Do you have an English degree? Or are you considering entering a liberal arts program centered around the humanities?
If there are people discouraging you from doing this, it's time to do your research and gather the right information.
The truth is, with a degree in English, Communications, etc., there truly are endless job opportunities for you.
When I initially chose to study English, in my mind I imagined working for a large publishing company like Random House (Who am kidding?! I still want to work there!). I didn't realize at the time the skills I would gain from studying in such a diverse program. I figured writing or publishing were my only options.
According to St. Lawrence University professor Brian Chezum, obtaining an English – or any liberal arts degree – prior to working in finance or business, or earning an MBA is actually preferred:
"We want to educate [our business majors] in a way that allows them to see beyond the path that they are on. We believe that a liberal arts education does that better than any other education, better than any technical education."
There are many transferable skills developed in an English program. To better understand why so many employers prefer an employee who has the diverse liberal arts, let's take a look at a few of the skills attained while studying for an English Literature degree (or another degree in the humanities).
1. Analytical/Critical Thinking: While not entirely the same, at the core they are very similar. Students are required to analyze text (after reading stacks and stacks of books!) and theories and be able to support claims while articulating their point of view. A strong, research-based argument must be made in order to prove your position. Shrewd decision making is a critical thinking skill that most graduates of an English program are likely to have. These skills are likely to give you a different perspective and come up with a creative solution most won't be able to.
2. Communication/Interpersonal (writing, speaking & teamwork): It should go without saying that the written and spoken word should be a highly refined skill of an English major. Having a way with words is a skill that can be used in getting a job, obtaining a client, getting a promotion, etc. Words are the key to success – whether through written or oral communication. With businesses turning to creatives for marketing purposes (to gain followers on social media, etc.), being a team player with a willingness and strong ability to work as part of a creative team, is an invaluable skill in today's job market.
3. Editing/Proofreading: This skill develops organically while studying the humanities. Working with professors closely on papers/research, writing and rewriting papers, and doing peer reviews instills a talent and discerning eye for detail. This skill can be utilized in a number of fields, not just writing and editing. Again, businesses are looking for detail-oriented individuals who are capable of providing creative services and helping create marketable content. You need to be able to read between the lines to stand out.
Purdue University agrees that the skills acquired while studying English prepare you for many different jobs:
"An English major (including a professional writer) learns many skills that employers find desirable, which may lead them to jobs in publishing, marketing, management, etc. Skills include the ability to communicate effectively orally and in writing; to edit, revise and design professional documents; to analyze, interpret, and present data; to present information clearly and creatively; and to understand how people use writing to teach, delight, and persuade."
Recently, the College of Liberal Arts at Purdue University introduced the Degree in 3 program. This proves that schools are not trying to do away with a liberal arts education, but encouraging it. The purpose of obtaining a liberal arts degree in 3 years is simply due to the demand for employees with the exact skills students in this accelerated program obtain. As a result, young adults are able to enter the job market even quicker.
Another great point to make about a degree in the humanities is that it is an excellent prerequisite for continuing your education. Below you can find a list of possible careers and advanced programs to pursue with an English or other degree in the humanities.
Advertising Law School
Editorial Transition to Teaching
PR MLIS (Master of Library and
Content Writer Information Science)
Copywriter MS Education
Social Media Marketer
Would you like to learn more about your options after graduating with an English degree? Contact me and we can chat about how to better define your skills to get that dream job!
Have one of the degrees mentioned above? What job market did you find yourself in? Comment below!