Careers for English Majors: They Do Exist (Really!)

Updated: September 9, 2020

A lifelong sports fan, James found his dream job when he landed a gig as marketing director for a pro sports team in Baltimore. He spends his days coming up with creative ideas to promote his team and reach more fans.

Caleb grew up reading everything he could about politics. Today, he loves the high-energy lifestyle of Washington DC and works as a lobbyist for a human rights advocacy group.

Elena started coding in high school, but her real love was writing. As a software engineer for a San Francisco start-up, she’s found success by combining her tech skills and communication savvy.

What do all these people have in common? They majored in English.

Anyone with an English degree will tell you that picking this major can lead to a lot of skepticism. FAQs for an English major include, “What are you going to do after school?” and “What kind of a job can you really get with an English degree?”

But the awesome part about this major is its flexibility—you’re not confined to a specific vocational track. Instead, the skills you learn can be applied to a ton of different industries, from business, education, government, and research to publishing, entertainment, media, and communications.

As editor and professor Verlyn Klinkenborg puts it: “English majors turn up almost anywhere, in almost any career.”

Why all the career options? It’s simple: English majors know how to communicate. And that’s a vital talent for all kinds of jobs. You write well, organize ideas in a logical way, and create strong arguments. Add razor-sharp analytical thinking, a good dose of creativity, and awesome research skills, and you’ve got the makings of a great career.

Of course, whatever path you choose to pursue, you need to supplement your classes with some real-world experience. If your heart is set on publishing, try your hand at an internship at a magazine. If you want to be a PR superstar, volunteer your weekends at a firm. This in-the-trenches training will help you stand out from the crowd.

Ready to see where an English degree can take you? Check out upcoming internships for English majors here.