Image by Daquella manera
Like many other arts degrees, English doesn’t have many career-specific skills unless you plan to become an author, so it can sometimes feel like there are both too few and too many career options out there. To help you focus your efforts, here’s some handy career advice for English graduates.
Article by Alex Brakspear
In a survey carried out by The Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) there are a huge range of jobs on offer for those with a background in English. For example, 5.9% of English graduates from 2010 went on to become business and financial professionals, while only 6.8% went on to become teaching professionals.
Really, what you need to convince prospective employers of is that your degree gave you a whole horde of valuable skills that can be useful in a wide variety of professions. You have learnt things such as independence of thought, summarising, how to argue a point, how to write and speak well, how to write reports and how to present information effectively.
Never underestimate the value of all of these skills imparted by your course as they are valuable for so many professions. You also have the ability to gather, assess and present information in a logical way and you are likely also to have a penchant for professional level written and oral presentation. All of the above shall be useful.
So what can you do then? Below I will list three professions in which an English degree is definitely a plus:
The obvious choice and the one that many English students fear they will be forced into when they finish their degree, but teaching doesn’t have to be trying to tease underlying themes out of a bunch of snotty schoolchildren reading Catch-22.
Yes, you can go into teaching at a state school once you have attained a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) but you could also use your degree to travel the world and teach.
The rise in the use of English in the rest of the world means that there is great demand for good tutors. You would be well advised to get the CELTA Certificate in TEFL as this will mean you can plump for the better jobs, it is a short and relatively inexpensive course.
media – Journalism, TV, Radio etc
The obvious choice for arts graduates all over, this is often the most attractive and highly competitive profession to get into.
Experience and a portfolio of past work are essential to secure these jobs, thus if you’re still studying: the University paper, radio station and the like are a must to improve your CV. It is also a good idea to actually go out and chase jobs, hand out speculative CVs and generally make your face known to prospective employers.
In addition a bulging portfolio is a must: start blogging and writing for as many people as you can, start your own website, anything that gives your name that extra lustre to make it pop when a prospective employer is plucking yours from a huge bundle of CV’s.
Marketing, Advertising and PR
Great creative writing and editing skills are a definite plus in this area. You’re trying to create an image for the brand and if that image is not presented well then the brand suffers.
As such your skills will be very useful, you could be responsible for the marketing of any brand, be it chocolate cake or platinum watches. It is often a very creative role, but it also can be quite well paid. As such it can be quite competitive to enter but if you are determined then your degree is definitely an asset.
Be sure to check our ongoing series of interviews with writing professionals for more advice about pursuing an editorial-based career