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Top 15 American Literature Degree Jobs

By Agwaonye Samuel

Published:

Do you have a passion for American literature? Are you fascinated by the works of iconic authors such as Mark Twain, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Toni Morrison? If so, pursuing a degree in American literature can open the door to a variety of fulfilling career opportunities that allow you to immerse yourself in the world of words, storytelling, and cultural exploration.

In this article, we’ll delve into the realm of American literature degree jobs and explore the top 15 career paths for individuals with a deep appreciation for the written word. Whether you dream of inspiring others through teaching, analyzing literary masterpieces as a critic, or contributing to the creative process as an editor, there’s a diverse array of options awaiting you in the world of American literature.

Here’s out top 15 jobs for American literature degree holders:

degree guide american literature

1. Writer


A Writer is a creative wordsmith who brings stories, ideas, and concepts to life through the written word. Armed with a degree in American literature, a Writer possesses a deep appreciation for storytelling, literary analysis, and a keen understanding of the cultural nuances embedded in the American literary tradition.

As a Writer

Your primary responsibility is to craft engaging and compelling content across various mediums, including novels, short stories, articles, or even scriptwriting. Drawing inspiration from the rich tapestry of American literature, you have the opportunity to contribute to the ongoing narrative of the nation’s literary landscape.

Benefits

  • Artistic Expression: Writers have the chance to express their creativity and contribute to the cultural heritage of society.
  • Flexible Work Arrangements: Many writers enjoy flexible working conditions, including the ability to freelance or work remotely.
  • Cultural Impact: Your work has the potential to resonate with diverse audiences, shaping perspectives and contributing to societal discussions.
  • Personal Fulfillment: There’s immense satisfaction in seeing your ideas and characters come to life, impacting readers on a personal and emotional level.

Working Conditions

Writers often work independently, but the job may involve deadlines, revisions, and collaboration with editors or publishers. While some writers prefer the solitude of a home office, others find inspiration in coffee shops or communal writing spaces. The hours usually depend on deadlines and project requirements but can range from full-time to part-time. Occasionally, writers may be asked to travel for research purposes or attend events related to their topics.

Further Studies

  • Advanced Writing Degrees (if desired): Consider pursuing advanced degrees such as a Master’s in Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing if you aspire to teach or want to delve deeper into the academic aspects of writing.
  • Networking and Building a Portfolio: Create a strong portfolio showcasing your best work. This can include published articles, blog posts, short stories, or excerpts from larger projects.
  • Freelance Writing Opportunities: Seek freelance writing opportunities to gain diverse experiences. Writing for different platforms and audiences can broaden your skill set and provide exposure to various writing styles.
  • Speaking Engagements and Writing Conferences: Participate in writing conferences and consider speaking engagements. Sharing your expertise and experiences can raise your profile within the writing community and open up new opportunities.

What Skills Make a Strong Candidate

Successful Writers possess a unique blend of creativity, adaptability, and discipline. The ability to generate unique ideas and narratives, coupled with a willingness to experiment with different writing styles and genres, is crucial. Meeting deadlines and managing long-term projects are essential skills for navigating the dynamic world of writing. Writers also need to think creatively, develop unique storylines, and generate fresh ideas. They need to be able to do this in a timely way,

Salary and Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($60,951)
  • Job Outlook (4%)

While the income varies widely, the median annual wage for writers is $60,951. The job outlook remains stable and projected to grow 4% in the coming years, with opportunities in traditional publishing, self-publishing, and online platforms.

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2. Literary Agent


A literary agent plays a crucial role in the publishing industry as the intermediary between authors and publishers. They connect talented authors with publishing houses, ensuring that authors receive fair compensation and opportunities for their work — discovering new voices and championing compelling narratives that resonate with readers.

As a Literary Agent

Your primary responsibility is to represent and advocate for authors, helping them navigate the publishing world and secure book deals. You’ll negotiate publishing contracts, handle rights management, and provide support to authors throughout the publication process.

Benefits

  • Championing Talent: You have the opportunity to discover and champion new voices in literature, contributing to the diversity and vibrancy of literary landscapes.
  • Industry Insight: Literary Agents gain deep insights into publishing trends, helping authors tailor their works to meet market demands.
  • Professional Networking: Building relationships with publishers, editors, and authors strengthens your professional network, creating opportunities for future collaborations.
  • Financial Rewards: Literary Agents earn commissions on successful book deals, aligning their success with the success of the authors they represent.

Working Conditions

While Literary Agents may have flexible schedules, the job often involves extensive reading, contract negotiations, and communication with authors and publishers. Balancing multiple projects and deadlines is common, and attendance at literary events or book fairs is essential for networking. Literary agents typically work in offices or from home. 

Further Studies

  • Join Professional Associations: Become a member of professional organizations for literary agents. These associations often provide resources, networking opportunities, and industry insights that can help you stay informed about trends and best practices.
  • Internship or Entry-Level Position in Literary Agencies: Gain practical experience by working as an intern or in an entry-level position within a literary agency. This hands-on experience allows you to understand the day-to-day operations, build industry connections, and learn the intricacies of agenting.
  • Build a Strong Client List: Focus on building a strong and diverse client list. Successfully representing a variety of authors in different genres can enhance your reputation and broaden your expertise as a literary agent.
  • Negotiation Skills Enhancement: Hone your negotiation skills, a critical aspect of the literary agent role. Courses or workshops on negotiation strategies and contract law can be beneficial for advancing in your career.

