20 Jobs You Can Do With an English Literature Degree

Updated March 10, 2023

After graduating from college, the next step is to find a job based on the path you pursued in school. With an English literature degree, you have a wide variety of jobs to choose from post-graduation in all sectors of the job market. With this degree, you are likely an expert in highly sought-after skills like researching, reading texts, analyzing the written word and communicating effectively, and it is important to learn about your career options so that you can find one that suits your skills best.

In this article, we outline 20 potential jobs for graduates who have earned an English literature degree to help you explore your options.

What kind of jobs should English literature majors look for?

After years of reading literature, analyzing texts for meaning and drawing conclusions in your own writing, you may wonder how you can best apply your knowledge in the workplace. While the work you do after graduation might not look exactly the same as when you were studying, you will undoubtedly use the finely tuned skills you've learned in your future role.

Throughout your English literature program, you likely became an expert in all things writing and rhetoric. Most English lit majors are also experienced when it comes to expressing their thoughts and communicating effectively. Reading analytically, thinking critically and communicating clearly are foundational proficiencies that can help you pursue jobs in a variety of fields, such as publishing, media and journalism, academia, law and marketing and public relations.

Related: 13 Jobs For Humanities Majors

20 English lit jobs to consider

Here are 20 different jobs you could pursue after graduating with your English literature degree:

1. Journalist

National average salary: $35,414 per year

Primary duties: Journalists report on news, like national politics and local events, and play an important part in helping the public stay informed. These professionals research, investigate and gather information that they can use in their stories. In addition, journalists are responsible for holding interviews, maintaining important contacts and verifying statements and facts. Having a background in English literature can help you perform the key responsibilities, including writing and presenting stories in a cohesive format.

Read more: Learn About Being a Journalist

2. English teacher

National average salary: $19.14 per hour

Primary duties: English teachers are professional educators who focus specifically on the English language and literature. Most commonly found in middle and high schools, English teachers have the opportunity to share their passion for reading, writing and critical thinking with their students. These teachers are responsible for planning lessons, developing curriculum, instructing students, grading work, communicating with students and parents, providing support and interventions to students of all levels, advising and mentoring.

Read more: Learn About Being a Teacher

3. Freelance writer

National average salary: $19.26 per hour

Primary duties: Freelance writers produce copy for magazines, newspapers, broadcast news, journals and books. They have the freedom to jump from project to project and can expect to serve as a creator in a variety of fields. This role is of particular interest for English literature majors who have plenty of practice writing captivating narratives and successful informational texts.

4. Editorial assistant

National average salary: $41,488 per year

Primary duties: Editorial assistants work in both an editorial and administrative role. They provide direct assistance to editors of newspapers, magazines and other publications by taking calls, running errands, doing research and performing other tasks as needed. Further, editorial assistants serve publications by verifying facts, proofreading for grammar and punctuation, communicating with writers and selecting content for publication. English literature majors' attention to detail and effective communication skills will be useful in this role.

5. Interpreter

National average salary: $20.52 per hour

Primary duties: Interpreters facilitate communication between two or more parties who speak different languages. They do this by translating and re-communicating both sides of a given conversation. Interpreters can work for many organizations, including schools, governments, private businesses and hospitals. While interpreters must know more than one language, English literature majors who are bilingual or trilingual can expect to use their excellent communication skills in this position.

6. Social media manager

National average salary: $44,623 per year

Primary duties: Social media managers are responsible for planning and implementing effective digital marketing strategies on social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. They write and share compelling stories on platforms to encourage engagement from users and subscribers. Social media managers can work in a variety of different fields, including business, education and the nonprofit sector. English literature majors can easily apply their expert writing skills in this position.

Read more: Learn About Being a Social Media Manager

7. Copy editor

National average salary: $23.31 per hour

Primary duties: Copy editors revise written material to make it easier to read, and they can work in a variety of fields, such as journalism, marketing, academia and advertising. Using their knowledge of grammar and writing styles, editors are responsible for proofreading text to guarantee error-free copy. They can edit books, websites, journals, articles and more.

8. Paralegal

National average salary: $48,508 per year

Primary duties: Paralegals support lawyers by drafting documents, maintaining files, creating organizational systems, performing research and calling on legal witnesses. Often referred to as legal assistants, paralegals perform research, write legal documents and collaborate with their colleagues to streamline clients' legal cases.

