Language skills are in demand and can be used in almost any career, 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 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.

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 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
  • 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, teaching and education and other job sectors.

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 to 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.

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 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.

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, writers and translators, human resources and industrial relations officer and business sales executive.

Further study18.3
Working and studying5.1
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
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.