If you’re considering majoring in English when you get to college, that means you either plan to teach or write the next great American novel, right?

Not exactly. While other majors like business, marketing or engineering may seem like they are more focused fields for tackling the job market, the truth is that an English major can equip you with essential, marketable skills that are applicable to a wide range of careers. And who better to help you decide whether an English major may be the right path for you than these English major grads. Here, they describe their experience entering the workforce, share their annual salaries and explain how their degree helped them land that first job.

Content Marketer, $24,960 annual salary

Right after graduating from the University of Northwestern, Kirsten was hired by an agency to write copy for a major retailer’s website where she worked a minimum of 40 hours a week, mostly from home, and earned $12/hour. “I love getting to write all day,” she says. Kirsten says that her English major has definitely come in handy. “One of my colleagues was just saying yesterday how the content team prefers to hire writers as opposed to marketing majors, since a lot of marketing can be learned on the job.”

“The skills I learned as an English major have been vital to my real-world career success.”

Editor, $45,000 annual salary

Chad majored in English and Writing Studies at Utah Valley University. “My job search was actually relatively easy,” he says, explaining that he relied on his school’s career development center for guidance and help polishing his résumé. Thanks to the center’s support, he scored a three-month internship at an SEO agency right after graduation. That gig led to another internship at a consumer review website, an experience that eventually turned into his first job as the editor for the site’s finance blogs. “The skills I learned as an English major have been vital to my real-world career success,” says Chad. “I always say that my major taught me how to learn quickly. I’ve been able to adapt my writing abilities to the business world quickly, as well as pick up marketing skills because of the nature of studying English.”

Copywriter, $39,000 annual salary

It took Kristen five months to find a job after graduating from the University of North Carolina Greensboro with an English degree, but she kept her nose to the grindstone and didn’t get discouraged. After applying for several positions, she was hired as a copywriter for a publishing company, and it turned out to be a great fit. “I get to do what I like and what I’m good at,” she says. “Using my English degree as a copywriter means I get to work on creative teams with designers and artists, and I simply love that type of collaboration.”

Production Assistant, $32,000 annual salary

Olivia’s first job out of Presbyterian College was working as a production assistant for an NPR member station. She immediately put her English major skills to work, writing articles and scripts on a daily basis. “You can’t overvalue the importance of being able to write well,” she says. “I also think empathy and analysis are really important soft skills that my English major gave me. I am more aware and conscious of the world around me for all of the reading and writing I have done.” 

You never know where life will take you after college, regardless of your major. But as these five recent grads demonstrate, the skills you gain as an English major can be of great value in the job market.

Salaries listed are unique to each position and do not necessarily reflect average pay rates for these roles. 

Interviews for this article were conducted in 2018.