35 of the Best, Highest Paying Jobs for English Majors

It was April. My last month at graduate school. I was walking through the bright library searching for books to help me find a career with my English degrees (BA and MA in English). It seemed grim. Where do English majors end up after graduation? Teach? A proofreader?  Teach?

English BAs, MAs, and Ph.D.s really end up in a bunch of different places. We struggle for a bit after graduation. We complain to each other. And then we disperse.

The hard part, though, involves knowing where to begin. And to be honest, that day in the library when I discovered that English majors could do many different jobs, I was a little excited, even though I knew that my real dream job was being a professor.

As this list of the best English major jobs will show, there is a real sense of freedom in doing an English degree. You can be so many things, work in so many industries, and find a rewarding career in an industry you may have never expected.

Also, these jobs are not just for English majors–Ph.D.’s in social sciences, history majors, and basically any humanities degree has a shot at these jobs.

It’s a big list. Enjoy.

Also, if you have a career to add or some advice for breaking into any of these industries, please leave a comment.

The best English majors jobs

I’ll cover in detail the careers below. The average salary range for these English major careers is between $50,000 to $110,000, assuming that $50,000 is the entry range and $110,000 would be a senior position after 8-10 years in the role. Your location greatly determines your salary as major cities always pay more due to increased competition for talent and higher living costs. Use Payscale and Glassdoor to gather specific salary data for each role.

  • Analyst
  • Commerce journalist
  • Education coordinator
  • Social media community manager
  • Speechwriter
  • Search engine marketer
  • Copywriter
  • B2B content specialist
  • Journalist
  • Technical writer
  • Public relations specialist / coordinator
  • Corporate blogger / internal communications specialist
  • Marketing researcher
  • Policy analyst
  • Sales person / account executive
  • Search engine optimization specialist
  • Lobbyist
  • Investor relations specialist
  • Inside sales representative
  • Stock broker
  • eCommerce analyst
  • Social media manager
  • Brand strategist
  • Brand manager
  • Communications officer
  • Editor
  • Publishing coordinator
  • Non-profit communication manager
  • Grant and proposal writer
  • Corporate communications manager / director
  • Advertising creative
  • Event planner
  • Television, radio writer

Writing Jobs for English Majors

Analyst

When you say analyst, most people think of the CIA or finance people. But many English Majors have become a different type of analyst: writers and thinkers who analyze complex industries and then present their recommendations via research reports, webinars, speeches, and blog posts.

Firms like Gartner, Forrester, Deloitte, eMarketer, eConsultancy hire analysts and if you are successful in this career you’ll enjoy a $90,000+ salary (once you’ve worked your way up into a mid-level position) and much more if you become a senior analyst or research director. You can also work at marketing research companies like GlobalWebIndex and ComScore, doing similar work.

What will you do every day? You’ll typically be given a set number of research reports (these are short reports around 2,000 – 3,000 words) per year and an industry segment or topic cluster to cover. You’ll work with quants that will pull data for you, create forecasts for market trends, and handle the heavy lifting for statistical methods. You’ll interview people in the field, read a lot of similar studies, run surveys, and look through data.

The end goal? Research reports that help business decision makers—such as directors, vice presidents, C-suite executives—at companies understand new opportunities and make informed strategic decisions.

How to break in? First, take a look at some of the companies I listed above.

Next, look at the LinkedIn profiles of the authors of the reports that the analyst firms publish. You’ll see that many share a similar background to you, lots of English Majors, History Majors, and PhDs. Look for interviews with those authors. Learn about the industry.

Then try emailing a few analysts and ask for their advice breaking in. You’ll also see entry-level positions—such as a junior analyst or junior editor or report writer—on the analyst firm career sections.

Commerce Journalist

While journalists believe their industry is founded on the pursuit of OBJECTIVE TRUTH, the reality is that it is supported by advertising revenues.

A commerce journalist is a new breed of part journalist and advertising writer.

Media companies are really looking for “commerce journalists” right now.

The best part is that this job didn’t exist five years ago. That means you don’t need tons of experience to break into it. Just skills, intellect, and motivation.

