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Careers in English

The integrated, interdisciplinary nature of a liberal arts degree from the University of Richmond provides students with many of the skill sets that employers look for in prospective employees. The Career Blueprint offers more information about the competencies you can develop through coursework in the liberal arts. 

Graduates of the School of Arts and Sciences are prepared for careers in any number of industries and English majors are no exception. Forget about scrolling through a list of careers English majors pursue — there are no rules. While our alumni can be found in traditional fields, such as teaching and publishing, many more have found fulfilling jobs in such areas as business, law, advertising, and medicine.

If you choose a major you’re passionate about, you are much more likely to discover and develop your own personal skills, interests and values that ultimately will help you find a rewarding profession.

Skills of English Majors

English majors acquire a range of skills that have, over the years, proved invaluable to people in a wide variety of professions. Employers are looking for workers with a broad set of skills, such as the following that our English majors gain:

  • Critical thinking and analytical rigor

  • Influencing and persuading
  • Presenting alternative viewpoints
  • Drafting documents
  • Applying close reading and interpretation
  • Using information resources
  • Thinking independently
  • Using theoretical approaches
  • Writing concisely and creatively
  • Effective communication in both speech and writing
  • Shaping general ideas into specific points and programs
  • Synthesizing ideas and themes

Pre-Professional Courses

If you think writing may play a role in your career (and it does in many careers), consider taking a course such as English 201 The Art of Writing OR English 383 Introduction to Composition Theory and Pedagogy OR English 393 Literary Editing and Publishing OR a special topics course, such as Developing a Written Voice. On the Writing Center's blog in a post from November 2012, English grad Megan Reilly shared her how experience as a Writing Consultant has helped in her job with Penguin Group, USA.

Bridge Experience

Many liberal arts graduates choose a “bridge experience” after graduating from college — that is, a short-term work experience of six months to two years that includes exploratory opportunities for graduates not ready to settle into a traditional job. Possible bridge experiences include working for the Peace Corps or Teach for America, and seeking Fulbright grants for research and study.

Students who opt for such experiences are often motivated by a desire to perform service-oriented work and the hope of using the time to give further thought to long-term job and career possibilities. People who go on to bridge experiences clarify their values, interests, and skills by challenging themselves in a non-traditional career setting.

Career Exploration and Guidance

One of the best tools at your disposal as you look at post-graduate opportunities is Career Services. Career Services helps students during all phases of career preparation — exploring majors, real-world learning opportunities, graduate and professional school applications, résumé review, and interview skills. Career Services also connects students with alumni, creating opportunities for externships, internships, and jobs, and advice about career paths.


Suggested Reading

The English Department faculty recommend some of the following articles and websites about finding careers for humanities majors:

Career Services

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Tyler Haynes Commons, Suite 306 (third floor)
(804) 289-8547

Career Gallery & Employer Suite
Queally Center, Suite 201
(804) 662-3032

Monday - Friday
8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.