The short answer: anything. There isn’t an industry or field that doesn’t need people who can communicate effectively, work with complicated information, and cope with complex human interactions. These are all things that an English department degree trains you to do.
- This interactive graphic compiled by the University of Virginia conveys an important truth about the relationship between undergraduate majors and occupations: “The path you take as an undergraduate matters, but your major is just one of many decisions that contribute to your occupational choices.”
- Does an “impractical” degree like English put you at a disadvantage on the job market? “93% of employers agree that candidates’ demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems is more important than their undergraduate major.“
- The demand for English-major-types is growing in the tech world. “[T]oday’s tech wave will inspire a new style of work in which tech takes care of routine tasks so that people can concentrate on what mortals do best: generating creative ideas and actions in a data-rich world.”
- Are you worried that your major isn’t pointing you to an obvious career path? Don’t be! That’s the point, and you’re in a better position to take charge of your future because of it.
Here are some links to help you think about how you would most like to use the skills you’re developing as an English department major:
- English and Creative Writing majors describe how they’ve used their degrees at DearEnglishMajor.com
- What kinds of people started out with a B.A. in English? You might be surprised. Here are just a few of the ways English majors are changing the world.
- Is a computer science or engineering degree necessary for a tech job? Not necessarily!
- English majors can do a lot more than write, edit, and teach. Here are 35 Awesome Jobs for English Majors.
- Here’s a recent discussion on Reddit about what people with English degrees are doing after graduation. Read past the knee-jerk cynicism to the truth: English majors have a lot to offer employers.
- “...if you’re an employer who needs smart, creative workers, a 50-page honors project on a 19th century French poet might be just the thing you want to see from one of your job applicants. Not because you’re going to ask him or her to interpret any poetry on the job, but because you may be asking him or her, at some point, to deal with complex material that requires intense concentration – and to write a persuasive account of what it all means. And you may find that the humanities major with extensive college experience in dealing with complex material handles the challenge better – more comprehensively, more imaginatively – than the business or finance major who assumed that her degree was all she needed to earn a place in your company.“
- Some of these 100 Careers for English Majors require a few years of graduate school, but it’s a thought-provoking list.