What Skills Make a Strong Candidate

An aspiring literary agent should possess a keen sense of literary judgment to identify manuscripts that have market potential and can thrive as successful book projects. Effective communication and negotiation skills are vital for literary agents to build strong relationships with authors and publishers. A solid grasp of the publishing industry is crucial for literary agents to navigate market trends, genres, and publishing processes.

Salary and Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($78,553)
  • Job Outlook (10%)

Literary agents typically earn an average salary of $78,553 annually along with other commissions. The job outlook remains positive and set at 10%, with opportunities expanding as the publishing industry evolves to include digital platforms and diverse voices. 


3. Librarian


Librarians play a crucial role in connecting people with knowledge and resources. They are the guardians of literary treasures, connecting patrons with a wealth of information, and contributing to the cultural enrichment of their community. With their love of literature and reading, American literature majors can find great satisfaction in working as a librarian.

As a Librarian

You’ll be in charge of managing and organizing library resources, providing information services, assisting patrons with research, and promoting literacy and learning. You’ll also be responsible for cataloging and archiving library materials, compiling bibliographies, and developing library collections.

Benefits

  • Cultural Stewardship: Librarians actively contribute to the preservation of cultural heritage by maintaining and curating collections that reflect the diverse landscape of American literature.
  • Community Engagement: This role allows you to engage with the community, organizing literary events, book clubs, and educational programs that promote a love for reading.
  • Information Access: Librarians facilitate access to information, ensuring that patrons, students, and researchers can explore the vast realm of American literature.

Working Conditions

The working environment of a librarian can vary greatly depending on the setting. Most often, librarians work in libraries or educational institutions, but may also be employed in museums, archives, and other cultural organizations. Working hours may include evenings and weekends to accommodate patrons’ schedules, with occasional travel outside of the workplace for conferences and meetings.

Further Studies

  • Specialized Master’s Degree: Pursue a Master’s in Library and Information Science (MLIS) with a specialization that aligns with your career goals. Specializations may include archives management, digital librarianship, or academic librarianship.
  • Professional Certifications: Obtain relevant professional certifications, such as the Certified Information Professional (CIP) or the Digital Archives Specialist (DAS) certification. Certifications showcase your expertise and commitment to staying current in the field.
  • Participate in Professional Associations: Join and actively participate in professional library associations. Involvement in associations provides opportunities for professional development, networking, and access to resources that can enhance your career.
  • Gain Specialized Experience: Seek out opportunities to gain experience in specialized areas of librarianship. This could include managing archives, implementing digital preservation strategies, or working with specific user populations.

What Skills Make a Strong Candidate

Librarianship demands a blend of organizational prowess, excellent communication skills, and a passion for literature. Your ability to categorize and manage information efficiently, coupled with a strong commitment to fostering a love for reading, is integral to the role. Effective collaboration with diverse community members and proficiency in digital library systems further enhance your effectiveness.

Salary and Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($69,970)
  • Job Outlook (3%)

The average salary of a librarian with an American literature degree is typically around $69,970 per year. The job outlook in this field are expected to grow by 3% over the next decade.


4. Proofreader


A Proofreader is the unsung hero of the publishing world, meticulously ensuring that written content is free from grammatical errors, typos, and inconsistencies. With a foundation in American literature, a Proofreader possesses a keen eye for detail and a deep understanding of language, contributing to the polished and error-free presentation of literary works.

As a Proofreader

Your primary responsibility is to review manuscripts, articles, or other written materials before they go to print, ensuring accuracy in grammar, spelling, and punctuation. A Proofreader plays a crucial role in maintaining the integrity of the author’s voice while upholding the high standards expected in the publishing industry. 

Benefits

  • Language Mastery: You have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the nuances of language, refining your skills and contributing to the clarity and precision of written works.
  • Contribution to Quality: Proofreaders play a vital role in upholding the quality of published content, enhancing the overall reading experience for audiences.
  • Versatility: Proofreading opportunities exist in various industries, including traditional publishing, online content creation, and corporate communications.
  • Flexibility: Many Proofreaders enjoy flexible work arrangements, including freelance opportunities and remote work.

Working Conditions

Proofreaders often work independently, reviewing digital or hardcopy documents. Attention to detail is paramount, and the job may involve tight deadlines, especially in the fast-paced world of publishing. Collaborating with editors and writers to maintain the intended tone and style of a piece is also common. Proofreaders in the US typically work in an office environment, but many are also opting to work from home or remotely, wherever they wish.

Further Studies

  • Bachelor’s degree. Many employers prefer applicants with a degree in American literature or related field, as these positions require knowledge of grammar rules and writing styles.
  • Networking with Editors and Writers: Build connections within the writing and editing community. Networking with editors, writers, and professionals in related fields can lead to collaborative opportunities and expand your client base.
  • Portfolio Development: Create a comprehensive portfolio showcasing your best work. A well-curated portfolio can serve as a powerful tool when seeking advanced proofreading opportunities or freelance assignments.
  • Advanced Grammar and Editing Courses: Take advanced courses in grammar and editing. This can include courses on syntax, punctuation rules, and editing for different contexts (e.g., academic, technical, creative writing).
  • Specialization in a Niche: Consider specializing in a particular niche or industry. This could involve gaining in-depth knowledge of terminology, conventions, and standards specific to that industry, making you a sought-after proofreader in that area.
  • Certifications. If you want to stand out as a professional proofreader, a certification from the Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA) that relates to your niche is a great way to highlight your expertise.

