Life after college for an English major is hard. When you are looking for a job and all people see are reading and writing skills, it can be hard trying to convince an employer that your qualified to be an administrative assistant or a medical receptionist. A lot of people don’t understand the skills set that the English major teaches you to develop.
The English major teaches you the mechanics of writing. It teaches you how to be a better reader. Also, it teaches you how to analyze a text and to pick it apart to find a deep meaning. It teaches you how to be open minded by reading a text and relating it to yourself. Also, using a piece of literature to understand the life of other people and how to use what you’ve learned and apply it in the real world. Also, being an English major teaches you to dig deeper into a text to find hidden messages and develop critical thinking skills. They learn to be great communicators and speakers from the numerous projects that’s either with a group of people or alone.
When realizing that some of these skills that I have, I realized these are skills that are essential when dealing with the public. I think any job should want someone who know how to analyze a situation and find a problem to solve it. Also, someone who is open minded is beneficial because they will tend to be flexible people. Communication skills is a key component when hiring someone as well.
If you’re an English major, then you know how hard it is to find a job within your allotted field after you graduate. You would think people would want to hire new graduates because these are the people that want to work and gain experience, but in some instances, that’s not the case. I’ve heard it’s all about who you know. I’ve heard it’s all about being active and gaining experience in college. What about the people who work, go to school, have kids, or other responsibilities?
I was under the impression that if you get the degree, then many doors will open for you. Boy, was I wrong. When you’re an English major its completely different. You must go out and make opportunities for yourself. Sometimes creating opportunities for yourself requires money. That’s where having a job comes in. What I have learned from being on numerous interviews is that you must sell yourself.
The first thing is look good on paper. That means have a decent resume. You don’t want to overwhelm an employer by putting everything in your life on a resume, but your most recent education(s), your three most recent jobs, at least two references, and a list of basic skills that you acquire. Also, adding in a well written cover letter helps a lot as well, especially for more professional or upscale job.
The second thing I would do is look good on the application also. Make sure things that’s suppose to be capitalized are capitalized, punctuations are where they should be, and nothing is missing from the application. Also, use complete sentences.
When to inquire about the job is solely based on the employer, but if it’s something that you feel you need to do, in my opinion, I would wait at least two days.
If you get an interview, then it’s time to sell yourself in person. Most interview questions are the same as every place. They want to get a feel for your personality. They want to see what your skills are. Also, they want to see if you know yourself. Always smile and look at the person when your talking to them. Shake their hand when you first meet them and introduce yourself. Always answer their questions with an example because it allows them to see that you actually have the skill set that they are seeking to see if you have. At least ask one question. Thank them for their time and shake there hand again when the interview is over.
When they ask the infamous question “so do you have any questions for me,” try to think of at least one. My favorite go to question is how long will it take to hear back? This always gives a window for them to tell you “in code” if they are going to hire you or not. Another question I ask is how many people are interviewing for the position? This will let you know what your up against and when is an allotted time you should hear something back if you have gotten the job. That question about salary requirements can be tricky. You don’t want to accept something too low or you don’t want to be greedy. That what goes through your mind, right? Well, ask what’s the starting pay, then you will know where to go from there.
Some of the basics that you should know when interviewing is practice good nonverbal skills, use appropriate language, listen, dress for the job accordingly, and don’t be too cocky. Also, don’t talk too much or be too familiar.
(Practice good answers for the strength and weaknesses question. Always start with weakness first because you want to end that question on a good note by saying your strengths last. Also, don’t give too many. Sometimes one really good one will go a long way.)