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Alumni Tips for Careers with English Studies

Here are some pointers on how to get a job with an English Studies degree. These are derived from our 'English Creates: Alumni Careers' event on 6th March 2024, featuring speakers and Durham English graduates Charlotte Hall, Sunita Ramani and Sherihan Al-Akhras.

You can keep in touch with our wider alumni network by following Durham English Studies on LinkedIn.

Use your transferrable skills

English Studies is a multifaceted degree and cultivates some absolutely vital transferable skills. In a highly communicative world, a skill that singles out an English Studies graduate is communication, something important but sometimes rare to find. Being able to write coherently, especially with that flair for story-telling that is developed by writing literature essays, is crucial for so many roles. So too is the ability to speak and connect with people, which is developed through tutorials, seminars, and presentations.

An English Studies degree also highlights skills such as organisation, research, time management, and working under pressure, and it is important that you use those communication skills to specifically evidence times where you have demonstrated these in your CV, cover letters and future interviews.


University student
After graduating with a BA in English Studies, Charlotte started working as an editorial writer with a local magazine before moving to work with Channel 4. Her manager identified her as a good communicator and suggested a move to PR and after working with Channel 4's PR for a year she moved to Penguin Press, where she works as a publicist for a team who publishes non-fiction, poetry and classics.

Charlotte Hall (BA English Literature, 2020)

Make the most of societies

Societies are a brilliant way to have fun and stay connected at university but they can also be used for employability. Focusing on the strengths and skills they develop will give you an advantage when applying to jobs. It does not matter what society you join; what does matter is that you are passionate about it and the skills that you gain, such as budgeting, organising events or communicating with members. Extra-curriculars demonstrate that you’re a well-rounded individual and show you have had responsibilities outside of your degree.


University student
While studying at Durham, Sunita was involved in different part time opportunities such as the North East mentorship programme and interning with the Careers & Enterprise Department. While Sunita was unsure what to do after graduation, she had been involved with opportunities around climate action and eventually came across as role at Greenhouse Communications that aligned with her experience and her values. Starting out as an Administrative Assistant, she quickly moved into the PR team, where she now supports a range of organisations tackling the climate crisis.

Sunita Ramani (BA English Literature, 2020)
Greenhouse Communications

Utilise connections

Don’t be embarrassed to ask for advice from your connections, whether that’s from professors, employers, friends or family. Their opinion can help to shape your future career. Be sure to share your CV or cover letters with people to receive helpful feedback and make use of any opportunities that might come your way through people you know. Always make sure to ask!


University student
Throughout her time as a PhD student in Durham, Sherihan worked with a variety of colleagues and students to build a career in media and connections and interests helped pave the way to her current role as a digital reporter and producer at the BBC News.

Sherihan Al-Akhras (PhD English Literature 2017)

Be confident

Never sell yourself short! You will have assets that other people might not, so be strategic and consider what strengths you bring to the table.

Don’t be disheartened

Getting your first job is the hardest step in your career but you only have to be told 'yes' once. If you make yourself interesting and marketable, focus on your transferrable skills, and try to get experience in any way you can - whether that’s through societies, work experience or an internship - then you will succeed!