What you’d actually do:

From an actual job posting:

Your beat is helping readers buy things. You’ll be delivering content about products that Kotaku readers know, love, or should own. You’ll have both a daily writing assignment and the freedom to pursue your own content ideas. If you’re interested in things like deal forums, coupon codes, giving your friends product advice, and Amazon.com, you’ll use all of those as inspiration to create your own new commerce content product.

Taken from this article here.

Type of companies hiring:

  • Companies like Buzzfeed.
  • Small private media companies like the Wire Cutter.
  • Traditional brands like the New York Times after they pull their heads from their pompous asses.

Degree required?

  •  Writing skills to pay the bills preferred, but English BA, History, and basically any communication-related degree will do.

Education Coordinator 

These days if you want to be an educator, you don’t have to stick with a traditional high school or college. There are lots of small educational schools, which typically do a lot of business online.

If you are a Ph.D. looking for a career change outside of academia, consider applying to these companies. In the last year, I’ve run into online writing schools, a digital DJ school, marketing training schools, and the fast-growing Udacity.

The nice part is that this is a new frontier. So they accept non-traditional applicants and probably pay better than being an adjunct.

There are three things these universities need: 1) content producers to create the programs, write blog posts, and promote 2) teachers to actually teach the classes 3) education coordinators and people to run the virtual office hours, help out, and do administrative tasks.

What you’d actually do:

This is from an actual job posting. The job was for an education coordinator for an online screenwriting school (Writeyourscreenplay.com).

This is a high growth position, ideal for a high energy, self-directed multi-tasker. If you are tired of corporate bureaucracy, and are looking for an environment where your hard work and out of the box thinking will be appreciated and rewarded, this is the job for you.

Essential Responsibilities:

  • Administration & Management of all aspects of boutique screenwriting school. Be prepared and excited about wearing many hats, including but not limited to the following:
  • Manage our staff of interns and teachers, keeping everyone on task and functioning.
  • Support Founder and Social Media Director with marketing, PR, scheduling, administration, student outreach, classes, writing retreats & special programs.
  • Oversee implementation of long term and short term projects, including art and promotion, new classes, programs and retreats and assure that all work is up to the highest standards.
  • Handle student questions & concerns via phone and email.
  • Interview, hire, and train interns and supporting staff.
  • Coordinate schedules for our growing staff of teachers, including scheduling and rescheduling of classes and one-on-one sessions.
  • Student registration and payment plan administration.
  • Manage Quickbooks, including billing, accounts payable & accounts receivable, daily office expenses, income and staff compensation & oversight by our bookkeeper. Follow up with accounts past due. (Quickbooks experience preferred).
  • Website administration
  • Writing/editing/research projects
  • Handling incoming queries and solving basic problems as they arise.
  • Devise and implement improvements to school administration processes.

From a recent job posting here.

Types of companies hiring:

  • Open education universities like Udacity.
  • For-profit professional education sites like Lynda.com.
  • Small companies like Writeyourscreenplay.com.
  • Online colleges like University of Phoenix (hey, it’s called Selloutyoursoul).

Degree required?

  •  For small businesses like Writeyourscreenplay, a relevant degree and administrative experience.
  • Relevant teaching experience or admin experience in university would be a plus.

Social Media Community Manager

Social media community managers are hired to run various social media properties for brands and companies.

This job is part marketing, part editorial and communications, and part branding. It is great for out-going people with strong communication skills (for example, English degree and humanities majors).

Here is an actual employer from a major company explaining what they look for in new hires:

If you’re hiring for a social media manager, what are qualities that you’d look for?

Editorial background, above all else. I’d rather hire a someone with a journalism degree for this than an MBA in marketing. Find someone who can write, with a ‘punchy’ attitude, and has their finger on the pulse of current trends, news, etc., and you have a winner. Social media best practices and the ins and outs of your company’s products are easier to teach than these other core skills.

What you’d actually do:

  •  Analyze your social community’s needs.
  • Write blog posts.
  • Develop strategies to keep your community happy.
  • Answer questions from the audience.
  • Think of new ideas for starting conversations.
  • Analyze results, such as reach, frequency and other marketing metrics.
  • Monitor social conversations; be the voice of the brand.

