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There are lots of starting points for choosing a career and using your subject is just one of them. You are not restricted to the career ideas below and you may wish to consider additional factors which are important to you for your future career using our Understand yourself and your options section.

Remember too that the vast majority of graduate jobs are open to graduates of any subject and so your options are much broader than the examples given below.

Firstly, have a think about what ‘using your subject’ means to you and what you’re really looking for. Do you want to apply your subject-specific knowledge or skills to the real world? Or maybe you want to continue to practice and develop these skills? Maybe it’s a broader interest in your subject that you want to keep alive by working in a relevant type of organisation?

Using your subject can help provide you with some focus for your career research, but the broader your interests the more career options you will have open to you. Use our resources below to stimulate your thinking.

Generating career ideas with English

Using the resources below you can start to create your own list of career ideas to research

  • Look at what alumni from your department have done using the DLHE data we collect and through the University of Sheffield alumni page on LinkedIn.
  • Search for and contact alumni in your subject through our Graduate case studies database.
  • Browse the career ideas for English graduates on Prospects and TargetJobs but keep in mind that these are not a comprehensive list of all the careers related to your subject.
  • Brainstorm ideas and do some initial investigation to find out about research, organisations, start ups, government bodies and freelancers connected to your subject. Our Information resources - Occupations section is a good place to start.

Some career ideas for English graduates

Here is just one example of the diverse range of careers you can enter. Linnea is a graduate, now working for the Showroom Cinema.

Advertising account executive

Acting as a link between clients and the agency, they will work within an advertising or multi-service agency, managing campaigns and ensuring these run successfully and within budget. Will initially ascertain the client’s requirements and communicate this to colleagues to enlist their assistance e.g. with the creative work. Involved in negotiation with clients over the campaign strategy and evaluating its effectiveness. Can be involved in working on multiple accounts at the same time and ‘pitching’ for new business.

Arts administrator

Manage activities events e.g. arts festivals or projects for community arts organisations, local authorities, arts councils. This will involve event planning, booking venues, performers, support staff and arranging catering, handling the finances and insurance. In addition the role includes marketing the event, liaising with the media, ticket sales and possibly arranging tours in the UK or abroad. Other tasks to be undertaken include ensuring compliance with health and safety regulations and venue accessibility.


Involved in the retail of books and associated products through developing an in-depth knowledge of current books, reader preferences and the shop’s stock. Responsible for ordering and displaying stock; undertaking stock checks; liaising with publishing companies; serving and advising customers. May also assist with organising book events, talks, signing sessions, reading groups and liaising with librarians and teachers. Additional duties include unpacking and replenishing stock and tidying the displays.

Brand language consultant

There are three key aspects to their work - writing speeches, reports, publicity materials for clients; advising companies in a consultancy capacity; training staff in companies to communicate more effectively and to ‘build brand’ through their use of language. The aim is to achieve consistency in an organisation’s writing style and so that they comes across to customers/clients as genuine. This helps an organisation to ‘build their brand’, to their employees happier and to build customer loyalty.

Editorial assistant

Offers support at all stages of the publication process e.g. administration, planning and commissioning, for magazines, journals, books and online content. Digital publishing will involve writing and editing web content, the use of social media and content management systems and familiarity with specialist software programmes such as QuarkXPress or InDesign. Will be required to liaise with other professionals such as designers, photographers, printers and production staff, to agree timescales to negotiate and monitor timescales for the work to be completed.

Literary agent

Involved in discovering new talent and managing a list of existing authors. The reading of new scripts will often be done out of office hours. Other responsibilities include meeting new authors, providing editorial feedback, submitting their work to an appropriate publisher, drawing up contracts, processing payments etc. For established authors this might even include handling the sale of translation, film and TV rights. Routes in for new graduates is often through roles such as translation rights, contracts department, PR, marketing.

Marketing executive

Involved in planning and running campaigns to promote a specific event, product or service, handling the advertising, public relations and organisation, to communicate with the target audience. Liaises with designers and printers, customers and the media and develops appropriate marketing materials, or a social media strategy. Writes and proof reads copy, maintains customer databases and organises photo shoots, operating in a fast-paced environment. Evaluates the outcome of campaigns and assesses the success of competitors.

Newspaper journalist

Researches and writes content for local, regional and national press on current events, politics, sports, arts and culture etc. Increasingly becoming a multi-platform operation requiring strong technical skills and effective communication. Uses a range of information sources and web analytics, to monitors new trends and reader interest. May conduct interviews, investigate stories, attend press conferences, meetings, sporting events to obtain up to date content, although the role is increasingly desk based. Can be involved in on-line blogging for ‘breaking news’ stories.

English as a foreign language teacher

Involves teaching English to people of all ages who are not native speakers. This can take place in the UK i.e. to refugees or immigrants, or abroad. Classes may be conducted in schools, colleges or universities, often through interactive exercises e.g. language games and role-playing in English, even for complete beginners. The aim is to improve communication through listening. Speaking, reading and writing. Work involves lesson planning, developing teaching resources, involvement in social activities, marking work and giving feedback.

Theatre manager

Responsible for all aspects of theatre operations including handling budgets, recruiting, training and managing staff and customer care, as well as marketing productions. This includes planning a programme of events, to appeal to regular theatre goers, as well as liaising and negotiating with production companies and commissioning new pieces of work. Adherence with health and safety legislation and licensing laws is of paramount importance. May be involved in bidding for funding from various sources e.g. Arts Council, charities, local businesses.

Subject specific resources