Creators Who Like Jazz: Try These YouTube Playlists While in Creative Mode

"Jazz Background Music for Artists and Other Creatives" (blog post) | |

Artists and other creative types: Do you listen to music in the background while you’re working on a project? Jazz can be a great choice—there’s just something about it that can calm your mind and get your creativity flowing at the same time.

So if you do like background music and you like jazz—or are just discovering it—here are three great jazz playlists to consider. The best thing about these is that they’re all on YouTube: You don’t need any special accounts or to sign up on yet another platform to access them.

French Music in French Cafe: Best of French Cafe Music

This playlist by French Cafe 24×7 features the descriptors of “modern French cafe music,” “piano” and “jazz.” It really does live up to its description. If you’re not into a lot of jazz music, this may be mellow and varied enough to still have in your arsenal of great background music.


Morning Jazz Music

The “Morning Jazz Music” playlist compiled by Luke Pirvan is described as “perfect for relaxing, studying, cooking, stress relief, a romantic breakfast/lunch/dinner, having coffee, finding inspiration or simply enjoying moments of peace.”


Cozy Winter Jazz

Another playlist compiled by Luke Pirvan, “Cozy Winter Jazz” is indeed cozy—and it’s great for the holidays, as it features some jazz versions of popular Christmas songs.

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Why English Majors are Good at Their Jobs, Plus Proof That They Can Move Up

"Why English Majors are Good at Their Jobs, Plus Proof That They Can Move Up" (blog post) | |

In the last post, we looked at just a few jobs suited to people with English degrees, such as content editing and publishing, marketing writing, social media and email work. A lot of people may think it’s all a bunch of bunk—so it’s time to do some debunking.

English degrees involve a lot more than reading or writing all day. Though that’s a large part of it, the larger tie-in is where the mindset, skills and aptitudes of the English major meet the needs of the workforce.

Grammar and punctuation. Let’s get the most obvious skill out of the way—the one that everyone sees as an English major’s only skill set. People believe that the greatest skill of English majors is knowledge of English grammar, punctuation and the like—and they do need that knowledge. Why?

Because it prevents companies from looking stupid.

It’s obvious why editors need good grammar skills, but so do those who choose content. Does a company really want a content manager who accepts submissions or creates content littered with errors?

Even social media posts are more credible when grammatically correct.

Is somebody asking for your money in an email with too many grammatical mistakes? Are you likely to trust the quality of a product if something as simple as a company’s emails continuously have mistakes?

No one is perfect, and there will always be grammatical mistakes in the world; but you get the idea.

Strategizing content. Whether it’s considering what type of infographics to post online or what articles will be running in a publication, editors, marketers and various content staff need to consider one important thing: the audience.

English majors are good at considering the audience: They spend a ton of time in school writing toward a certain slant and reading various works (both other students’ writing and published authors), and thus learn how to look at content from another person’s point of view. Audience engagement is of vital importance—reaching and keeping the right audience (a.k.a. customers and clients) is a hallmark of success.

Reading literature can play a large part in this, also. English majors can take an entire plot, characters, setting and more to see the small details as well as how those details fit together.

Just as a sidenote, if more people had this skill, the strategy of entire lives would change.

English majors are good at considering the audience….Reaching and keeping the right audience (a.k.a. customers and clients) is a hallmark of success.

Writing to persuade. If you’re trying to reach customers, persuasion is obviously key—but it’s also key if you’re writing a business proposal. For non-profits, grant writing (writing proposals to specific companies about how their grant money will be used) takes just as much skills in persuasion as business proposals (and is actually a form of proposal writing).

Jobs for English Majors Vary—Just Like Any Other Major

One time, while driving to work (at a publishing company, by the way), I was changing radio stations and happened upon a talk show. The radio personalities were taking calls in which people complained about their jobs, and one person called in about how her editing job involved mostly comparing and contrasting the same documents, perhaps just in different languages (as she obviously was fluent in more than one language).

When the radio show hosts asked if she had a degree, she unfortunately answered, “An English degree.” And of course, the hosts went on about how useless that was, saying, “Oh yeah, look how far that got you!”

Keep in mind that every company is different—this is true for every job out there. People in just about any major have various skill sets within that field; and different companies will utilize different skills within that discipline. The caller’s experience was much different, for example, than my first editing job.

Moving Up with an English Degree

I was lucky enough that my first job out of college was with a magazine publisher. It was an entry-level job, and I enjoyed the content. With any job relating to content work, handling material that interests you is half the battle.