 Types of companies hiring: 

  • Large brands like Coca-Cola; small brands like software companies. 
  • Professional sports teams (like NY Giants) and sport brands.
  • Small companies that use digital and social media to get business.
  • Some government and non-profit organizations that have social presences.
  • Entertainment companies like HBO.

 Degree required?

  • Yes and no. Most marketing jobs don’t really give a crap about your degree. Skills, not paper certificates matter. But a humanities or English degree can be an asset if you don’t have experience.

Speechwriter

Enter Jon Favreau, one of my personal heroes. At 27, he wrote Obama’s inauguration speech (often in Starbucks the story goes). He also made over 6 figures as Obama’s speechwriter.

He took a degree in political science. But despite what the annoying class president might have told you, in the private world political science is just as useless and irrelevant as an English degree, never mind the desperate attempt to put “science” beside it (perhaps, English Science would help fix the humanities crisis?).

You would work for political parties. Perhaps freelance writing speeches for CEOs (or getting your start there).

The reason why Obama hired Favreau at such an early age was his skills, not his degree. He showed up prepared. If you’ve read my eBook, you know my thoughts on this.

How to get started?

If you are smart enough to be a speechwriter, you’ll figure that out. My hint would be to 1) learn how to write a speech by studying some classic and contemporary examples 2) prepare a glistening sample of your rhetoric to show employers 3) get an internship or position on a political campaign.

Search Engine Marketer

Search engine marketing is a growing industry, which has attracted many English and humanities majors. It requires a combination of analytical ability and creativity, making English degrees often desired. As this industry is so young, you can’t learn this stuff in university, making it wide-open for motivated people with strong analytical skills.

What do search engine marketers do? They help companies use digital channels to market their products. This includes online advertising, search engine optimization (SEO), and the use of web analytics to study how visitors interact with websites. You don’t need to be a programmer to work in search engine marketing. But, the thought of learning about the architecture of the web should excite you.

How to break in? Start learning about the industry and then get an entry-level job in a search engine marketing agency. A great place to begin is to take the Google Certification Courses. Google offers certifications in all major areas of online marketing an after you are ‘Google Certified,’ employers will take you more seriously. This is inexpensive as well with each test only costing $50 and you can learn online for free.

There are also a zillion blogs, books, and online courses to take. Read some!

Direct Response Copywriting

Lots of English majors have become direct response copywriters. Fundraising letters, offers from cable and cell-phone companies, and other mail-based marketing are probably the work of some humanities major turned direct response copywriter. These days, these tactics are used online with the more mystical title: conversion copywriter. Same goal, different formats.

One of the most famous direct response copywriters, Michael Masterson, has a Ph.D. in the humanities. He worked as a college professor before leaving the academic life to become a millionaire. I learned a lot from his books. He is a great and wise human.

This industry requires an understanding of human psychology (why people buy), creativity, and the ability to use words in a way that inspires trust and an emotional connection between writer and reader.

Tons of writers, old humanities majors, and closet intellectuals are hiding out in the direct response industry.

Copywriter

Banner ads, creative social media campaigns, blog posts, whitepapers, e-books, online strategies, landing pages, website copy, and social media promotion ideas–you’ll be writing all that fun stuff if you decide to work as a copywriter. Great job. Tons of humanities majors work as copywriters.

How to break in? Write a funny, charming, intelligent letter to an agency and try to get an internship. Freelance, contract work, and begging for an opportunity also help.

B2B Content Specialist

B2B (business-to-business) sales involve long, complicated sales processes. People don’t just buy, for example, a $60,000 software suite for a corporation in an afternoon. They research different solutions online, check out reviews, and search for whitepapers.

There is a big demand for smart researchers and intelligent writers.

Breaking into content marketing requires you to understand the basics of marketing and to have writing samples. Lost? My book, How to Find a Career with Your Humanities Degree in 126 Days, offers a complete program to help you break down a big career move like this into manageable, daily actions.

Old fashioned Journalist

Thanks to Trump the trade of journalism is not quite dead yet.

