Great Tips on Getting Jobs for English Majors
By Joshua Neil
English degree students come out of their uni years as something of a jack of all trades, master of none: your degree can be useful for so many things- anything involving writing, thinking intuitively and creatively, or which requires a good deal of research is perfect- but without that particular career ladder which the more scientific or skill-based students get. This leaves you open to pursue a lot of different fields- anything in publishing, marketing or journalism are ideal for English candidates- but with a lot of competition and brutal candidate standards to be met before you get where you want to be. However, it is possible to get the right experience you need to succeed, and because not all of us can afford to volunteer in Africa or go on a £1000 publishing course- these are extremely cheap, or totally free.
#1 Start at University
Don’t wait until you’ve finished at uni to get experience- some of the most vital and easy-to-find experience can be gotten while studying, either on the internet (see the rest of this list), or around your own campus. There are hundreds of activities, clubs and organisations dedicated to helping you get jobs and experience, either via writing and marketing societies- usually only a couple of pounds to join- or things like career guidance groups or working for uni bodies- it all helps! Not only will these give you great experience, but some will even earn you a bit of money too, and let you get that great job just a little bit quicker.
#2 Write for a Website or Magazine
One of the absolute best ways to gain experience, writing for a website or online magazine gives you tons of experience which any field, from publishing to marketing, will value (provided you’re good, but having done an English degree you probably are), and the best thing about this is that it can be totally flexible– either while still at uni, or afterwards while juggling a part-time job. Finding a website that shares your interests or that you could contribute well to goes a long way to sharpening your skills and creating a fantastic portfolio for employers to look at- so make sure it’s good! Most websites and magazines are always on the lookout for fresh and eager candidates to add to their roster, so it couldn’t be easier to get involved and start adding to your CV. Getting to know your editor or boss could even provide a fantastic reference for the future! For just a little bit of time each week, writing provides experience, references, some extra money and a portfolio- so what are you waiting for? You could even join Broke in London and be just like me! (Cause you know you want to…)
#3 Project Gutenberg and Proofreading Projects
There are other great free ways to gain some experience, for those not too keen on lots of writing but who want maybe to look into proofreading or librarianship- projects like Distributed Proofreaders for Project Gutenberg allow volunteers to proofread old books for free, working up your proofreading skills and learning about an online editing process. While it takes time to work your way up the ranks to be fully involved in the editing process, there’s no time limit for how much you can do a day, it looks good on your CV, and for those who just love correcting spelling mistakes and reading books from 100 years ago, it can actually be pretty fun. Also, seek help. To keep up to date with Project Gutenberg, their Twitter can be found here: @gutenbooks.
#4 Free Courses in SEO or HTML
For those looking for something a little more practical, courses which give you vital skills are available all over the internet, from web coding and HTML to the skill vital for most marketing and online organisations- SEO (making your website easier to find on search engines like Google). Many of these courses are totally free, and give a comprehensive and easy-to-understand guide to many of the tools you’ll need later in life. There are also practical ways to study- have a play around with free HTML editors, and see yourself improve over time! You can find excellent coding courses through Codecademy and SEO courses through Udemy.
#5 Start a Blog
Starting a blog can also be a fantastic way for English graduates to find experience- writing about what you know and love, without rules or deadlines, can often produce your best writing, and give you lots to say- on top of that, it shows your web skills and dedication to writing. While it’s not necessary to write every day, it helps to have a schedule for the blog, so that employers know you stick with things- don’t just have two pages a month apart and nothing else. For a little bit of effort, blogs provide writing experience, a portfolio, and the ability to expand a ‘you’ brand– perfect for those going into more high-profile or marketing- based jobs. Getting a job with any degree is hard right now, but what determines your success is you. With work, passion, and dedication, anything is possible, and no matter what you want to do, you can make sure that you have the skills and experience to find those jobs for English majors that you want, and get them.
For more great places to find part-time jobs, advice and like-minded individuals, check out the Best U.K. Student Websites.