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Careers for Readers and Writers

If you enjoy and are good at reading and/or writing, you are in luck. Most careers value reading and writing skills, as this survey of employers consistently shows, and there are some occupations and industries that involve more reading and writing than others.

Careers for Readers

If you enjoy and are good at reading in and out of the classroom, you have likely developed useful transferable skills, such as comprehending and analyzing text, understanding tone and subtext, critical thinking, drawing comparisons between different pieces of writing, and summarizing what you have read. Your vocabulary and ability to intuitively understand English grammar has also been strengthened through your time spent reading, depending on types of books, articles and their difficulty level.

There are several occupations that heavily depend on these skills and they can be across industries. For example, an editor can work for a science journal, a magazine, a travel blog, or a nonprofit advocacy organization. The skillset is the same, however the context, content and the type of reading will differ. There are some industries that heavily involve reading, such as publishing, media, journalism, law and education. 

To determine what type of occupation or industry you may be best suited for, consider why you like to read and what reading skills you most enjoy using. If you enjoy the language and understanding how it is used, consider roles that focus on proofreading, editing, translating, analyzing and teaching. If you like stories and the creation of content, consider roles that focus on literary articles, books, poems in industries such as publishing, education, libraries, marketing, public relations and communications. If you like finding and analyzing themes in what you read, consider roles that involve research, analysis and writing in industries such as academia, law, media and communications. 

For more information about these careers, as well as sites for finding opportunities for gaining experience and skills, see Career Resources for Readers.

Careers for Writers

Good writers are in demand for a number of occupations because of their ability to create, craft and edit content that can be short and catchy, long and meaningful, persuasive, strategic, literary, poetic, current and/or historic. Depending on the type of writing you most enjoy doing, the type of environment you work best in, and/or the kind of subjects that interest you the most, you can find interesting and lucrative opportunities.

Consider the type of environment you prefer to work in – is it one in which you have a good deal of independence and variety? If so, freelance writing in fields such as journalism, tech writing, consulting, grant writing, as well as pursuing your own projects can be an option, but such a lifestyle will also require comfort and skills with finding your own opportunities, self-marketing and some financial risk. Some freelance writers start in other types of positions that provide steady income and benefits until they build a presence and clients in their field. Freelance work is flexible and while it can require interpersonal skills in order to find and market to clients, you likely won’t have a steady group of co-workers that you see regularly. While you may have an agent and/or editor, you probably won’t be supervised by anyone directly and can “be your own boss.”

If you prefer an environment with regular co-workers, a supervisor, and steady paycheck and benefits, you can be a writer within a team in occupations, such as media and journalism, public relations, marketing and advertising or publishing. Depending on your interests and type of writing you like doing, other possible occupations include speechwriting, grant writers and technical writers. 

You can choose careers based on what interests you most. It can be a particular issue that you want to highlight, such as bringing awareness to social injustice, securing money for a nonprofit, or highlighting interesting places to travel. You can choose a type of communication that interests you, such as movies, stage, comic books, video games or greeting cards. 

Being a good writer requires companion skills of observing and understanding people – in order to interview them, describe their stories, and/or experiences. Writing is also about communicating a message effectively to people, which can sometimes mean creating different messages, depending on the segment or demographic to which they belong. Additional skills that support good writing include critical thinking, research, and analytical skills, as well as awareness, attitude, knowledge, and skills required to equitably engage and include people from different local and global cultures.

For more information about these careers, as well as sites for finding opportunities for gaining experience and skills, see Career Resources for Writers.

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