10 Talents You’ll Gain as an English Major

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We English majors have all been pestered with this question: “What are you going to do with THAT major?” It’s pretty much a slap in the face. Your uncle still thinks it’s okay to ask you that at every family reunion, but since you haven’t thought of a good list yet, we’ve prepared one for you.

1. Peer Editing

You haven’t even gotten your degree yet and all your friends are asking if you can peer edit their essays. They already trust you to make their paper sound pristine because God knows a physics major’s forte is not analyzing Greek epics. A college student pursuing an English major can make a few bucks on the side — I know some students who charge a small fee for their editing skills. Once you get your degree, you can officially charge the big bucks for your crazy superior skills in the editing field.

2. Thank You Notes

Thank you notes are an underrated act of kindness in our society. Not to mention, a great way to seal the deal after a job interview. Whether you are saying thank you for a birthday gift or meeting with a potential employer—this act goes a long way. As an English major, you have a natural talent with your words. With just a few short phrases you still get a meaningful point across. Swooning acquaintances with a thank you note will be your specialty.

3. Interviews

Having a way with your words will also help you with job interviews. As stressful as those interviews can be, you’ll be able to communicate with ease as you answer any question fired at you. Not only that, more often than not you’ll have already read up on the company’s foundation and values because English majors are curious by nature. This shows that you have come prepared and the interviewee may feel like you’re already part of the team. It’s an indicator that you have your heart in this.

4. Twitter

Let’s face it, Twitter isn’t for everyone. The 140-character limit for a single tweet drives some people so crazy that they type out a long tweet, screenshot it, and then upload the picture. C’mon now, if you really have that much to say, just post it on Facebook. English majors out there have no problem quickly typing out a short and witty tweet —hashtag and all. “I’ve mastered the perfectly formulated tweet. I hit just below that 140 character limit, even with perfect grammar,” said Andrew Gallagher, a junior in Editing Writing Media.

5. Customer Service

If you can’t already see it, there is a recurring theme: English majors are good with their words, period. Interacting with people is just something you are always going to have to deal with, so being swift with your words is super important. Customer service can be difficult to endure because the customer is often unhappy for no real reason. Your beaming smile and cordial word choice will surely be able to calm him down, and your company will love you for your magic people-pleasing powers.

6. Trash Talking

Whoever said a little bit of harmless trash talk was a bad thing? Sporting events are always filled with vocal fans bashing each other’s teams. The scorching insults that you come up with are due to your stellar creativity.

7. Elevator Talk

English majors are witty, quick to spark a conversation and always with their nose in a book—nobody ever said we were good with coordination. Some of us would rather skip the stairs and take the elevator. “Most people on elevators say, ‘have a nice day’ right when the door is about to open because you feel the need to fill the awkward space. So with an English major, my words flow with ease. I can talk about anything with anyone,” said Chelsea Holmes, a junior in Editing Writing Media.

8. Editing Away Your Life

All that writing, re-writing, editing and scraping your work together not only trains you for your future career, but as an English major, you are going to be awesome at “editing” and organizing your life. “Not only can I edit my papers well, I am able to edit my life—like certain relationships and managing my time for what’s most important,” said Brendan Little, a sophomore in Editing Writing Media.

9. Coffee Tolerance

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve fueled an all-nighter with five, six or seven cups of coffee. I don’t turn caffeine-crazy because I procrastinate (well, maybe sometimes), but I spend the time I should be sleeping trying to perfect my papers. Each draft is better than the one before it, and I know if I keep working, my professor will be sure to place a large, red, gleaming “A+” on my paper. By the time I get my English degree, 10 cups of coffee won’t even do a thing.

10. Taking Criticism Well

Any writer can vouch that their writing isn’t perfect, even though every Christmas all you want from Santa is the ability to emulate your favorite author. Through all your years of schooling, criticism is something you have gotten used to. It’s not easy in the beginning to hear from your professor that your paper was “awk” or “lacking detail” (sadly, these were comments I have once seen written on term papers). In the end, you’ll be able to take criticism more lightly and realize that it’s for the best.

English majors are constantly criticized, whether it’s about their writing or their choice of major, they have to be willing to take others criticism well and not let it define them,” said Katherine Marshall, a freshman in Creative Writing. Your work gets stronger and you sometimes catch yourself looking for criticism—it’s all in your English major veins.

I am a student at Florida State University. My addictions include re-watching episodes of Parks & Recreation and Dunkin' Donuts. It is a dream of mine to one day be living in NYC.

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