Top Resume Tips for English Majors

Resumes are a valuable tool that give employers a top-level view into your skills, education, and experience to determine if you are qualified for the job they are offering. As an English major, you’ve had a different college experience than students from other majors. And you certainly have a different skillset from them as well. It’s essential that your resume reflect those unique strengths that set you apart from others.

Earning a degree in English allows you to be flexible in your choice of industry. Often, those graduating as English majors choose to pursue careers in communications, education, business, and government. The information you include on your resume should reflect the needs of the specific industry, and specific job within that industry, that you’re applying for.

Communications Positions

Positions that require you to communicate information such as writing, editing and journalism fall into this category. For these jobs, employers are seeking someone who can write well, think creatively and excel at presenting information. Therefore, your resume should demonstrate how you implemented those skills in your past jobs or internships.

As an English major, you most likely have taken intensive writing courses. Therefore, you have learned how to identify and write in a variety of styles. You also may have taken some creative writing courses, which fostered your ability to craft and express unique ideas. For a job in communications, demonstrating that you have the ability to artfully articulate your words in writing is important to include on your resume.

If you have any experience writing for a company, doing some editing work, completing an internship, or anything else related to the position, you should also add that in your resume. And if you have never had a job in the field of communications, you can still prove you are qualified for the position by mentioning other things you have done that required a similar skillset. If you have ever written for a blog, mentioning that experience and putting a link to it on your resume would be helpful.  Additionally, any writing clubs, workshops or other English programs you have been involved in are also valuable experiences to include. You can even upload your writing into online portfolio sites like clippings.me and put the link on your resume. This is great if you do not have any work officially published but want your employers to see how well you can write.

Business Positions

Jobs involving advertising and business such as SEO specialists, web content developers, and marketing consultants fall into this category. Employers for these positions typically look for applicants that are great writers, collaborative, organized and analytical.

Most English majors have taken classes which focus on writing for different audiences. Your expertise in this area is extremely important for jobs in business because you need to know how to shift your writing style to match your intended audience. Also, you are extremely familiar with researching and writing essays around specific topics, therefore, you are adept at synthesizing information in order to accurately convey ideas. These are all great skills to emphasize when writing your resume.

If you have any previous experience with optimizing search engines, writing content for websites or anything else relevant to the job you are applying for, be sure to include that on your resume. For individuals that do not have any experience in these fields, you can mention jobs in which you had to employ similar skills such as positions in management or sales. If you have never been employed, any leadership experience or programs in which you had to work with a team would be great to mention. The key to writing a great resume for a business position is demonstrating that you have the ability to stay organized, work well with others and market information to a larger audience.  

Education Positions

Jobs in education for English majors include K-12 teachers, ESL teachers, classroom assistants, and tutors. Employers for these positions value individuals that are personable, patient, cooperative and able to communicate effectively.

If you have majored in English, you likely have a strong understanding of English grammar and usage since you have taken so many writing courses. Literature classes are also a major component of your English degree as it teaches you how to comprehend and interpret a variety of different narratives. Showing employers that you have an in-depth knowledge of English usage, history and culture are vital if you are interested in getting a job in education.

If you have ever worked as a school instructor, this would be important to note on your resume. You should also mention any certifications or educational programs you have completed. However, if you have never formally taught, you can still use any experience you have with teaching such as tutoring or micro-teaching in a college classroom. Web sites such as care.com, wyzant.com and varsitytutors.com are great places to gain some experience with tutoring people both online and in-person. When a potential employer reads your resume and can see that you are knowledgeable about the English language, able to adequately explain concepts, have a great rapport with students and can foster a productive learning environment, it will help greatly improve your chances of being selected for an interview.

Government Positions

Government jobs for English majors include public relations specialists, grant writers, and lobbyists. Many employers in these fields value individuals that are passionate, detail-oriented, have a strong command of the English language and are able to maintain interpersonal relationships.

As an English major, some classes have challenged you to write about various different topics and use evidence to support your arguments. As a result, your classes have given you the ability to gather information, consider all the details and tactfully use your words to express an idea. For positions in government, you should definitely highlight those key skills on your resume to show that you are proficient at communicating important information.

Most government jobs are very specific about the requirements for employment, so noting any relevant history you have with working in a government position is crucial. If you have never held that type of job, you should reference any related volunteer work or internships you have completed. For jobs in this category, your resume should reveal a solid background in the field you are pursuing, exceptional writing skills and an enthusiasm for communicating with and helping people.

Writing a resume that is specifically catered to the job are you applying for is essential. If you still need help structuring your resume, can visit jobhero.com and search for sample resumes just for English majors. Whether you are applying for a position in communications, business, education or government, going that extra mile makes you stand out by showing the employer exactly why you are qualified for the position. It also indicates your willingness to work hard and take their needs into consideration. That is why truly great resume writing is all about knowing what your employer wants and showing them how your experience either matches or exceeds their expectations.

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