It’s also a myth that all journalists went to journalism school. Roy Peter Clark, for example, a very famous journalist, did a PhD in Medieval Culture before taking this industry by storm.

This industry values excellent writing abilities and a fast ability to analyze and produce quality work. You also need to be able to spot grammar slips and be able to write concisely. Research skills, of course, are needed as well.

Most people break in as an intern, contract work, freelance, and junior roles. Make sure you have excellent writing samples, as you know, you’re trying to get a job as a writer.

Technical Writer

Many English majors become technical writers. Technical writing involves writing user manuals for consumer products, instruction manuals, and other technical, complex documents that products need. It is quite high-paying, although can involve a lot of contract work.

Thomas Pynchon, the author of the famous novel Gravity’s Rainbow, worked as a technical writer, creating user manuals for a space rocket company.

This industry is relatively hard to break into as most jobs advertised ask for a few years of experience (I guess nobody wants a rocket-ship manual written by an amateur).

However, Rober Nagle, a humanities M.A. turned technical writer, offers some advice for getting around the ‘must have 5 years experience in technical writing’ dilemma. If this field interests you, head over to Robert Nagle’s very cool blog called IdiotProgrammer.com.

Public Relations Specialist / Coordinator 

Many English majors end up in public relations. In the past decade, public relations has seen quite a bit of growth (compared to traditional advertising agencies) and even though the decline of traditional media has complicated things, private companies and governments will always need writers to help get their messages out to the public.

What will you do in a PR firm? Junior staff will be given tasks such as writing news releases, pitch letters, crafting newsletters, finding content to send out on social media accounts, and writing web copy or brochures. As you move up the ranks, you will learn more about the strategic side of things. PR strategies are generally aimed at helping companies get PR coverage and using the media to shape the public’s perception of a company.

Governments also hire PR writers to work in-house. Often called Press Secretaries, your job would be to keep the public informed about the activity of different governmental agencies, explain policy, and work on political campaigns.

Do you need a degree in public relations to get a job in the industry? No. Many PR professionals come from various backgrounds. However, you should be a strong writer with a keen sense of detail (no typos! And front-page news is no place to mix up the details about your client’s company!) That said, practical experience in the industry helps and so internships and contract positions are a common way to break into PR.

As one English major turned PR pro describes writing a news release: “I need to do what I did for every essay I wrote for an English class, [such as] figure out the main point, extract the important information and compile it into a coherent document,” she says.

Also, don’t overlook temp agencies and temporary positions as you try to break into PR. “Temporary positions,” says an English major-turned Communications Coordinator, “can help students and recent graduates gain additional experience and try out positions in a variety of fields. The experience can help them obtain a full-time job.”

And remember that PR is a very, very big field. Most colleges and universities, government agencies, medical institutions, and professional organizations have their own internal PR departments. There are a ton of jobs and opportunities for people who take the time to develop this skill-set.

Other careers related: Public Relations Specialist; Public Relations Assistant.

Corporate Blogger / Internal Communications Specialist

Big companies like IBM, Microsoft, Yahoo! and Dell often require corporate bloggers. In the past ten years, the need for content has exploded with the internet, making the demand for writers increase. These corporate blogs are used as ‘branding’ tools, offering free and helpful content to their customers.

Even smaller corporations (for example, Mint.com) have company blogs and require a vast amount of content each day. Many English majors, of course, end up writing these corporate blogs.

A corporate blogger plans content schedules, comes up with new ideas for articles and whitepapers, runs social media accounts, monitors traffic and feedback, and of course writes a lot of blog posts.

To break into this job, you would benefit from having some experience writing for an audience (for example, a newspaper or magazine) and must be proficient in the basic blogging platforms and online writing techniques.

However, there are junior positions out there (as writing a blog can be tedious and extra help is needed).

An excellent way to break into the industry would be to email a fairly well-known blog and to volunteer your services as an editor or proofreader. Even massive blogs are often run by a handful of people and so it is relatively easy to get in touch with those in charge. Working for free for a few months will get you some experience and if the blog is fairly well-known it will be a nice resume item. They will most likely let you write a post as well–and then you have a published writing sample.

