Research: Skills for English Majors

You have been assigned a project which asks you to match the skills of English majors to jobs and careers, but don’t really know where to focus your research. You have two major goals: 1) identify skills that English majors develop, and 2) identify jobs and careers that value these skills.

Most, if not all, of your research for this project can be completed online. You could begin your search in the following areas

  1. English department websites. English departments make claims about skills and jobs for English majors. See what these websites claim. They can provide you with a beginning career and skills list that you can then confirm on other sites.
  2. Articles on careers for English majors. Since English does provide students with content knowledge that aligns with careers outside of education, you often find articles about career options for English majors.
  3. Websites or articles that focus on general preparedness for a career. You can expand your search to liberal arts or humanities majors, or look more generally to articles that just discuss career readiness. For example, this article, Career Readiness Competencies, describes the “must have” competencies for any college graduate. A quick study of the list reveals that competencies like critical thinking, teamwork, and written communication are often valued skills in the English department. These “soft skills” are the reason liberal arts majors can be successful in multiple careers.
  4. Job-search sites. Once you identify the skills that English majors can claim, you need to match them with job titles, careers, and industries. There are a number of job-search sites, like Monster and Indeed, but don’t forget specialty search engines like those for nonprofit job.

If you have access to people either in human resources or career services, you could interview them. Otherwise, just use the array of sources available online.