What Skills Make a Strong Candidate

Successful Proofreaders possess a sharp eye for detail, a strong command of grammar and language conventions, and excellent time management skills. The ability to maintain focus during repetitive tasks and collaborate effectively with other professionals in the publishing process is crucial. An eye for errors, combined with the ability to spot subtle nuances in language, is essential for successful proofreading.

Salary and Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($51,500)
  • Job Outlook (1.4%)

Proofreaders can earn an average annual salary is $51,500, depending on experience and the industry. The job outlook for Proofreaders remains steady and expected to grow by 1.4%, as accurate and error-free content is paramount in maintaining the credibility of publishers, businesses, and authors in a competitive literary landscape.


5. Copyeditor


A Copyeditor is the gatekeeper of written clarity and consistency, wielding the red pen to refine and polish manuscripts before they reach the public eye. With a foundation in American literature, a Copyeditor possesses a nuanced understanding of language, style, and the art of storytelling, ensuring that written works maintain coherence and excellence.

As a Copyeditor

You’ll be reviewing manuscripts for accuracy, clarity, coherence, factual correctness, and consistency in language. You may be required to revise texts for clarity, accuracy, and style while ensuring that the content adheres to any specific editorial guidelines. Copyeditor collaborates closely with authors, ensuring their unique voice remains intact while adhering to established editorial standards. From novels to articles, your meticulous work enhances the readability and impact of diverse written materials.

Benefits

  • Enhanced Writing Skills: Regular exposure to different writing styles sharpens your own writing skills, making you a more versatile and effective communicator.
  • Contributing to Quality: Copyeditors play a vital role in elevating the quality of written works, contributing to the success and reception of literary materials.
  • Diverse Projects: From fiction manuscripts to non-fiction articles, Copyeditors work across a range of genres and topics, providing variety and intellectual stimulation.
  • Professional Growth: Continuous exposure to various writing styles and genres fosters continuous learning and professional growth.

Working Conditions

Copyeditors often work closely with authors, editors, and other professionals in the publishing process. The job may involve tight deadlines, and attention to detail is paramount. While some Copyeditors work in-house for publishing houses, others enjoy the flexibility of freelance or remote work arrangements. Copyeditors often have the flexibility to work from home or remotely, as long as the quality and quantity of work are met. The hours may be flexible depending on the project’s scope and nature, but some copyeditors are employed on a per-project basis while others are employed full-time.

Further Studies

  • Bachelor’s degree. A degree in American literature or related field provides a solid foundation in literary analysis, library science, and information management.
  • Certification in Copyediting: Pursue professional certifications in copyediting. Recognized certifications demonstrate your proficiency in the craft and can make you more appealing to employers or clients.
  • Collaboration with Authors and Writers: Establish effective communication with authors and writers. Developing the ability to provide constructive feedback and collaborate with content creators is essential for successful copyediting.
  • Portfolio Development: Build a comprehensive portfolio showcasing your edited work. Include a variety of projects that highlight your versatility and proficiency in editing different types of content.

What Skills Make a Strong Candidate

Copyeditors possess a keen eye for detail, a deep understanding of grammar and style guides, and excellent communication skills. The ability to navigate the delicate balance between preserving an author’s voice and adhering to editorial standards is a hallmark of an effective Copyeditor. The ability to spot subtle nuances in language and an eye for errors are essential for successful copyediting. An understanding of grammar rules, punctuation, and writing styles is beneficial for recognizing and correcting mistakes.

Salary and Job Outlook

  • Salary Range ($66,400 to $86,100)
  • Job Outlook (7%)

Copyeditors can earn an average annual salary ranging from $66,400 to $86,100, depending on experience and the nature of the work. The job outlook for Copyeditors remains favorable at 7%, offering opportunities for both in-house positions and freelance engagements.


6. Journalist


A Journalist is a storyteller, investigator, and communicator who brings news and information to the public. Armed with a degree in American literature, a Journalist possesses a unique blend of writing skills, critical thinking, and a deep understanding of the social and cultural fabric that shapes the narratives they share with the world.

As a Journalist

You’ll be researching, interviewing, verifying facts, and writing feature articles for newspapers, magazines, and websites. You’ll also need to identify sources of information and evaluate the accuracy and reliability of the material.

Benefits

  • Impactful Storytelling: Journalists have the power to shed light on important issues, giving a voice to the voiceless and influencing public discourse.
  • Continuous Learning: The job requires staying informed about current events, fostering a lifelong learning mentality.
  • Diverse Career Paths: Journalists can specialize in areas such as investigative reporting, feature writing, or multimedia journalism, allowing for a diverse and dynamic career.
  • Community Connection: Engaging with communities and sharing their stories fosters a sense of connection and understanding.

Working Conditions

Journalists often have the freedom and flexibility to work from home or remotely. They may work with editors, designers, video producers, and other professionals. With regards to work hours, many journalists have variable schedules depending on their assignments and deadlines. They may also be required to work late or irregular hours due to the demands of the job. Occasionally, they may also have to travel to a certain location for the purpose of researching or interviewing people.

