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Professional Opportunities

The enduring value of a Humanities degree in general and an English degree in particular is much in the news these days.  See 2019 articles in Bloomberg , The New York Times, and the Chronicle of Higher Education.  (For older but still recent articles, look in The Washington Post, The Huffington PostForbes Magazine, The Chonicle of Higher EducationThe New York Times, and NaceWeb.)  Here's a sampling:

  • A traditional liberal arts curriculum includes subjects, like philosophy and literature, that seemingly have little relevance in the modern workplace. Yet many of the skills most desired by employers are also quite abstract. According to a 2018 survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the three attributes of college graduates that employers considered most important were written communication, problem-solving and the ability to work in a team. Quantitative and technical skills both made the top 10, alongside other “soft” skills like initiative, verbal communication and leadership. In the liberal arts tradition, these skills are built through dialogue between instructors and students, and through close reading and analysis of a broad range of subjects and texts. - The New York Times (2019)

  • [E]mployers are seeking hires with communication skills and comfort in multicultural environments. . . . Those with degrees in English . . . brought home bigger paychecks, with starting salaries rising 14.3%." – Wall Street Journal (2016)

  • "That 'Useless' Liberal Arts Degree Has Become Tech's Hottest Ticket…. Throughout the major U.S. tech hubs, whether Silicon Valley or Seattle, Boston or Austin, Tex., software companies are discovering that liberal arts thinking makes them stronger." – Forbes Magazine (2015)
  • "Pursuing a degree in English equips you with skills that are easily transferable and vital to professional roles, including time management skills, critical thinking, and logic." – Jordana Lopez-DaSilva (LC '11)

For a sense of where graduates with writing skills might look for jobs in the post/pandemic economy, incoming Professor Matt Caprioli offers some useful tips.

English majors begin their transition to the professional and academic world in a variety of ways, many of them close to home.  Lehman's Career Exploration and Discovery Center is a resource not a resort - go early and often so they know who you are, what workshops you've taken, and what incoming internships or job possibilities may interest you. Register with Symplicity so you get email alerts about new opportunities.  Bring in your resume and cover letter for each position you apply for, tailoring it for maximum effectiveness. 

Also regularly visit Lehman's Experiential Learning Portal, which features an Internship site and a Resource Center - and be sure to take a good hard look at the CUNY/NYC Partnernship page, with particular attention to CUNY Cultural Corps (a fantastic opportunity for Humanities majors!).  Find what interests you, talk with the folks at Career Services as well as with your family and professors, and work hard on submitting a stellar application (with resume and cover letter). 

Keep in mind that the HUM 470 Humanities Internship provides you with invaluable professional/career training, working with the English Department, Career Services, the Office of Prestigious Awards, the Leadership Institute, and many other campus resources - not to mention 5 whole credits toward your BA!

Career Conversations

Lehman English runs a series of workshops, panels, and speaking events for students in an effort to bring Literature, Creative Writing, and Professional Writing majors in contact with former English B.A. and M.A./M.F.A. students who have build a careers on the valuable skills they acquired in their college and graduate-school years.  These "Conversatons" are informal, often spontaneous (with only a week or two of warning), and uniformaly excllent - all English majors and minors are strongly encouraged to attend.