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Careers

What do Employers Look For?

“Inside Higher Ed makes an excellent point about what employers say they want in the ideal employee: someone who has a broad knowledge base, who can collaborate to solve problems, debate, communicate and think critically. Those are all skills that humanities programs insist students learn before they graduate.”

 “Majoring in the Humanities Does Pay off, Just Later,” Forbes, Jan. 22, 2014.

“You want people who can think. They won’t necessarily have specific skills anyway ... I used to joke that if you can find me someone who has a degree in figuring out patterns of imagery in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, I can teach him to break down a balance sheet in 30 minutes. What you want is a mind … A liberal arts education is extremely valuable for someone coming into business because increasingly business is about context as well as about technical aspects.”

Matthew William Barrett (former Chairman of BMO and Barclay’s Bank) outlines what he looks for in aspiring employees, The Globe and Mail, Aug. 23, 2012.

“Well, strange as it may sound, if you’re an employer who needs smart, creative workers, a 50-page honors project on a 19th century French poet might be just the thing you want to see from one of your job applicants. Not because you’re going to ask him or her to interpret any poetry on the job, but because you may be asking him or her, at some point, to deal with complex material that requires intense concentration - and to write a persuasive account of what it all means. And you may find that the humanities major with extensive college experience in dealing with complex material handles the challenge better - more comprehensively, more imaginatively - than the business or finance major who assumed that her degree was all she needed to earn a place in your company.”

Michael Bérubé, President of the Modern Languages Association, 2012.

Online Resources

English:
  • Writers Guild of Canada
  • Editors’ Association of Canada
  • Canadian Public Relations Society
  • Canadian Association of Journalists
  • International Association of Business Communicators
  • Society for Technical Communication
  • Association of Canadian Publishers
  • Professional Writers Association of Canada
  • Canada Council for the Arts

Film Studies:

  • Theatre Ontario
  • National Film Board of Canada
  • Telefilm Canada
  • Canadian Radio-TV and Telecommunications Commission
  • Grand River Film Festival
  • Vancouver Film School

More career resources are available through the Career Centre’s Navigator portal.

Study English and “Write” Your Career

English majors follow many different career paths after they finish their undergraduate degree. You can discuss options with your undergraduate advisor and with consultants at the Laurier Career Development Centre.

It is important to understand that employers hire people, not just degrees. The skills and knowledge you develop as you study English, in addition to your extracurricular activities and individual talents, have a major impact on hiring decisions.

Example Career Paths of Laurier English Majors

Graduate and professional degrees:

  • MA and PhD in English or Comparative Literature (or other related fields)
  • MA in Library and Information Science
  • Bachelor of Education and Graduate Studies in Education
  • Law School
  • MBA
  • MA in Social Work
  • Journalism

Careers:

  • Alumni Development Officer
  • Communications and Program Assistant, European Commission
  • Copy Writer
  • Customer Service Representative (RBC)
  • Digital Communication Specialist (Financial Institution)
  • Editor/Editorial Assistant
  • Educational Software Development 
  • ESL Instructor
  • Event Planner
  • Fundraiser
  • Human Resources
  • International Education Tours
  • Journalists for Human Rights
  • Marketing Manager
  • Not-for-Profit Organizations
  • Public Relations
  • Publishing
  • Radio Journalism
  • Scriptwriter
  • Teaching English Abroad
  • Trade Sales Assistant
  • Travel/Tourism
  • Visual Merchandiser 
  • Writer/Communications Coordinator (High Tech Industries)

Film Studies Careers

Graduates with a degree in Film Studies can pursue the following careers:

  • Broadcaster/Host
  • Cinema Manager/Owner
  • Communications Officer
  • Copyeditor/Editor/Editorial Assistant
  • Dialogue Editor
  • Documentary Filmmaker
  • Entertainment Agent
  • Film Archivist
  • Film Critic/Film Journalist
  • Film/TV/Webseries Producer/Production Co-ordinator
  • Grant Writer/Administrator
  • Lighting/Set Designer
  • Location Scout/Manager
  • Marketing/Promotions Manager
  • Multimedia Designer
  • Publishing Representative
  • Research Analyst/Assistant
  • Script/Manuscript Reader/Scriptwriter
  • Sound Designer

