In defense of my English major

“yOu’Re nEvEr gOnNa fInD a jOb iN eNglIsh” is one of the things that I heard constantly when I decided to major in English writing. Well, they’re right… and they’re also wrong.

 

It all began

At the ripe old age of seventeen, I was being continuously bombarded with the question from insolent adults who had no idea how to make casual conversation with a teenager… “What do you want to be when you grow up?” My anxiety filled predisposition only glared back and simply stated that I was waiting until I was in college to declare a major or even a professional choice.

So really it all began when teachers would give me good grades on papers that I wrote, and were constantly gushing over my writing style. I mean, I figured my writing was passable. Were the other kids in my class really all terrible writers that mine shone forth as some shining beacon of understanding sentence structure and clear conveyance of ideas? Guess so. High schoolers really suck at writing, myself included.

The moderate praise inflated my ego, as it tends to do. We can see other obvious examples of this simply by the fact that I am writing blogs to get imaginary cool points on the Interwebs.

I seethed in that mild ego boost for a number of years.

The next chapter

So when it came time to declare my degree in college, I chose English writing and business communication. I chose English because I liked it. There is really nothing more cathartic for me than writing my unfiltered thoughts out on paper with a Pilot Pen G2 0.07 (not sponsored, but Pilot please do sponsor me). I don’t have a lot of reason for declaring my degree, other than the fact that I liked it. I mean, I really like reading and writing.

Why I majored in English

I had been an avid reader from the time that I was a child, even up until now. No book is too small for me to read, although there are many a novel that is incessantly boring. However, I found so much happiness in the fact that I could empathize with characters and live their fictionalized lives, gaining experiences I never thought I could have.

The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot (the books, you plebian) let me live in New York as royalty. Great Expectations by Charles Dickes taught me the mystifying glamour of crying all the time. Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein taught me that creating life is kind of a bad idea. Jane Austen’s characters taught me it was okay to be bad at flirting and incredibly awkward. Anything by the Bronte sisters taught me that death or banishment is really just a state of being, not actually a punishment.

A major in English pairs well with other degrees

I mean, an English major is a really time-consuming thing to get. While it’s not like a degree in the sciences that has a huge emphasis on memorization of massive amounts of information, it does require a lot of brain power to cohesively synthesize ideas and research in a fun way. Like I’ve said before, it paired well with my business communication degree, especially because the two go together well professionally. A friend of mine majored in economics and English, and now he’s in law school. Proof it works, I guess.

The fact that I can write and read good has served me well professionally

I inappropriately used “good” was to be humorous, and now I realize that it was ultimately a bad decision. While I have never been able to find a lucrative and moral job where I would just be writing, the ability to write is what has proven to set me apart in the job market, at least a little bit.

That being said, some insights I have had after job hunts is that the ability to string words together is apparently rare. After getting hired in my current position, my boss stated: “You were the only applicant that could construct a cohesive paragraph” or something to that extent. And if you were wondering, yes, I will be riding the high of that mild compliment until at least 2025.

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How To Beef Up Your Resume

Before I graduated college, I hit the ground running on applying for jobs. I applied for about 25 jobs per day. I was pretty confident cocky. All that was because of the fact that I had a pretty stellar resume. I will show it to you at the end of this article. If you don’t want to hear me ramble about all the things that I learned and how I learned them, just scroll to the end. I won’t be offended.

Step 1: Make a list

Employers want to know the following:

  • Where you went to school and when you graduate(d)
  • What you studied
  • Where you’ve worked
    • How long did you work there?
    • What was your role while working there?
    • Provide numbers and figures to illustrate your role.
      • For example, if you worked as a social media intern for a company and used analytics to track your engagement, state “Improved social media engagement by 30%,” or something to that effect.
  • What organizations you’re involved in
    • Detail your experiences with leadership positions at your respective college, organizations you volunteer for, or groups that you lead
  • Your “special skills”
    • I list mine as proficiency in Adobe suite. List yours as whatever you see fit. However, I don’t think that eating with chopsticks counts as a special skill.

Step 2: Choose a layout.

The layout is much more important than you would think. You can find some really overdone layouts on Canva, or you can find more subtle and subdued ones on GoogleDocs. After that, all you have to do is choose an aesthetic font. My favorites are as follows:

  • Helvetica
  • Lato
  • Verdana

Step 3: Make it personalized.

The more personal elements that you put into your resume, the better. I have a few friends that try and make it colorful with designing or put in a picture of their LinkedIn headshot. I tried to go for a bit more of an understated look, opting just for my branded head logo and trademark lowercase name.

As long as you’re not using Times New Roman, Comic Sans, or Raleway as fonts, you’re probably fine. Don’t go overboard personalizing it, though. Just the right amount of colors and vibrancies will go a long way.

My resume

 

To conclude

Please be cognizant of the fact that, while these tips may work for some, they may not work for all. They are a great way to help catapult you as an individual in your job search, but they are not a surefire guarantee to attaining your desired job.

 

If you liked this article and find it endearing, and want to see more articles like this, consider donating to my paypal link. But only if you want to. https://paypal.me/katherinemblanner