Language skills are in demand and can be used in almost any career, particularly within businesses that trade internationally
Jobs directly related to your degree include:
Jobs where your degree would be useful include:
- Broadcast journalist
- Diplomatic Services operational officer
- English as a foreign language teacher
- International aid/development worker
- Logistics and distribution manager
- Marketing executive
- Patent examiner
- 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.
Most modern language degree programmes offer a year abroad. If you choose to undertake a work placement during this year, try and find one in a career that you are interested in and take the opportunity to develop skills specific to that job, as well as your language skills.
Some graduates wanting a long-term career using a language choose to take on a short-term role, such as teaching English, while living abroad and perfecting their language skills. Other temporary jobs that take you abroad may be helpful, such as those in tourism.
If you wish to move into translating or interpreting you may want to carry out some work on a voluntary basis to build up a portfolio of the experience you have. Joining an agency may be a good idea.
Experience in areas such as administration and IT will also be useful for many jobs that use language skills.
Some modern language graduates work on a self-employed basis as interpreters or translators. However, many others choose careers not directly related to their subject but where there is the opportunity to use their language skills, for example working for companies who trade or offer services internationally or to non-English speaking customers and suppliers.
This means that language graduates work for a huge variety of employers and sectors, including:
- business services;
- charity work;
- museums and libraries;
- public administration;
- transport and logistics.
Skills for your CV
Studying a language clearly makes you a good communicator, both orally and in writing. Additional skills gained through a language degree include the ability to:
- gather information, assess and interpret it;
- lead and participate in discussions and groups;
- organise your workload and work to 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 develop cultural awareness, adapt to new and changing surroundings and to work both in a team and independently.
These skills have value in a job market that is becoming increasingly global and are appreciated by employers, whatever career you go into.
Some modern language graduates decide to pursue further study in order to gain a postgraduate qualification 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 degree, for example European studies.
Some graduates choose to study abroad in order to increase their chances of getting an international career.
As modern language graduates pursue a range of careers, further study or training in subjects such as marketing, finance, business, IT and journalism are popular, and for some careers, such as law and teaching, postgraduate qualifications are essential.
What do modern language graduates do?
Almost two-thirds of modern languages graduates enter employment within six months of graduation. Popular areas of work include translating, writing, advertising and marketing, personnel and HR, sales and business.
More than a fifth of modern language graduates go on to further study or combine work with further study. Some specialise in a particular area of language, such as translation or interpreting, while others take the opportunity to broaden their options and move into other career areas.
|Working and studying||6|
|Type of work||Percentage|
|Business, HR and financial||18.1|
|Marketing, PR and sales||16.8|
|Retail, catering and bar work||13.6|
|Secretarial and numerical clerks||12.1|
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.