November 18, 2014, by James Jupe

An English degree opens many doors — here’s why!

By James Jupp, Graduate Social Media Trainee

Choosing English as your subject means that you’re likely someone with an open-minded, creative personality and have a passion for the written word. You might be sensitive to others and enjoy debating, looking at all perspectives and exercising independent thought. Another advantage to this degree is there is no need for tunnel vision – there are many doors open to you and plenty of transferable skills to take into the workplace.

What skills have I got?

There is no clinical or formulaic approach to studying an English degree; by its very nature your individual development will be different because it’s so subjective. That said, you will likely excel in working independently and as part of a team, using analytical thinking to aid your critical reasoning, communicating in a clear and cohesive manner and researching a varied amount of materials. These skills are essential towards developing your emotional intelligence and understanding others, which is needed in all areas of life.

Be reassured in the knowledge that your skills are very transferable. Up to 90 employers including E.ON, Deloitte and Bloomberg attended our Careers in Management and Business Fair — welcoming students from all degrees. Within businesses there are graduate schemes in marketing, human resources and technology plus others where you can find your feet.

What can I do?

Popular sectors and occupations include:

  • Commercial, industrial and public sector management
  • Marketing, sales and advertising
  • Business and finance
  • Retail
  • Creative industries including media
  • Education

How do I find out what I want to do?

If you’re not sure what you want to do, take a moment to relax in the knowledge that you’re not alone — many students haven’t got it all figured out at degree level. This is a time to think carefully about what your interests, skills and work preferences may be, as well as take time to gain practical experience to give you more insights into the working world.

To help you along try online programmes like Prospects Planner and TARGETjobs Careers Report as these will generate career ideas for you to start researching. They won’t give you all the answers, but they do provide another stepping stone to understanding yourself.

And, above all, don’t forget to come and speak with a careers adviser face-to-face. They are here to help!

Where else does it lead?

Some English graduates develop their existing skills by taking an MA or a PhD which is perfect if you really love your subject. Others choose more vocational postgraduate courses such as teaching, journalism, librarianship or law. These courses are essential towards getting your foot in the door in these careers and so are popular choices.

In areas like advertising, marketing and PR or finance it’s possible to go straight into employment but you can also take a specific course to develop your knowledge. What’s important is that you take the route that suits you best and know in advance all of the options that are available to you.

What can I do alongside my degree?

Your degree is one part of the puzzle but getting involved in extracurricular activities is a sure way to add more strings to your bow, and ultimately gain the attention of that employer you want to work for.

Some examples include studying abroad to broaden your mind; taking part in a wide range of volunteering opportunities through the Students’ Union; enhancing your employability by signing up for the Nottingham Advantage Award and looking into all of the interesting modules they offer. You can also try to gain work experience in any sector that interests you by simply coming to see us. We run a number of employer presentations and workshops throughout the year to give you the right exposure and food for thought you need to make an informed choice.

If you’re studying English, you can find out more about what to do after your degree or you can book an appointment with a careers adviser to explore your options.

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