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English Major Career Possibilities

The only difficulty lies in how many choices there are!

Advertising

    Potential Jobs: Oversee advertising campaigns promoting a company's products or services. Entrylevel advertising positions can encompass copy writing, design, account planning, and research.
    Preparation Strategies: Take classes in advertising, marketing, and economics; obtain a strong statistics background for market research positions; participate in promotions for student organizations; create a portfolio of writing and ideas showing originality and imagination for creative positions.

Business-to-Business Content Marketing

    Potential Jobs: Research and create different forms of content marketing (such as social media, podcasts, and articles) to provide solutions and enhance the information buyers can access before entering a complex sales process. B2B content marketers must be excellent communicators able to organize and cater information to a specific target audience.
    Preparation Strategies: Consider a minor in marketing; obtain a strong statistics background; research the growing trend of innovative digital marketing strategies.

Corporate Blogging

    Potential Jobs: Write and maintain blogs for large companies. These are often used as branding tools, and corporate bloggers are commonly responsible for brainstorming and generating article content, managing social media sites, monitoring feedback, and structuring content schedules.
    Preparation Strategies: Start and regularly update a personal blog; volunteer to write and manage a blog for a nonprofit organization; work as an editor or proofreader.

Corporate Communications

    Potential Jobs: Oversee staff that creates a company or school district's communication pieces, such as website content, press releases, analytical reports, email campaigns, and newsletters. Corporate communications directors must exhibit outstanding writing, editing, and organizational skills and be adept at handling media requests.
    Preparation Strategies: Intern with the communications department of a company or school district; gain experience writing for student newspapers and other publications; take public relations classes; garner a basic understanding of how search engines work and digital content is spread.

Creative Writing

    Potential Jobs: Create and develop written texts in the forms of books, poetry, plays, screenplays, scripts, greeting cards, and jingle writing. Creative writers must display tenacity in marketing their projects and commonly also work as freelance writers.
    Preparation Strategies: Write for campus publications, such as college newspapers and magazines or departmental and program newsletters; become familiar with the proposal and submission process involved in publishing.

Direct-Response and Digital Copywriting

    Potential Jobs: Craft fund-raising letters and mail-order advertisements for companies through a combination of creativity and crisp writing. Intended to elicit a quick response from viewers, this kind of marketing is also created digitally by copywriters in the form of social media campaigns, banner ads, and blogging.
    Preparation Strategies: In addition to writing classes, take courses in advertising; secure an internship or part-time job in an advertising agency to build a portfolio.

Education

    Potential Jobs: Become a high school teacher, college professor, or academic advisor in public and private schools, colleges and universities, or test preparation organizations. Teaching English abroad also offers invaluable educational experience and is often pursued in the years immediately following graduation.
    Preparation Strategies: Obtain appropriate state certification for public school teaching; earn a master's or doctorate degree for post-secondary teaching; gain experience through tutoring and working with children's programs; pursue campus leadership opportunities.

Freelance Writing

    Potential Jobs: Complete independent contract assignments from companies, universities and publications. Freelance writers are often solicited to write on a variety of topics, including travel writing, scientific articles, and journalistic feature stories.
    Preparation Strategies: Write for campus publications, such as college newspapers and magazines or departmental and program newsletters; become familiar with the proposal and submission process involved in freelance writing; gain as much experience and writing samples as possible through volunteer positions and internships.

Grant Writing

    Potential Jobs: Construct grant proposals and reports to garner funding and new business for companies and non-profit organizations. Grant writers must have outstanding writing, editing, and analytical skills and demonstrate capabilities to effectively network and launch fundraising campaigns.
    Preparation Strategies: Volunteer to write or edit grant proposals for a local non-profit organization; consider obtaining a voluntary grant-writing certification through associations such as the American Grant Writers' Association and the Grant Professionals Association.

