5 Jobs for English Degrees You Never Knew Existed

Last Updated on September 15, 2023 by Robert Porter

In May, as university ended for me, I embarked on a quest for an apartment. My guide on this journey? A woman in her fifties with past experience in English, just like me. When I told her I had an English degree, she instantly pegged me for a high school teacher.

Teaching high school is undoubtedly a noble profession, but holding an English degree doesn’t box you into just that. In fact, there are numerous exciting, in-demand professions waiting for English degree holders. Below are 5 high-growth job opportunities for English degree holders that you might not be aware of.

1. Commerce Journalist

Traditional journalism, while rooted in the pursuit of objective truth, has been largely sustained by advertising revenues. However, the digital era is rapidly reshaping the advertising landscape. Gone are the days of banner and full-page ads. In their stead, native advertising, affiliate programs, and innovative ways to display products to readers are emerging.

Introducing the Commerce Journalist

  • A Lucrative Career Path: The role of a commerce journalist is becoming increasingly essential. Not only does it offer a rewarding career with growth potential, but it also allows you to harness your writing skills.
  • A Blend of Roles: As a commerce journalist, you'll wear the hat of both a journalist and an advertising writer, bringing a unique blend of storytelling and marketing to the table.
  • High Demand: Media companies are on the hunt for talented commerce journalists. However, it's crucial to note that this role demands a balance between objective journalism and promoting products or services.
  • An Evolving Role: Just a half-decade ago, this role was unheard of. Thus, there's less emphasis on years of experience and more on skills, intellect, and motivation to succeed in this field.

Embarking on a career as a commerce journalist opens up a world of opportunities in the ever-evolving digital landscape. With the right skillset and a passion for storytelling, you can lead the charge in this dynamic domain.

2. Education Coordinator at a Digital University

The rise of digital media has revolutionized the education sector, presenting numerous career opportunities beyond traditional teaching roles. While the profitability of the education industry is evident from growing student loans, it's crucial to note the expansive nature of this industry in the digital age.

Branch Out from Traditional Roles:

You're no longer confined to high schools or colleges if you aim to educate. The digital landscape teems with niche educational platforms, from online writing and DJ training to specialized marketing courses. Brands like Udacity are setting the pace as the digital counterparts of renowned institutions like Stanford.

Why Consider Digital Educational Platforms

  • Expanding Horizons: With the digital education wave, even non-academic courses have found a lucrative market.
  • Open to Diverse Backgrounds: These platforms are receptive to non-traditional applicants, offering competitive pay scales compared to many traditional adjunct positions.
  • Variety of Roles:
  1. Content Producers: Responsible for curating courses, drafting informative blog posts, and managing promotions.
  2. Educators: Those who bring the courses to life by teaching them.
  3. Education Coordinators: They ensure smooth operations, conduct virtual office hours, offer support, and handle administrative duties.

A Call to Experienced Educators

If you have an MA or PhD with extensive teaching or university admin experience, consider leveraging your skills in these innovative platforms. Beyond teaching, the coordinator role offers an excellent opportunity to utilize your administrative expertise in the booming digital education sector. Explore these new frontiers and harness the potential of digital education.

3. Social Media Community Manager

The corporate world is rapidly acknowledging the importance of a novel role: the Social Media Community Manager. Entrusted with the responsibility of steering a brand's presence on social media, this role has become indispensable for modern companies.

What Does the Job Entail?

  • Marketing Savvy: A significant portion revolves around strategizing and marketing.
  • Editorial Expertise: Crafting engaging content is essential.
  • Branding: Upholding and enhancing the brand's image is crucial.

Ideal Candidate Profile

  • Communication Prowess: Strong communicators, especially those with backgrounds in English or humanities, are a great fit.
  • Outgoing Personality: Social media thrives on interaction and engagement.

Insights from the Hiring Desk:

When asked about the desired attributes for a Social Media Manager, a representative from a leading company shared:

"The topmost quality? An editorial background. Given a choice between hiring someone with a journalism degree and one with an MBA in marketing, I'd opt for the former. The ideal candidate can craft compelling content, possesses a vibrant writing style, and stays updated with current trends and news. While we can teach social media best practices and product details, these innate skills are harder to instill."

If you're a dynamic communicator with a flair for content and a pulse on current trends, the role of a Social Media Community Manager beckons you. Dive into this exciting domain and be the voice of a brand in the digital age.

4. Digital Teacher

In a rapidly changing world, the next big wave in education is undeniably digital. Fast-forward five years, and dismissing the concept of an "online university" might just be a faux pas. This isn't about mere online discussion groups; it's the future of learning.

Key Responsibilities in Digital Education:

  1. Content Creation: Develop, write, and structure new course content.
  2. Video Lectures: Engage students through recorded sessions.
  3. Student Interaction: Address queries and foster a conducive learning environment.
  4. Virtual Class Management: Efficiently run a digital classroom.
  5. Educate: At its core, it's all about teaching.

Who's Hiring?

  • Open Education Platforms: Think of brands like Udacity.
  • Professional Skill Platforms: Lynda.com is a prime example.
  • Online Degree Institutions: Such as the University of Phoenix.

Do You Qualify?

  • Digital Universities & Online Colleges: A PhD or MA is generally required. These institutions prioritize credibility. Employing recognized professionals elevates their stature. In the conventional sense, holding a PhD qualifies one as a professor, making it a viable break from adjunct roles.
  • Skill-based Platforms (e.g., Lynda): A graduate degree can be advantageous. However, being a subject matter expert is crucial.

The digital evolution in education is undeniable. Whether you're a seasoned educator or an expert in a niche field, there's a digital classroom waiting for you. Embrace the future, and make your mark in the world of online education.

5. Speech Writer

While the stereotypical notion might pin rhetoric or classic literature graduates to jobs at coffee shops, the reality is brimming with potential. Harnessing your writing skills can lead to remarkable careers—sometimes even over a comforting cup of coffee in a bustling cafe.

Spotlight on Jon Favreau:

At the age of 27, Jon Favreau scripted President Obama's inauguration speech, often weaving words in Starbucks, as per popular tales. With a political science degree, Favreau debunked the myth that such qualifications are "irrelevant" in the private sector. His six-figure salary as Obama’s speechwriter is a testament to his talent and skill, not just his educational background.

The Essence of Skills over Degrees:

In the professional realm, skills often overshadow the prestige of a degree. Favreau's early engagement with Obama was attributed to his proficiency and preparedness. It's about what you bring to the table, not just the certificate you hold.

Kickstarting Your Career in Speech Writing:

For those eyeing a career similar to Favreau’s, here are some steps to set you on the right path:

  1. Master the Art: Dive deep into classic and contemporary speeches. Understand the nuances of speechwriting.
  2. Showcase Your Skill: Craft an impressive sample that highlights your command over rhetoric.
  3. Gain Experience: Consider internships or roles in political campaigns to get real-world exposure.

In essence, it's not about the degree you hold but how you leverage it. If you possess the aptitude for speechwriting, charting a successful path is within your grasp. Dive in, write passionately, and create your legacy.