7 Surprising Ways Your English Major Will Come in Handy

Co-authored by Elena Nicolaou, writing intern at Avelist


There's a home video of me as a toddler perched on my bed, surrounded by piles of books. I'm in the middle of reading Madeline,so I don't bother looking up at the camera. Now that I'm grown up, not much has changed. Wandering the aisles of bookstores gives me an actual adrenaline rush, and I always have a book on me. What I mean to say is, I'm a born English major.

I never studied English because I knew it would secure me a high-paying job, but rather because I love reading and writing. Which, as it turns out, are pretty useful skills when it comes to searching for a job. So, next time someone snidely asks you "What are you planning on doing with your English degree?" you'll have your answer ready: "Whatever I want."

1) Reading books actually makes you better at connecting with people. Literature has been proven to expand empathy and social relations. Multiple studies point this out, but this article does a particularly good job. Literature gives readers insight into places they'll never go and people they'll never be, and so we come away from each book able to relate to an array of human experiences.

2) Those picky grammar tendencies will really pay off. Small grammar mistakes can be extremely undermining, especially when giving a presentation or applying for jobs. Your keen eye will mind your p's and q's on resumes, cover letters, and any type of writing that comes up in your life.

3) Being an English major has taught you to think critically. Think back to all the essays you wrote, some based on only a few lines of writing. You're able to pick apart language and analyze text (or subtext?). You see the endless (delightful) possibilities that lurk in language. Those are lifelong skills that you'll use every day, from your job to your interactions with others, both written and verbal.

4) You've learned how to think creatively. Each time an English major writes a paper, they're answering a question that has no one answer. In life, there is no one correct answer, but rather ways of getting to the same place creatively.

5) You can craft a good argument. Since there is "no right answer," you've spent the last four years backing up answers of your own creation with well-crafted arguments. Knowing how to defend an argument isn't a skill that's only useful to aspiring lawyers. Warn all future significant others--you have an upper hand in winning that minor disagreement.

6) You can use your intellect to your advantage. Your English major has given you an arsenal of facts and insights that you can whip out at cocktail parties. Hey, being well-read is pretty sexy and impressive, if you ask me.

7) You've developed a lifelong passion for learning. Though being an English major has taught you how to expand your worldview and your mind, hopefully you've come away with the knowledge that if you love learning, it won't cease after college. Being an English major lasts a lifetime.

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