Most English majors have been asked the following questions at least once:
So, are you going to work in a coffee shop for the rest of your life?
How are you going to get a job?
& Of Course:
3. Oh, so you’re going to be a teacher?
Sure, teaching is great - and I’m even strongly considering pursuing a career in teaching. But teaching isn’t for everyone, and sometimes it feels like there is no other option. Going in a different direction with an English degree may seem difficult, but there are some clear-cut steps you can take to prepare yourself for the vast, open job market, and to enhance your resume.
Build Up Your Resume!
It’s important to have a strong resume. Employers need to know that you have what it takes, and a resume is your first chance to show them just how talented, resourceful and creative you are (whether it be for a job in editing, teaching, copy-writing, or any other field related to English and/or creative writing).
Some Examples of How You Can Enhance Your Resume:
Join relevant literary clubs *cough cough* Ellipsis *cough cough* to demonstrate your interest in writing, as well as newspapers if you are interested in journalism.
If you want to be a teacher, volunteer at places such as elementary and middle schools, which you can learn more about through the CCE office at Binghamton University, specifically tutoring students in English related subjects if you wish (ESL, writing, reading, and literacy, for example).
Become an editor - even if it’s just for your friends, because practice makes better.
Find internships that relate to writing (examples include The Binghamton Poetry Project, Agape Industries, and Writetopia Labs, among others).
2. Publish Your Writing!
Being published isn’t necessary for success, whatever your definition of that may be, but it also adds a certain spark to your resume. Some examples of where you can submit your work are:
- Ellipsis Literary Magazine (duh) - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Shrew Literary Magazine - email@example.com
- Binghamton Health Zine - firstname.lastname@example.org
[Binghamton Health Zine is an upcoming, online literary magazine that publishes submissions regarding health and mental health issues, and encourages students to include their gender, race, sexuality, and anything else they would like to include, to promote representation. The magazine is a place for expression but please be aware of others’ depression and mental health, and please keep any graphic content to a minimum if possible.]
Also, being published can connect you to writers and agents who see your work and would want to collaborate with you in the future.
3. Network With Other Writers!
Networking with other writers is pertinent because connections (not in a phony sense) can go a long way, and help get your work out there.
Reach out to your English and creative writing professors; many would be happy to help you get your work out there, and might be willing to look over some of your writing.
Go to literary events: such as open mic nights, The Belmar Open Mic Poetry Night (on Thursdays at The Belmar - if you are over 21, of course), presentations by authors, and Reading Series events (such as The Literati Reading Series held downtown a few times per year).
Any upcoming Slam Poetry or Ellipsis Open Mic nights!
Don’t be afraid to criticize the work of others in a respectful, helpful manner, because hopefully they will do the same for you.
Hopefully this blog post will help people succeed post-graduation, though success is subjective and really depends on what you define as success. Either way, I hope this at least sparked some ideas!