Actual graduates of Laurier’s Film Studies program have pursued successful careers in:

  • Community relations/Event planning
  • Communications
  • Marketing
  • Film archiving
  • Education/Teaching
  • Academia/Universities
  • The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF)
  • Film production
  • Television production
  • Webseries production

What Our Graduates are Doing

Laurier English and Film students have gone on to pursue a wide range of exciting careers in traditional and non-traditional areas. All the testimonials stress the importance of writing, communication and analytical skills — command of language is crucial to all fields. These statements demonstrate how fundamental English and literary studies have been to success in postgraduate education and careers straight out of undergraduate degrees.

Develop Your Knowledge and Skills

Employers have identified these top four skills as important when evaluating entry-level candidates­. As a Laurier student, you gain these skills through the opportunities available to you.

Functional Knowledge

  • Gain an awareness of how language/literature shapes different cultures and societies to articulate the major themes of human experience over time.
  • Understand social, cultural and political perspectives on literature and the act of writing in a range of genres and historical periods by a wide selection of authors.
  • Engage with complex concepts and narratives.
  • Analyze, interpret, structure and edit written materials and information in print and digital formats.

Collaboration/Teamwork Skills

  • Plan, lead, and contribute to a research project or group, from conception to completion.
  • Work effectively as part of a team by identifying your role and contributing, leading, teaching, motivating and/or encouraging others for team success.
  • Oversee, lead and/or contribute to a project including determining goals, planning details, making decisions and completing tasks.
  • Demonstrate professional behaviour and an understanding of individual perspectives and diversity.

Communication Skills

  • Understand the relationship between information and its presentation, audience, time, place, and purpose.
  • Use language to communicate ideas, information and opinions clearly, concisely, and effectively, both verbally and in writing.
  • Probe for information by asking questions and listening, and engage in constructive conversations.
  • Prepare interesting and informative reports and presentations for diverse audiences using current technology.

Problem-Solving Skills

  • Problem solve and make well-reasoned decisions on individual and collaborative levels, as well as think creatively in order to identify and argue all sides of an issue.
  • Identify and access a wide range of relevant information and resources.
  • Learn, understand and critically interpret information and apply knowledge to new situations.
  • Set priorities, meet deadlines and manage time, data and resources.
  • Analyze and evaluate data to discuss, support and/or question ideas, opinions, reports, theories and proposals.

Functional Knowledge

  • Demonstrate a broad knowledge of the history of film, modes of film practice, film styles, genres and national cinemas.
  • Acquire an understanding of key methods of critical analysis and film theory, and obtain a critical vocabulary with which to discuss and write about film.
  • Develop an appreciation of the relationship of film style to modes of production.
  • Engage in a collective critical dialogue around issues in film studies in Canada and globally.

Collaboration/Teamwork Skills

  • Work effectively as part of a team by identifying your role and contributing, leading, teaching, motivating and/or encouraging others for team success.
  • Oversee, lead and/or contribute to a project including determining goals, planning details, making decisions and completing tasks.
  • Demonstrate professional behaviour and an understanding of individual perspectives and diversity.

Communication Skills

  • Articulate the complexities of film and contemporary media culture to others.
  • Explain information, ideas and opinions effectively, both verbally and in writing.
  • Probe for information by asking questions and listening, and engage in constructive conversations.
  • Prepare interesting and informative reports and presentations for diverse audiences using current technology.

Problem-Solving Skills

  • Identify and access a wide range of relevant information and resources.
  • Learn, understand and critically interpret information and apply knowledge to new situations.
  • Set priorities, meet deadlines and manage time, data and resources.
  • Make well-reasoned decisions, think creatively, identify and consider all sides of an issue.
  • Analyze and evaluate data to discuss, support and/or question ideas, opinions, reports, theories and proposals.

Contact Us:

E: English and Film Studies
T: 519.884.0710 x3257
Office Location: 3-120 Woods Building

Chair

Robin Waugh

Graduate Program Co-ordinator

Jing Jing Chang

English Program Advisor

Jenny Kerber

Film Program Advisor

Russell Kilbourn