How to use your English degree


Any skills and knowledge you gain whilst studying for your English degree will make you marketable in most areas, but some will be more obvious than others.

Studying the English language through texts, books and plays will mean that you have developed extensive written and spoken communication skills – you will have demonstrated that you can argue a point, frame a narrative and have analysed text on many levels to discuss the meaning.


You can find a career anywhere where you need to use the written or spoken language; such as a copywriter, author, journalist, editorial, proofreader. Other roles where English would be useful will include an academic librarian, advertising copywriter, information officer, marketing executive, teacher, social media manager…


Once you have your English degree, you will be able to show that you can communicate effectively both in writing and orally – you may choose to follow a broadcasting route – either writing your own scripts or writing for others. Careers in the media and journalism, marketing and PR are popular choices, covering a range of subjects and interests – depending on your personal choice, you may choose to pursue a niche interest or you may stay open until you have gained experience and more industry knowledge.


Publishing as an industry has changed tremendously over the last decade due to the online presence and reduction in print. There is now demand for ebooks and electronic journals (particularly scientific) but the scope and style of work is changing with society. As a graduate in publishing, you could be employed in production, editorial, marketing, public relations or sales. Apply for an internship to see how the company works, write your own blogs, create a portfolio and demonstrate your knowledge and interest in print and digital publishing.


Education and teaching are popular choices and teachers are always sought after – you can gain additional teaching qualifications once you have achieved your English degree. The communication skills you acquire will be used effectively in everything you teach, as language is key to understanding.


Less typical careers include the civil service – as a graduate you can apply for entry via the Fast Stream. As part of the public sector, you could work in areas from the health service to the police and armed forces as an administrator – once again using your communication skills.


If you are interested in law you can work within the field in administration, organisational or research, in local and national courts, in civil and criminal law. There are a number of government agencies and independent legal firms so you can choose which sector you feel most comfortable with. Although you would need further training and qualifications, a paralegal or legal secretarial role only requires an undergraduate degree. If you are able to demonstrate an interest in the law and legal system, you will enhance your chances of employment.

You may also have studied English with a view to becoming an actor or working in theatre. Involve yourself in as much amateur drama as possible in order to gain experience and exposure as well as develop your contacts, confidence and portfolio, and continue this as you graduate if an opportunity doesn't arise straight away.


Don’t forget about the skills you acquire and develop at university whilst you’re studying – these all ensure your CV is well rounded and balanced – maybe you write for your university magazine or student union? Examples of work experience and extra curricular activities always enhance your employability. You will have developed time management and organisational skills as well as articulating your knowledge and understanding of texts and theories.


It’s a useful degree which opens up a wide range of careers and opportunities – make sure you work in the holidays and apply for an internship or work experience in the field you are interested in so that you enhance your future career prospects.


Good luck from the mybrink team!