Further Studies

  • Advanced Writing Workshops: Participate in advanced writing workshops to enhance your storytelling and journalistic writing skills. These workshops may focus on narrative techniques, long-form journalism, or specific writing styles.
  • Networking and Building a Beat: Establish a professional network within the journalism community. Connect with editors, fellow journalists, and professionals in your area of expertise. Building relationships can lead to collaboration opportunities and increased visibility.
  • Foreign Language Proficiency: Consider learning a foreign language relevant to your reporting interests. Language proficiency can open doors to international reporting and enhance your ability to cover global issues.
  • Media Law and Ethics Training: Deepen your understanding of media law and ethics through additional training. This knowledge is crucial for navigating legal and ethical challenges often encountered in journalism.
  • Journalism Internships. An internship in journalism can provide hands-on experience that employers look for, as well as an opportunity to gain professional contacts and build your portfolio.

What Skills Make a Strong Candidate

Successful Journalists possess strong writing and communication skills, an inquisitive nature, and the ability to work under pressure. Being able to think critically and express your perspective on current events is essential, as well as good communication and interviewing skills for gathering information from sources. Meanwhile, an understanding of grammar rules and writing styles is beneficial for crafting effective stories.

Salary and Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($58,500)
  • Job Outlook (-3%)

Journalists earn a median annual salary of around $58,500, with variations based on experience, location, and the media outlet. The job outlook is projected to decline by 3% in the coming years. 


7. Reporter


A reporter is the storyteller on the frontlines, capturing and disseminating news to the public. With a foundation in American literature, a reporter combines a passion for storytelling with a commitment to uncovering and presenting factual information. This role involves investigating, writing, and delivering news stories across various mediums, contributing to the public’s understanding of current events.

As a Reporter

Your responsibilities encompass researching and gathering information, conducting interviews, and crafting compelling narratives that inform and engage the audience. Whether covering local events or global issues, reporters play a vital role in shaping public discourse and providing a firsthand account of the world’s happenings.

Benefits

  • Information Sharing: Reporters are at the forefront of informing the public, contributing to an informed and engaged society.
  • Diverse Experiences: Covering a variety of topics exposes Reporters to diverse experiences, expanding their knowledge and skill set.
  • Community Impact: Local reporters, in particular, have the opportunity to positively impact their communities by highlighting relevant issues.
  • Continuous Learning: Staying informed on current events requires ongoing learning and adaptability, keeping the job intellectually stimulating.

Working Conditions

Reporters often work in dynamic and fast-paced environments, with deadlines to meet for various news cycles. The job may involve travel, covering events on-site, and adapting to changing circumstances. Digital journalism has introduced flexibility, allowing some Reporters to work remotely, but the field remains demanding and requires resilience.

Further Studies

  • Master’s Degree in Journalism or a Related Field: Consider pursuing a master’s degree in journalism or a related field. Advanced education can provide in-depth knowledge, research skills, and opportunities to specialize in a particular reporting area.
  • Internships with Major News Outlets: Secure internships with major news outlets or investigative journalism organizations. Practical experience with reputable organizations enhances your resume and provides exposure to high-profile stories.
  • Building a Diverse Portfolio: Continuously build a diverse portfolio showcasing your best work. Include examples of investigative pieces, feature stories, and coverage of significant events to demonstrate your versatility.
  • Digital and Multimedia Skills: Develop skills in digital journalism, multimedia storytelling, and social media reporting. Being proficient in various platforms enhances your ability to adapt to the evolving landscape of journalism.
  • Certifications. One of the best things qualifications you can get for this role is being a Registered Professional Reporter, granted by the globally recognized National Court Reporters Association (NCRA).

What Skills Make a Strong Candidate

A reporter should possess strong writing and research skills. They should be able to think critically and express their perspective on current events, as well as writing in an engaging manner that captivates the reader. They also need to have good communication skills, interviewing skills, and info-gathering skills. There’s a type of writing style that’s specific to journalism, so understanding grammar rules and styles is beneficial for crafting effective stories.

Salary and Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($59,026)
  • Job Outlook (-9%)

The median annual salary for Reporters is around $59,026, with opportunities in traditional print and broadcast media as well as digital platforms. The job outlook for professionals in this field is set to decline by 9%


8. Teacher


The job of a teacher is to educate and inspire students, imparting knowledge and skills that contribute to their intellectual, emotional, and social development. Teachers play a vital role in shaping the future by fostering a love for learning, fostering critical thinking, and nurturing students’ personal growth.

As a Teacher

You’ll be responsible for delivering lessons, assessing student’s progress, and creating a positive learning environment. You’ll also need to keep up-to-date with the curriculum so that you can meet all educational standards.

Benefits

  • Inspiring Future Writers: You have the opportunity to inspire the next generation of writers and literary enthusiasts by fostering a love for storytelling and expression.
  • Educational Impact: Teachers contribute to the intellectual growth of students, providing them with essential skills for communication, critical thinking, and cultural understanding.
  • Personal Fulfillment: Witnessing the intellectual and personal growth of your students can be deeply fulfilling, knowing that you played a role in shaping their perspectives.
  • Contribution to Society: Educators contribute to a literate and culturally aware society by imparting knowledge and fostering a lifelong appreciation for literature.

