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Career Planning for English Majors

Click on the bubbles above to explore career fields. 

Read here for general information first

Can I get a real job with an English major? I don't think I want to teach.....


Only about 20% of our graduates teach at the high school level.  Another 20% go to graduate school and some of those will teach at the college level.  But that means 60% of our majors are just entering the work force like all the other majors with a B.A. degree.   English is a highly marketable major but like many degrees it takes vision and initiative on the part of the student to find the ideal career fit. This page is designed to give you resources and ideas to jump start your career search.  Your major does not determine your career field in 95% of careers-- your interests, extra-curriculars, and experiences will determine that.  Our majors can be found in business, non-profits, and creative/artistic ventures.  Your major won't limit you--only your drive and preferences will shape your career!  Click on the icons above to learn about English major opportunities in different career fields.​

The Value of an English major or liberal arts degree:

Check here for jobs available that mention wanting or accepting English majors.


​Where do I start?                                                                                            intersection of what you love and are good at

First Year:

  • Observe people in the world around you and decide which jobs within that field look interesting and fulfilling and which are not a good fit.
  • Get a feeling for whether you'd like to ideally work in a small town or big city, alone or with people, casual or suit, routine every day or changing every day.
  • Join an organization, volunteer  or get a part time job and gain some experience with leadership, responsbility and real life tasks.

 Sophomore Year:

  • Move up to leadership role and take on more responsibility in student organizations or at your part-time job.
  • Create a Hire-a-Hawk account and write a resume with the help of the Pomerantz Center. Update your LinkedIn account:​
  • Talk to advisor Kate Torno or Zach Hickman about possible minors that would supplement your major and support your career dreams. 
  • Work at an on-campus part time job.  Research shows that students who work 10-15 hours a week do better in their studies, esp if the work is on campus.

  Junior Year:

  • Make sure your facebook and other pages visible if someone does a google search appear professional and mature.
  • Consider an internship for summer or senior year. Attend the internship fair in February in the IMU. Dress for success and be prepared to smile and be outgoing.
  • If you are still really unsure of career path, consider taking ENGL 2040: English @ Work early to get insight about possible careers from alums and to prepare for summer internship aplication process.
  • Tell Kate Torno ( you want to be added to the Career Listserv so you get emails regarding jobs or internships she sees. 

 Senior Year:

  • Meet with Pomerantz to have a staff member review your resume, LinkedIn account or help you with your career search plans.
  • Take ENGL 2040: English @ Work for 1 s.h. and prepare for job search and hear from alum about their career path
  • Make an Efolio in Canvas to share with graduate schools 
  • Post a CV on if you plan to go to graduate school or work in academia
  • Start applying for post-graduation internships in January/February or start applying for jobs in March. (December graduates should start in August for internships and November for jobs).
  • Attend the job/internship fair in October or February in the IMU.  Dress for success and be prepared to smile and be outgoing.
  • Check Hire-A-Hawk and other job search engines weekly for new jobs while conducting your search. Set a goal of 5 applications or contacts with alum per week during your last month of college and until employed.
  • Review your audit after you register for your last semester to make sure you are on track to graduate in case you get offered a job.
  • Remain flexible--your first job is not your lifelong career, but a building block. Go for experience and skill-building over salary at this point.
  • Tell Kate Torno ( you want to be added to the Career Listserv so you get emails regarding jobs  she sees. 

English Internships 

For this option, students will be required to arrange/secure their own internship with a writing-related organization. The English Department uses the same minimum requirements for an internship as the UI Pomerantz Career Center:

  • Professional experience which relates to writing (i.e. in publishing, marketing, grant-writing, etc.)
  • At least 80% professional work
  • Occupies at least one academic term (fall, spring or summer)
  • Requires continuous supervision by a professional in the field (not a student)
  • Must participate in the internship and take the course during the same semester
  • Must work a minimum of 6 weeks at the internship site
  • 1-3 satisfactory/unsatisfactory credit hours available based on number of hours working in internship
    • 1 credit hour for 75 hours of internship experience
    • 2 credit hours for 150+ hours of internship experience

In addition to securing the internship, students must enroll in ENGL 4010: Internship for 1 or 2 credit hours.   Note that tuition is charged for credit earned; more information can be found on the Registrar's website.

 For the publishing track you can enroll in the internship under the Pomerantz Career Center or under the English department.

If you want credit for internship under English please fill out these forms.

Pre-Internship due by beginning of semester in which the internship will be registered and taking place

Post-Internship form due by last week of semester

best career options diagram   Resources

Career Area Exploration:  This is the career center page that will tell you more about the career categories at the top of this page.

Career Fairs: here and elsewhere. 

Handshake: This is the account where you can find listings of on- and off-campus jobs and internships available in the near future, as well as a virtual career center that can help you to prepare for your career at any time.   Use MYUI to make appointments with the Pomerantz Career Center based on your career interests (learn more about career communities). 

LinkedIn Job Search Tool

Internship Search Tool

US Department of State Internships (Pathways,etc.)  These are in all sorts of job areas for all majors

Salary Search Tool

Working Internationally: