What Can I Do with My English Major?

English majors take small classes with dynamic and engaged faculty, who specialize in a range of fields, genres, historical periods, and critical perspectives. As an English major, you will study the language and form of the stories we tell—whether they appear in poetry, plays, novels, memoirs, films or video games—and consider both the overpowering and understated emotions, epic and petty conflicts, heroic and banal acts, and the grand and simple language that offer the widest range of understanding who we are.

Students will find the English major focuses on personal, social, and cultural concerns that are central to the goals of an undergraduate education, that enhance their personal growth, and that prepare them for responsible participation as citizens in a democracy. Students will also find a strong grounding for continued study in graduate school as well as valuable preparation for those professions and professional schools – for example, law, medicine, business – that require critical thinking, interpretive sophistication, awareness of cultural issues, and effective speaking and writing.

The English major prepares students for many different kinds of jobs. It offers an intellectually enriching preparation for entry-level positions in a variety of careers and provides students with a strong foundation for graduate work in law, education, business, and medicine.

The information in the graphic below was sourced from a variety of information. It is NOT an exhaustive list. These options are just to serve as a jumping off point to exploration into career possibilities.

The study of English facilitates the development of a core set of skills sought after by employers in a wide range of occupational settings. Throughout your experience in the program, you will obtain the following skills:

Critical Thinking Skills

Reading critically

Thinking independently

Recognizing unnoticed patterns and structures

Understanding components of complex problems

Offering diverse perspectives

Synthesizing themes

Communication Skills

Comparing/contrasting interpretations

Language skills

Summarizing ideas

Writing effectively

Conveying complex information

Editing

Articulating ideas/theories

Creating persuasive arguments

Using precise language

Research Skills

Gathering information

Using a variety of resources

Interpreting data

Original analysis

Defining problems

Summarizing and presenting information

Understanding personal, social and cultural dynamics

You can use the examples above, and experiences from classes or research projects to enhance your resume. Try plugging in some of your experiences or skills gained into this formula: Accomplished (X) as measured by (Y) by doing (Z).

Sample Resume Class 1, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.

Member of Class, taught by Prof. ______

  • Studied the innovative narrative and stylistic techniques of Jane Austen’s novels (i.e. Northanger Abbey, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Mansfield Park, Persuasion) and analyzed her work through the lens of the late Georgian and Regency England historical contexts by (insert course project/assignments)
  • Analyzed how the War on Terror and significant changes in privacy and surveillance in the U.S. influenced artists in literature, film, music, digital media, and video and their art’s portrayal of American life in the new millennium by (insert course projects/assignments) in Post 9/11 Culture course
  • Examined black culture expression during the periods known as the Harlem or New Negro Renaissance and the Black Chicago Renaissance by (insert course project/assignments) in Race Representation and Renaissance course 

Georgetown Alumni have taken their English degree across multiple different industries and have applied the skills they learned in English across multiple disciplines. 

Additional information about these outcomes can be found in Cawley’s Post Graduation Outcome Report

Post-Graduation Outcomes of English Majors, 2010-2019

“An underrated benefit of studying English at Georgetown is the value of the faculty and staff of the English Department. I loved the relationship between the students and faculty within the department and always enjoyed talking to my professors during office hours. My English professors always remembered details about my life and offered valuable advice on how to improve my writing. The English professors at Georgetown truly made my college experience as intellectually enriching as I had hoped it would be. The department is very personal, and professors were honest and endearing.” – 2020 Georgetown College Graduate, English & Government

“Studying English at Georgetown University makes it possible for students to create their own concentration across disciplines. I noticed that my friends in other majors had limited possibilities for exploration because their major requirements were quite strict. However, with an English major, I was able to take courses for my major in performing arts studies, women’s and gender studies, African-American studies, and even French literature courses when I went abroad.” – 2020 Georgetown College Graduate, English

“As an English major, I’ve learned how to think critically and write eloquently. This has made it possible for me to flourish across disciplines within academia. In addition, it has also made me an attractive applicant for several positions looking for employees who can do it all.” – 2020 Georgetown College Graduate, English

“I have a pretty nontraditional work trajectory. No matter what I’ve done, the skills I gained at Georgetown in my major – reading and delving deeply; parsing, pondering and playing with understanding; writing and communicating – have proven crucial. I’ve worked mostly in nonprofits focusing on environmental matters, also in for-profit biomimicry-based tech startup for a well-known writer, and now am expanding my energy healing and energy meditation side-biz into a full time practice.” – 1992 Georgetown College Graduate, English

Helpful Keywords to Improve Searches

There are lots of ways to find good keywords to help your job or internship search process, or even just to learn more about the types of jobs you can do within a specific major. One way to explore this is by checking out the job search tool on Google. 