While strong writing skills are required, don’t forget to learn about the basic principles of online writing. These can be learned quite quickly.

Nonacademic Research Jobs

Marketing Researcher

A former PhD in History that I interviewed here left academia to become a market researcher. This industry is high-paying and involves detailed research as well as the ability to spot larger trends and come up with creative solutions to marketing problems.

Typically, you’ll need to know statistics. History majors do well in marketing research as they are able to analyze data.

So what do market researchers actually do? Market researchers run or develop studies to gauge how consumers think and act. Often psychology or social science PhDs can get jobs outside of academia as market researchers as they have been trained in statistics and research methodologies.  As mentioned, history PhD’s can also find work as market researchers.

Job growth is robust for those in this industry with advanced degrees, including PhDs. The average wage for a market researcher is $61,580 (as reported by national labor surveys in 2009.)

You can read my interview with this History PhD turned market researcher here.

Other careers similar to marketing researcher, which require similar skill-sets are: Market Research Analyst.

Policy Analyst

Philosophy PhD’s and history majors often end up as policy analysts for governments. This job involves gathering and analyzing information to help plan, develop, and interpret new policies–both in the government and industry.

Most policy analysts have advanced education and may hold a masters and doctorate degree. The typical degrees are in the social sciences, political sciences, history, economics, resource management and law.

Here’s some advice about becoming a policy analyst:

“Gain experience by working in the private or government sector where you will be constantly exposed to policy making. Working for a congressional or a senatorial official will also be an advantage as well as working for nonprofit organizations such as charitable institutions and other philanthropic organizations where company policies are very essential.”

High Paying Jobs for English Majors

Sales person / account executive

Forget about the image of the out-going sleazy salesperson. Modern selling is about nuance and understatement. Even quiet people can become excellent sales people as they disarm buyers.

After grad school, I began dabbling into the industry. It really is a cool industry filled with bright, talented, interesting people.  Plus, you can make a ton of money.

Sales involves a continual analysis of psychology and it is a vast, complex subject.

Best of all, most innovative sales companies hire on attitude. You don’t need 10 years of experience for a smart manager to see some potential in you. Selling is a special art and from what I’ve read, most of the really successful sales gurus come from very diverse backgrounds.

Sales requires excellent communication skills, analysis, sensitivity, and empathy–all skills that most bright English Majors have developed.

An exceptional sales person can make $200,000+ a year if they work at a good company.

Search Engine Optimization Specialist

Search engine optimization is the technical process of helping search engines properly analyze and ‘rank’ web pages. Humanities majors can do very well in SEO as they have the ability to perform excellent research and to see larger patterns in data. SEO also requires content production and humanities majors can put their writing skills to work.

SEO is also fast-changing and so there are no colleges that really offer a degree in it. Good news for you! Motivated, smart self-learners thrive in this space.

Lobbyist

In Milton’s Paradise Lost, Satan tempts Eve with a distinct set of classical rhetorical devices. Clearly, Satan is trained as a humanities major and also would make an excellent lobbyist.

I have no idea what exactly lobbyists do or how to break into this industry. However, this job requires you to be articulate, intelligent, and cunning. If you are smart enough to become a lobbyist, you are smart enough to find a way to break into this industry.

Money and power? An English major turned lobbyist is definitely a career endorsed by SellOutYourSoul.com.

Investor Relations Specialist

I never knew about this job until I did some work for a company that made software for the financial industry. In basic terms, large companies (such as Pepsi) have to keep up the public’s interest in their stock. For example, when the new hot startup has an IPO it will generate a lot of interest and people run to buy the stock. But after the buzz has died down, companies need to keep the market interested in buying and trading their stock.

So what would you do? Basically, it’s a marketing job with a finance twist. You’d be managing the corporate message and story you are telling to press and investors. This involves talking to analysts, meeting with media and investors, and establishing policies for disclosure. You would also create presentations, write earnings releases and annual reports.