After nine months, I was able to move to an associate editor position with additional responsibilities. After a few more years, it was the managing editor position, which included planning articles targeted toward our audience, between my own ideas, ideas submitted by freelance authors and questions from readers. After that, I became the editor of a couple of publications. There are other positions for those wanting to move up in the editorial ranks; each company has a different lay of the land for potential career paths. Some will not, qualifying as “dead-end jobs”—but in that case, you just go someplace where the path leads farther.
It’s the same with any job that can be performed at more than one venue.

Some of us with English degrees learn even more skills, which when combined with our English majors, give us a pretty large toolbox; graphic design and web editing are just a couple of examples.

The Last Consideration

Will someone make a lot of money with an English degree? Most people don’t—but they can certainly survive just fine if they don’t have an outrageous lifestyle. People in publishing and content fields tend to agree that they made the conscious decision at one point to choose something they love to do, though it won’t make them rich. People have different priorities, and beyond paying the bills, it’s always an individual decision.

By now, it should be clear that jobs for English majors can be complex and rewarding for the right people—and they’re jobs that may change with the times but aren’t likely to go away any time soon.

This post was both for English majors and naysayers alike—please share!


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Yes, You Can Do Something with an English Degree!

"Yes, You Can Do Something with an English Degree!" (blog post) | |

Something that drives English majors crazy while they’re going through school is the question “What are you going to do with an English degree?”

At one point, while working through college, I overheard a former supervisor saying, “He’s getting an English degree. You can’t do anything with that!”

And I was happy about the irony when, after graduating, I turned in my notice and mentioned I was going to work at a publishing office. When that very supervisor asked how I got the job, I responded, “I just got my English degree.”

While print publishers are not doing as well as they used to, there are still plenty of opportunities for English majors.

English Majors: Stuck in Stereotypes

There’s a good reason for English majors to hate the idea that there is nothing they can do with their degree—and not just out of defensiveness.

If someone’s a biology or chemistry major, do they actually have the title of “biologist” or “chemist”? They may sometimes, but otherwise, people do make the connection between a biologist and someone getting into the medical field, or between a chemist and someone getting into pharmaceuticals or product development of some kind.

And while everyone has heard of editors, proofreaders and the like, seemingly no one makes the connection between those jobs and people with English degrees. Most of the general public just automatically falls for the stereotype that there is nothing you can do with an English degree.

Just a Few Examples of Jobs for English Majors

There are many webpages with lists of jobs for English majors—many more than most people expect. I can speak the most into editing jobs, but here are three out of many, just to give a few examples.

Content Editing and Publishing Jobs. Publishing offices—whether print or online publishing—need editors of some type. Content is huge these days; and someone needs to edit, strategize and organize that content. Jobs can range from proofreaders (who usually edit for the basics of grammar, punctuation, etc.) to copyeditors (who go beyond grammar and punctuation) to content creators and strategists.

Social Media and Email. There are entire jobs now for people who strategize and post on social media. At first glance, it may seem like these would not have the potential for full-time work, but let’s take email as an example.

For any given email campaign, there needs to be a strategy and scheduling (we’ll talk in part two about why English degrees are well suited for various tasks). After that, the email has to be composed. Once the text and images are in an email format, the email may need to be tweaked for various audiences; many companies likely have various email lists, depending on locations, preferences and email-reading habits of the recipients.

Beyond that, before an email goes out about cosmetics, for example, it’s likely that experts on the product, whether in a marketing department, product development department or otherwise, will need to check and approve that email.

While social media may or may not include all the processes for email, it has other additional tasks beyond the obvious.

Marketing Writing. For those so inclined, marketing writing is another option. This includes typical marketing copy, fundraising materials, direct mail campaigns, ad copy and the like. Some of this is agency-driven, but there are plenty of companies and organizations that need staff with this skill. This is not necessarily “only a freelance job.”

It’s worth mentioning, also, that as with many jobs, the titles for the above positions are not necessarily going to be “marketing writer,” “social media editor,” etc. Even at publishing offices, there are different levels of editors—and different job descriptions for the same title vary across companies. Job titles are just a starting place.

There are many jobs out there for English majors—if you are an English major, don’t let anyone dissuade you because of long-accepted stereotypes in our society. You probably already know that from doing career research; if you’re just starting your research, you will probably be pleasantly surprised at what you find.

And yes, it is possible to get promotions and advance with an English degree. We’ll talk more about that in part two coming up. We’ll also talk about the vital skills English majors possess that make them perfectly suited to certain positions.

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