Developing Your Skills

As you progress through college, keep track of the skills you are acquiring. As you prepare your resume, you will want to couch these skills in language that employers can recognize. It’s unlikely that anyone will hire you because you can interpret a poem by Emily Dickinson, but they will hire you if you’ve mastered the transferable skills involved in interpreting that poem.

Skills that English majors can often offer employers:


Influencing and persuading

Assessing needs of an audience

Presenting alternative viewpoints

Clarifying ideas

Making oral presentations

Shaping general ideas into specific points and programs


Designing/directing projects

Organizing ideas/information

Developing hypotheses

Solving problems

Using information resources

Comparing interpretations

Critical Thinking and Analysis

Summarizing ideas

Comparing information

Using theoretical approaches

Developing critical evaluations

Thinking independently

Synthesizing ideas/themes

Applying close reading and interpretation

Mastering technical jargon


Abstracting information

Interpreting data


Writing concisely

Writing creatively

Drafting documents


Working independently

Working as part of a team

Adapted from Major Options by Nicholas Basta (Stonesong Press, 1991)