8 On-Brand Careers for Poets
Note: Glassdoor figures in this article are from June 2021.
If you’re a poet, then chances are many people have asked you how you plan to turn your passion into profit. It turns out that the answer may be more promising and varied than you ever expected. A 2018 study from the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that hiring managers cited written communication as one of the top qualities they look for, and many top economists recently advocated for more “storytellers” in business, marketing, and leadership positions. The bottom line: Poetry and the humanities foster skills like creativity, critical thinking, and public speaking. Here are a few options for translating those talents into your dream job.
Glassdoor average salary estimate: $57,312
Copywriting is one of the broadest and most diverse careers available to poets, as nearly all companies have copywriters on their staff. Think about the slogans, commercials, print ads, and Instagram captions you see from businesses every day. Chances are, a copywriter brainstormed these catchy and convincing sentences, which often stand out by using poetic devices like sound play, rhythm, and imagery. Copywriters use content marketing to boost sales and engagement, as well as build their company’s customer base. This career also holds lots of opportunities for advancement: At the senior level, copywriters earn an average of $91,000.
Glassdoor average salary estimate: $67,015
Technical writers simplify complex topics for a general audience. These writers—best known for writing instructions, manuals, and other informative content—often work in sectors like software, healthcare, science, and manufacturing. Oftentimes, technical writers have an expertise or a background in these areas, as well as a writing degree. Experienced senior technical writers command an average of $98,000.
Glassdoor average salary estimate: $117,673
As a trending career option, UX writing showcases the connection between language and technology. UX stands for user experience, an industry that caters to app users and online audiences by streamlining these digital spaces. In fact, the UX writers craft copy that’s barely noticeable, allowing online actions to happen seamlessly and without confusion. You know the messages that pop up when you order an Uber, send an email, or need to reset a password? Yep, you have a UX writer to thank. UX writers often work in bustling areas and for major companies. In tech hubs like San Francisco, UX writers can expect salaries of up to $180,000.
Glassdoor average salary estimate: $62,515
Is your favorite part of poetry identifying big picture ideas and why they’re important? If so, being a proposal writer might interest you. Proposal writers often work at large advertising agencies, where they outline in writing how the agency plans to help a client meet their marketing goals. In this role, which operates as a liaison between the agency and the client, proposal writers should convince business owners to enter into a partnership. Senior proposal writers who have honed their skills over several years can expect to earn near $83,000.
Glassdoor average salary estimate: $50,631
Think of grant writing as similar to proposal writing, but within the nonprofit and humanitarian sectors. As the job title suggests, grant writers research and apply for relevant grants, ensuring funding for their organization. This process involves thoroughly explaining through writing not only what the organization’s mission is, but how specific funding sources will empower the organization to better fulfill that mission. Grant writers must be specific, detail-oriented, and—ideally—passionate about their workplace’s cause. More experienced grant writers typically make up to $61,000 annually.
Glassdoor average salary estimate: $42,714
A perfect entry-level role, proofreading utilizes the in-depth grammar and mechanics knowledge that poets possess. From greeting card companies to publishing companies, proofreaders work in nearly all industries. Think of these attentive, eagle-eyed professionals as the writing world’s “quality control.” A top-notch proofreader will catch any misplaced commas, incorrect capitalizations, or other errors. While proofreaders often move on to higher-level, more conceptual editing roles, those who make proofreading their long-term career can see yearly earnings of about $50,000.
Glassdoor average salary estimate: $57,923
Do you love the poetry world’s penchant for mentorship and collaboration? You might shine as an editor. Editors work with writers to make their work more organized, more clear, and more creative. Oftentimes, they’ll guide writers through several drafts of a project—whether that project’s a magazine article, a blog post, or a podcast script. Rather than fixing copy errors, editors provide creative vision and direction on a more comprehensive level. It’s their job to know if the content on their desks meets their company’s overarching goals and objectives. Editors with several years of work experience often negotiate salaries of around $82,000.
Glassdoor average salary estimate: $100,661
If you’re both creative and analytical, content strategy might be the right position to leverage these traits. Content strategists typically plan and assign a business’s online content, then monitor how it performs. By tracking stats like click and open rates, bounce rates, and SEO ranking, content strategists drive user engagement through articles, blogs, and social media posts. With this hybrid digital and editorial knowledge, senior content strategists bring in an average of $115,000 annually.