Having an English degree marks you out in the job market as a candidate who is articulate, engaged and thoughtful

A photo of Hope Elliott
Hope Elliott
Customer Service Assistant, Libraries Unlimited
BA English Literature
2021
Hope is a Customer Service Assistant at Libraries Unlimited.
A photo of Hope Elliott

What are your main responsibilities?

  • Serving customers, assisting them with enquiries relating to technology, book loans, searching for books on the library catalogue
  • Assisting in organising and running library events. This includes working with young children and their families, participating in a weekly 'Storytime' session
  • Working in a team of colleagues to support the day-to-day service and operation of the library

What other jobs have you had since graduating?

  • English Language Assistant: initially remote, then working at two secondary schools in Brussels, Belgium. I taught English to pupils aged 14-18, including delivering presentations on aspects of British culture, conducting small group English language conversation classes, marking pupils' work and giving feedback. I also assisted teachers with lesson planning and all aspects of teaching English within the classroom.
  • Clearing, Confirmation and Adjustment Helpline Worker (the University of Sheffield): working on busy phone lines during the week of A Level Results 2021. Involved in making and receiving calls, answering enquiries from applicants and directing them toward relevant sources of information on the University's clearing webpages.

How has your degree from the School of English and your time at the University of Sheffield helped you in your career?

My degree has helped me to be successful when applying to roles involving English, both language and literature. When teaching English, abroad or in the UK, having a good degree in English has marked me out as a desirable candidate. It has also helped me to maintain a good level of written and spoken English, which is an asset when applying for jobs and completing interviews. My time at the University of Sheffield has helped me to be flexible and adaptable, due to all the uncertainty in 2020-21 and having to complete my degree online, studying remotely.

What is your greatest achievement to date?

My greatest achievement to date was being accepted onto the British Council Assistantship programme for a placement abroad, as it felt like such an exciting opportunity and I hadn't allowed myself to believe it possible!

What career advice would you give to a student interested in studying English?

An English degree can seem self-indulgent when you're studying something purely because you enjoy it. You may wonder whether it will lead to jobs after graduating. In my personal experience, having an English degree marks you out in the job market as a candidate who is articulate, engaged and thoughtful. Through writing academic essays, you develop an ability to write persuasively and concisely, as well as learn how to successfully articulate your ideas and opinions to your tutors and fellow students. For me, these skills of written and spoken communication have helped massively when writing job applications and attending interviews. So if you are thinking of studying English, I would say go for it, as it's so much easier to be motivated when studying something you enjoy, and you'll be in a great position to apply for jobs after completing your degree at the University of Sheffield.

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