College must do better job directing English majors to career opportunites

Preparing to enter the work force after college can be daunting for many students. Most colleges take great strides to aid their graduating seniors in their respective job hunts by offering career expos and appointments with career advisors. Geneseo is no exception. Over the past few months the College has brought in members of various law firms for political science majors, administrators from different schools for the education majors, and members of accounting firms for the business majors, among others.

Although these are invaluable services that Geneseo is providing, they may be missing the mark for one specific demographic: the English major. Not secondary education with a concentration in English, just plain English.

The English major is considered one of the broadest majors and many will claim that if a student isn't planning on writing a novel or teaching English, they're pretty much out of luck for finding a job after graduation. That's simply untrue. In actuality, because the major is so broad, there is a wealth of possibilities for students graduating with a degree in English.

In this day and age, technology is king. Positions for people with some degree of technical knowledge are abundant and lucrative. This is somewhat common knowledge, but what is not so well known is that because so many people are gearing their studies towards more technological fields, the need for people who are capable of writing and communicating clearly is greater than ever before. For every scientific innovation, there is the need for someone to explain it to the mainstream. This is where English majors come in. Every company under the sun has to publish literature about their services and products. In order to do so, they need a person who is well-trained in the written word.

The problem is, although there are very real positions for English majors in the "real world," they aren't always aware of them. Geneseo should make an effort to consider English majors when they host career expos. The same accounting firms and local businesses should be contacted and asked if they are in need of people in their public relations offices. These positions are just as available to English majors as they are to communication majors. This is where the College can really help their English majors. Awareness, or lack thereof, is the main thing keeping an English major from a job at a pharmaceutical company where they could start at $60,000 to $80,000 as a copywriter of medical literature.

What it comes down to is that education majors know they're going to work as teachers, political science majors realize that becoming a lawyer is a realistic option for them after graduation, and business majors understand that entering the business world is a safe bet. English majors don't necessarily have the luxury of this certainty. Given the broadness of their subject it may seem as though there are very few opportunities when, in fact, the opportunities are virtually endless. By raising awareness of the jobs awaiting English majors after graduation Geneseo can help to change the question from "What can I do with a degree in English?" to "What can't I do with a degree in English?"