Career Paths

What kind of a position could I get with a major in English?

  • Advertising
  • Advertising Traffic Manager
  • Account Executive
  • Acquisitions Editing
  • Administrator
  • Administrative Assistant
  • Attorney
  • Book Critic
  • Business manager
  • Circulation Assistant
  • City Manager
  • Communication Manager
  • Congressional Aide
  • Community Relations Specialist
  • Contracts and Permission
  • Curator
  • Desktop Publisher
  • Documents Analyst
  • Education & Training
  • Education Program Specialist
  • Foreign Correspondent
  • Fundraiser
  • Greeting Card Writer
  • Hearing Officer
  • Hotel/Motel Manager
  • Human Resource Specialist
  • Insurance Agent
  • Investment Counselor
  • Literary Agent
  • Lobbyist
  • Loan Officer
  • Marketing Trainee
  • Marketing Writer
  • Novelist
  • Paralegal
  • Personnel Manager
  • Poet
  • Press Representative
  • Public Speaker
  • Publicity Assistant
  • Publishing Assistant
  • Program Manager
  • Product Manager
  • Probation and Parole Officer
  • Program Planner
  • Public Administrator
  • Publicity Assistant/Coordinator
  • Public Relations Manager
  • Radio & TV Newscaster
  • Reading Consultant
  • Research Publications Editing
  • Sales Writer
  • Social Worker
  • Sports Writer
  • Technical Consultant
  • Training Specialist
  • Translator
  • University/College Relations

Where should I look for a job if I have an undergraduate degree in English?

  • Advertising Agencies
  • Bookstores
  • Business & Industry
  • Broadcast Media
  • Colleges/Universities
  • Commercial Banks and Credit Unions
  • Communication Firms
  • Education and Professional Books
  • Film Companies
  • Foreign Service
  • Fundraising Firms
  • Government Agencies
  • Humanities & Arts Council
  • Insurance Companies
  • Law firms
  • Magazines and Newspapers
  • Non-Profit Organizations
  • Personnel Departments
  • Professional Journals
  • Public/Private Schools
  • Public Relations Firms
  • Publishing Firms
  • Radio-TV Industry
  • Research/Development Firms
  • Travel Agencies
  • Trade Associations
  • Trade, Professional or Consumer Publications

What are some examples of things that recent PSU English grads are doing out there in the world?

Alicia Proko Smickley (’06) – Alicia received her juris doctorate from Rutgers University School of Law (‘09). She is currently studying for the bar exam. Alicia writes, “I think Plymouth State is the best blend of affordability and a high quality education. It was definitely a great place to start.”

Marianne Bradley (’06) – Marianne Bradley received her master’s degree in literature from Fitchburg State College in Massachusetts. While attending Fitchburg, Marianne was the editor-in-chief of the graduate program’s literary magazine, the FSC Review, and also participated in the Graduate Research Symposium at Bridgewater State College. Marianne is currently working at a publishing company in southern NH as a Copyeditor/Proofreader. She is hoping to pursue a career teaching at the college level.

Nathan Bieniek (’07) – Nate received his master’s degree in theology from Boston University.  He is starting his own tutoring website (bieniektutoring.com) and is attending culinary school in the fall. Nate writes, “The Literature option has served me in my endeavors in the same way that my philosophy major did: it required me to think deeply and to think for myself. Professors like Dr. DeRosa demanded that of us and that training has served me well in my academic pursuits.”

Rhiannon Trajlinek (’08) – Rhiannon started her own marketing and business solutions company called Do Something Different, LLC. “ Starting my own marketing company was by far the most fulfilling thing I have done with my life and my education and experience at Plymouth State University made that possible. When choosing my major, I tried to think about what I would do with it after graduation, but ultimately decided to major in what I enjoyed…literature. That decision turned out to be one of the best I made, because I majored in something I enjoyed, and really learned the skills I needed to be successful in my future, no matter what that might be.”

Justin L’italien (’08) – Justin is a Multimedia Specialist in the Office of Online Education at Plymouth State. He writes of the Lit/Film Option, “I have nothing but a full recommendation for students wishing to pursue this area. I had a great time studying film’s history and learning how detail oriented it can be. In fact, the Film option helped me critique media in new ways.”

