From An English Major: What You Can Do With Your English Degree

english degree asian indian girl writer

Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.” A line taken from Don Quixote that I’m sure all English Degree holders resonate with. As one myself, majoring in English has gotten a bad reputation over the years. We can quote lines from Shakespeare but can we bring value to a company? Everyone knows English already so what are we even studying? We’re studying English, so that means our only career path should be as a Teacher, right? Not necessarily.

There’s a lot that people don’t know about pursuing an English Degree, and I didn’t either when I first decided to go for it back in 2013. All I knew back then was that English is where my strength is at and I enjoy reading as a hobby, hence Literature and Linguistics just made sense. 8 years later, that was still the best decision I’ve made.

Though it’s true that English Majors do not make as much money as those in STEM fields, studies showed that most English BA grads are significantly more satisfied with their career compared to other majors. This indicates that they are just as happy with their tasks, benefits, job security, and career growth as those in other fields, which I can vouch for. Now, it’s up to you how you want to shape your career path. However, fret not, there is a multitude of options that you can go for, hence here are some that I can recommend for you.

Media and Journalism

english degree production team

Talking about the media sector, there’s a whole bunch of smaller industries that I can mention. We have film, television, newspaper, digital media, advertising, PR, gaming, and many more. As an English graduate, this is the best part because you get to choose an area that intrigues you the most and then pursue it as a Writer, Editor, Producer, Manager, Promoter, Talent Handler, the list goes on.

Regardless, it’s good to keep in mind that careers in media can be very competitive. As someone who has worked in PR and in the Gaming industry, one thing I can take from my experiences is that unless you are extremely passionate, dedicated, and are willing to sacrifice your work/life balance, then you might want to reconsider or take a pass on this one.

However, if you believe that that is the path for you, it is definitely a line of work that will leave you feeling fulfilled and accomplished after every project, be it small or big. To help you boost your employability in this career, a few tips that I have for you:

  • Be active on social media (A good online presence will do wonders for you)
  • Prepare a portfolio of work (Compile any projects or personal works you’ve done, e.g., articles, blog posts, reviews, photography, film projects, etc.)
  • Be knowledgeable in the media landscape (Have a good understanding of digital media and how it works, what is currently trending etc.)

Publishing

english degree publishing team

While most might think that publishing falls under the media world, it actually belongs to a distinct sector of its own. Due to digital transformation, it has led to a major disruption to the publishing and all printing industry. Although that means that all traditional printing media will have to downsize or face bankruptcy, most companies have done a tremendous job in adapting quickly to the world of digital publishing. Till today, those that have adapted are continuously thriving, thus, am always in need of young graduates who are tech-savvy with fresh and creative minds to keep the company evolving.

In digital publishing, there’s an array of areas that you can discover as an English Degree holder. There are E-books, electronic journals, online magazines, news portals, and many more. While there are many forms of digital publishing, there are also a variety of positions that you can be involved in such as production, editorial, administration, public relations, marketing, and sales.

Now, how can you land a job in the publishing industry?

  • A bookworm
  • Have a good level of computer literacy
  • Strong knowledge of trends within the industry
  • Have a self-published blog or an eye-catching portfolio

Regardless, it’s good to keep in mind that due to the nature of the industry, it will undergo a lot of highs and lows. Hence, be careful not to be taken advantage of by being unpaid or underpaid workers since most publishers are only offering minimum wage.

Academic

english degree asian teacher

Teaching is such a noble profession. If this is where your heart is at, understand that a lot goes on behind it. While a career in teaching will require you to have additional qualifications or experience, having an English degree will certainly help you to develop the right knowledge and communication skills needed in the field.

In order to teach at the primary or secondary level, you will need a professional teaching qualification and have gained some experience teaching children or young adults. However, if you’re aiming for universities, then you will most definitely need a master’s degree in the field you wish to teach and moving forward, a Ph.D.

There’s a lot of routes you can go in the Academic field. Aside from teaching, university professors can also submit papers to journals, contribute or author a book and jump into the trend of commenting on issues in mass media. Now, to begin your journey, it’s good to have a teaching experience. You don’t need anything fancy. Helping tutoring children in your neighborhood also shows that you have some experience in working with students. Being involved in research projects as a research assistant is also a plus.

Marketing and PR

english degree pr and marketing team

As English graduates, most of us were taught and trained to have great communication skills with endless presentations and projects. With that comes creative extroverts, or sometimes even introverts, who seek to join the marketing, advertising, and public relations field.

These roles are constantly in high demand in the business world due to their responsibility to drive sales and generate profit. Hence, most positions will be paired with a high salary and a more well-defined career progression. Additionally, with the growth of technology, it is important that students are technology savvy to make it in any industry.

A good tip to kickstart your journey in this field is by having experience in sales and marketing. Being knowledgeable in promoting a product or service through social media is also a huge boost.

Other Common Career Paths

  • Freelance Writer
  • Translator / Interpreter
  • Tourism
  • Events management
  • Human resources

If You’re Not Like The Other English Graduates?

Public Sectors

  • Administrator
  • Civil Service Worker
  • Government Worker
  • Health Service Worker

Law

  • Paralegal
  • Legal Secretary
  • Barrister
  • Solicitor

 

Related: 10 Most Sought After Jobs in Malaysia Post-Covid-19

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