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English and Comparative Literature future careers

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A degree in English opens up a wide range of careers by developing critical and analytical skills.You also learn to solve problems, to think creatively, and to communicate with clarity – all of which are attractive to a variety of employers.

What skills will I gain from an English degree?

Studying English at Goldsmiths provides you with a huge variety of skills including the ability to be critical and analytical, adaptable, flexible and creative. These skills are highly sought by graduate employers. 

Where do English graduates work?

English graduates go on to work in a huge variety of industries and in a whole range of different jobs. Some of our recent graduates now work as publishing assistants, writers, english tutors, youth engagement officers and marketing executives. Their employers include DAZED, Hackney Citizen, Citywire, Radio 1 and Theatre Royal Haymarket. 

English graduate stories:

Paule Constable

Photo of Paule Constable
Award-winning lighting designer Paule is critically acclaimed across the world for her work

Award-winning lighting designer Paule Constable is critically acclaimed across the world for her work, and has raised awareness of women in technical roles in theatre. She received a Tony Award in 2011 for her work with War Horse, and she’s just been awarded her fourth Olivier Award, this one for her light design of the National Theatre’s production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

It was her time at Goldsmiths that sparked the interest in lighting design. “I had done a little theatre at school but didn’t really understand it was an option as a career, and I had absolutely no idea what lighting design was. It was Goldsmiths that led me to discover it, and realise how much it was the perfect career for me. The George Wood was a fabulous space to make work in – it forced you to be rigorous but was also small enough that you could make changes and follow your nose. And the  were great at encouraging you to look outwards, to see what was going on outside college as well as inside. My course gave me an ability to debate and unpick and collaborate, which has been vital in my career. I loved the way the staff didn’t spoon feed you but encouraged and steered.”

As well as working with National Theatre, Paule has designed for the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Donmar Warehouse and the Royal Court. She has also worked on many opera productions including the Royal OperaEnglish National OperaGlyndebourneOpera NorthScottish Opera and Welsh National Opera

As one of the few female lighting designers in the industry, Paule has been something of a trailblazer. “I am proud to have raised awareness of women in technical roles in theatre, although we remain woefully under represented.”

It’s a job which clearly gives Paule immense satisfaction as she says: “The thing I enjoy most about my job is the collaboration. I love making live work that really tells a story. That visually supports the piece. And where the sum of the parts is so much greater than the individual contributions, it can be thrilling. I love theatre and opera, and trying to make the air between the viewer and the performer resonate.”

Karen Aileen d’Arcangelo

Photo of Karen Aileen d’Arcangelo
"Goldsmiths has had an effective influence on how I analyse and relate to a new challenge"

Karen Aileen d’Arcangelo graduated with a BA Media and Modern Literature in 2014. Her academic and extra-curricular experiences at Goldsmiths, including an internship organised by the Careers Service, helped her land a challenging and interesting job with her dream employer, Time Out. 

Encountering Goldsmiths

I was raised in Italy from the age of seven and only started thinking of applying to a British university at the very end of my final school year. I first heard about Goldsmiths when I sneaked into a British University open day in Rome. After talking to various universities I ended up having a lovely chat with a Goldsmiths member of staff. I was worried about applying because I hadn’t been to a British school, my written English wasn’t excellent and I had pretty much spent my last five years of high school translating Latin and ancient Greek texts, but he encouraged me saying “Goldsmiths is about having students from different cultural and educational backgrounds: it can only be a strength for you.”

A dream job

I became a Time Out fan just a few months after I moved to London. My friends would make fun of how many times I quoted the magazine, so I was over the moon when Goldsmiths’ Careers Service was offering a six-month internship in the company’s Digital department, supported by Santander. I almost missed the interview because I was back in Italy and wasn’t expecting to actually get a call! I came back to London for the interview and a few hours later had got the internship. The dream came true and two weeks later I was starting as an intern helping curate a new product that Time Out had just acquired. I quickly became interested and involved in the technical processes of how Time Out London’s and all its other 140 cities websites are created, curated and improved. After four months I started managing my first product and at the end of the internship I was thrilled to have been offered a full-time job.

Bringing ideas to life

As a Product Manager my role is to bring together a product for the website which will have requirements from different stakeholders in the company – editorial, marketing, commercial. I analyse the user journey and experience with the designers, evaluate the technical challenges and implications, and then plan the building of the product with the team of developers. An example would be the Love London Awards which have just finished. This was originally a marketing campaign for which we created a web app to facilitate and encourage Time Out users to nominate and vote for their favourite ‘locals’ in their neighbourhoods. 

My longer term ambitions have changed significantly since I graduated but now I think I would like to grow as much as I can in the role I am currently doing and then find a way to apply it to projects involving the arts and cultural activities, which is what I miss the most about Goldsmiths. 

Prepared for new challenges

I had never known of the existence of a Product Manager role and was soon fascinated by it, although it wasn’t necessarily related in any way to what I studied. I guess Goldsmiths has had an effective influence on how I analyse and relate to a new challenge. It prepared me to always question what I’m presented with, and as clichéd as it sounds to ‘think outside the box’. 

I also feel that personally my experience at Goldsmiths has helped me to learn on the spot, even my literature seminars which are obviously unrelated to my job now were a constant challenge on how to interpret, discuss a text or a concept. The various extra-curricular opportunities were also definitely helpful for my application, especially on the practical side of my job. I was lucky enough to be involved in student media as Deputy Editor of Smiths Magazine, and Student Co-ordinator for the English and Comparative Literature department, and through both roles I learnt how to be practical, organised, intuitive which was a challenging and refreshing escape when heavily involved in academia.

 

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