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Career options for creative writing majors

Jobs you can do with a Creative Writing degree

A creative writing degree is a good course to choose if you fancy yourself as a bit of a wordsmith. But what other jobs can you do with your degree once you’ve graduated?

Thinking of studying for a degree in Creative Writing? But worried that you might not have many job opportunities after you graduate?

Before you ditch your dreams and switch to something you think will have better career prospects, check out the 10 jobs below that you could do after you’ve graduated.

Writer

OK, so this may be the dream for many of you. A handful of graduates will indeed publish that best-selling novel or screenplay that’s turned into a Hollywood smash.

For some graduates with a Creative Writing degree, their writing may end up being something that’s pursued on the side. There’s certainly no shame in that – especially as there are plenty of roles out there that call for the skills that you’ve developed over the past three years.

Copywriter

On the other hand, there’s a huge range of commercial opportunities open to those with a Creative Writing degree.

From writing advertising copy, both print and online, to creating web pages for businesses of all shapes and sizes, it can be a broad and very rewarding job.

Those that are really successful though work hard to improve their knowledge of both their subject – specialising in a field can sometimes open as many doors as it closes – and the various related parts of the industry, such as production, marketing or web development.

Journalist

Journalism is usually split in to news and magazine publishing, but there’s a lot of crossover as you might expect. While this can be exciting and fast-paced work, wages can be low and competition high. You will probably need to do a postgraduate course, too.

There are plenty of reputable ones available, but those with National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) accreditation are almost always preferred. Even though it can be a challenge, many in the industry wouldn’t dream of doing anything else.

Web content editor

The online world is continuing to expand, with many smaller businesses now employing dedicated web content editors as part of their teams. As with many of these jobs, an interest in the subject you’ll be writing about will help massively, as will a willingness to dive into reader statistics and understand the role of content in search engine algorithms.

SEO executive

This is a fast-growing market, and an understanding of the written word can be extremely useful. While a large part of the job is looking at content and working out how it can be improved for both search engines and readers, as well as writing to publicise clients and projects, there’s a lot of technical knowledge that’s needed too.

An interest in web design, programming and marketing will help, but most entry-level positions will let you learn as you go.

Proofreader/Sub-editor

Those with an eagle eye may enjoy the world of proofing, where copy is screened for errors before publication. Perfectionism is a pretty useful attribute here, as is a taste for spotting factual inaccuracies.

Content marketing specialist

Another related area is content marketing. Publishing great content – whether articles, videos or infographics – is an increasingly popular way for brands to boost their audience. All of these forms need great copy, so good writers can be in real demand.

Social media specialist

Knowing what to write to engage an audience is a useful skill in many ways, but it’s especially important for those working with social media.

It’s not always the most technically precise field – language and grammar can sometimes undergo some pretty drastic shifts when faced by tight character limits – but for those that can communicate well, it’s ideal.

Be prepared though to dive deep into statistics and metrics, as the job is as much about proving what you say is effective as it is the content itself.

Email marketer

Email marketing might seem like an old form of communication, but it’s still an enormous industry. An interest in design will help here too, as will a willingness to learn HTML and CSS, which are pretty handy skills for any writer working online.

Public relations

PR is a great field for outgoing, confident people who are excellent writers and communicators.

There’s huge scope here, with copy needed for press releases, publicity material and client promotions. If you like the buzz of working in a fast-paced, ever-changing environment, this could be the role for you, and the perks – such as attending events and receiving free products from clients – can be pretty good too.

Fancy a career in any one of these fields? Here’s just a selection of awesome universities you can study creative writing at:

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Are those unis not tickling your fancy? Search for your perfect uni right now.

**Article written with help from Sam Wright, founder of Blink, a Norwich-based agency specialising in search and quality content.

9 Jobs for Creative Writing Majors Where You’ll Actually Use Your Degree

Try as we might, most of us won’t rocket out of undergrad with a BFA in creative writing and a book deal with Random House. But if you do your degree right, you will come out with solid skills in communication, rhetoric, critical thinking, organization, research, attention to detail, and perhaps most importantly, the ability to handle and make use of criticism. Not to mention how well-read you’ll be.

Creative writing majors get a bad rap, criticized for pursuing a degree with no clear job trajectory. But that’s the advantage of being a creative writing major—there are so many things you can do with it.

Here are nine jobs for creative writing majors that will actually let you use your degree.

1. Technical writer/editor

Technical writers and editors are ultra detail-oriented professionals who write manuals, instructions, processes, and guidelines. They deal with regulations and laws and serve as keepers of precise language. If you pursue this kind of career, you might work in medicine or pharma (which often requires a little extra training and a certification or two), nuclear regulation, engineering (of all kinds), software, government, or finance. Technical writing salaries typically start in the $50,000s and can exceed $100,000.

2. Communications coordinator/manager/director

Like tech writers, communications professionals are employable across all kinds of industries—finance, PR, marketing, NGOs, health care, software, museums, technology, travel, consumer goods, media, education, law, government—pretty much anywhere a company or organization needs to communicate with clients or customers or, in large organizations, a lot of people within the company. In this kind of position you might write press releases and memos, craft corporate messaging, or even dabble in email, social media, or marketing campaigns. Your salary will vary widely based on your industry and experience.

3. Podcaster

It’s a legit job, folks, and a lucrative one at that. Host your own or land a job as a producer, which can make you about $65,000 per year. The barrier to entry is pretty low, but competition is high to stand out in a flooded market. But you’ve got those excellent storytelling skills, so we feel like you’ve got this.

4. Professor/academic

You’ll need at least an MFA in creative writing (or a Ph.D. in English, depending on what you’d like to teach and how high you’d like to climb) if you’d like to teach at the college level, but it’s a career that will afford you the time to write, and will even require it of you. Creative writing professors and English professors make about $60,000 per year (more if you make tenure).

5. Editor

Editors do more than work on book-length manuscripts at publishing houses. Editors can work across industries—marketing, business, law, government, nonprofits, magazines and online publications, tech, and anywhere you might need to deal with language (i.e., everywhere). Expect to start out as a copy editor (also called a line editor) or research editor and move up to deal with editorial strategy as a whole. The salaries for editors vary depending on the industry and can range from $40,000 to $100,000+.

6. Public relations professional

Your ability to communicate clearly and gracefully deal with criticism can set you up well for a career in public relations. PR pros liaise between organizations and the media/public, craft messaging, and come up with ways to deal with the heat in crisis scenarios. In some organizations, PR overlaps, sometimes significantly, with communications jobs like the one mentioned above. An entry-level PR job can net you about $58,000, while those at the director level can expect to earn anywhere from $80,000 to well into the six figures.

7. Journalist

Journalists can work for newspapers, magazines, online publications, broadcast news, podcasts, and radio stations—or you can set your own schedule and go freelance. Journalists pull down mid-$30,000 to $80,000 per year.

8. Columnist

Columnists need to be an “expert” in something (or at the very least, a keen observer of)—it might be politics, social issues, film, books, feminism, wine, travel, or culture. If you hope to land a column, start a blog about your area of expertise to build a robust portfolio. Columnists make $40,000 to $70,000 per year.

9. Librarian

I can’t think of many things better than spending your day among books. You’ll need a master’s degree in library science to be a librarian, but your degree in creative writing is a natural lead-in to such a program. Librarians make an average of $57,000 per year.