Part of your job would also be informing the board of directors with intelligence about the company’s shareholder base. You would also present reports on how analysts and investors perceive the company’s strategy (for example, an old candy company might be perceived as out-of-touch with today’s teen so it’s time to launch a contest Mr. Wonka and drive up new interest in the company stock!).

How to break into this job? This job is high paying and you’d likely earn a very comfortable wage as you progressed into senior roles. But you’ll need a strong analytical ability to do this job. Employers will also want some financial knowledge. In my experience, though, it’s a myth that all English Majors are bad at math (I’ve met some technical ones), so if that’s you begin with a Google Search: How to get into Investor Relations.

You can also find these people really easy as investor relations departments list their emails on company websites. So, you might email an investor relations professional, explain your situation and background, and ask for some tips to break into the industry.

Inside Sales Representative 

Large corporations often have complicated sales cycles. This means that selling isn’t as easy as ‘pitching a new client’ and involve complicated processes and structures. There are sales people who travel and give presentations to potential new clients. And then there are inside sales people. These sales people prepare quotes, find supporting documentation, and execute sales campaigns.

Strong communication skills, social intelligence, and knowledge of ‘job-specific’ office software (like Excel) is needed. Break into this industry through a temp agency. Some people begin in an administrative position and then move up in the company.

Stock Broker

I don’t know exactly how you might get a job on Wall Street. But I do know that humanities majors have become stockbrokers. As one Ph.D. in English who now works on Wall Street put it, “making the switch from analyzing literature to analyzing stock was easy. They both involve analyzing fiction.”

eCommerce Analyst

Online marketing requires analysis. Over the past decade, tracking technology has really evolved and most complex marketing campaigns will test, track, and measure just about every dollar they spend online. Humanities majors can find work as eCommerce analysts.

In this job, you will be tasked with figuring out why certain campaigns are working, why people aren’t buying from a client’s website, and how to help online marketing budgets bring back more profit. Flint McGlaughlin has a PhD in philosophy and is a world-known eCommerce analyst.

This job requires intimate knowledge analytic and tracking software. You will also need to understand the principles of online conversion (which can be learned by reading the millions of blogs dedicated to the topic).

This is a fast-paced industry and many analysts come from various educational backgrounds. Hard-core analysts will need mathematical ability and knowledge of statistics. But if the thought of digging into a spreadsheet excites you, maybe this job is for you.

Pick up a web analytics guide from O’Reilly, a publishing company respected in the space.

Marketing Jobs for English Majors

Social Media Manager

Governments, sports teams, brands, and companies need people to run their social media programs, develop strategies, and come up with ways of engaging customers, citizens, and fans. As humanities majors have strong communication skills, many of us end up in these types of jobs.

How to break in? First, you need to know something about social media. So read some blogs and books, play with the tools, and learn about the strategic side of social media and how it fits into marketing.

Governments and universities are typically slow moving and have little expertise in social media. So take advantage of this opportunity.

Brand Strategist

Brand strategists typically work in marketing agencies, helping to guide big brands forward in their markets. MBA’s are favored in this job; however, experience, talent, and strategic brilliance rule the marketing industry.

How to break in? Work your way up.

Brand Manager

Large companies hire ‘brand managers,’ which are essentially creative people with communication skills. The job involves overseeing the promotion and development of different brand products. This is a fun, creative role and involves strategic thinking and marketing talent.

You need to have an understanding of marketing to be a brand manager. However, many English Majors have found jobs working for big brands.

Government Jobs for English Majors

Communications Officer

Governments require in-house writers and communication specialists to do things like write press releases, develop key messaging, and write speeches for government officials. I know one writer, a published author, who works as a Communications Officer. He has a BA in English and seems to earn a comfortable middle-class wage.

Look for temporary positions in your local government as these are a great way to start moving up in the government. Great pay and government connections–what more could you want?

Editing Jobs For English Majors

Editor

Yes, English majors can be editors. If helping to create a best-selling book appeals to you then editing might be a good choice. There is also a lot of editing work in education. Luckily, in editing, university degrees are required. Here is an interview on my blog with a former Amazon.com Music Editor. It covers all you need to know about getting that first editing job.

