English Major Job Skills
"I love English majors. I love how smart they are. I love how well read they are. I love their ability to write well and think critically, and most of all, I love to hire them. For my money, I think English majors are a great choice for any entrepreneur's next employee or intern." -- Steve Strauss. "Why Entrepreneurs Should Hire English Majors." USA Today, July 8, 2016.
English majors develop skills that are transferable to a wide variety of careers. These skills make English majors highly competitive in the job market.
• Writing – English majors learn to write effectively. Employers across the career spectrum know that proficient writers help gain and maintain clients; for companies that market on the Web, talented writers are a must. English majors, and especially professional writers, are adept at writing and copy editing email communications, technical documents, business writing, marketing copy, proposals and presentations, and much more. They write with clarity and grace, and they know the perfect word or turn of phrase.
• Research – English majors learn solid research skills. To stay current and innovate, companies need employees who can do in-depth research, filter information to determine the best sources, use evidence to support arguments, and explain information clearly and concisely.
• Critical Thinking – English majors learn the critical and theoretical tools necessary to read analytically and write logically. They learn to distinguish relevant from irrelevant and important from unimportant even in very dense and complex texts, and they can easily determine bias, logical errors, and unstated assumptions. These skills that are transferable to any professional setting.
• Communication – English majors learn to read extensively, speak well, and acquire an extensive vocabulary; they excel in careers requiring frequent communication with people in and out of their work environment. English majors know how to summarize, infer, compare, exemplify, classify, and explain.
• Empathy – English majors learn to examine issues from many perspectives and to interpret with an awareness of gender, race, class, and sexuality. Employers look for employees who are sensitive and value diversity among clients and colleagues. Author George Anders recently discovered over a thousand listings for highly paid jobs in which employers cited empathy as a necessary qualification.
• Organization & Time Management – English majors work well under pressure: they learn to research, read, and write in stages while juggling multiple deadlines. They organize material, parse information, and structure their thoughts coherently. These skills are in very high demand in all workplaces.
• Editing & Proofreading – English majors develop attention to detail and learn to catch mistakes: they also learn to craft messages in varying contexts. Professional writers also learn to apply corporate style and identity. Employers know poor writing reflects poorly upon the company, and mistakes cost millions of dollars annually.
• Originality & Creativity – English majors learn to cite and document sources to avoid plagiarism, meaning employers needn’t worry about the integrity of their corporate communications and publications. English majors also produce unique interpretations and enjoy solving challenging problems creatively. To employers, these skills are the key to innovation.
• Flexibility – English majors readily adapt to working with different genres and periods as well as a variety of literary and professional writing contexts. Employers value employee flexibility.
• Independence & Collegiality – English majors learn to work independently as well as collaborate effectively in teams. Employers value a balance of these skills.
• Tools of the Trade – English majors learn to use Microsoft Office, PowerPoint, and a host of other essential business software. Professional writers also learn a variety of web and social media authoring tools.