Job Skills: But All I Can Do is Read!

Some people say that an English degree won’t help you get a job because it’s not a ‘vocational’ subject: it doesn’t teach you a specific skill for a particular kind of job. The people who’ll actually be hiring you know better.

What potential employers want most is someone with motivation, intelligence, and proven ability to work. Getting an English degree shows that you have all of those qualities.

The ability to communicate is also very valuable for almost any job. Studying English teaches you how to write clearly and effectively. Most courses also require presentations and seminar discussions to develop your spoken communication skills.

All that reading is useful, too. Studying English literature at the degree level teaches you how to analyse complex information with the help of sophisticated ideas and theories. That ability to read, reflect, and critique – and then synthesise your conclusions clearly – is essential to many kinds of work – as is the ability to construct and defend an argument.

The analytical and communication abilities that an English degree provides are called ‘transferable skills’: they’re useful in almost any occupation. When you’re looking for a job, they’re often the most valuable skills to have.

Because of this flexibility, English graduates find careers in a wide range of fields, like publishing, teaching, advertising, human resources or management in various public and private organizations. There are also lots of opportunities for further study and academic work.

Open Your Doors

At uni, there are lots of opportunities to develop your CV outside of the classroom. For example, by joining the school newspaper, drama society, or literary journal, you can develop your writing, communication, and management skills.

Extracurricular work proves to potential employers that you’re well-rounded and motivated, and it’s an easy way to gain practical work experience alongside your studies.

If you want to know exactly what English graduates do after graduation (hint: not all of them are teachers!), click here for employment statistics.
after English
To find out more about your future as an English graduate have a look at the After English website.

We also have video profiles of English graduates who are self-employed or have started their own businesses – in fields from screenwriting to financial advice.