Once you are in, type in something generic like your major and the world internship afterward. Once you hit enter, it will give you lots of options to explore, but if you want to explore titles, possible career paths, or keywords, hover your mouse over the ‘Title’ tab on the top of the page. This will give you a ton of ideas and options to explore possible keywords. You can then utilize Vault Career Insider, a resource offered to you for free with your NETID and password, to explore what some of these titles or career paths are all about.

Sample Internship Opportunities

Offices of Congressional Representatives

Media (e.g., MSNBC, CNN, National Geographic Channel, College Fanz Sports Network)

Publishing (e.g., Oxford University Press, Teacher Magazine)

Political Committees

Legal Firms and Agencies (e.g., the Federal Emergency Management Agency, NAACP Legal Defense Fund)

Journalism (e.g., The Washington Post, Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News, Francis Ford Coppola Presents)

Nonprofit Agencies (e.g., SeaWeb, Peace Corps)

Literary Agencies (e.g., Gail Ross Literary Agency)

The Georgetown English Department Website is rich with additional information on studying English.

GU English Department 

Professional Associations are a great place to go to dive deeper into the field of English and learn more about what post grad life might look like. 

American Literature Association

Modern Language Association  

International Literacy Association 

Modern Humanities Research Association 

Vault is a fantastic resource to learn more about specific career fields in English. Vault has information such as salary information, work environment, education and training requirements, outlooks, and specific tips for entering into the field. 

Vault Industry Guides

Vault Career Exploration Guides

Professors & Academic Deans

Georgetown professors and faculty members can be a wonderful resource for Georgetown students. If you are still curious to learn more about the disciplines of a specific major, we’d encourage you to connect with your professors! Outside of office hours, Georgetown has an online interface called GU360 where students can explore and connect with faculty members that are eager to mentor and support students. You can use this interface to learn more about specific department research, specialties, and areas of study within a major.  

You can also connect with your academic dean or counselor to further discuss opportunities within a given major. 

Lastly, each department has a dedicated Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS). This is the individual in charge of coordinating the major program or department as a whole. You can find the Director of Undergraduate Studies by exploring the faculty and staff pages of individual departments websites.

Alumni 

Connecting with alumni is a fantastic way to explore a day in the life of any given major student. There are several different ways to connect with Georgetown Alums. Hoya Gateway is Georgetown’s premier networking platform which connects alumni and students to have meaningful conversations and build a strong network of support. This is a platform alumni opt into with the sole purpose of supporting current students, which means there is an extremely high response rate. 

You can also utilize LinkedIn to connect with Georgetown Alum. A simple alumni search on Georgetown’s LinkedIn profile will help you get connected to approximately 130 thousand alumni, which you can then filter to meet the location, major, industry, or skills that you are interested in exploring.

You can also check out our Post Graduation Outcomes to learn more about what Georgetown alumni in specific majors are up to after graduation. We survey our seniors at the end of each year and into the following year to learn about jobs they secured, service opportunities they committed to, or graduate schools they decided to attend. You can filter by first major to get an idea of what life after Georgetown looks like. You’ll see in many cases that alums are using majors in a wide variety of ways, and your major doesn’t always equal your career path. 

Career Center Staff

You can also connect with career center staff to talk through the possible outcomes of one major over another. In short, there are endless opportunities no matter what major you choose. However, connecting with someone might help you navigate your decision making process a little bit easier. 
At the career center, you have the opportunity to meet with either a Career Exploration Counselor or an Industry Advisor. Career Exploration Counselors can help you talk through concerns, goals, the big picture, and strategies to move forward. You can think of them as generalists and a great place to get started. Industry Advisors can help you think through specific questions about a given career path and provide specific industry information and trends. You can think of them as specialists for once you start to narrow down your possible path. If you think an appointment with one of these individuals would benefit you, you can make an appointment on Handshake.

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