5 Well-Paying Jobs You Can Land with an English Degree

Aug 06, 2013 - Joe Matar

Several college majors are constantly under fire for their lack of practicality or success in the labor market: Art, Philosophy, Women and Gender Studies—and English.

Though today’s job market is still mending from the 2008 recession, it isn’t as black and white as it was. English majors are no longer forced into a confined box, limited to professions in education or journalism. Those aspiring to receive an English degree and those who already have one face a labor market that desires their unique set of skills and abilities.

For starters, English majors read and interpret varying data. They formulate sound arguments, backed by detailed research and, in this process, are able to multitask—keeping up with the demands of other classes and topics of study. English degree-holders know what it means to be adaptable.

These transferable talents will go a long way in an unpredictable economic climate. As the job market continues to fluctuate, English majors will emerge, time after time, with their heads above water.

Businesses recognize their talents and discipline; it’s time to expand beyond the box and explore a labor market that could use more creative and adaptable thinkers. These five jobs are just a few of the positions that apply skills obtained throughout an English major’s education:

1. SEO content writer

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a field of online marketing comprised of traditional marketing practices combined with online components. SEO content writers are in high demand all throughout the business industry.

For those unfamiliar with SEO, it’s online advertising: marketing specific clients to various websites. Targeted websites are assessed by Web analytic tools that read their strength and quality. SEO content writers are essentially professional bloggers who write with a specific client in mind. The demand for online marketing has made SEO a crucial element for many businesses.

Most schools don’t offer courses in this field; however, English majors have all the necessary tools to make SEO a profitable career.

Approximate annual salary: $56,000

2. Copywriter

Copywriting is an English major’s dream. Anyone familiar with AMC’s hit show Mad Men has seen a depiction of the industry’s earlier days.

Copywriting is the bridge between creative writing and advertising. It entails proofreading and editing copy, creating banner ads, writing digital and print copy and taking part in social media campaigns via Facebook and Twitter.

Those with a colorful and creative mind should seek a position in this field. Every business, big and small, utilizes a creative department—complete with copywriters.

Approximate annual salary: $53,000

3. Public relations

In today’s economy and the progression from print to digital media, those with a background in journalism will prosper in a switch to public relations. This field requires a strong background in research, database maintenance and the ability to relay vital information in a cohesive manner.

Public relations is the strategic, marketing-based cousin of journalism. PR generalists use AP style writing to create company newsletters, press releases and content for social media.

Approximate annual salary: $52,000

4. Technical writer

Remember when you bought all of those new appliances? Each contained a product manual. Technical writers are in charge of creating these manuals and supporting documents. They communicate complex and technical information in an easy-to-understand way.

As technology increases and the demand for consumer goods rises, technical writing is an industry where many English majors can excel and make a lucrative living.

Approximate annual salary: $52,000

5. B2B content writer

B2B marketing, or business-to-business marketing, centers on organizations and their ability to sell products to other companies for resale. A classic example of this is a wholesaler that sells its products to individual retailers.

Content writers for B2B marketing are in charge of marketing their products for a different type of client, other businesses, not individual people. To reach this type of demographic, most B2B content writers rely heavily on online content writing.

Approximate annual salary: $34,000

English majors utilize skills that work well within today’s demanding business world. While these positions may not lead to writing the next great American novel, combining the creative mind with an entrepreneurial spirit can offer a lucrative life—far from any notion of starving artists.

Salary data from Simply Hired.

Andrea Fisher is an online marketer and content specialist for DISH Mobile TV. She is a published journalist and blogger with an English degree and Political Science minor from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.