English and Creative Writing

The bigger picture

As a student of English you may be unsure of your future career direction; your career ideas may range from the very general to bewilderingly varied. If so, you are not alone in this and it isn't a bad thing to have an open mind!  The important thing is to identify some career ideas and find the time to explore these alongside your studies so that you can take practical steps towards focusing your ideas and goals.  The skills developed outside your study are also vital in developing a well-rounded CV. Many English students write for student media, get involved in societies, or volunteer in the local community. The combination of evidence of skills gained from work experience and extracurricular activities, as well as through study, can help boost your job prospects. Take a look at the 'Getting Experience' tab on Careers Central for lots of ideas of how to get doing this.

Skills and abilities

  • As an English student/graduate you are likely to:
  • be an independent thinker and have a strong sense of your own values
  • be a confident verbal and written communicator
  •  be able to read, comprehend, analyse, and re-frame large amounts of written text
  •  have an eye for detail and accuracy
  •  be able to edit and summarise written information meaningfully and quickly
  •  be good at writing in different styles for different purposes and audiences
  •  understand concepts, metaphors, symbolism and hidden meanings
  •  appreciate social and/or historical contexts and change
  • be able to weigh up arguments and develop ideas and opinions, backed up by evidence of intellectual thought
  • be able to articulate your ideas and opinions, and persuade others of your point of view
  •  handle ambiguity well and be receptive to the ideas of others, which may contradict your own - this is an important work skill
  •  plan and execute academic  work and prioritise tasks in order to meet tight deadlines - this is an even stronger skill if you organise your time to juggle academic work with a part time work and/or volunteering

If you start to think of personal examples of the skills and abilities outlined above (and more), you can see how they can be conveyed as skills that employers value and used in a wide range of workplaces.

What do English graduates do?

National statistics collected six months after graduation show that English graduates find careers in a wide variety of roles including approximately 14% in marketing, sales and advertising, nearly 9% in arts, design and media, and 8% are educational professionals. What may be more surprising is that over 7% of English graduates become business, HR and finance professionals. Further study is also a popular option with around 18% taking up postgraduate study, including not just higher degrees in English but also vocational subjects such as journalism, public relations, marketing, and teaching. You can find fuller details in the report 'What do graduates do?' Note that these figures are taken six months after graduation, so further down the line you may find that English graduates are working in an even wider array of roles! Many graduate schemes are open to English graduates; find more information about these here.

You can find details of the destinations of 2015 SHU English graduates here. Examples include:

  • Assistant Manager at Cancer Research UK
  • Copywriter at CW Sellors
  • Content and PR Executive at Bugler Smith
  • Graduate Management Trainee at Enterprise Rent-A-Car
  • Graduate Marketing Officer at Edge Hill University
  • Secondary Languages Teacher at Niigata Prefectural Board of Education, Japan

Information and support available

Prospects website has a useful 'What can I do with an English degree?' page, but do not be restricted to the list of occupations.  It also has a useful tool called Prospects Planner to help you plan your future career.  The Suggested Links section (at the top right hand side of this page) will also direct you to a variety of sites where you can find out more about careers, look for jobs and keep up to date with various sectors.

Want to talk it through in person? There is a wide range of face to face support on offer, from application and job search support to careers guidance. Appointments are available in your faculty and in the Careers and Employability Centre. For further details click here.

Last modified: 
Wednesday, April 4, 2018 - 14:32