What can you do with a degree in English Literature?
So you graduated from university with a degree in English Literature and now is the time to kick start your career. But what does it really mean to study this subject? What possible career opportunities does it offer?
When you attended your English literature courses, semester after semester, reading sonnets and poetry, critiquing classic novels and modern literature, learning about orientalist and feminist theories and when you struggled to understand the meaning of World Literature, and eventually tried to figure out where the Harry Potter stories fit into all this. You had to juggle between a hundred pages a week of texts by renowned theorists and readings by famous writers to get where you are now; a graduate with a degree in the Arts. So what next?
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In this article, I offer you a number of paths that you may pursue after graduating with your Bachelors of Arts in English Literature:
This is one of the most versatile jobs you can have. You may find writing opportunities for an online magazine, a blog, a student who needs help editing their paper, and the list goes on. This option offers freedom and flexibility to work as much as you want, whenever you want. On average, your income may reach a rough $40,000-50,000 a year.
Public relations and marketing:
One of the main qualities this job entails is the ability to write, be creative, and be critical, all of which are skills you have already mastered during your four-year academic journey. You will need to write press releases to be published, or perhaps create a new vision for your company or a slogan for a product. The prospects here would be great if you pair your degree with a minor or double major in business, be that marketing, economics or even philosophy. These will allow you to grow in this field with a potential of becoming a marketing manager or PR specialist.
This is a very common approach, and perhaps the most thought of amongst English Literature graduates. But you need to know that most schools require some teaching certification alongside your degree. Here you may start your career teaching elementary and then progress, with more experience to teach middle school and high school. Nevertheless, do not mistake teaching for an easy job. It is a quite challenging career that requires perseverance and dedication. Given a 5 year experience or more you may be able to (depending on the country where you live) teach as an instructor at a university or college level. Of course, you can always acquire a higher degree (MA or PhD) which amongst other things, will allow you to teach what you were once being taught!
Copywriter or editor:
The span of what these two words can offer in the form of a career is very broad. You can be an editor for a weekly/monthly, online/print magazine or your local newspaper. You will read many articles, and depending on the specifics of your job description, you will have to fix errors, make it more reader friendly or decide whether it should be published tab all. You can be an editor at a publishing house, where you will have to read a big number of books or novels to proofread them or even to help pick certain ones that you think might have the potential of being the next hit in the market.
As a copywriter, you will have to produce content, as opposed to fixing it. Here you may find that someone else will have to read your work to decide whether it is good or needs editing. Again, depending on the place of employment your content creation will differ. Some content will be written to sell, while another to inform. If you are a digital content creator you may write small concise sentences to use on social media platforms, but if your job is to describe new products you may need to write so much more than a couple of sentences.
The apple does not fall far from the tree, so if you decide to be a librarian you will be working beside the books that you love, taking care of them, keeping them pristine, and haunting anyone who fails to return them. Of course, your job involves more than just that as you will have to read all new entries into the library to see on what shelves they fit best. You will also have to see what age groups will be allowed to read the contents of the book. Librarians are also involved in a lot of research where they help students, teachers and professors with their work.
Now the list of jobs and career opportunities does not end here. Below you will find more possible jobs, that are either directly related to the degree in English Literature or where this degree may be very useful.
- Talent agent
- Private tutor
- Education consultant
- Social media specialist
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