Working Conditions

Teachers typically work in school environments with other teachers and administrators. They may have to transfer from one class to another throughout the day. The teaching hours vary depending on the school and position. Generally, teachers work between eight and nine hours a day, with breaks for lunch and other activities. However, it’s not uncommon for many teachers to stay late or come in on weekends for grading papers or planning curriculum.

Further Studies

  • Master’s Degree in Education: Pursue a Master’s degree in Education or a related field. This advanced degree can provide opportunities for specialization, leadership roles, and increased earning potential.
  • Professional Development Courses: Participate in ongoing professional development courses. Stay current with advancements in teaching methods, educational technology, and pedagogical approaches.
  • Participation in Educational Research: Engage in educational research projects. Contributing to research within the field can enhance your teaching methods and open doors to opportunities for presenting at conferences.
  • Specialized certifications. For example, you can get a GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) or ASL (American Sign Language).

What Skills Make a Strong Candidate

To be a successful teacher, you should have strong communication and organizational skills. You should also possess patience, creativity, problem-solving skills, and the ability to motivate students. It’s important that they are familiar with the curriculum in order to create engaging lesson plans and classroom activities. Also, having a good understanding of different learning styles and the ability to assess student performance is essential. Teachers should be able to provide support and guidance for students while helping them reach their goals.

Salary and Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($66,397)
  • Job Outlook (15%)

As a teacher in the US, you can get an average salary of $66,397 annually. It also has a positive job outlook. It’s projected to have a strong growth rate at 15% if you’re teaching preschool, and at 5% if you’re teaching highschool.

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9. Archivist


Archivists are responsible for preserving and organizing historical documents, records, and artifacts. They ensure that these materials are safe and accessible to the public or researchers who need them.

As an Archivist

You’ll collect, organize, maintain, store, preserve, classify, catalogue, and retrieve data from archives. You’ll also be responsible for developing preservation policies and carrying out outreach activities, such as giving lectures or organizing exhibitions.

Benefits

  • Preserving Cultural Heritage: Archivists play a crucial role in safeguarding and making accessible the cultural and historical artifacts that define a nation’s identity.
  • Research Collaboration: You have the opportunity to collaborate with researchers, historians, and academics, facilitating the exploration of historical narratives.
  • Contributing to Education: Archivists support educational initiatives by providing valuable resources for students and scholars studying American literature and history.
  • Curatorial Opportunities: Some Archivists may curate exhibitions, showcasing rare manuscripts and artifacts to the public.

Working Conditions

Archivists usually work in libraries, museums, archives, or other educational settings. Although their duties are mostly desk-based, they may occasionally have to lift heavy boxes or furniture, as well as climb ladders.  Their work hours are typically normal office hours, with the possibility of working overtime if there’s a major project to finish.

Further Studies

  • Master’s Degree in Library Science or Archival Studies: This advanced education provides specialized knowledge in archival principles, preservation techniques, and information management.
  • Archival Certification: Seek certification as a Certified Archivist (CA) or Digital Archives Specialist (DAS). These credentials, offered by professional organizations, attests to your expertise and commitment to the highest standards in archival practice.
  • Experience with Special Collections: Gain experience working with special collections or archives of unique and rare materials. This could involve managing manuscripts, rare books, or other culturally significant items.
  • Advanced Training in Preservation Techniques: Attend workshops or courses focused on advanced preservation techniques. This could include specialized training in conservation methods for various materials, ensuring their longevity.

What Skills Make a Strong Candidate

Successful Archivists possess a blend of organizational prowess, attention to detail, and a passion for preserving cultural heritage. Strong research skills, knowledge of archival standards, and effective communication with researchers and colleagues are essential for the role. It’s essential that they have an interest in history as well, since they’ll be dealing with historical materials on a regular basis. Additionally, they should have knowledge of archives, library systems and databases.

Salary and Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($61,085)
  • Job Outlook (10%)

The average salary for Archivists is around $61,085 annually. The job outlook is steady and projected to grow by 10% in the coming years, with opportunities available in various institutions, including libraries, museums, government agencies, and historical societies.


10. Publisher


A Publisher serves as a vital link in the literary ecosystem, overseeing the production and distribution of written works to a global audience. With a foundation in American literature, a Publisher combines a passion for storytelling with business acumen, shaping the literary landscape by bringing diverse voices to readers around the world.

As a Publisher

You’ll select manuscripts or other material to be published, recruit authors, edit content, design book covers, ensure the quality of published material meets standards, and create publishing plans. You’ll also oversee the marketing and distribution of these materials to ensure that they reach their target audiences.

Benefits

  • Cultivating Literary Voices: Publishers have the power to shape literary culture by curating and promoting a diverse array of voices.
  • Entrepreneurial Spirit: As a Publisher, you have the opportunity to operate as an entrepreneur, making strategic decisions that impact the success of your publishing house.
  • Contributing to Cultural Discourse: By bringing thought-provoking works to the public, Publishers contribute to societal conversations and cultural enrichment.
  • Global Impact: Publishing allows you to engage with a global audience, fostering cross-cultural dialogue through literature.

