Can’t Find a Job with Your English Degree? Here Are 4 Things You Should Do Next

We know: For many college grads, the job search process can be frustrating and seemingly hopeless.

While we at Dear English Major firmly believe that the career options are endless for writers and English majors, we also know that there are a myriad of factors that go into actually getting a job.

So, what happens when you’ve been applying to jobs endlessly to no avail?

It’s time to turn lemons into lemonade. When you can’t seem to score a job that uses your English degree in the way you had hoped, we have some suggestions for what to do next:

1. Apply for other types of jobs.

Oftentimes, taking a job that isn’t related to your English degree (or doesn’t even require a degree) can feel like a slap in the face, but don’t get down on yourself. It very well could be a step in the right direction, believe it or not. Maybe it’s nannying, maybe it’s data entry, maybe it’s delivering pizzas. (Check out our article “How Working in the Service Industry Has Made Me a Better Writer” for inspiration!) You’d be surprised at how many people in the service industry have a side hustle, and you never know who you’ll meet or what doors you’ll open.

So even though it may not be your dream job, connect with as many people as you can, learn as much as you can, and continue applying for jobs in your desired field.

2. Spend time volunteering at organizations you’re interested in.

This can be an excellent way to meet new people, learn about something new, and add something useful to your resume. After all, it’s important to have expertise in subjects other than those taught in your English major, and this is a good place to start. Organizations are always looking for volunteers! Find a nonprofit that interests you, and ask if they need volunteers. (There are lots of writing-related jobs in the world of nonprofits, and it can’t hurt to make some new connections.)

3. Network with professionals in your desired field.

Use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter,,, and more to connect with others in your desired field. Ask for advice, ask for tips, and ask them to keep you in mind the next time a job opportunity comes up. Reference our article “Networking for English Majors: It’s Easier (& Less Painful) Than You Think!” for eight networking ideas for English majors.

4. Consider revamping your job search strategy.

It’s possible that you’re not being as effective in the job search process as you may believe. One big problem we see and hear about are job searches that aim for quantity over quality. By this, we mean that many applicants will fire off their resumes in all directions without taking the time to tailor them to each position, write unique cover letters, follow up whenever possible, etc. Yes, this is time consuming, and it can be frustrating to spend hours on one application only to never hear back. But wouldn’t you rather know you gave it your all, instead of wondering if you could have tried harder?

It’s also important that you’re not applying to jobs in a bubble! See what others you know did to apply, ask friends (or hire an editor) to proofread your resumes and cover letters, and practice answering interview questions.

For additional advice on the job search, check out our day-by-day guideline of “How to Navigate Your Job Search in 21 Days.”

And, as you’re keeping busy and working towards your ultimate goal of gainful employment in a position you love, check out our list of “10 Ways to Stay Productive While You’re an Unemployed Writer.”

Posted on February 18, 2016 and filed under Articles, Featured Articles, Job Search Resources.