English majors are good at much more than just reading and writing. They’re also masters of critical thinking, creativity, and problem solving – which are all skills employers find desirable. We spoke with Dr. Beth Quitslund, Ohio University professor, to help round up the top five reasons English majors land the job.
1. They’re versatile
Earning an English degree doesn’t necessarily mean you are destined to end up as a high school English teacher. “Being an English major usually means you will have sets of skills that are flexible, and that will make you valuable to an employer. You will meet English majors in virtually any career path,” says Quitslund.
Aside from the typical writing and editing jobs, you can find English majors in marketing, advertising, public relations, human resources, legal, and business careers.
“I think people with liberal arts training do well in places where there is a need to read competently, write well, communicate precisely, think creatively, and understand other human beings.”
2. They understand context
You may be wondering how studying a subject like historical literature will benefit your career. The answer may be learning to understand the context of the piece.
“You have to know what a character means when they are talking. To have an overview of relationships in a specific time, and having that experience with other people – it really does broaden the scope of how to understand the political action and social movements referenced in the text.”
That understanding is applicable to current events, in addition to how history influences modern issues.
3. They don’t (always) skim
We’ve grown accustomed to skimming through content published on the web, but English majors know the value of reading the whole piece.
“One of the things those older, more historical courses teach you is to slow down. You can’t skim something that is written in archaic English, unless you’ve been doing it for a very long time. Learning the practice of slowing down and breaking a text into pieces is useful for deeper understanding.”
Often, you’ll find something others may have missed.
4. They’re storytellers
It’s no secret a main component of an English degree is reading and writing stories.
“To be an English major means you are interested in stories. Most of the way we understand the world around us is in terms of stories, so being able to understand how stories are structured, and being able to put information into stories, is really critical.”
Creating a narrative around a business, product, or policy can be extremely powerful. Think of a Nike ad – it’s selling shoes by telling a story.
5. They think critically
Learning to analyze themes in literary works is helpful for more than just homework.
“English majors are trained to collect evidence from text. They need to look very carefully at nuances, and use them to build arguments. Laying out those arguments in a logical way is the very heart of what English scholarship is.”
These powers of persuasion prove useful for lawyers, marketers, CEOs, and more.
English majors learn an abundance of valuable, evergreen skills; don’t be afraid that the degree won’t be useful in the real world. Ready to get started? Check out our Top 10 Liberal Arts Schools with Unbridled Opportunity.