Entering the workforce with a degree in English is not cause for panic. The world of English related jobs is more expansive than what people lead you to believe. Ignore the internet meme saying that all English majors end up working as baristas; instead, rejoice in your major and all the potential it has to offer! A degree in English is an asset not a hindrance to finding a career.
What better place to explore career opportunities for English majors than in a book. Tim Lemire’s book, I’m an English Major- Now What?: How English majors can find Happiness, Success, and a Real Job, addresses common concerns upon entering the workforce as well as peruses possible career choices. An English major himself, Lemire not only examines the possibilities that a degree in English may present, he also works to dispel common fears. Some of the fears he lists include: that English majors’ career options are severely limited, that English majors will never make good money, and that English majors’ skills have no currency outside of academics. All of these are grossly false, as revealed within the book’s investigation of various career paths.
The book begins with an explanation of what it means to be an English major. Lemire breaks down the requirements to be an English major into a list of skills that are gained from each. He also emphasizes that a major in English alone, similar to other majors, is not enough to procure a job. In addition, a person needs to have certain abilities that will make them the best candidate for a particular career. Throughout the book, Lemire highlights these beneficial skills and explains why they are necessary. A major in English is described as a “good foundation” but employers will also be interested in the experiences, knowledge, and talent you bring to a career.
Lemire divvies up the rest of the chapters based on a particular career focus. The fields he has chosen to research and represent within his chapters include: education, television or media production, news publication such as newspapers or magazines, literature, free-lance, and business or the corporate world. He also includes a chapter of “other options” which provides information on several other career possibilities related to the skills that are associated with a major in English.
Though you may become discouraged with what job prospects the future will hold for you as English majors, fear not my well-versed bibliophilic friends! There are thousands of unique careers just waiting for the perspective and skills that a person with an English major can offer.
For further career exploration, stop into the Career Center Resource Library and browse the selection.