Publishing Coordinator

Yep. English majors can work in publishing. In fact, creativity, and attention to detail are highly desired skills in publishing and English majors find work in this industry every year. The wages are lower and opportunities more scarce but I know many humanities majors who have worked in this industry.

Getting your foot in the door? There are about a zillion articles online about breaking into publishing. Here’s one about how to break into publishing.

Communication Jobs

Non-Profit Communication Manager

Non-profits require communication managers and many English majors build careers working for non-profits. And yes, you will be paid. Positions vary by the size of the organization. For example, large non-profits like the American Cancer Society or World Wildlife Federation are basically giant corporations with million-dollar operating budgets. There are different roles and divisions within them.

Smaller non-profits require communication help with press strategies, fundraising, donor retention, and enlisting the help of volunteers.

In my book, I list non-profits as an excellent way to gain that essential first few months of work experience. This is because most non-profits are under-funded and under-staffed, making them easy places to get your first resume item.

Grant and Proposal Writer

Grants and proposals are an essential part of winning new business and keeping money flowing through the door for most companies and non-profits. Humanities BAs, MAs, and PhDs in English have strong research skills, an aptitude for analysis, and the stomach for digging through dense content, making grant and proposal writing an easy fit.

While vast sums of money are usually at stake, most positions prefer some experience. However, graduate students in English have usually written and won grants during the course of their degree and so you should leverage this. Also, smaller non-profits will gladly let you write a grant or two for them, which can help land larger jobs.

Even if you do not remain in this job for your entire career, the ability to win new business and money is always a valuable and highly employable skill.

Corporate Communications Manager / Director

As the manager or director of corporate communications, your job would be to oversee teams that write newsletters, email campaigns, reports, press releases, articles, web content, and other communication pieces. Expect high salaries (above $100,000 according to Spring Associates, Inc). And to break in? You’ll need to work your way up. Start with an internship or entry-level job in a communications department. This can be a great job for an English Ph.D., although advanced degrees are not necessary.

Creative Jobs For English Majors

Advertising Creative

Humanities majors find jobs in advertising every year. Creative advertising involves writing 30-second commercial scripts, taglines, copy for print ads, coming up with ideas for product launches, and other creative ways to market products.

And you don’t need to go to ad school to become an advertising creative. All that matters in this industry is the ability to come up with strong ideas.

How to get your first job in advertising? Read some books. Develop some samples. And be ready to show an agency some cool ideas. You can read about how I broke into advertising, as well as other career advice, in my e-book, How to Find a Career With Your Humanities Degree in 126 Days.

Event Planner

Not planning birthday parties for the drunken wives of the Beverly Hills, but working on high-profile events such as product launches or political campaigns. This job requires communication, social intelligence, attention to detail, and strong creative abilities. Event planning is big business and always requires smart, new talent.

To break into this industry? You will have to work from the ground-up. Actually, I have no idea. But send some emails to prominent companies and find out. Industries like this typically hire more on personality than the subject you studied in school. So if it sounds like fun to you, then go for it.

Television, radio, Hollywood writer

If you are an English major, then you probably deep down want to be a writer. Many English majors end up writing Hollywood scripts, working in broadcast, or working at radio stations.

How to break in? Be a good writer and have great writing samples. As Stephen King says, “If you lift weights 15 minutes a day, you are going to get muscles. If you write 15 minutes a day, you are going to become a good writer.” So write.

My practical 18-week roadmap to finding a career with your humanities degree. You’ll learn how to market your humanities degree and avoid common mistakes.

best career book for english majors

Universities do not properly educate their grads about how to land that job outside of the academy with a humanities degree.

That’s why I wrote my ebook How to Find a Career With Your Humanities in 126 Days.  This is not a traditional career guide–it is one of the most practical, step-by-step guides to moving from ‘liberal arts career limbo’ into a weekly course of action.

Over the course of 18 weeks (126 Days), the ebook takes you through the necessary lessons, shows you what to avoid, and teaches you how to turn your humanities degree into a profitable skill-set.

Read the book here.

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Here's the best answer I've heard to the question: What is the meaning of life?