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 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.

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 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.

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 in modern languages.

What do modern language graduates do?

Secondary education teaching professional is the top job held by graduates in employment in the UK. Other jobs in the top ten include marketing associate professional, PR professional, business sales executive, admin, human resources and industrial relations officer, business and related associate professional, business and financial project management professional and finance investment analyst and adviser.

DestinationPercentage
Employed61.6
Further study11.3
Working and studying10.4
Unemployed9.7
Other7
Graduate destinations for modern languages
Type of workPercentage
Business, HR and finance18
Marketing, PR and sales16.5
Retail, catering and customer service14.4
Clerical, secretarial and administrative14.1
Other37
Types of work entered in the UK

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.

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