Working Conditions

Publishers work in dynamic environments, collaborating with authors, editors, marketers, and distributors. The job involves balancing creative and business aspects, adapting to evolving industry trends, and managing the complexities of book production. Publishers usually work in a corporate office setting, but they may also travel to bookstores, libraries, and other places where books are sold or distributed. Most of their job duties can be done remotely as well. 

Further Studies

  • Advanced Degree in Publishing or Business: Consider pursuing an advanced degree, such as a Master’s in Publishing or Business Administration. This provides a deeper understanding of the industry, management strategies, and business operations.
  • Editorial Experience: Gain experience in editorial roles. Understanding the editorial process is crucial for effective decision-making in publishing. This experience can also enhance your ability to identify market trends and potential bestselling content.
  • Digital Publishing and Technology Skills: Develop expertise in digital publishing and emerging technologies. Stay current with e-publishing trends, multimedia content, and interactive publishing platforms to remain competitive in the evolving publishing landscape.
  • Networking within the Publishing Industry: Build and maintain strong connections within the publishing industry. Attend industry conferences, join professional associations, and engage with other publishers, authors, agents, and distributors to stay informed and create potential collaboration opportunities.
  • Certifications. To beat the odds and get hired as a publisher, you need to take high-value certifications such as the UCLA Editing and Publishing certificate, because it equips you with the necessary knowledge, skills, and experience in tackling this field.

What Skills Make a Strong Candidate

Publishers must exhibit a combination of editorial flair, business savvy, and an understanding of market dynamics. Strong communication skills, negotiation abilities, and a keen eye for market trends are essential for identifying and promoting compelling literary works. You also need a solid understanding of the business side of publishing, including market trends, target audiences, and budgeting. Familiarity with digital publishing platforms and emerging technologies is also beneficial.

Salary and Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($71,000)
  • Job Outlook (-5%)

While income varies based on the scale and success of the publishing house, the median annual wage for Publishers is around $71,000. The job outlook is faced with a negative job and expected decline -5% in the coming years. 


11. Public Relations Specialist


A Public Relations Specialist is the storyteller of an organization, shaping its public image and fostering positive relationships with various stakeholders. Public Relations Specialists combines communication skills with an understanding of narrative to strategically convey messages that enhance the reputation of individuals, companies, or institutions.

As a Public Relations Specialist

You’ll be responsible for developing communication strategies, organizing events, and overseeing social media presence to ensure a favorable public image and effective audience engagement. You’ll also arrange interviews, press releases, and events to cultivate positive media exposure.

Benefits

  • Building Positive Perceptions: You have the power to influence how the public perceives an organization, helping to establish trust and credibility.
  • Strategic Communication: Public Relations Specialists engage in strategic communication, aligning messaging with organizational goals and values.
  • Diverse Industries: Opportunities exist in various industries, from corporate settings to nonprofit organizations, allowing for a dynamic and varied career.
  • Networking Opportunities: Building relationships with media professionals, influencers, and key stakeholders contributes to a robust professional network.

Working Conditions

In the United States, public relations specialists typically work in office settings; however, occasional travel may be required for client meetings, media events, or press conferences. Schedules vary depending on the employer, industry, and specific projects at hand. When it comes to campaigns, releases, or crises, the workload escalates, requiring prompt responses and adaptability. Being available beyond regular hours for urgent media inquiries and communications is often necessary.

Further Studies

  • Professional Certifications in PR: Pursue industry-recognized certifications in public relations. Certifications, such as those from organizations like the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), can enhance your credibility and demonstrate a commitment to professional development.
  • Crisis Communication Training: Undertake specialized training in crisis communication. Proficiency in managing communication during challenging situations is a valuable skill that can set you apart in the field.
  • Participation in Industry Events: Attend conferences, seminars, and industry events regularly. This not only keeps you informed about the latest industry trends but also provides networking opportunities with peers and potential clients. 
  • Digital Marketing and Social Media Expertise: Develop expertise in digital marketing and social media management. Stay abreast of trends in online communication to effectively integrate digital strategies into your PR campaigns.

What Skills Make a Strong Candidate

To excel as a public relations specialist, effective communication is paramount in creating messages that resonate with audiences. A healthy dose of creativity is also vital for crafting captivating campaigns. Specialists must demonstrate adaptability, efficiently navigating diverse clients and situations. Building and maintaining relationships is equally crucial, enabling specialists to connect with media and stakeholders, fostering positive partnerships and securing favorable coverage.

Salary and Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($62,800)
  • Job Outlook (8.1%)

The median annual wage for Public Relations Specialists is around $62,800. The job outlook remains positive at 8.1%, with opportunities in various industries, including corporate, government, and nonprofit sectors. 

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12. Content Manager


A Content Manager is a pivotal figure in the digital age, orchestrating the creation, curation, and distribution of online content to engage and captivate audiences. They are modern-day editors, responsible for managing the content on websites and publications. Content managers are tasked with maintaining the quality of content while ensuring it meets editorial standards.

As a Content Manager

Your primary job duties revolve around creating, reviewing, curating, and editing digital content. You might be required to create headlines and captions, write blurbs or descriptions, format content, and publish pieces. You’ll also need to manage a team of writers and designers, ensuring that they meet deadlines and adhere to editorial guidelines.

