You’ve landed an interview at a major corporation.  Business Analyst, Org Communication Intern, Customer Service Rep or Executive Assistant. You’re on your way in to the office now to meet the Human Resources rep and the hiring manager, resume in hand, knowing you’re literate, educated and ready for full-time employment.

            You’re wondering about the competition.  Marketing majors, perhaps.  And Communication majors.  Maybe a Psychology major in the mix, or someone who majored in Accounting.  You’re looking at your resume, wondering what they have that you lack, or what you have that they lack.  But that’s a line of thought that will just make you crazy.  It’s pretty much an unanswerable question.

            Instead of focusing on the competition, focus on the HR manager and then the hiring manager.  Help them to see the advantages of hiring you.  Let them figure out what you have to offer that the competition lacks.  Of course that’s not altogether easy to do if you’re not familiar with their world, so here are some tips:

            Business is constantly changing.  Employees often have to ride the tide, the ups and downs of the financial rollercoaster, the frequent changes to process, policy, regulations, and more.  What does an English major have to offer in an environment in flux?  Having observed human behavior close up and personal right there in the best books ever written gives an English major a leg up on understanding how people behave during change.  Plot is about change.  Characters react to change.  Did you learn anything as you met ordinary people in books who dealt with extraordinary change?

            Business thinks it runs on “good data”—the newest, most current, the hottest, glitziest numbers.  Truth is, business runs on good information, which is based on good data but requires analysis to transform it into good information.  What the numbers mean, what the trends are or might suggest.  That takes analysis.  And what do English majors specialize in?  Literacy and analysis.  See the connection?

            Businesses strive for better employee morale, yet employees are often sensitive, out of sorts, mad about something, uncertain or downright worried.  Writing for an audience like that isn’t for the faint of heart.  Literacy, of course, is more than mechanics.  It’s tone, voice, diction, intention.  Reaching an audience of sensitive, out of sorts, mad, uncertain or worried employees is not a job for someone who can’t write.

            If you’re an English major, that’s what you have to offer a prospective employer.  And don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.


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