Several college majors are constantly under fire for their lack of practicality or success in the labor market: Art, Philosophy, Women and Gender Studies — and English, which means, at one point or another, you’ve been asked, “What can you do with an English degree?”
Jobs for English majors are no longer forced into a confined box, limited to professions in education or journalism. Those aspiring to receive an English degree and those who already have one face a labor market that desires their unique set of skills and abilities.
For starters, English majors read and interpret varying data. They formulate sound arguments, backed by detailed research and, in this process, are able to multitask — keeping up with the demands of other classes and topics of study. English degree-holders know what it means to be adaptable, and that’s exactly what today’s job market is all about.
These transferable talents will go a long way in an unpredictable economic climate. As the job market continues to fluctuate, English majors will emerge, time after time, with their heads above water.
Businesses recognize their talents and discipline; it’s time to expand beyond the box and explore a labor market that could use more creative and adaptable thinkers.
Check out these jobs for English majors who love to write
These seven jobs are just a few of the positions that apply skills obtained throughout an English major’s education.
This job for English majors isn’t going out of style anytime soon. Political platforms, businesses and public figures of varying sectors have always relied on talented speechwriters to represent a corporate position.
Through speeches, press releases, briefings, political statements and other communications, English majors with this job effectively translate ideas and objectives into a message that relates to and inspires the intended audience.
English degree-holders may also consider ghostwriting as an alternate career choice, which can definitely match the lofty salary of speechwriting.
Average base salary: $132,103
2. Curriculum Developer
One of the most well-known jobs for English majors is teaching, which involves a fair amount of creativity to successfully reach and engage students.
Curriculum development is just one of many ways to do that. It’s a great job for English majors with teaching experience who want to use their subject matter expertise to design learning materials for schools, institutions, organizations and more.
Average base salary: $74,400
3. Proposal writer
Among other things, most businesses can’t operate without funding and contracts — that’s what makes this job for English majors essential to many companies and nonprofits.
Proposal writing requires keen attention to detail and sharp organizational and analytical skills to create informative documents that will secure more business or grant funding. The process also involves original writing and editing and typically includes breaking down subjects like product design, pricing and marketing. Conducting research and collaborating with others are also at the forefront of this job’s responsibilities.
Average base salary: $70,001
4. Digital copywriter
Copywriting is an English major’s dream. Anyone familiar with AMC’s hit show Mad Men has seen a depiction of the industry’s earlier days.
One of many English degree jobs, copywriting is the bridge between creative writing and advertising. It entails proofreading and editing copy, creating banner ads, writing digital and print copy and taking part in social media campaigns via Facebook and Twitter. You’ll use your writing to convey information about and drive attention to particular brands, products, issues or industries.
Those with a colorful and creative mind should seek a position in this field. Every business, big and small, utilizes a creative department — complete with copywriters.
Another advantage of this job for English majors is how broad the field is. Having a deep understanding of language paired with creative and analytical skills can score English degree-holders profitable careers in content writing ($65,501), B2B copywriting, copyediting ($68,700), or even as an advertising account executive ($79,800).
Average base salary: $65,107
5. SEO specialist
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a field of online marketing comprised of traditional marketing practices combined with online components. SEO content writers are in high demand all throughout the business industry for their ability to use technology, SEO strategy and analytic tools to drive traffic to a company’s website.
For those unfamiliar with SEO, it’s online advertising: marketing specific clients to various websites. Targeted websites are assessed by Web analytic tools that read their strength and quality. Some schools are just starting to offer courses in this field; however, English majors have all the necessary tools to make SEO a profitable career.
This job for English majors also lends itself well to SEO content writing, which is essentially blogging professionally and writing with a specific client in mind. Between the two, the demand for online marketing has made SEO a crucial element for many businesses.
Average base salary: $59,780
6. Technical writer
This is one of those jobs for English majors that may just be a natural fit.
Remember when you bought all of those new appliances? Each contained a product manual that helped you better understand how to use or put together your new item. Technical writers are in charge of creating these manuals and supporting documents, and much more. They communicate complex and technical information in an easy-to-understand way.
As technology increases and the demand for consumer goods rises, technical writing is an industry where many English majors can excel and make a lucrative living. At the senior level, technical writers can earn salaries of over $90,000.
Average base salary: $56,200
7. Public relations specialist
In today’s economy and the progression from print to digital media, those with a background in journalism will prosper in a switch to public relations, the marketing-based cousin of journalism. This field requires a strong background in research, database maintenance and the ability to relay vital information in a cohesive manner.
PR professionals use AP style writing and storytelling abilities to create compelling company newsletters, press releases and content for social media, all of which must adequately represent a brand or business.
Average base salary: $54,800
English majors utilize skills that work well within today’s demanding business world.
While these positions may not lead to writing the next great American novel, combining the creative mind with an entrepreneurial spirit can offer a lucrative life — far from any notion of starving artists.
Salary data from Salary.com.
Have you worked in or considered any of these careers? Or other side jobs? What others jobs for English majors would you recommend? Share your experience in the comments!
The original version of this story was written by Andrea Fisher and originally ran on the Brazen Life blog. We updated the post so it’s more useful for our readers.
Photo via GuadiLab / Shutterstock