Language skills can be used in almost any career, and particularly in businesses that trade internationally
Jobs directly related to your degree include:
- Academic researcher
- Diplomatic service officer
- English as a foreign language teacher
- Intelligence analyst
- International aid/development worker
- Political risk analyst
- Secondary school teacher
Jobs where your degree would be useful include:
- Broadcast journalist
- Education consultant
- Logistics and distribution manager
- Marketing executive
- Patent examiner
- Private tutor
- Publishing rights manager
- Sales executive
- Tour manager
Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.
Many modern language degrees offer a year studying or working abroad. If you choose to undertake a work placement during this year, try to find one in a career that you're interested in and take the opportunity to develop skills specific to that job, as well as your proficiency in the language.
Any time you can spend abroad perfecting your language skills will be helpful, and you may be able to find a temporary job that allows you to do this. Teaching English or working in the tourism sector can be good options.
If your aim is to move into translating or interpreting, you may want to carry out some work on a voluntary basis in order to build up a portfolio of experience.
Experience in areas such as administration and IT will also be useful for many jobs that use language skills. Registering with a suitable employment agency can help you in your search for work.
Some modern language graduates work on a self-employed basis as interpreters or translators. However, many others are employed by companies who trade or offer services internationally, or to non-English speaking customers and suppliers.
Language graduates are therefore employed by a wide variety of employers and sectors, including:
- business services
- charity work
- museums and libraries
- public administration
- transport and logistics.
Skills for your CV
Studying a modern language degree will help you to develop good oral and written communication skills, and will also enable you to:
- effectively gather, assess and interpret information
- lead and participate in discussions and groups
- organise your workload to meet deadlines
- develop opinions and propose ideas
- read pages of text and pick out the essential points.
Spending a year abroad during your degree where you'll adapt to new and changing surroundings will make you more resourceful and increase your cultural awareness. It will also enhance your ability to work independently and to relate to others and work as part of a team.
In an increasingly global jobs market, these skills are highly valued by employers, whichever career you go into.
Some graduates pursue postgraduate qualifications in interpreting or translating. This can help with competition for jobs and demonstrates a certain level of professional expertise.
You can choose to specialise in an area of language study that interested you during your undergraduate - European studies, for example.
Choosing to study abroad can increase your chances of developing an international career.
Further study or training in the subject you wish to develop your career, for example marketing, finance, business, IT and journalism, may be helpful. For some careers, such as law and teaching, postgraduate qualifications are essential.
What do modern language graduates do?
Teaching professional is the top job held by modern languages graduates in employment in the UK. Other jobs in the top ten include business, research and administrative professionals, sales, marketing and related associate professionals, artistic, literary and media occupations, finance professionals, welfare and housing associate professionals, business associate professionals and media professionals.
|Working and studying||12.2|
|Type of work||Percentage|
|Business, HR and finance||17.4|
|Marketing, PR and sales||15.7|
|Clerical, secretarial and administrative||13.2|
For a detailed breakdown of what language graduates are doing after graduation, see What do graduates do?
Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.