We’ve all heard the advice, “the humanities don’t really offer much prospects. You’d better try the sciences or business management fields.” While it may seem like the humanities subjects such as literature doesn’t offer too many job opportunities, the truth is that a major in literature inadvertently gives you several skills that are in high demand in the job market such as research and referencing, and writing. So instead of hanging your head and opting for a field you don’t like, check out the careers below:
You Can Manipulate the Story
In a good way, of course – and that is what PR agencies are looking for?
Literature majors spend years learning how to win an argument on paper; PR agencies want the speed and perfection that comes with having a vocabulary that can dazzle a client. Most agencies look for professional writers to create content, if not concepts, and it’s a short step from being a junior content producer to a senior executive in concept management as long as you can use words to tell the right story. Public relations is all about knowing how to tell a story when, and is something literature majors learn from the cradle.
You Can Sell Your Version
Very similar to a PR agency, advertising department also require strong content writers. Unlike PR though, they need originality, which is another skill that literature majors have to hone in order to avoid repetition in essays and papers. If a student cannot convince the examiner that their version of the narrative is the right one, they do not receive good marks; advertising agencies operate on the same principal. In fact, cognitive linguistics in literature is all about how metaphors are used in our day- to- day life, primarily in advertising, to associate certain qualities with products. Sound familiar anyone?
You Can Read Like Hell
Years of having to read every criticism on the planet associated with every text you’ve ever studied makes literature majors into speed readers. Speed reading is a useful skill for editors, particularly in literary agencies and in the publishing industry. An assistant editor or associate will read 5-8 manuscripts a week, and have to make summaries and reports on each for the head editor’s perusal. This needs speed reading, the ability to synthesize and summarise, and the ability to write concise, lucid reports. Needless to say, excellent spelling and grammar come with the territory and also helps.
You Have Researched. You Have Read
Every essay and paper written during a lit major’s career involves a ton of research and reading. Over 4-5 years, they also learn the art of writing reports: different styles, citations and referencing styles etc. This skill is paramount for think tanks and research institutions, who also hire lit majors due to their skill in researching and report writing. Unlike subject knowledge, writing and researching skills cannot be taught over an orientation period, therefore majors in science and business admin won’t help.