Q: My first year of college, I focused solely on literature (and loved it!). However, I was led to believe that I might be really stuck after college, not having a degree in something more specific, so I chose the teaching option (double-majoring in secondary education), thinking it was the only one I had.
However, I did some research and found that there are other options, and ones that may be more suited to my tastes. I found that a degree in literature was a great beginning to a career in the arts, media, law, business and marketing, as well as teaching. Do you know whether a degree in literature would make it more difficult to find a career?
A: College is one of the few times in your life when you can pursue academic study for the pure joy of learning, so I hope you’ll continue to study the literature you love. That said, it’s wise to think about supplementing your literature degree with some additional career-related classes and experience.
There are several books on “careers for English majors” that you might be interested in checking out. I also know that recruiters in a wide variety of fields–marketing, finance, consulting and others–tell me they often recruit liberal arts majors. What you will need to do, no matter what career you pursue, is to be able to articulate how your literature background has given you the skills and experience to succeed in the “real world.” Hint: written communication skills are ESSENTIAL for most careers today, so that is a great skill to start promoting about yourself.
All of that said, you will also need some real world experience in whatever career path you want to pursue. That’s ultimately more important than your college major anyway. So, start looking into internships, part-time jobs, professional associations, clubs, mentors, etc. to get you the professional experience you’ll need.