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Can an English major work in business-related jobs?

As my question says, I'm wondering how successful an English major would be at working in business-related jobs. For example, I'm really interested in the publishing industry. Can you find success working in the publishing industry with only an English degree, or would you recommend double-majoring in business & English (or at least majoring in English with a business minor)? Would you also say that it depends on the specific department that you're interested in working in (e.g. editorial, production, sales, publicity, marketing, etc), or is it better to have an English and business degree either way? I'm interested in hearing from employers and employees with personal experience regarding this type of scenario. Thank you in advance! #business #english #job #career #publishing #work #career-counseling #career-advice #advice #education #major #college-major #choosing-a-major #help #career-planning #career-path #student #student-advice #business-field #english-major #english-degree #business-degree #business-major #career-help #job-experience #work-experience

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Candi’s Answer

Yes!  Effective communication and writing skills are essential in business.  They are not the only skills you will need though.  You should expand your thought process and seek out areas of business that are interesting to you and gain some experience you can leverage to find a business job after you graduate.

Candi recommends the following next steps:

Do informational interviews with people you know in various businesses.
Do research on the different types of roles in business (Marketing, Sales, HR, Finance, Legal, Technology, etc)
Identify classes or ways to get experience in areas that interest you.
Thank you comment icon Hello Candi, thank you so much for your answer! I do have very strong writing and communication skills, but it makes sense that they might not be sufficient depending on what sector of business I'd want to work in. I really like your suggestions, and I'm actually starting an HR internship in a few weeks, so I anticipate that it will give me some insight into holding that particular type of business role. Catherine
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Michelle’s Answer

Hi Catherine! I have an English undergraduate degree and an MBA. I have found that the combination of these two concentrations work very well in the business environment and would imagine that studying these fields would be beneficial in most industries. You're on the right track when you ask about the specific department of interest (e.g. editorial, production, sales, publicity, marketing, etc). There are several great answers here - I hope that you were able to gain a clearer perspective about your future endeavors. Best of luck!!

Michelle recommends the following next steps:

Look for volunteer or internship opportunities that will allow you to experience a particular industry or position without a significant commitment.
Research publishing companies that you are interested in and reach out to employees so that you can get the "inside" perspective at several different organizations.
Look for blogs or websites that cater to the publishing community to gain additional knowledge about your particular fields of interest.
Thank you comment icon Hi Michelle, I appreciate the advice, and thank you so much for sharing your own experience! Catherine
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Lawrence’s Answer

An English degree is very useful in business.  Strong communication and writing skills are useful in the Sales, Marketing, Human Resources, and other business departments.  Even IT, Finance and Accounting department have a need for English majors.     

Thank you comment icon Thank you for the input, Lawrence! I appreciate you taking the time to write an answer. Catherine
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Shannon’s Answer

My English degree helps me to communicate much more effectively. In the business world, proper sentence structure is a must, and believe it or not, it must be taught. Written communication is extremely important when reaching out to co-workers and other businesses. It really takes away from your professionalism when there are grammatical errors and poorly structured sentences. Having a degree in general separates you from any candidate that does not, so be sure not to discredit an English degree. Researching tips are also great to have in the business world, citations as well. These are all things displayed at a high level in order to attain the degree, so cherish these skills in your career.
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Susan’s Answer

Absolutely!  I have a secondary education degree with a History major.  To my parent's dismay I never worked as a teacher - because I didn't get a job in that field out of college and I needed something to pay the bills.    First think I think of when I think of English major is communication - writing skills.  Do you have good writing skills?  Good communication is critical in the business world and people with those skills are absolutely needed in a business-related job. 

Thank you comment icon Hi Susan, I really appreciate that you've taken the time to write a response and share your personal experience! It makes sense given your circumstances that you didn't end up becoming a teacher, but I guess I still find that surprising since getting an education degree is commonly associated with becoming a teacher. I'm not sure if you mind me asking, but I do see from your profile blurb that you're an IT manager - I would expect someone working in IT to have a degree in computer science or something similar, so did you eventually pursue another degree or were you able to obtain your current position with your education degree/History major? As for myself, I do believe I have excellent writing and communication skills :) Catherine
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Layne’s Answer

Great question! The answer is a resounding "yes!" In business, it is not enough to have a lot of knowledge about a certain field, but you also need to communicate it. There is a large demand for people who have strong written communication. Also, more and more, businesses value the ability to "tell the story" in whatever field you are in. Don't think you are limited by an English major. Use your written and other communication skills to your advantage.

Layne recommends the following next steps:

Show companies how your written and other communication skills are an asset
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Paul’s Answer

Yes they can.

I have seen English majors work for major companies, like Microsoft, Amazon and Boeing.

Since these companies need technical manuals to be written for software and aircraft maintenance, they require a technical oriented English major. This means a technical writer.

I always recommend that English majors get a certification in technical writing. It will enhance their skills, and make them more employable in the current job market.
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