Majoring in English proves to be valuable for future careers

Luisa Nitzschke

You think being an English major will set a boundary on your ambitions for the future? Let me tell you why you’re wrong. You may think that as an English major all you learn are skills in analyzing literature and writing. 

Yet, employers are actively looking to hire English majors because many of the skills they learn enable them to succeed in a professional environment. 

As an English major at Villanova, you get to be taught by excellent professors about topics such as “Harlots,” “Rakes and Libertines,” “Books into Movies,” “Science Fiction,” “African Literature” and my personal favorite: “Literature of the Apocalypse.” 

Who doesn’t want to read about man-eating plants, zombies and the condemned burning in sulfur for eternity? 

If, however, that is not for you, don’t worry, you have a great degree of freedom to take courses within your major to create you own unique “track” and choose a concentration such as Writing and Rhetoric or Gender and Women’s Studies. 

You can start this coming spring semester with some of the following courses: “How to Read Poetry,” “American Gothic,” “Modern Short Story,” “Introduction to Creative Writing” and “Early Romantics: Imagination & Politics.”

Villanovans with successful careers as English majors can be seen all over the professional world.

 Jim Gorant is a Senior Editor at “Sports Illustrated.” Eileen Sullivan and Diana Sugg have both been awarded the Pulitzer Prize, and Charles Heimbold is a former U.S. Ambassador to Sweden.

 Jason Burritt, an alumnus who majored in English and French, is now a Senior Associate for Seyfarth Shaw (attorneys). 

Burritt who handles all aspects of immigration and nationality law say’s that “[his] education at Villanova solidified [his] desire to pursue a career with a significant writing component…Between [his] classes and extracurricular activities, [he] laid the foundation to be a successful writer in the professional world.”

These successful alumni demonstrate that English majors have the ability to become successful professionals in a wide variety of fields, such as lawyers, editors, novelists, investment bankers, professors, executives in advertising and public relations and other lucrative, reputable jobs. The fact that employers from a large variety of fields are hiring English majors is due to the skills an English major develops in their years at college. 

Reading a diversified selection of literature from revered classics to the newest celebrated works allows English majors to develop critical thinking, clear reasoning and effective research skills. 

They also learn to comprehensively express their ideas and expand them through feedback and interactions with professors and other students.

 Furthermore, they enhance their understanding of the world and their purpose within it. 

As Bruna Martinuzzi, the founder of Clarion Enterprises and author of two business books, states, “English majors are the hot new hires…Bringing an English major to the fold is a much needed salve for organizations today, where poor communication skills are the norm rather than the exception.”

Bracken Darrell, CEO of Logitech, has a very similar opinion: “The best CEOs and leaders write well and can articulate what they’re thinking. The older I get, the more I realize the power of words and the power of words in making you think…the classes do help you express yourself and build communication skills.” 

Steve Strauss, a business expert, in “Why I Hire English Majors” expressed his love for English majors: “I love English majors. I love how smart they are. I love their intellectual curiosity. And I love their bold choice for a major. Most of all, I love to hire them.”

Villanova English majors have all job opportunities not only because employers love to hire English majors, but also because the English department at the University provides a lot of aid and internship opportunities to further improve English majors’ chances of career success.

The Career Center, for example, has a staff member dedicated to aiding English majors with the transition into the workplace by providing a valuable database of alumni willing to network with new graduates. 

Furthermore, an initiative called Professional Development Program is accessible to majors, which provides them with an opportunity to build necessary skills, locate their strengths and discover job possibilities. 

The Bridge Society is another program which gives students an opportunity to network. Through these connections, unique internships and programs have been made available to make the Villanova experience special. 

For example, English majors have the chance to intern at Sports Illustrated in New York for a semester. Being an English major, there are also numerous, international study abroad options available from a program in London during Spring Break to a summer in Dublin, Ireland, studying theater to spending a semester/year at Oxford or Cambridge University. 

Ultimately, being an English major offers unique opportunities that make it a truly useful degree.