What career skills will you be building as an English major?
In a recent survey of English department graduates we asked a number of questions regarding career choices. We also asked what skills our past students learned in their classes that helped them in those careers. The responses indicated that skills in writing and communication were most often used in the work place.
"The skills in written and oral communication, especially the ability to formulate an organized and coherent argument give me an advantage over my colleagues who often have difficulties communicating-especially in writing."
Analytical skills were also used quite often and in a variety of ways.
"I think that reading and analyzing from different perspectives in the English program made me a more sensitive and aware ‘reader’of clients' cases. Familiarity with analytical writing styles has also been a big plus."
The study of literature, although necessary for teaching and research,has given many students greater insights while pursuing other careers and a better understanding of the world in general.
"[I found most useful the] problem solving skills developed through critical analysis of Shakespeare, Emerson and other great writers."
"I've found the essays I wrote for American, Canadian and English Lit. helped me to form clear and succinct ideas. Also, the class I took on American Drama gave me a lot to think about, even today."
Mark Cuban, billionaire software developer and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, says
"there's going to be a greater demand in 10 years for liberal arts majors than there
were for programming majors and maybe even engineering."
Thinking about an advanced degree?
Over half of our students go on to complete various professional and academic graduate degrees and certification. Here are a few to consider:
- M.A., M.F.A. Ph.D. programs in Literature, Rhetoric & Comp., Creative Writing & Linguistics
- M.D. (Medicine)
- M.Ed. (Education)
- M.S.W. (Social Work)
- M.L.I.S. (Library Science)
- M.B.A. (Business)
- J.D. (Law)
- M.P.A. (Public Administration)
Training beyond the B.A.
Some professions require specialized training and the University of Utah offers a number of programs on a credit or non-credit basis.
What kinds of things can I do with skills I learn in the English Department?
The traditional field of education is still the career most sought after by English majors; however, business careers, representing 32% of graduates, are attainable and lucrative choices. Here are a few to look at as possibilities:
Small Business Owner
Enjoy the educational atmosphere but don't want to teach? How about the following
Media Services and Development
Are your sights set on a "professional" career?
What about non-profit organizations and the arts?
Writing Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction
English majors are requested for many jobs, from computer software companies to the Park Service and from law enforcement to lobbying. It's going to take some work from you to find out where you belong.
Where do I go for help in making decisions about my career?
Without a clue as to what you want to do after college? Start with Educational Psychology 2610R-1: Career and Life Planning. This course is designed to help you explore your interests, abilities and aptitudes in relation to career goals. The College of Humanities will be offering two courses specifically for students majoring in our college. Look for HUM 3960: Successful Career Planning and 3970: Implementing a Job Search in the class schedule.
If you know what you want to do but don't know how to get there, two very good resources are available for internships.
The Internship Program through the Department of English provides students with the opportunity to combine classroom learning and productive work experience in fields you may be interested in pursuing after graduation. A typical internship lasts for the duration of a semester, with a minimum of ten and a maximum of twenty hours per week. Students are required to register for school credit hours. During the course of their internship, students will be expected to produce a portfolio of their writing and other appropriate work, which will both warrant academic credit and be of value to the sponsoring company or non-profit organization. The English Internship Program requires that you complete an application available at the English Department front desk (3500 LNCO).
The Career & Professional Development Center Internship Program is also an opportunity
to work in companies or organizations, earning credit, gaining valuable experience,
and, for most of the jobs, getting paid. To receive credit, students are required to create goals, submit weekly assignments,
turn in supervisor evaluations, and write a final paper regarding the experience.
Students are responsible for choosing a job, interviewing, and meeting with an internship advisor before, during, and after their employment. Job descriptions are posted in the Career & Professional Development office. In addition to the posted jobs, you have the option of creating an internship opportunity using a current job or activity. Please note that many jobs may not directly relate to your skills and experience as an English major.Look carefully at job descriptions to find the "career factor." In other words, look for new skills and experiences you can glean from the duties that may assist you in your career search.
Check the Career & Professional Development Center web site at http://careers.utah.edu and start watching for opportunities. After choosing one or more jobs, meet with a Career Coach who can assist you in creating a resume and applying for the position. Your advisor will guide you and your employer through the necessary steps to receive credit; however, if you use the Career & Professional Development Center for your internship, you are not obligated to register for credit.
The Career & Professional Development Center has a team of friendly and professionally trained coaches that are here to help you maximize your potential by guiding you in imagining what it is you want to do and helping you craft a plan to achieve those goals. Check out their bios to learn about their diverse coaching focuses and backgrounds to find a coach that best meets your needs!