Careers after English – alumni panel

Many thanks to our alumni, who all graduated with a degree in English, for returning to their department and sharing their career paths and experiences with current students.

After a welcome from Professor Helen Fulton, Chair in Medieval Literature and Head of the English Department, five alumni shared their journeys since Bristol and their insights into their current profession:

  • Cordelia Lodge (BA English 2014), Fundraiser at the RSPCA, highlighted how the skills you gain during your degree apply in many different roles – especially the ability to cut down a word count!
  • Faith Newcombe (BA English 2017), Production Editor at Intellect Books, shared how attending events and hearing from others is always helpful, even if it shows you what you don’t want to do – and spoke from experience having met a current colleague at a networking evening.
  • Sam Charkham (BA English 2010), Solicitor at Burges Salmon LLP, said his English degree was great preparation for his post-graduate degree in law and the skills you require in the profession. He is very happy working now on different projects within commercial law though encouraged the audience to stay resilient, you can apply for lots of different jobs before being successful.
  • Jim White (BA English 1980), Columnist at Telegraph Media Group, shared his vast experience and insights into journalism, and encouraged students to take advantage of the opportunities in front of you during your time at Bristol.
  • Nicola Yeeles (BA English 2002), Freelance Writer, Editor and Teacher, shared her varied career path and explained that now, a portfolio career is very common and not to worry about not finding your ideal job straight away.

Following the panel introductions, a number of questions covered whether to accept a job that’s not exactly in your area, whether you’re at a disadvantage if you transfer to another discipline without the relevant undergraduate degree, and how the landscape of works is always shifting. All panellists stressed the value of the transferable skills they gained from their English degree, including synthesising and summarising material quickly, writing well, and thinking critically. Students and alumni had a further chance to ask questions and share stories informally over a drink in the Department foyer.

Many thanks to our Bristol Volunteers for getting involved. Get in touch with alumni-volunteers@bristol.ac.uk if you’re keen to support the career development of current students.

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