Benefits

  • Creative Expression: Content Managers have the opportunity to express their creativity through compelling storytelling, contributing to brand identity and recognition.
  • Strategic Impact: The role allows you to influence the strategic direction of a brand or publication, making decisions that impact its positioning in the digital landscape.
  • Continuous Learning: Staying on the cutting edge of digital trends ensures that you are continually learning and adapting to evolving technologies and audience preferences.
  • Audience Connection: Content Managers build meaningful connections with audiences, fostering engagement and building communities around shared interests.

Working Conditions

Content managers work in dynamic and fast-paced environments, collaborating with cross-functional teams. Juggling multiple projects, meeting deadlines, and staying informed about industry trends and content marketing best practices are integral aspects of the role. Content managers typically work in office settings. However, the nature of the job allows for flexibility, with telecommuting and remote working becoming increasingly popular options.

Further Studies

  • Bachelor’s degree. Content managers typically possess a bachelor’s degree in English, journalism, communication, or related fields.
  • SEO and Analytics Training: Gain expertise in search engine optimization (SEO) and analytics. Understanding how to optimize content for search engines and analyze performance metrics is crucial for effective content management.
  • Mastering Content Management Systems (CMS): Familiarize yourself with a variety of content management systems. Proficiency in CMS platforms allows you to efficiently manage, publish, and analyze the performance of content across different channels.
  • Certifications. The Content Marketing Certification (CMC) from the American Marketing Association (AMA) credential will be a big boost if you decide to try for this field.

What Skills Make a Strong Candidate

Successful Content Managers exhibit a blend of creativity, analytical thinking, and strong communication skills. The ability to develop and execute content strategies, analyze data to inform decision-making, and adapt to the ever-changing digital landscape are essential for success in this role. Content managers must have superb organizational skills; having the ability to manage multiple tasks simultaneously while meeting deadlines is essential. 

Salary and Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($78,429)
  • Job Outlook (10%)

The average annual salary for content managers is around $78,429. The job outlook is promising with an expected growth rate of 10%, due to the increasing importance of digital presence for businesses and organizations.

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13. Social Media Manager


Social Media Manager plays a pivotal role in shaping an author’s online presence and engaging with readers. With a background in American literature, a Social Media Manager combines a love for storytelling with digital marketing expertise, leveraging social platforms to amplify an author’s voice and connect with diverse audiences. They are responsible for planning, implementing, and overseeing an organization’s social media strategy. 

As a Social Media Manager

You’ll handle social media strategies for businesses. This includes overseeing accounts, crafting content, and engaging with the online community to build a brand presence. You’ll also interact with followers, manage inquiries, and stay updated on platforms and practices to align efforts with marketing goals, boost brand awareness, and connect with the target audience.

Benefits

  • Author Visibility: You contribute to enhancing an author’s visibility in the online sphere, helping them connect with readers and fellow writers.
  • Community Building: Social Media Managers foster communities of literary enthusiasts, creating spaces for discussions, book recommendations, and fan interactions.
  • Digital Marketing Skills: This role provides valuable experience in digital marketing, including content creation, social media advertising, and analytics.
  • Stay Current with Trends: Engaging with social media allows you to stay informed about literary trends, book releases, and reader preferences.

Working Conditions

Social Media Managers work in fast-paced digital environments, juggling multiple platforms and campaigns. They usually work in offices, with the potential for remote work. Their schedules vary due to the company, industry, and specific campaigns. Social media managers have a dynamic schedule. Since social media operates 24/7, they must be responsive to trends and interactions across time zones. This might require occasional off-hours monitoring, especially during important events or crises.

Further Studies

  • Bachelor’s degree. A degree in marketing, tech, and related fields is often preferred by employers.
  • Advanced Analytics and Metrics Training: Develop expertise in advanced analytics tools and metrics relevant to social media. Understanding and interpreting data can enhance your ability to measure campaign success and make data-driven decisions.
  • Stay Updated on Platform Changes: Social media platforms evolve rapidly. Stay informed about changes, updates, and new features on major platforms. Being at the forefront of platform changes ensures you can adapt your strategies accordingly.
  • Mastering Paid Social Advertising: Acquire skills in paid social advertising. Understanding how to create and optimize paid campaigns on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn can significantly boost your effectiveness as a social media manager.
  • Certifications. There are many high-value courses and certifications that can give you an edge. For example, the Social Media Management course on Coursera is a great credential to have as an entry level social media manager.

What Skills Make a Strong Candidate

Becoming a social media manager requires a diverse range of skills. You’ll need excellent communication and creativity to create captivating content. Analytical skills are crucial for interpreting metrics and improving strategies. It’s essential to stay up-to-date with social media platforms and trends. Collaboration, adaptability, and teamwork are key for managing real-time engagement. 

Salary and Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($70,000)
  • Job Outlook (10%)

The average salary for Social Media Managers is around $70,000 annually. The job outlook is promising is set to grow by 10%, with the increasing importance of online presence for authors and literary organizations.

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14. Advertising Manager


An Advertising Manager plays a pivotal role in the literary world, driving the promotion and visibility of books to diverse audiences. These professionals are responsible for overseeing the day-to-day implementation of a company’s advertising campaigns. They help create innovative strategies and provide direction to all members of the advertising team.

