It was May. University was out forever and I was looking for an apartment. A mole-like woman in her fifties showed me the room. “And what was your major,” she asked. “I have an English degree,” I said.
“Oh!, so I guess that means you will HAVE to teach!” She said.
She was so happy when she said it. She was so happy to determine my fate. You studied English. Now, you HAVE to teach at high school.
As she told me later, she also took an English degree and taught at high school. Teaching at high school is an honourable profession. But just because you take an English degree doesn’t mean your only option is teaching.
I managed to escape that woman’s narrow thinking. You can too.
Here are 5 lucrative and growing jobs for people with English degrees that you probably haven’t heard of before.
These jobs are also excellent for MAs, PhDs, history majors, and other humanities degrees.
These jobs welcome applicants from diverse backgrounds. Best of all, they are new, uncharted, and so offer more opportunity to late bloomers or PhDs looking to break from the academic walls. In fact, some prefer humanities majors to MBAs.
All of these jobs are in demand.
When you are finished, don’t forget to check out these 35 awesome jobs for English majors. Also, I offer more careers for humanities majors in my eBook, How to Find a Career With Your Humanities Degree in 126 Days.
The traditional journalist is dying.
While journalists believe their industry is founded on the pursuit of OBJECTIVE TRUTH, the reality is that it is supported by advertising revenues.
Digital media is changing advertising. Banner ads and full-page ads are being replaced by native advertising, affiliate programs, and new forms of getting products in front of a magazine’s audience.
Enter the Commerce Journalist.
This is a sell-out approved job. Fast growing, lucrative, and lets you write for a living.
A commerce journalist is a new breed of part journalist and advertising writer.
Media companies are really looking for “commerce journalists” right now. Note this job requires you to be a bit of an intellectual whore. You’ve been warned.
The best part is that this job didn’t exist five years ago. That means, you don’t need tons of experience to break into it. Just skills, intellect, and motivation.
Education Coordinator at a Digital University
Digital media has opened the playing field for educators. As my student loan statements attest to, education is an extremely profitable industry.
These days if you want to be an educator, you don’t have to stick with a traditional high school or college. There are lots of small educational schools, which typically do a lot of business online.
If you are a PhD looking for a career change outside of academia, consider applying to these companies. In the last year, I’ve run into online writing schools, a digital DJ school, marketing training schools, and the fast-growing digital Stanford of the future, Udacity.
The nice part is that this is a new frontier. So they accept non-traditional applicants and probably pay better than being an adjunct.
There are three things these universities need: 1) content producers to create the programs, write blog posts, and promote 2) teachers to actually teach the classes 3) education coordinators and people to run the virtual office hours, help out, and do administrative tasks.
I cover the teaching aspect in a latter section. But for now, I want people with MAs and PhDs who have lots of teaching and university admin experience to be aware that you can also work as a coordinator.
Social Media Community Manager
This is a new communication role at many companies. Social media community managers are hired to run various social media properties for brands and companies.
This job is part marketing, part editorial and communications, and part branding. It is great for out-going people with strong communication skills (for example, English degree and humanities majors).
Here’s a prediction: five years from now scoffing at the thought of “online university” will be reserved for only the stupidest, oldest, and foggy puritans of the old guard. Digital education is here and I’m not talking about your professor’s lame online discussion group.
So you studied rhetoric? OMG you studied classic literature? HA!
I guess you have to work at Starbucks!!!!!!!!
Or you could write your way into history in Starbucks while a hipster MBA student serves you a second low-fat Africano.
Enter Jon Favreau, one of my personal heroes. At 27, he wrote Obama’s inauguration speech (often in Starbucks the story goes). He also made over 6 figures as Obama’s speech writer.
He took a degree in political science. But despite what the annoying class president might have told you, in the private world political science is just as useless and irrelevant as an English degree, never mind the desperate attempt to put “science” beside it (perhaps, English Science would help fix the humanities crisis?).
You would work for political parties. Perhaps freelance writing speeches for CEOs (or getting your start there).
The reason why Obama hired Faveau at such an early age was his skills, not his degree. He showed up prepared. If you’ve read my eBook, you know my thoughts on this.
How to get started?
If you are smart enough to be a speech writer, you’ll figure that out. My hint would be to 1) learn how to write a speech by studying some classic and contemporary examples 2) prepare a glistening sample of your rhetoric to show employers 3) get an internship or position on a political campaign.