Language skills can be used in almost any career, and particularly in businesses that trade internationally

Job options

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.

Work experience

Many modern language degree programmes offer a year studying or working abroad. If you choose to undertake a work placement during this year, try and 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.

Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships and self-employment.

Typical employers

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
  • engineering
  • media
  • museums and libraries
  • public administration
  • teaching
  • tourism
  • transport and logistics.

Find information on employers in leisure, sport and tourism, marketing, advertising and PR, teacher training and education and other job sectors.

Skills for your CV

Studying a modern language degree will help you to become a good communicator (both orally and in writing), and will also give you the skills 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 helps you to develop cultural awareness, adapt to new and changing surroundings and to work both in a team and independently.

In an increasingly global jobs market, these skills are highly valued by employers, whichever career you go into.

Further study

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.

For more information on further study and to find a course that interests you, see Masters degrees and search postgraduate courses.

What do modern language graduates do?

Marketing associate professional is the top job held by graduates in employment in the UK.

Other jobs in the top ten include author, writer and translator, human resources and industrial relations officer and business sales executive.

DestinationPercentage
Employed64.3
Further study18.3
Working and studying5.1
Unemployed5.9
Other6.3
Graduate destinations for modern languages
Type of workPercentage
Marketing, PR and sales19.3
Business, HR and financial17
Retail, catering and bar work13.4
Secretarial and numerical clerks10.1
Other40.2
Types of work entered in the UK

For a detailed breakdown of what language graduates are doing six months after graduation, see What do graduates do?

Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.