Training in English Literature could open the book into an exciting career in a whole range of areas.
English Literature is a non-vocational study – which means that it gives you some all round skills that can be applied to different careers rather than training for a specific job. These skills include:
- Written and other communication skills
- Understanding complex ideas and theories
Even if you don’t end up writing a bestseller yourself, the skills you pick up studying English Literature will be useful in many parts of the arts industry. You could write programmes and publicity material for museums and art galleries for example, help to organise festivals and events, and work as a fundraiser for arts organisations writing persuasive funding bids.
Different careers that might be open to someone who wants to work in literature include:
Media and Journalism
Many journalists have an English degree, since the ability to research subjects and write clearly and concisely are essential to the job. It doesn’t just have to be writing for print or online press either, since jobs in TV and radio also require great research skills too. To get into media making sure you get some media work experience alongside your degree will give you a big advantage, possibly through volunteering or working on student publications.
A degree in English Literature will ensure that you understand books, so English graduates are in high demand in the publishing industry. Begin as an editorial assistant and you’ll be proofing and correcting books before they’re published, and could work your way up to a commissioning role deciding which books will sell and why. There are plenty of other jobs available in publishing as well so it worthwhile reseraching which ones appeal most to you.
Adverising and PR
Being able to make and explain a persuasive argument is a big part of studying English Literature, and is crucial for working in advertising and PR. You could put your skills to good use as an advertising copywriter for example, or if you’d prefer dealing with people face-to-face, then a job in public relations or a press office could be for you.
Getting involved with some campaigns at your Student Union or for a local charity will give you some great firsthand experience, and it’s also worth thinking about getting a professional marketing qualification from an organisation like the Chartered Institute of Marketing after your degree as well.
Teaching is a good choice if you want to share your love of literature with others. You’ll not only need to know the books you’re teaching inside out, but also have great communication skills to inspire your class, and perfect spelling and grammar for marking their work. You’ll need to study a teaching qualification after you graduate.