Sean Robinson is running a group home for at-risk youth and completing an MFA in Popular Fiction at the University of Southern Maine.  Rachael Ferranti is the Director of Sales at a local art and design company, Squam River Studios.  Jasmine Tyler is teaching English in Abu Dhabi.  Nick Greenwood is pursuing a Master’s in Library Media.  Stephen Finn is a sportswriter for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.  Naomi Pariseault is an Instructional Technologist.  All of these students specifically credit their PSU English degree with preparing them for their careers. Client Services exec Cassie Viau writes, “Originally, I was hired as a copywriter.  I was promoted to account manager and then to senior manager.  My English degree helped me snag the initial copy writing gig.  My boss was really impressed with my portfolio.”  Teacher Billy Barth writes, “My PSU English degree showed me the value in critical and creative writingThe coursework confirmed how much fun a classroom can be when you have amazing mentors.  I value the heart that the PSU English professors poured into their work.”  Grad student Kimberly Connell writes, “You walk away from PSU with a set of tools that enable you to think critically and work diligently,– two skills which are useful in any field.”  Graphic Designer Derek Heidemann writes, “My first job write out of PSU was doing light assembly for telecommunications products.  Word got out that I had a degree in English and they bumped me up from the back room to the Marketing department.”  Jessica Reed has a similar story: “I started out as a research assistant at a private school but when they caught wind of my English degree, I was immediately called upon to proofread one of their major documents, and that led to my current job as a editor.  What I loved the most about my experience with the PSU English department is that my professors all made me feel like my thoughts and ideas were important. In the presence of that level of genius (those teachers!), that was an empowering feeling.”  Kate Rubino reports, “I’m a Production Assistant Intern at NewTV in Newton, MA. My primary duties are for a TV show call, ‘The Folklorist.’ I edit, film live TV, help with acquiring/making props, casting, assist on shoots, makeup, and even have a script I wrote in the works to become an episode of the show! ‘The Folklorist’ recently received three Emmy nominations from The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences/New England.”  English majors work in a variety of fields, bringing their critical thinking skills, creativity, and writing ability to a diversity of positions!

Is it true that if I pursue my love of English that I won’t get a job? or make a decent living?

Nope!  One English professor debunks these myths: “Reports of the deadliness of English to a successful career are greatly exaggerated. According to one major study produced by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, the median income for English majors with a bachelor’s but no additional degree is $48,000. This figure is just slightly lower than that for bachelor’s degree holders in biology ($50,000), and slightly higher than for those in molecular biology or physiology (both $45,000). It’s the same for students who received their bachelor’s in public policy or criminology (both $48,000), slightly lower than for those who received their bachelor’s in criminal justice and fire protection ($50,000) and slightly higher than for those who received it in psychology ($45,000).  Another study by the same center paints a similar picture with respect to unemployment. In this study, the average unemployment rate for recent B.A. holders (ages 22-26) over the years 2009-10 was 8.9 percent; for English it was 9.2 percent. Both rates are higher than we would wish, but their marginal difference is dwarfed by that between the average for holders of the B.A. and that of high school graduates, whose unemployment rate during the same period was 22.9 percent (also too high).” Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2013/02/05/essay-critiques-garrison-keillor-his-jokes-about-english-majors#ixzz2KFNRAfux

Are there websites out there with useful links to help me find jobs or internships?

Sure there are!  Start here, but come see us or the good folks at Bagley House for more ideas: http://literarycitizenship.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/job-hunting-websites1.pdf

Still have questions about what YOU can do with a degree in English from Plymouth State University?  Come talk to our English faculty anytime!

Contact Us

English Department

Ellen Reed House
8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., M-F

Phone: 603-535-2746
Email: mepetz@plymouth.edu
(Mary Petz, Administrative Assistant)
Fax: 603-535-2584

Mailing Address
17 High Street
MSC #40 Plymouth, NH 03264

Dr. Ann McClellan, Department Chair
email: akmcclellan@plymouth.edu
Office: Ellen Reed 15
Office Phone: (603) 535-2683

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