Read more: Learn About Being a Paralegal

9. Lawyer

National average salary: $53,969 per year

Primary duties: Lawyers are certified professionals who advise and represent others in legal matters. Lawyers work in a variety of legal fields, including criminal and civil law. They must be great argumentative writers with strategic critical thinking skills. Because English literature majors learn to read reflexively, think critically and write arguments creatively, they often make great lawyers.

10. Advertising account executive

National average salary: $54,049 per year

Primary duties: Advertising account executives act as the liaison between clients and creative teams. They are great communicators who play an important part in creating successful marketing campaigns. Account executives relay messages between collaborators and work to ensure client goals are being met. While jobs in the business sector might not be an obvious choice for liberal arts majors, English literature majors typically possess the requisite oral and written communication skills necessary for this position.

11. Educational consultant

National average salary: $55,177 per year

Primary duties: Educational consultants are academic advisors who work in a K-12 setting. They provide guidance to students and parents on a school's academic curriculum, recommended resources and educational opportunities. This role is a great option for those looking to get involved in education without taking on in-classroom responsibilities. Like English literature majors, educational consultants must be organized, detail-oriented communicators with a passion for supporting continued education.

12. Technical writer

National average salary: $57,506 per year

Primary duties: Technical writers create and simplify technical documents, such as instructions, manuals, guides and journal articles, to help non-technical professionals easily understand written materials. Technical writers use analytical skills to take complicated, jargon-heavy materials and translate them into more universally comprehensible ones. They typically work in technology or engineering fields where they can help manage the flow of information.

Read more: Learn About Being a Technical Writer

13. Publisher

National average salary: $59,051 per year

Primary duties: Publishers work for publishing companies that produce books, magazines, newspapers and even greeting cards. Publishers implement policies, approve project acquisitions, monitor spending and make larger business decisions. They work side by side with creative teams to market published materials. English literature majors may enjoy working in this field as it is directly related to the production of written texts, and literature in particular.

14. Librarian

National average salary: $59,357 per year

Primary duties: A librarian is a professional who helps patrons find the information they need within a library or on the internet. Librarians work in schools, colleges, universities and other research institutions, where they maintain library systems and manage books and other media. English literature majors who possess great organization, interpersonal and analytical skills may enjoy working as a librarian.

Read more: Learn About Being a Librarian

15. Public relations manager

National average salary: $59,502 per year

Primary duties: Public relations managers are professionals who plan and direct the creation of materials that maintain or enhance an organization's public image. Their primary responsibilities include designing and reviewing communication materials, planning strategies, monitoring client progress and conducting brand analysis. As public relations professionals, English literature majors can further hone their creative and communicative skills.

Read more: Learn About Being a Public Relations Account Manager

16. Content manager

National average salary: $60,889 per year

Primary duties: Content managers oversee the development, creation and strategic distribution of messaging content for a variety of audiences. They work with clients and creatives to help accomplish an organization's specific messaging goal. Content managers typically work in the digital realm, but they can work in print media as well. Because content managers must be detail-oriented and understand the inner workings of storytelling, English literature majors with a creative flair can make suitable candidates for the role.

17. Copywriter

National average salary: $61,872 per year

Primary duties: Copywriters serve in various fields to craft original, attention-grabbing text based on a client's instructions. This is a creative role that English literature majors may enjoy for its writing, reading and proofing responsibilities. Copywriters often work in the advertising field, writing slogans, jingles, scripts, blog content and more.

Read more: Learn About Being a Copywriter

18. Records manager

National average salary: $63,288 per year

Primary duties: Records managers work in a variety of fields to develop company records departments and secure information management systems. They are responsible for managing the storage, backup, maintenance, reproduction and placement of all records. Due to their organizational skills, English literature majors can make good candidates for such a role.

19. Archivist

National average salary: $65,938 per year

Primary duties: Archivists work to acquire, evaluate and preserve special materials, like books, photographs, maps, films and more, depending on the type of archive they work in. They also assist staff and researchers looking to access archives of information. English literature majors with interpersonal and analytical skills may excel at archival appraisal and facilitation.

20. Marketing manager

National average salary: $69,251 per year

Primary duties: Marketing managers handle the management of brand awareness and promotional campaigns. They can work in a variety of fields but typically work in the business sector to attract more customers and encourage them to engage with a brand. Many marketing managers work in a supervisory role where they manage other staff. English literature majors who have experience writing, problem-solving and collaborating on creative projects may enjoy serving as marketing managers.

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