills. Gain additional technical skills if working in an online environment.
  • Gain experience by writing for student publications such as the newspaper, creative writing magazines, the yearbook, etc.
  • Conduct an informational interview with or shadow a professional in the publishing industry.
  • Look for positions with local dailies and alternative weeklies in the community.
  • Volunteer to write or edit publications with local nonprofit organizations to gain experience.
  • Develop extensive grammar and language skills.
  • Be prepared to relocate to cities with a publishing presence.
  • Research the publishing industry to learn more about career ladders.

Advertising

  • Creative services: copy writing or art direction
  • Account management
  • Media
  • Account planning
  • Production

Employers

  • Advertising agencies
  • In-house agencies of large companies

Information & Strategies

  • Demonstrate talent, persistence, assertiveness, and enthusiasm.
  • Be prepared to start in an entry-level position.
  • Obtain strong statistics background for market research positions.
  • Create a portfolio of writing and ideas showing originality and imagination for creative positions.
  • Gain knowledge of various media, contemporary tastes, and trends.
  • Obtain experience with campus newspaper, TV, or radio.
  • Participate in sales and promotions for student organizations or private businesses.
  • Complete an internship in a market research firm or advertising agency.
  • Supplement curriculum with courses in business (marketing, economics, mathematics), art, or graphic design.

Public Relations

  • Account coordination
  • Writing/editing
  • Media relations
  • Account management

Employers

  • Public relations firms
  • Advertising agencies
  • In-house public relations departments
  • Trade associations
  • Colleges and universities
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Government agencies

Information & Strategies

  • Obtain internship or other relevant work experience to break into this field. Be prepared to start at the bottom and work towards higher levels.
  • Develop strong research skills, public speaking ability, enthusiasm, and interpersonal skills.
  • Supplement curriculum with business courses.
  • Become an effective team member by working on group projects for campus organizations.
  • Volunteer to write publications for nonprofit or student organizations.

Business

  • Management
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Human Resources
  • Insurance: claims, underwriting

Employers

  • Business organizations including banks, real estate agencies, insurance firms, and large and small corporations
  • Retailers including department, grocery, drug, specialty, variety, and book stores

Information & Strategies

  • Obtain a business minor.
  • Gain work experience through part-time jobs, internships, or relevant volunteer work.
  • Secure leadership roles in campus organizations.
  • Join student professional associations and seek leadership roles.
  • Develop strong analytical and computer skills.
  • Gain experience as financial officer or treasurer of a campus organization.

Law

Employers

  • Law firms
  • Corporate legal departments
  • Government agencies
  • Nonprofit organizations

Information & Strategies

  • Develop strong organizational skills and attention to detail.
  • Become skillful in debate and public speaking.
  • Organize campus events, speakers, or political rallies.
  • Obtain summer or part-time work in a law firm.
  • Plan to shadow an attorney to learn more about the field.
  • Complete special training requirements for paralegal positions.
  • Attend law school and earn a JD to become an attorney. Maintain an excellent grade point average and secure strong faculty recommendations to gain law school admittance. Plan to take the LSAT.

General Information

  • A major in English can be good preparation for continued graduate or professional training in areas such as English, law, political science/government, public administration, psychology, counseling, communications, and religious studies (i.e., seminary).
  • Develop a specialty area of interest via additional coursework and/or work experience for greater marketability within that specific career field.
  • Save samples of written work to be used for a portfolio.
  • Be prepared to be proactive, determined, assertive, and confident in order to secure freelance writing opportunities. Writers typically experience many rejections for each piece that is accepted for publication.
  • Cultivate other career opportunities in order to supplement a freelance writing income.
  • Obtain additional areas of expertise such as journalism, broadcasting, technical writing, or politics for specialized positions.
  • For careers in advertising or public relations be prepared to begin in an entry-level position.
  • A bachelor's degree in English is sufficient for many entry level positions in business and industry.
  • Appropriate teacher certification is required for public school teaching.
  • A graduate degree is required for teaching at the college or university level.
  • Conduct informational interviews or shadow professionals in careers of interest to learn more about their jobs.
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Next Steps

Learn about North Park's English program.

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