Law

    Potential Jobs: Utilize a strong writing proficiency and analytical skills to advocate in a courtroom, construct contracts, oversee business transactions, and shape public policy. Research and writing abilities are two talents attorneys must possess to be successful in both law school and the professional world.
    Preparation Strategies: Plan to take the LSAT; maintain an excellent grade point average and secure strong faculty recommendations to gain law school admittance; attend law school and earn a JD; become skillful in debate and public speaking.

Library and Information Science

    Potential Jobs: Work in academic, archive, preservation, public or school libraries to implement organizational strategies, manage and protect informational resources and databases, utilize informational and research technology, and foster a love of literature. Librarians should have a strong research background and outstanding analytic abilities.
    Preparation Strategies: Take classes in statistics; pursue a Master's degree in library and information science.

Non-Profit Communications

    Potential Jobs: Manage a variety of different tasks, including grant proposal writing, press release writing, design of marketing materials, newsletter writing, media request responses and strategy, fundraising, donor retention, social media management and volunteer coordination. Non-profit communications managers must be flexible and capable of handling many different projects at once.
    Preparation Strategies: Volunteer at a local non-profit to gain experience; work for student newspapers and other publications; consider taking courses in public relations and marketing; become familiar with emerging social media platforms.

Public Relations

    Potential Jobs: Write press releases, manage social media and web content, compose newsletters, and pitch strategy while working for public relations firms, in-house public relations departments, colleges and universities, and government agencies. Public relations staff must be analytical, strategic, creative, and possess a meticulous attention to detail.
    Preparation Strategies: Develop strong research skills, public speaking ability, and interpersonal skills; take public relations and marketing classes; volunteer to write or edit publications for nonprofit organizations.

Publishing

    Potential Jobs: Supervise the selection, production and promotion processes necessary to publish new writing. Those in the publishing industry must be able to work in the areas of editing, advertising, sales, publicity, design, and marketing.
    Preparation Strategies: Gain experience by writing for student publications, newspapers, or creative writing magazines; volunteer to edit publications for local nonprofit organizations; take marketing classes; be prepared to relocate to cities with a publishing presence, such as New York.

Search Engine Marketing

    Potential Jobs: Assist companies in marketing their products and services through an enhanced use of digital mediums. Search engine marketers should be analytic and creative, able to effectively evaluate online advertising, implement search engine optimization, and utilize web analytics to intricately study how visitors interact with websites.
    Preparation Strategies: Take basic programming courses to become familiar with the interworking structures of the Web; obtain a strong statistics background; research job positions at search-engine marketing agencies; consider completing the Google Certification Course to become certified in online marketing.

Speechwriting

    Potential Jobs: Compose speeches and presentations for political campaigns, government agencies, or executive corporations. Speechwriters also commonly manage blogs and write editorials and press releases.
    Preparation Strategies: Take rhetoric, composition, and argumentative and persuasive writing courses; stay abreast of current events; if interested in political speechwriting, consider a political science minor and volunteer to work on a campaign.

Social Media Management

    Potential Jobs: Oversee all social media content for companies, businesses, sports teams, and government organizations. Content managers must exhibit strong communication and organization skills and develop effective strategies to engage and retain customers and fans.
    Preparation Strategies: Take rhetoric, composition, and argumentative and persuasive writing courses; stay abreast of current events; if interested in political speechwriting, consider a political science minor and volunteer to work on a campaign.

Technical Writing

    Potential Jobs: Write and edit technical materials, including instruction manuals, press releases, policies and procedures, and articles for technical documents. Technical writers often work for companies, the government, or publishers and must be able to translate complex data and specialized, scientific jargon into a simple language and a user-friendly format.
    Preparation Strategies: Take technical writing, science and computer courses to gain knowledge about technical areas and trends; gain experience using Hypertext Markup Language (HTML).

Sources:

    • Mulvey, James. "35 Awesome Jobs for English Majors." Jobs for English Majors. Selloutyoursoul.com. 6 Oct. 2010.
    • The University of Tennessee Career Services. ENGLISH: What Can I Do with This Major? Knoxville: University of Tennessee, Knoxville Career Services, 1992, Revised 1999, 2004, 2006.