So you’ve gone off the deep end and decided to major in English. Bravo! It’s a daunting decision, but hopefully one you’ll be proud of one day… after this whole “job hunt” thing is over. All the STEM majors have internships at research facilities and hospitals, but what do you have? A whole lot, believe it or not.
Writing Center Tutor
Campuses all across the nation have writing centers, so you have no excuse. This is a great opportunity to brush up on your editing skills and communicating with your peers. Believe it or not, both the student and the tutor benefit, and it makes a resume beefier than Channing Tatum. University of Maryland senior Shabnam Quereshi is a tutor for their English Department’s Writing Center. “Being in an internship like this has really allowed me to hone in on skills that I thought were already good enough,” Quereshi said. “I was certainly more prepared for working as a tutor after having interned first.” Why be good when you can be the best?
Online Magazine Editor
Do you have a knack for writing? Are you somewhat tech-savvy? An online publication might be the way to go. You’ll get to read lots of articles–which is not only fun, but it’ll help you zoom in on small details and errors. A lot of companies are shifting online; you’ll be a major job candidate once you learn how to use website publishing platforms and spread your work through all the social media sites your grandma doesn’t understand. And as an English major, any opportunity to flex your writing muscles is a good one.
Not every English major becomes a teacher, but for those that plan on going down that path, being a TA opens tons of doors. I was a TA this semester and it was a great opportunity to gain more exposure and insight into the teaching world. You get a front row seat for what happens in front of the classroom and behind the scenes: grading, planning, working with the students and seeing firsthand how they learn. “As UTAs, we teeter on a line between student and teacher, gaining perspective of both worlds,” said University of Maryland junior Leah Schatz. “I went into this hoping to teach and while I believe I did accomplish this, in the end, it was really my mentor teacher and my students who taught me.” Let yourself become the student (or student-teacher).
Campus Newspaper Reporter
Every campus has one, right? This is a great way to stay in the loop with what’s going on around campus and to write about it. You’ll have to do some research for certain topics, but everything is literally right in front of you (especially if you’re going to be talking about campus related topics). Brush up and perfect your writing and editing skills. The best part? You don’t just have to be an English major for this one.
If you can find a publishing company that’s hiring interns, that’s amazing. Seriously, great job. You’ll investigate the insides of the publishing world and see how everything comes together as one. You’ll also be in a real working environment and learn how to communicate with different people–some you may not like, and others you’ll make lifelong connections with. Ross Yoon Literary manager Jennifer Manguera said that English majors stand out when they receive applications for internships: “Their writing samples are more polished and thought out and they bring an enthusiasm and love for books. They’re well-read and work well on a deadline.” So if you love books, definitely look into more companies like these.
Anything Involving Language (So, Everything)
University of Maryland senior Pegah Maleki interned with the Department of Fraternity and Sorority Life at UMD last semester as a sexual violence prevention intern. During the semester she worked created material for presentations and workshops for the Greek community regarding consent, rape culture, sexual assault and bystander intervention. “As English majors, we are taught the importance of language; what language is, where it comes from, and the power behind words themselves,” Maleki said. “It is because of my understanding of language that I can […] use words to educate others and aid in decreasing and preventing sexual assault.” Language is the most effective tool in communicating with others, so take any opportunity to sharpen that skill.
Finding the right internship might not be easy–in fact, it might be difficult, frustrating and competitive–but don’t let that stop you. You already took the plunge as an English major, so use that same ambition and drive when searching for internships.