Although there are no specific career routes following an English Literature degree, it is extremely well respected as a degree by employers. A degree in English Literature combines literary knowledge with the skills of analysis and cultural and historical understanding. The following careers will enable you to indulge your passion for reading and help you develop further your written and communication skills.
1. Broadcast Presenter
A broadcast presenter is the public face - or voice - of programmes which are broadcast on television, radio and the internet. As a broadcast presenter you can expect to work on a variety of platforms: national, regional, satellite and cable TV, radio or online. In short, the role of a broadcast presenter is to entertain and inform an audience by presenting information in an attractive and engaging way. Work activities will vary based on the type of programme and broadcast medium.
- Researching topics and background information for items to be featured on the programme
- Planning and rehearsing shows
- Writing scripts
- Liaising with other teams, particularly the production and technical team/s
2. Information Officer
An information officer will manage and develop the procurement, supply and distribution of information for an organisation or client to support their client’s objectives. Information officers work with electronic information - especially online databases, content management systems and internet resources, as well as traditional library materials. Information officers handle all types of information, including scientific, technical, commercial, legal, financial and medical. Related roles include: internet librarian, information scientist and knowledge assistant.
- Creating and searching databases
- Cataloguing and indexing materials
- Scanning and abstracting materials
- Developing and managing electronic resources using, for example, online databases and content management systems
- Writing and editing reports, publications and website content
3. Academic Librarian
Academic librarians are also known as subject librarians. They will manage, organise, evaluate and disseminate information, providing support to members of an academic community that includes students, researchers and lecturing staff.
- Developing and managing collections of books and journals (paper and electronic), in addition to websites
- Helping researchers with literature searches using databases, printed resources and the internet
- Dealing with user enquiries, which may involve one-to-one advice sessions
Lexicographers write, compile and edit dictionaries for both print and online publication. They may work on any of the following types of dictionary:
- English for native speakers
- English for learners of English
- Technical, e.g. law
- Bilingual - for native speakers or learners of English
English language lexicographers monitor and record uses of language with the aid of specialist databases comprising thousands of pieces of language from a wide range of sources, including literature, newspapers and transcripts of television and radio (called the ‘corpus’). They review both the meaning and usages of words and assemble definitions in a structured way.
- Checking and proofreading text
- Compiling new and reviewing existing definitions in accordance with protocols
- Writing advertising copy about specific titles for use in catalogues and brochures
- Identifying new words that are in common usage for inclusion in the dictionary
5. Editorial Assistant
Editorial assistants assist with all stages of the publication of the following:
- online material
- publicity materials
In short, editorial assistants perform the range of editorial and administrative tasks that are necessary to get publications published. The editorial assistant role is the usual starting point for careers in editorial work.
- Liaising with in-house teams, writers, photographers, printers, designers and production staff to regarding timescales for the various stages in the publishing process
- Dealing with the administration of work commissioned to freelance writers, picture researchers, photographers, stylists and illustrators
- Organising and researching projects to tight deadlines
An English Literature degree will equip you with several marketable skills. The ability to process large amounts of information and identify the most important elements (analysis); being able to write purposively and with a strong command of language (communication); possessing the self-discipline, focus and organisation necessary to read and understand a wealth of literature (organisation and concentration) and the ability to undertake research are all highly sought after skills in the aforementioned roles – skills which your degree in English Literature will have given you.