As an Advertising Manager

Your job involves designing, developing, and executing effective marketing initiatives in accordance with the organization’s goals. You’ll also be required to identify and assess customer trends and create strategies to optimize a campaign’s performance.

Benefits

  • Connecting Authors with Readers: Advertising Managers facilitate the connection between authors and readers, ensuring that literary works reach their intended audience.
  • Creative Expression: Crafting unique and engaging campaigns allows for creative expression, blending the worlds of literature and marketing.
  • Market Trends Insight: Staying attuned to market trends and reader preferences keeps Advertising Managers at the forefront of the ever-evolving literary landscape.
  • Impactful Campaigns: Successful campaigns contribute to the success of books, influencing readers’ choices and contributing to the overall cultural conversation.

Working Conditions

Advertising Managers often work in publishing houses, literary agencies, or marketing firms. The job involves collaboration with creative teams, market research, and staying abreast of the latest advertising platforms and trends. Work hours can vary depending on the organization. It could involve late nights and weekends, especially when deadlines are close. On most days, though, advertising managers will be working on a computer, managing different projects and campaigns for clients. They may also need to travel to client locations or events for meetings or presentations.

Further Studies

  • Bachelor’s degree. The basic requirement for becoming an advertising manager is a bachelor’s degree in marketing, business administration, or related fields.
  • Master’s Degree in Marketing or Business Administration: Consider pursuing a master’s degree in marketing or business administration. This advanced education provides a broader perspective on business strategies, leadership, and marketing analytics.
  • Digital Marketing Skills: Develop expertise in digital marketing. Stay updated on trends in online advertising, social media platforms, and search engine optimization to effectively navigate the evolving digital landscape.
  • Certifications. Certifications such as the Digital Marketing professional certifications from the American Marketing Association is a great way to show that you have the skills needed for this job.

What Skills Make a Strong Candidate

Advertising managers need a comprehensive set of skills to be successful. They must be able to understand and use data to inform their decision-making process, have excellent interpersonal communication skills, and stay up-to-date with the latest trends in digital marketing. They should also be creative in coming up with new ideas for campaigns, as well as being organized and detail-oriented.

Salary and Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($57,521)
  • Job Outlook (10%)

Advertising managers can earn around $57,521 in average annual salary in the US. They also have a positive job outlook at 10% employment growth from 2021 to 2031.


15. Lawyer


A Lawyer specializing in intellectual property law plays a pivotal role in safeguarding the creative works of authors, ensuring their rights are protected in the complex landscape of copyrights, trademarks, and patents. A professional in this field combines legal expertise with a passion for preserving the integrity of literary creations.

As a Lawyer

Your job involves researching legal issues, identifying applicable laws, drawing up contracts and pleadings, representing clients in court proceedings, and advising them on any legal matters. You’ll also need to be skilled in writing and negotiating settlements for your clients.

Benefits

  • Protecting Creativity: Lawyers in this field champion the rights of creators, ensuring their intellectual property is safeguarded against infringement.
  • Navigating Contracts: You have the opportunity to assist clients in negotiating contracts, ensuring fair terms and protecting their interests.
  • Legal Advocacy: Lawyers play a crucial role in advocating for the rights of authors and literary professionals, contributing to the legal framework that governs the publishing industry.

Working Conditions

Lawyers specializing in intellectual property often work in law firms or as part of legal departments in publishing houses. They  can choose to specialize in a specific practice area such as family law or criminal law. This provides them with more focus and additional expertise in the field. Work hours usually depend on the type of law practiced, but most lawyers work long hours including nights and weekends.

Further Studies

  • Bachelor’s degree. A bachelor’s degree is required for admission to a law school in the US.
  • Juris Doctor (JD) degree. After completing an undergraduate program, aspiring lawyers must attend a three-year JD program at an accredited law school.
  • Licensing examination. After graduating from a JD program, lawyers must pass the bar examination in the state where they intend to practice.
  • Bar Association Memberships: Join relevant bar associations and professional organizations related to your legal specialization. Active participation can provide networking opportunities, access to resources, and exposure to current trends in your field.
  • Building a Strong Litigation Record: If you’re involved in litigation, focus on building a strong track record of successful cases. High-profile or complex cases can enhance your reputation and attract more clients or job offers.

What Skills Make a Strong Candidate

A strong candidate for the legal profession possesses a blend of analytical prowess, adept research skills, and compelling communication abilities. Lawyers must excel at critically evaluating information, utilizing legal databases for research, and articulating complex ideas both in writing and verbally. The ability to think critically and make quick decisions is crucial for navigating dynamic legal scenarios. In essence, a successful lawyer seamlessly combines academic achievement with practical skills, creating a well-rounded professional prepared for the challenges of the legal field.

Salary and Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($104,490)
  • Job Outlook (9.6%)

The average salary of lawyers in the US is about $104,490 per year, with a projected positive employment growth of about 9.6% from 2021 to 2031.

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Making the Right Career Choice

As you can see, rather than succumbing to doubt, it’s crucial for American literature degree holders to recognize the immense value and versatility of their skills. The power of storytelling, critical thinking, and cultural analysis that they have honed during their studies can be leveraged in a multitude of professional settings.

By reframing their degree as a launchpad for various careers, American literature majors can position themselves as indispensable assets, unlocking a world of rewarding and intellectually stimulating career possibilities.


Agwaonye Samuel

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