From Chaucer and Shakespeare to Ian McEwan and Zadie Smith. You’ve spent the last few years getting your English degree while reading the old greats and the new. Thinking about our shared humanity through the written word has equipped you with a very unique set of skills. You’ve been exposed to areas of philosophy, sociology and psychology, to looking at history and religious studies. You’ve become a jack of all trades, a master of none, but better than a master of one! With the wide range of disciplines you’ve been exposed to, you have a wealth of knowledge to showcase to potential employers. But if you don’t want to get into teaching English to high school students, you might be struggling to think of jobs that are geared towards your unique skill set. That’s where we come in! Check out five fields you may not have considered for English graduates.
First things first…the value of English graduates.
Graduating with a degree in the liberal arts is not as ‘worthless’ as your STEM friends would have you believe. There has always been a need for employees who can think critically and evaluate the relevance of critical information. Also, knowing how to conduct research and use secondary materials makes a difference. And, of course, being able to make connections with all the information that has been presented. All of these skills are typical qualities of English graduates. They’re also all characteristics found in the employees of the jobs we’ve selected for your consideration. So start getting your CV in proper order and get ready to start looking for a position as a…
This is a position that didn’t even exist just a few decade ago. Search engine optimisation is what helps promote a company’s website in search results, giving a company more visibility and increasing site traffic. You’ll be doing a lot of writing in the form of blog posts or emailing companies to establish hyperlinks sending their users back to your content and vice versa. It may not be that creative writing gig you were hoping for as an English graduate, but you’ll still be creating content and honing your writing skills on a daily basis. An SEO position will also help you break into the tech startup scene, and getting your foot in the door there can lead to exciting possibilities and advancement. Prove what you’re capable of doing for a company and they won’t care what kind of liberal arts degree you have. Just as long as you contribute to the company and add value to your team. Establishing backlinks and outreach with new potential revenue streams will definitely be a way to do that.
Most SEO Specialists can find positions somewhere in the neighborhood of £30,000 per year. However, many positions can be found for closer to £35,000 or even £40,000 with a little experience and some work product to show. Senior positions or managerial level jobs will push those numbers up even more, and landing a job as an SEO Manager could easily bring in £60,000 or more. Pretty cushy for a writing gig!
Looking at jobs in marketing could be another great fit for English graduates. Copywriters are usually a part of the marketing team and responsible for the written content that accompanies the visual content created by the art directors. This could be anything from coming up with slogans, scripts for commercials, or promotional materials to establish a brand. There’s a lot of creativity involved and you’ll need to have a passion for current trends in advertising and popular culture to produce the type of work the agency or client is looking for. You’ll be working closely with the branding team, advertising team, the art directors, and of course the rest of the content marketing team. Also, it’s not uncommon to work as a freelancer and have the flexibility of working from home. You’ll still need to check-in through Slack or email, but you’ll largely be left to your own devices. Just make sure you produce the content you’ve been assigned and meet your deadlines. If that isn’t a cubicle busting dream come true, I don’t know what is.
Starting out as a copywriter you can expect salaries to be around £20,000. Freelance positions vary and usually pay by the hour or by the project. The salary nearly doubles to £35,000 after a few years on the job and a portfolio of the content you’ve created. After that, the sky’s the limit and senior writers can pull in £70,000 or more. Meanwhile, creative directors can command six-figure salaries in in excess of £110,000.
After reading some of the best literature ever penned, it’s pretty easy to spot prose that still needs some work before being published. While a position as a core documentation specialist would involve more proofreading than editing, breaking into the editorial world has a far higher ceiling to reach than that of a proofreader. While being an editorial assistant is more of an administrative job, it is a necessary step in becoming a full-time editor. The experience you’ll gain overseeing freelance writers will be great for your CV. This will allow you to negotiate for a higher wage down the line. You’ll also have the opportunity for growth at the magazine/blog/paper you get this position at. Most media outlets like to promote from within, having tailored your abilities to suit the needs of the organisation. So while you’ll be at the bottom of the editorial hierarchy, you’ll be given plenty of opportunities to use the skills acquired by all English graduates. You’ll even occasionally be writing your own content! So prove your worth and climb that proverbial ladder!
Since you’ll be starting at the bottom, you shouldn’t get your hopes too high for remuneration. Most starting editorial assistants earn somewhere around £18,000, which isn’t too great. However, this greatly increases once you’ve been promoted to a full-time editor. Reaching this level should put you somewhere around £30,000 or more. And obviously, these numbers depend on what type of organisation you’ll be working at. Working at a more reputable publication will almost certainly pay better than a blog or quarterly magazine.
You won’t be using your writing skills in this position as much as the others on this list, that’s for sure. But English graduates have the ability to communicate effectively and this will play an important role in being an account manager. Relationships are the name of the game. Your task will be maintaining them with the clients that do business with your company. You’ll be making sure that the needs and sales for each client are being met to their satisfaction. You won’t be responsible for the actual running of the account. While a job as a key account manager will focus on one or two of the most important accounts in a company, an account manager will be responsible for more and will need to prove their worth before taking on larger clients. Having a background in sales will definitely help out your understanding of this field. But you’ll still be able to showcase the communication skills you fostered during your liberal arts studies. When you sell yourself and your relevant skills, they’ll be able to see what you’re capable of!
You can expect a starting salary of around £26,000 but add a few extra thousand pounds for performance based bonuses. Once you start taking on bigger accounts and shouldering more responsibility, you can expect annual salaries somewhere around £40,000. Finally, once you’re a seasoned veteran and have the lay of the land, it’s not uncommon to see salaries of £60,000 or more.
Salary really depends what size media outlet you’re working with. However, most listings for entry level web content is going to start around £20,000. Any relevant experience will give you an added boost. Many of the managerial positions start around £30,000 and go all the way up to £60,000. Unlike the previous two positions, it pretty much tops out there as far as career advancement goes.
With all of that in mind…
Whichever path you decide to go down, there are plenty of options out there for English graduates. Start thinking outside the box and market your skills and experience instead of the title of your degree. You might even be able to work your way into the tech sector if you play your cards right.